Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine is a puzzle game developed by Compile and published by Sega on the Mega Drive, Game Gear, and Master System. The game, which is set in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog universe, serves as the western release of Compile's commercial success Puyo Puyo. The game was released in November 1993 for North America markets, but did not reach Japan until the Sonic Mega Collection, where it became known as Dr. Eggman's Mean Bean Machine. The Sega Master System and the Game Gear both received an 8-bit version which featured similar gameplay, but also included a "Puzzle Mode" in which the player must clear a series of flashing beans amidst a large pile.
On 11 December 2006, Sega released the game for the Wii's Virtual Console at a price of 800 Wii Points. The game was also included in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Dr. Ivo Robotnik has hatched a plan to ensure that no music or fun remains on Mobius by kidnapping the jolly citizens of Beanville. To rid himself of them, he stuffs the citizens into a giant roboticizing machine called the "Mean Bean-Steaming Machine", which turns them into devious little robot slaves. The player defeats each of Robotnik's henchbots one-by-one and eventually come face-to-face with the deranged doctor himself in order to free the citizens and foil his evil plan.
The game is played with two opponents trying to connect as many chains of four or more similarly colored beans as possible in a large grid. As higher chains are achieved, Refugee Beans are sent to the other side. This can only be removed when a neighboring group of beans is matched. The winner is the one whose beans do not reach the top of the grid. There are various modes that allow players to battle each other in various difficulty settings. These determine speed, the initial number of Refugee Beans, and other various things. Dr. Robotnik's level is the fastest of them all. Up to 2 players can play either in VS Mode or in Exercise Mode. In VS Mode, each player can choose between 5 difficulty settings, labeled 1-5 (Easiest to Hardest, where 1 is the lowest drop speed, and 5 is the fastest). In VS Mode, one player must defeat the other in the same way as in Scenario mode. If a player selects Level 1, they play with 4 colors of beans, however, the other levels include 5 colors. Furthermore, in Levels 4 or 5, the game begins with the play area already containing garbage: for Level 4, 18 beans (3 rows); for Level 5, 30 beans (5 rows). Exercise Mode, is a form of practice play where 1 or 2 players can battle out. This mode has three difficulty levels: easiest, normal, and hardest (Level 1, 3 or 5). On easiest, players start with only 4 colors. To level up, the player has to keep erasing beans. Helpers (Big Puyo or Has Bean) will appear when the player gets stuck on Level 1 the first time, but they can only appear once. For Level 3, at random times, Has Bean will drop from the screen to help out. When Carbuncle is placed on a color, it travels in a random direction, following downwards, changing all beans to that color. For Level 5, at random times, a Big Puyo will drop from the screen. When Big Puyo falls, it occupies 2 columns of the grid, and when placed, squashes all beans and removes them from the grid.
Every stage has a boss the player must face. Each boss plays with different strategies. If the player wins the stage, a password will be unlocked (to start the next stage whenever he/she likes).
- Stage 1: Arms - a UFO shaped android with elastic arms.
- Stage 2: Frankly - a scary-looking Macho-Bot who likes to smile.
- Stage 3: Humpty - an egg-shaped robot who has difficulty balancing.
- Stage 4: Coconuts - a robotic monkey who claims to be the Doc's favorite - and "goes bananas".
- Stage 5: Davy Sprocket - a Western-style pioneer who is always searching for trouble.
- Stage 6: Skweel - a literal road hog with wheels for feet and a "sizzling" attitude.
- Stage 7: Dynamight - a small, dynamic robot who likes to blow things up.
- Stage 8: Grounder - a drilling machine who works as the Doc's "tool of the trade".
- Stage 9: Spike - a rebellious, pot-bellied machine who seems to have an obsession for spikes.
- Stage 10: Sir F-Fuzzy Logik - a knight from the Middle Ages who carries a trident.
- Stage 11: Dragon Breath - an armor-clad dragon who seems to have a bad case of fiery breath.
- Stage 12: Scratch - a mechanical rooster who serves as the Doc's right-hand man.
- Stage 13: Dr. Ivo Robotnik - the deranged doctor himself, who invented the infernal bean-steaming machine.
Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine received generally positive reviews across releases. UK gaming magazine Mega awarded the Mega Drive release a score of 90%, calling it "sweet-inducingly addictive fun". Sega-16 praised it as "not only one of the best puzzle games ever, but one of the best Sonic games released". Lucas Thomas of IGN gave the Wii Virtual Console release a 7.5/10 with the statement that it had "held up well, especially in the audio department" ; however, Gamespot's Aaron Thomas voiced that the game was "just not quite worth the price of admission". NintendoLife and Nintendo World Report agreed that although the Game Gear rerelease on the 3DS eShop was dated in terms of aesthetics, the gameplay was still fresh and addicting.
- This is the first Sonic game to be based on a cartoon, that being Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.
- Interestingly, all of the opponents are derived from the first episode, "Super Special Sonic Search & Smash Squad" (all but those from the main cast appear briefly as bounty hunters at the beginning of the episode). The Game Over screen is also based on a shot from the original promotional pilot.
- The beans sprites are also used in the game Kirby's Avalanche, a Super Nintendo Entertainment System refitting of Puyo Puyo by HAL Laboratory.
- Along with Sonic Spinball, this is the only game on the Master System/Game Gear that is faithful to the Sega Genesis version.
- This is one of the few games in the franchise that Sonic the Hedgehog does not appear in.
- It is also one of the few games where it doesn't include Sonic's name in the title.
- The Beginner's course from Puyo Puyo was removed in this game; however, the three stages can be accessed via hacking. When doing so, the Puyo Puyo characters Skeleton T, Nasu Grave, and Mummy are all visually replaced by a character with Coconuts' intro and Scratch's mugshots.
- Similarly Puyo Puyo's Sound Test option was omitted, but can still be accessed via hacking or setting the game's region to Japanese.
- The Game Gear version of this game is featured on Nintendo 3DS's eShop Virtual Console.
- The game was given a subtle reference in Worlds Collide #12, when the motherboard titled "M.B.M." was sabotaged by Dr. Wily during the When Worlds Collide crossover. Also, the Mean Bean Machine can be seen in one panel from Mega Man #27.
- This is one of the few Sonic games in which Sonic doesn't appear.
|Sir F-Fuzzy Logik|
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 http://www.outofprintarchive.com/articles/reviews/MegaDrive/DrRobotniksMBM-MEGA16-2.html
- ↑ http://blogs.sega.com/2013/06/13/four-new-game-gear-titles-for-the-nintendo-3ds-eshop/
- ↑ http://www.sega-16.com/2004/06/dr-robotniks-mean-bean-machine/
- ↑ http://www.ign.com/articles/2006/12/12/dr-robotniks-mean-bean-machine-review
- ↑ http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/dr-robotniks-mean-bean-machine-review/1900-6163971/
- ↑ http://www.nintendolife.com/reviews/3ds-eshop/dr_robotniks_mean_bean_machine_gamegear
- ↑ http://www.nintendoworldreport.com/reviewmini/34705/dr-robotniks-mean-bean-machine-nintendo-3ds-vc-gg