Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, also known as Dr. Robotnik and His Mean Bean Machine in European countries outside of United Kingdom, is a falling-block puzzle video game in the Sonic the Hedgehog series developed by Compile and published by Sega for the Sega Mega Drive. Released in North America and Europe during the late 1993, the game is based on the Japanese puzzle game . Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine is also one of the few spin-off games in the Sonic franchise to take place in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog universe, which ran during the game's release.
The core gameplay of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine is derived from the Japanese Mega Drive port of the original Puyo Puyo arcade game, but with altered visuals and rearranged music tracks. Here, the player takes the role of Has Bean, whose mission is to rescue the kidnapped citizens of Beanville and defeat Dr. Ivo Robotnik. Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine later received a separate 8-bit version for the Sega Game Gear in 1993 and Master System in 1994, which featured similar gameplay and additional modes. The game has also appeared in some compilations and was re-released on the Wii's Virtual Console and Steam.
Concept and creation
- See also:
Back in October 1992, the arcade version of Puyo Puyo (ぷよぷよ?) was developed by Compile and Sega AM1 in Japan, which used characters from Compile's video game series. The Mega Drive port for the original arcade game was released exclusively in Japan on December 18, 1992. However, the game did not receive an international release until a year later, where it was released under the title Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine for the Sega Mega Drive.
The international version of the game was a conversion of the Mega Drive version of Puyo Puyo. The game was localized, but also completely overhauled in terms of graphics and setting, and had nearly the entire cast from Puyo Puyo replaced with characters from the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog television series. Most of the music tracks in Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine are also reused tracks from Masanobu Tsukamoto's and Einosuke Nagao's original composition for Puyo Puyo. Many of these tracks were rearranged by Masanori Hikichi of Cube Corp. and Naofumi Hataya.
Set on planet Mobius, Dr. Robotnik has hatched a new plan to menace the world and its inhabitants - by kidnapping the citizens of Beanville and turning them into devious robot slaves, the doctor will create an army that will help him rid the planet of music and fun forever. To this end, he has created a giant roboticizing machine called the "Mean Bean-Steaming Machine" to use on the jolly bean folk.
Putting his plan into motion, Robotnik sends out his henchbots to round up all the unfortunate bean folk and group them together in dark dungeons so they can be sent to the Mean Bean-Steaming Machine. Assuming the role of Has Bean, the player must now stand up against Robotnik's henchmen by breaking into the dungeons, freeing the bean folk before it is too late, and get through Robotnik's henchbots to the deranged doctor himself and foil his evil plans once and for all.
Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine is a puzzle game reminiscent of the Tetris games. The main gameplay takes place across two grid-based boards. The left board is used by the player, while the right board is used either by the game's CPU or a second player. Otherwise, the right board will remain empty (depending on the mode).
The objective in Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine is to obtain as many points as possible by grouping certain Beans together as they fall down on the board from the top in groups of two. One pair of Beans will fall each "turn". The Beans themselves come in five different colors: red, green, blue, yellow, and violet. The player must attempt to arrange the Beans into groups of at least four Beans in the same color; should they do this, the Beans in the group will disappear. Both boards are six Beans wide and thirteen Beans tall, meaning a board can hold a total of seventy-eight Beans. If the board gets filled up with Beans and the player becomes unable to move the next incoming pair of Beans, the game ends. In a match between two contenders, the first to get a game over loses.
While Bean blocks fall down, the player can move them left or right, rotate their block formation and speed up the Bean block's descend. If a Bean block is placed on a Bean formation so one Bean protrudes over an edge, said Bean will split off and continue its descend. Also, next to the boards on the center of the screen, players can see the next Bean block that will be deposited on their boards next. Occasional, the Bean blocks' dropping speed will suddenly increase temporarily. Even so, as the players work their way up, Beans will fall progressively faster.
When making a group of Beans disappear, other Beans stacked on top of them drop a level. The player can organize these Beans by placing Bean blocks conveniently close to each other, so when one group disappears, other similarly-colored Beans drop down together, thus triggering a chain reaction that cause another set of Beans to group and disappear, and so on. This will produce large chunks of points. When the player squares off another opponent (either another player or the CPU in Scenario Mode), each link in a chain reaction will cause transparent Refugee Beans to be deposited in random places on the rival's board. These Beans cannot be connected like normal Beans and can only be eliminated by having them touch a cluster of disappearing colored Beans. The amount of Refugee Beans dumped depends on the length of the combo that created them; one group of Beans disappearing as a result of a chain reaction creates a single Refugee Bean, while multiple chain reactions produce large rows of Refugee Beans, hence the importance of planning large chain reactions. A player can attempt to send Refugee Beans to their opponent in order to frustrate their attempts to remove Beans.
|left/right||Move Beans horizontally.|
|down||Speed up Beans' descend.|
|//||Rotate Bean blocks.|
|START button||Pauses the game.|
Scenario Mode ("Hitori de Puyo Puyo" in Beans increase with each Stage. Also, before each Stage, the opponent is given an introduction cutscene (which can be skipped by pressing START). Failing to beat the opponent will transport the player to the Continue screen where they have to decide on whether or not to try again within ten seconds. Refusing to try again results in a Game Over. In return, the Scenario Mode has an infinite amount of Continues.) is the basic arcade mode of the game. The mode consists of thirteen Stages, each with a different CPU-controlled opponent. Here, the difficulty and falling speed of
To continue from a previously-cleared Stage, the Scenario Mode features a password system. Upon the completion of a Stage, the game gives the player a password consisting of four characters on the results screen, enabling them to start from that point in the game next time they play. Clearing all Stages makes the end credits roll. After that, the game will list all High Scores where the player can rack up their total score after clearing the Scenario Mode.
|Stage 2||Frankly|| /|
|Stage 5||Davy Sprocket|
|Stage 9||Spike||[note 1]|
|Stage 10||Sir F-Fuzzy Logik|
|Stage 11||Dragon Breath|
|Stage 13||Dr. Robotnik|
- Has Bean
- Dr. Robotnik
- Robotnik's henchbots
1P VS. 2P Mode
1P VS. 2P Mode ("Futari de Puyo Puyo" in Options menu).) is the multiplayer component of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine which two players can participate in. To play, both players must have their controllers connected to the Sega Mega Drive. From the start, players are given the choice between five difficulty levels: easiest, easy, normal, hard and hardest. Players can also challenge each other for multiple matches (the number of which can be set in the
In gameplay, player one (1P) controls the left board while player two (2P) controls the right board. 1P's score is shown above the Score font on the middle of the screen while 2P's is displayed below it. The matches here are much like those in Scenario Mode; when one of the players get a Game Over, the match ends and the losing player has to press START in ten seconds to begin new match. The star ranks on the left and right side of the screen show the number of victories the respective player have.
Exercise Mode ("Tokoton Puyo Puyo" in points) and hardest (90,000 extra points). For this mode, the player has to rank up enough points to be rewarded with certain bonus points for the chosen difficulty setting.) is a separate mode for up to two players to participate in. Another player can join by pressing the START button. Here, players can practice their skills by choosing one of three difficult settings which include a score goal: easiest (no bonus), normal (40,000 extra
As the player receives points in Exercise Mode, the Beans' falling speed increases. Additionally, this mode does not feature any Refugee Beans. When the player is about to loose the game, two exclusive characters will appear on the board:
- Has Bean: Hops across the player's board in random patterns, converting all the Beans he touches to one certain color.
- Big Bean: A large green bean that falls straight to the bottom of the Board, erasing the two columns of Beans that are in its way.
When one of players loses, the player has to press START for a new match. If the player has gotten a recordable High Score, they can mark said score with three initials on the High Score Screen. This screen will appear if the player waits for ten seconds without pressing any buttons after losing.
Options is the settings menu for Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. It holds the following options:
- Key Assignment: The players can customize three different button functions (, and ). Both player one and two have to use their own controllers to make these adjustments for themselves.
- VS COM Level: The player can select one of four difficulty settings for the CPU opponents in Scenario Mode: Easy, Normal, Hard and Hardest.
- 1P VS. 2P Mode: The match count for the 1P VS. 2P Mode can be set here (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 or 15).
- Sampling: The player can turn the sound effects during the gameplay on or off here.
- Imput Test: All the button settings on the player's controller can be tested here.
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||7.5/10|
Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine received generally positive reviews during its release. Gaming magazine Mega gave it a 90% score, calling it a "devilish addictive game which even haters of all things Sonic-related will love". Sega Magazine also praised the game's multiplayer modes for being "excellent fun" and called it one of the best puzzle games available for the Mega Drive.
In numerous re-releases and compilations, the game has received positive reviews as well. Tom Bramwell of Eurogamer described the game in Sonic Mega Collection Plus as "pretty superfluous when the Mega Drive version's already in amongst the 16-bit Greatest Hits brigade." Fran Mirabella from IGN describes Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine in Sonic Mega Collection as a little diversity in the collection, while Lucas M. Thomas said the game had aged well, especially in the audio department, during the review of the game's re-release for the Wii's Virtual Console. Thomas also stated that "the differences between [Kirby's Avalanche] and Dr. Robotnik's Genesis edition aren't major or important enough that fans should skip this."
On the negative side, Jeremy Parish of 1UP claimed the game was a strange choice in the collection since its original incarnation, Puyo Puyo, had been introduced in America during that time. Damien McFerran of Nintendolife stated the CPU in Scenario Mode was a "decent challenge but it's only fun for a while", while Aaron Thomas of GameSpot claimed the game mechanics were easy, but also that the game quickly got difficult after two levels.
In South Korea, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine was published by Samsung under the name Dong Gu Ri Te Chi Jak Jeon. The game was later repackaged along with Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 into the Sonic Compilation for the Mega Drive in 1995. The game was also included in the PC compilation pack Sega PC Puzzle Pack (1999), Sonic Mega Collection (2002) for the Gamecube, and Sonic Mega Collection Plus (2004) for the PlayStation 2/Xbox.
In 2004, a series of RCA jack "Mega Drive-on-a-chip" units called the Legends series produced by Radica Games included releases of Arcade Legends Sega Mega Drive and Arcade Legends Sega Mega Drive Volume 3 which feature Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine as one of the playable games. The game was also included in the console on chip unit titled Mega Drive Twin Pads which was released on the Asian markets in 2008.
On December 11, 2006, Sega released the Sega Mega Drive version of the game on the Wii's Virtual Console where it could be brought for 800 Wii Points. The game was also included in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 in 2009, and later re-releases as well, such as Sega Mega Drive Classic Collection Volume 4 (2010) and Sega Mega Drive Classic Collection Gold Edition (2011).
There have been three occasions where Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine has been released in Japan. Before the aforementioned Sonic Mega Collection and Sonic Mega Collection Plus, the game was also released in Japan as a part of an import collection for the PC in 2000, titled Sega Archives From USA Vol.2.
Game Gear and Master System versions
After the release of the Sega Mega Drive version of the game, the 8-bit version of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine was released for Game Gear in December 1993 and the Master System in 1994. While the Game Gear version was only released in the United States and Europe, the Master System version was released in Europe, Australia and Brazil.
The 8-bit version of the game is based on the Game Gear port ofwhich was released on March 19, 1993. While the core gameplay is much like the Mega Drive version's, certain additional features were replaced with the Puzzle Mode ("Nazo Nazo Puyo Puyo" in Puyo Puyo) that consists of a series of thirty challenges.
- Producers: Yoji Ishii, Noriyoshi Oba ("Noriyoshi Ohba"), Moo Niitani
- Directors: Tetsuo Shinyu, Takayuki Yanagihori, M. Tsukamoto
- Graphic designers: Takaya Segawa, Saori Yamaguchi, Hideaki Moriya, Keisuke Saka, Compile's Designer
- Programmers: Manabu Ishihara, Tsukasa Aoki, Compile's Programmer
- Music and FX: Masanori Hikichi -CUBE-, Masayuki Nagao
- Special thanks to: Shinbou Yokoyama
Sega of America
- Producer: Max Taylor
- Designers: Max Taylor, Brian Ransom, Dave Albert
- Sound: David Javelosa
© 1993 Sega
© 1993 Compile
- Along with Sonic the Hedgehog Spinball, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine marks the first video game in the Sonic series to not take place in the main series' universe. Instead, it is set in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog television series. References from the television show include:
- All of the opponents in the Scenario Mode (minus Scratch, Grounder and Coconuts) appeared in the first episode of the television series, "Super Special Sonic Search & Smash Squad", where they were taken down by Sonic the Hedgehog one at the time.
- In each oppoment's cutsecene, Doctor Robotnik's Fortress (without the golden Robotnik statue) can be seen in the background. It is also seen during the game's ending.
- The Continue screen is based on a shot from the television series' unaired pilot.
- This is one of the first spin-off games in the Sonic franchise that Sonic the Hedgehog does not appear, nor was he mentioned.
- The Beginner's course from
was removed in Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine; 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 it can still be accessed via hacking or by setting the game's region to Japanese.
- In Scenario Mode, holding left or right on a second controller disables the CPU's ability to manually drop Beans; the effect is most pronounced against Frankly and Coconuts. This is a bug originating from the earliest version of the arcade Puyo Puyo that, despite being fixed in the more widespread version of the game, persisted in its English release and Mega Drive port.
- The game was given a subtle reference in Archie Sonic the Hedgehog #251, when the motherboard titled "M.B.M." was sabotaged by Dr. Wily. Also, the Mean Bean-Steaming Machine can be seen in one panel in Mega Man #27.
- The gameplay of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine appears in Sonic Mania as both the boss of Chemical Plant Zone Act 2 and as a mini-game unlocked by obtaining Gold Medallions in the Bonus Stages. The mini-game version can be played either against the CPU or another player.
- ↑ Although he is based on Spike does not share his ability to shake the board much like Frankly and Dragon Breath do. ,
- ↑ SEGA ARCADE GAME HISTORY - ぷよぷよ. Sega Interactive. Retrieved on 2 September 2016.
- ↑ [セガハード大百科 メガドライブ対応ソフトウェア（セガ発売）]. Sega. Archived from the original on 23 May 2012. Retrieved on 2 September 2016.
- ↑ "Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine". Sonic the Comic. 11 December 1993.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (Sega Genesis) United States instruction manual pg. 1.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved on 4 September 2016.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Thomas, Aaron (9 January 2007). Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine Review. Gamespot. Retrieved on 4 September 2016.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Thomas, Lucas M. (11 December 2006). Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine Review - The Genesis take on the classic puzzler, Puyo Puyo. IGN.
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 "Game Review: Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine". Mega (16): 48–49. January 1994.
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 McFerran, Damien (12 December 2006). Review: Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (MD). Nintendolife.
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Mega Drive Review: Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (January 1994). Retrieved on 9 February 2012.
- ↑ Mega magazine issue 26, page 74, Maverick Magazines, November 1994
- ↑ Bramwell, Tom (8 Febuary 2005). Sonic Mega Collection Plus review. Eurogamer. Retrieved on 5 September 2016.
- ↑ Mirabella, Fran (12 November 2002). Sonic Mega Collection. IGN. Retrieved on 5 September 2016.
- ↑ Parish, Jeremy (29 November 2004). Sonic Mega Collection Plus (PS2). 1UP.com. Retrieved on 5 September 2016.