Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (ドクターエッグマンのミーンビーンマシーン Dokutā Egguman no mīn bīn mashīn?, lit. "Doctor Eggman'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 in late 1993, the game is based on the Japanese puzzle game Puyo Puyo. Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine is also the only spin-off game 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.
Dr. Robotnik, the evil mastermind of planet Mobius, 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 of Beanville.
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. With help from Has Bean, the player must now stand up against Robotnik's henchbots by breaking into the dungeons, freeing the bean folk before it is too late, and get through the henchbots to the deranged doctor himself and foil his evil plans once and for all.
Later on, as the player advances, they face against the various henchbots sent to protect the Mean Bean Machine. Eventually however, Robotnik, having realized that the player has defeated all of his henchbots, decides to use his dirty play and face against the player himself. In the end though, he is defeated, triggering a chain-reaction that destroys the Mean Bean Machine and frees all of the beans. In the middle of the conmotion, the doctor escapes from his fortress using his Egg-O-Matic.
After this, a short cutscene plays, presenting the characters to the player, before playing the credits of the game.
|Has Bean||Has Bean used to be one of the jollier beans in the village... until Dr. Robotnik changed him into a robot. Usually he prefers to clown around on the sidelines, but he hasn't forgotten his humble past. Occasionally he'll drop into your dungeon and take a little walk. Any beans he walks over change to the same color and disappear.|
|Big Bean||Big Bean is just that—a really big bean. So big, in fact, that any beans he drops on will immediately vanish just to get out of his way. You'll usually find Big Bean lurking around the higher levels to give you and his buddies a little help.|
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 computer 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' descent|
|//||Rotate Bean blocks|
Scenario Mode ("Hitori de Puyo Puyo" in Puyo Puyo) 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 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.
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 no.||Opponent||Image||Puyo Puyo
- Big Bean (Exercise Mode) (first appearance)
- Has Bean (first appearance)
- Refugee Bean (first appearance)
- Davy Sprocket
- Sir Ffuzzy-Logik
- Dragon Breath
- Dr. Robotnik
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 lose 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 (, , ). 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, with options including: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 or 15.
- Sampling: The player can turn the sound effects during the gameplay on or off here.
- Input Test: All the button settings on the player's controller can be tested here.
- See also: Puyo Puyo
Back in October 1992, the arcade version of Puyo Puyo (ぷよぷよ puyopuyo?) was developed by Compile and Sega AM1 in Japan, which used characters from Compile's Madou Monogatari video game series. The Sega Mega Drive port for the original arcade game was released exclusively in Japan on 18 December 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.
|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 Sega Mega Drive.
In numerous re-releases and compilations, the game has received positive scores 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 described Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine in Sonic Mega Collection as a little diversity in the rest, 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 [Mega Drive] edition aren't major or important enough that fans should skip this."
On the negative side, Jeremy Parish of 1Up.com 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 Nintendo Life 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.
|N/A||Sega Mega Drive||In South Korea, Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine was published by Samsung under the name Dong Gu Ri Te Chi Jak Jeon. However, for unknown reasons, a number of early cartridges were in fact copies of the Japanese release of Puyo Puyo with the Dong Gu Ri label.|
|Sonic Compilation||Sega Mega Drive||Repackaged along with Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 for the Mega Drive in 1995.|
|Sega Puzzle Pack||PC||Included in the PC compilation pack in 1999.|
|Sega Archives from USA Vol. 2||PC||Released in Japan as a part of an import collection for the PC in 2000.|
|Sonic Mega Collection||Nintendo GameCube||Released in 2002.|
|Sonic Mega Collection Plus||PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC||Released in 2004.|
|Arcade Legends Sega Mega Drive||Handheld TV game||A series of RCA jack "Mega Drive-on-a-chip" units called the Legends series produced by Radica Games.|
|Arcade Legends Sega Mega Drive Volume 3 - Super Sonic Gold|
|N/A||Wii||On 11 December 2006, Sega released the Sega Mega Drive version of the game on the Wii's Virtual Console, where it could be purchased for 800 Wii Points.|
|Mega Drive Twin Pads||Handheld TV game||Included in the "console on a chip" unit released in 2008.|
|Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection||Xbox 360, PlayStation 3||Released in 2009.|
|N/A||Browser||Available for VIP users to play on the PlaySEGA browser game service in 2009.|
|Sega Mega Drive Classic Collection - Volume 4||PC||Released in 2010.|
|Sega Mega Drive Classic Collection Gold Edition||PC||Released in 2011.|
|Sega Mega Drive Classics||PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch||Released in 2018, including over fifty Sega Mega Drive games.|
|N/A||Handheld TV game||Included in the North American and European versions of the Sega Mega Drive Mini in 2019.|
|Nintendo Switch||Included in the Nintendo Switch Online library in the Sega Mega Drive section.|
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 Sega 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 of Puyo Puyo which 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), Masamitsu Niitani (Moo Niitani)
- Directors: Tetsuo Shinyu, Takayuki Yanagihori, Masanobu Tsukamoto (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, Noriyuki Iwadare (-CUBE-), Masayuki Nagao
- Special thanks to: Shinbou Yokoyama
Sega of America
- Producer: Max Taylor
- Designers: Max Taylor, Brian Ransom, Dave Albert
- Sound: David Javelosa
- 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, along with 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 opponent's cutscene, 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 Puyo Puyo 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/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 and its expansion Sonic Mania Plus 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.
- The Mean Bean Coffee Café from the Sonic the Hedgehog 2 film is a reference to this game.
- Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. Nintendo. Archived from the original on 22 November 2010.
- Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine™. Nintendo.
- (in Japanese) ソニックメガコレクション最強攻略ガイド. Shogakukan. 1 March 2003. p. 230. ISBN 978-4091060907.
- Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (Sega Genesis) United States instruction booklet, pg. 1.
- Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (Sega Genesis) United States instruction booklet, pg. 13.
- Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (Sega Genesis) United States instruction booklet, pg. 14.
- SEGA ARCADE GAME HISTORY - ぷよぷよ (Japanese). 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）] (Japanese). 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.
- Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine. GameRankings. Retrieved on 4 September 2016.
- Thomas, Aaron (9 January 2007). Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine Review. Gamespot. Retrieved on 4 September 2016.
- Thomas, Lucas M. (11 December 2006). Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine Review - The Genesis take on the classic puzzler, Puyo Puyo. IGN.
- "Game Review: Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine". Mega (16): 48-49. January 1994.
- McFerran, Damien (12 December 2006). Review: Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (MD). Nintendo Life.
- "Mega Drive Review: Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine". Sega Magazine (1). January 1994. Archived from the original. Retrieved on 9 February 2012.
- Mega (Maverick Magazines) (26): 74. 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.
- Wii re-release website at the official
- at The GHZ
- at MobyGames
- at GameFAQs