Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine

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Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
Sonic Mean Bean Machine.jpg
Cover art of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
Developer(s) Compile
Publisher(s) Sega
Director(s) Tetsuo Shinyu
Takayuki Yanagihori
Masanobu Tsukamoto
Producer(s) Yoji Ishii
Noriyoshi Oba
Masamitsu Niitani
Max Taylor
Programmer(s) Manabu Ishihara
Tsukasa Aoki
Composer(s) Masanori Hikichi
Masayuki Nagao
Series Sonic the Hedgehog
Engine Puyo Puyo
Platform(s) Sega Genesis, Game Gear, Master System
Release date(s) Sega Genesis
  • NA: November 26, 1993
  • EU: November 1993
Game Gear
  • NA: December 1993
  • EU: January 1994
Master System
  • EU: July 26, 1994
Genre(s) Falling block puzzle
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, alternatively known as Dr. Robotnik and His Mean Bean Machine in Europe, is a puzzle game developed by Compile and released by Sega for the Sega Genesis, Sega Game Gear and Sega Master System. It is the Western release of Puyo Puyo and the first Puyo Puyo game to be released in the West.

The game replaces Puyo Puyo's characters with characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, being primarily based on the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog animated series rather than taking place on the main games' universe. It is also one of a few titles in the Sonic the Hedgehog series to not feature Sonic himself. The game was released in North America on November 26, 1993 and in Europe in January 1994, with the Sega Master System version released in Europe in July 1994. The game received generally positive reviews, with critics praising the addictive gameplay and different modes, while criticizing the quickly increasing difficulty.


Dr. Robotnik has hatched a plan to ensure that no fun or music remains on Mobius. To do this, he kidnaps the jolly citizens of Beanville and stuffs them into a giant roboticizing machine called the Mean Bean-Steaming Machine to turn them into devious little robot-slaves. Across Beanville, Beans disappear and are sent to the Mean Bean Machine. The player sets off on a daring adventure to defeat Robotnik's minions and stop Robotnik. The game ends after a face-off with Robotnik, in which the Mean Bean Machine is destroyed and the Beans are freed.


in-game screenshot of the last level of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine.

The game is played with two opponents, each controlling one of two grids. Beans fall from the top in groups of two, coming in various colors and one pair falling each "turn". The player must attempt to arrange the beans into groups of at least four beans all of the same color; should they do this, the beans in the group will disappear.

Players must also contend with clear, or 'refugee' beans which are deposited in the player's grid by their opponent removing larger chains of beans. If a player is able to cause a chain reaction by removing one set of beans, and hence causing another set to group and disappear, and so on, the resultant number of refugees deposited will be far higher. Refugee beans cannot be removed by being arranged into groups of four; the only way to remove them is to remove normal beans adjacent to the refugee. A player can attempt to send refugees to their opponent in order to frustrate their attempts to remove beans. The player whose screen fills up with beans first loses.

The game has three main modes. Scenario Mode has the player going through thirteen levels facing against Robotnik's badniks (which include Scratch, Grounder, Coconuts, and various badniks from the first episode of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog) before facing off against Robotnik himself. As the game is played, Robotnik's henchmen become increasingly skilled and beans begin to fall faster, making it more difficult to arrange them into desirable configurations. Upon the completion of a level, the game gives the player a password enabling them to start from that point in the game next time they play. Exercise Mode allows the player to play without a CPU opponent, with gameplay going faster as the game goes on. Another player may join in at any time. 1P vs 2P Mode allows two players to compete against each other. The Game Gear version of the game also features Puzzle Mode, in which players must use a limited supply of beans to clear a screen.


Composed by Masanori Hikichi and Masayuki Nagao, with an additional track by David Javelosa, the music used in the Mega Drive version of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine is an assortment of remixes from the original Puyo Puyo game as well as original material. There are also few unused tracks originally from Mega Drive port of Puyo Puyo game, that can be found in the game's code.


The game was released on November 26, 1993 for North American markets. The game was never released as a standalone game in Japan, only appearing in the country as part of compilations.

An 8-bit version was also released for the Sega Game Gear in the same year and the Sega Master System in the followng year, which featured similar game play, but also included a "Puzzle Mode", in which the player must clear a series of flashing beans amidst a large pile.

The game was re-released in Sonic Compilation for the Genesis/Mega Drive, Sonic Mega Collection for the Nintendo GameCube in 2002, Sonic Mega Collection Plus for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in 2004; which also contains the Game Gear version, and Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection (also known as Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection in North America) for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2009. In 2006, Sega released the game on the Wii's Virtual Console.[1] In 2010, it was released on Microsoft Windows via Steam.[2]


Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 75% (Genesis)[3]
Review scores
Publication Score
EGM 7.5/10[3]
GameSpot 6.3/10[4]
IGN 7.5/10 (Wii)[5]
Nintendo Life 6/10 (Genesis)[6]
7/10 (Game Gear)[7]
Nintendo World Report 8/10 (Game Gear)[8]
Mega 90%[9]
Sega-16 7/10[10]
Publication Award
Mega 9th best game of all time[11]

Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine received generally positive reviews, with review aggregator site GameRankings giving the game an 75%.[3] Lucas M. Thomas of IGN while given the score 7.5 out of 10, states "the differences between it [Kirby's Avalanche] and Dr. Robotnik's Genesis edition aren't major or important enough that fans should skip this".[5] Neal Ronaghan of Nintendo World Report gave the Game Gear version's re-release 8 out of 10, praising the puzzle gameplay, but stating that the game can be difficult to play in original resolution.[8] Mega gaming magazine has given 90% for the Genesis version of the game, while calling it as "devilish addictive game which even haters of all things Sonic-related will love".[9]

Few criticisms of the game comes from the highly increasing difficulty. Aaron Thomas of GameSpot states the game mechanics being "easy enough, but you'll need to work quickly and put together combos if you're to beat the CPU, because just two levels in, the game gets quite difficult."[4]


  1. ^ Parish, Jeremy (2006-10-31). "Wii Virtual Console Lineup Unveiled". 1UP.com. Retrieved 2006-11-01. 
  2. ^ "Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine™ on Steam". Retrieved 2013-11-24. 
  3. ^ a b c "Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine reviews at". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. 1993. 
  4. ^ a b Thomas, Aaron (9 January 2007). "Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine Review". GameSpot. 
  5. ^ a b Thomas, Lucas M. (11 December 2006). "Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine Review - The Genesis take on the classic puzzler, Puyo Puyo". IGN. 
  6. ^ McFerran, Damien (12 December 2006). "Review: Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (MD)". Nintendolife. 
  7. ^ DelVillano, Ron (18 January 2013). "Review: Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (3DS eShop / Game Gear)". Nintendolife. 
  8. ^ a b Ronaghan, Neal (18 June 2013). "Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine". Nintendo World Report. 
  9. ^ a b "Game Review: Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine". Mega (16): 48–49. January 1994. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  10. ^ Peeples, Jeremy (27 June 2004). "Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine". Sega-16. 
  11. ^ Mega magazine issue 26, page 74, Maverick Magazines, November 1994

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