Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
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From Sonic Retro
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Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine is a puzzle game which was modified from the Japanese puzzle game Puyo Puyo. Unlike other Sonic games this one place in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog universe and features cameos of many characters from the television show (mostly robots that appeared in the first episode).
Compared to other games in the Sonic series, there is no protagonist in Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine rather than Dr. Robotnik himself. Sonic is nowhere to be seen, and in his place is a character called Has Bean.
A lot of the music in Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine was reused, albeit remixed and/or resynthed, from the original Puyo Puyo music score created by Katsume Tanaka (such as Memories for the Password theme, and the Panic theme was a complete remix of the Satan theme). Unlike its SNES counterpart, in which the Panic music was kept the same, this version was kept as close to the original as possible. The sound effects however, though similar, were rather different.
With the storyline presented in the instruction manual, the game lacks any sort of actual hero, making this one of the darkest Sonic games ever released.
The game involved the placing of four same-colored beans adjacent to each other in order to get rid of them. Doing this at the same time is an opponent. Whoever fills their screen to the top with the beans loses so it is essential to clear as many beans as possible to keep the screen empty.
Although this is all you need to do to get anywhere in exercise mode, you'll usually need to drop "refugee beans" on your opponent by creating chain reactions. These beans are both annoying and helpful, as they can only be cleared when adjacent to another bean that is being removed, but they are very useful for making chain reactions.
In the game, a player must group 4 or more different coloured beans (or Puyos) together so that they erase, and send Refugee Beans (aka Garbage, and Ojyama) to the opponent. The more beans that link up, the more garbage is sent. Players may also activate step chains (aka Rensa) so that even more garbage is scored. The game is decided when the third column from the left is piled to the top. Each player plays on a 12 high by 6 wide grid, meaning that 72 beans can be seen on screen (including garbage). If garbage falls on the player's screen, they cannot be grouped like normal beans can (4 in a row will not erase), however, garbage is erased when a neighbouring group of beans erase next to them (for example, if a vertical line of 4 beans in column 2 forms adjacently next to a vertical line of 4 garbage beans in either column 1 or column 3, then that garbage disappears). However, one does not send additional garbage to the other player when they are erased with coloured beans.
In Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine, 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 coloured beans (the purple bean is omitted), however, all 5 are included with the other four difficulties. Also, if a player chooses Level's 4 or 5, they start with garbage. For Level 4, they start with 18 (3 rows of) garbage, and for Level 5, they start with 30 (5 rows of) garbage.
Exercise Mode (modernly known as Endless Puyo Puyo), 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 colours. 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 colour, it travels in a random direction, following downwards, changing all beans to that colour. 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.
The game was released in February of 1993 for North America markets, and quickly became available to Europe via import. It was not a commercial success upon its original release, but it steadily progressed to become a classic. The game was never released in Japan, though talks had been in progress. Compile declined the opportunity most likely because the game was too similar to the popular Puyo Puyo whose sequel (Puyo Puyo Tsu) was, at the time, already in development.
An 8-bit version was also released for the Sega Master System and the Game Gear in 1993. Like their Mega Drive counterpart, these versions are a clone of the original Puyo Puyo for the Game Gear (which was called Puzlow Kids, and was set for an international release). However, it contains an extra mode, known as Puzzle Mode. Puzzle Mode was the precursor to the internationalised version of Nazo Puyo, a game where the player must take steps to solve increasingly difficult puzzles. Compile later went on to create sole Nazo Puyo games, two of which featured exclusively on the SNES, whereas one featured exclusively on the Game Gear, until it was included on many of the games merchandise, including Puyo Puyo Tsu for Windows 95. It was also included in Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut and in Sonic Mega Collection Plus. However, the Mega Drive version of Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine first featured as part of Sonic Mega Collection for Nintendo GameCube.
Dr. Robotnik has hatched a plan to ensure that no music or fun remains on Mobius. To do this however, he kidnaps the citizens of Beanville and stuffs them into a giant robotising machine called the Mean Bean-Steaming Machine; (hence the name, Mean Bean Machine), so that they become his robot slaves. The player must now defeat each of the robot guards and finally Robotnik himself, to foil his evil plans.
Also Released On
Producers: Yoji Ishii, Noriyoshi Oba, Masamitsu Niitani
Sega of America, Inc.