Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine

The loosely Sonic related puzzler was released on the Mega Drive in Europe in 1993. It is essentially a modified version of Puyo Puyo from Compile, a company who for a time remained afloat just on the proceeds of Puyo Puyo in its various forms.

Prior to the Mega Drive versions Puyo Puyo was released on consoles such as MSX and Famicom Disk System but had little exposure. Sega did not have a version until 1991 on the C-2 arcade board and it was this version that really became visible to the masses gaining popularity.

The game was ported from the arcades to the Mega Drive and had its Japanese style changed to better suit Western players by replacing them with Sonic related characters. Later versions were ported to Sega's 8-Bit consoles.

Ultimately the Puyo Puyo concept is a style of game that has been released on just about every console that has graced the planet earth.


Beanville comes into the target of Dr Robotnik. His latest device transforms the cute inhabitants into robotic slaves.

Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine


Mean Bean one of your more basic puzzlers similar to the likes of Columns. At the top of the screen, coloured beans in pairs descend under the control of the D-pad. All buttons control the formation the beans are in; a press will rotate.

Both you and your rival will need to arrange the falling beans. The aim is to match up sets of four of the same colour. When linked they disappear from the board making beans stacked above fall. When a chain reaction occurs it will be worth big points. Beans appear in five colours green, red, yellow, purple and blue (which you need not worry about until mid game).

The first to have their bin filled looses. As your bin approaches full the music changes to inform you of your possible demise.

Refugees are used to thwart the skills of your opponent. These are transparent beans that are dropped in random locations to interfere with your rivals plans as you make links. The amount about to be dropped in is indicated at the top of the screen. A large chain reaction will send many across. They can not be removed in the traditional sense. They only way to remove them is to have them to be touching a cluster of coloured beans you remove.

The decent of the beans will speed up as you progress in the game but this is not a gradient it happens in more in bursts. Manually accelerating the descent by pressing DOWN on the D-Pad will earn you a few more points.

The main game, termed Scenario Mode, is the basic single player arcade mode. Your goal is to defeat the 13 characters pitched against you. These are characters take from DiC's "The Adventures of Sonic The Hedgehog" cartoon which was showing in the UK at the time of the games release. Each will throw some sort of comment at you before the match (which you can skip).

In later stages you need to arrange your beans as to cause chain reactions sending refugees into your opponents realm. After defeating an opponent some bonus points are given based on completion time and the password allowing for jumping (continue) to an opponent at a later time.

The challenge in the game is somewhat variable through the stages. Difficulty levels can be set via the games Options.

A 2-Player Vs mode is on hand to settle grudges and Exercise Mode which is a light version of the single player mode with no opponents where the object is to crank up a high score by staying alive as long as possible. When the situation becomes grim help may appear help may appear in one of 2 forms. Big Bean (Big Puyo) descends in a vertical line destroying 2 columns of beans. Beware that this can have the effect of messing up any potential chains you have built up. Has Bean will walk about randomly in your bin changing whatever beans he comes in contact with into a single colour.


Stage 01 Stage 02 Stage 03
Stage 04 Stage 05 Stage 06
Stage 07 Stage 08 Stage 09
Stage 10 Stage 11 Stage 12
Stage 13


Some very basic options for the game can be tweaked in the options menu.

Key Assignment - Reassign the button functions.

Vs. Com Level - Sets the difficulty for the game. Choices are Easy, Normal (default) , Hard and Hardest.

1P Vs. 2P Mode - Sets how many rounds needed to win a match. Choices are between 1 and 15!

Sampling - Toggle the vocal outbursts of the characters on or off.

Input Test - Test the functions of the controller (if you really want to)



The 8-Bit versions are essentially the same as their 16-Bit daddys. Graphics and animation have been scaled down and there is only one level of difficulty. All the opponents are the same and come in the same order.

There are some differences between these versions however.

The Master System version has some slight visual changes to take advantage of the larger screen area. It was only released in Latin America and Europe and is still the only Puyo game to appear on this console.

The Game Gear version has a Gear-to-Gear mode for Vs battles and also a puzzle mode not available on other versions. This is a 30 stage task-based game where you must complete objectives such as eliminate all red beans. The password system also covers this mode.

Other less apparent differences are known when playing the game in a foreign Game Gear. The title changes to "Puzlow Kids" which is somewhat odd since the game was never released in any region under that title.

The Game Gear version was later released under the Sega Mobile brand in 2003.

Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine 8-Bit Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine 8-Bit Dr Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine 8-Bit


After Compile became bankrupt in 2002 Sega became the owner of the series. Sonic Team created a version of the game for Nintendo Gamecube, Xbox and the Dreamcast (Japan only).

Puyo Pop Fever

Apart from the obvious graphical upgrades, the main change to the gameplay is the addition of the 'fever' element allows you to intensely counter attack your opponent when the fever gauge is full.



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