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Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine: What Critics Said in 1994!
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on August 15, 2014   |   Episode 82 (Show Archive)  

   

Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine (Sega Genesis)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

Move over Russia, because Sega had the ultimate Tetris killer ... or so they thought. Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine was a more accessible version of Puyo Puyo, one of Sega's most popular puzzlers in Japan. But did critics fall in love with these falling beans, or did they prefer the simplicity of Tetris? We dig through old issues of GamePro, Die Hard Game Fan, Sega Magazine and Mega for the answers.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
[ Company: Sega | Console: Genesis ]

GAMEPRO (January 1994)
5 out of 5

"Despite a lot of similarities to Columns, Tetris, and other classic puzzlers, this game is no has-bean. The offensive strategy makes it especially fun when playing against a friend. Games of this kind seem few and far between for the Genesis, so fans of this genre should find Mean Bean Machine a match made in heaven." -Andromeda

DIE HARD GAME FAN (January 1994)
96% out of 100%

"Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine is freakin' awesome!!! We're talking an extremely addicting, fun to play and just generally beat the crud out of your opponent type of game. This cart gets your adrenaline going like never before, topping even the puzzle king Tetris. The graphics and music are great and once plugged in, there's no denying it, you must play. Mean Bean is a surprise hit that everyone should own." -Brody

SEGA MAGAZINE #1
91% out of 100%

"This has been the number one selling game in Japan for absolutely months, and it's pretty easy to see why. In the absence of any decent Megadrive Tetris clones since the deletion of the excellent Block Out this is a most welcome release. It's much more reflexes-orientated than Tetris as the action speeds up very rapidly and you really have to think fast. If you think you're quickest on the mental processes draw this is certainly one for you." -Julian Rignall

MEGA #16
90% out of 100%

"Before you ask, yes it IS the same Dr. Robotnik -- the round bloke to be found at the end of each level in those hedgehog-related platform games. The premise this time around doesn't involve any blue, spiky mammals, but it does involve yet another nefarious plan by the not-so-good doctor and, believe it or not, it's just as much fun as speeding along platforms collecting rings. No really!" -Andy Dyer

DIE HARD GAME FAN (January 1994)
88% out of 100%

"I'm not that big on Tetris style games, I have always preferred puzzle games that are more along the lines of Klax and Chip's Challenge. But Robotnic [sic] has changed that for me. It has an addictive quality that few puzzle games can match and a level of challenge and two player action that's second to none. During the Christmas season, it's easy to lose track of a game like this but, after you've played through your A/P's, sports and shooters, take a look at Robotnic [sic]." -Sgt. Gamer
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 92% - Of all Sonic's spin-offs, critics liked Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine the most. Hell, they even liked it more than the original Sonic the Hedgehog and only slightly less than Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Forget Knuckles' Chaotix and Sonic Spinball, Mean Bean Machine is the King of All Spin-Offs.

Don't take my word for it, because these critics agree. Die Hard Game Fan gushed that it was "freakin' awesome!!!" Sega Magazine concurred, saying that it was "pretty easy to see why" the game was such a huge hit in Japan. And even Mega couldn't stop raving about it, saying that it's "just as much fun as speeding along platforms collecting rings." I'm not sure if I would go that far, but agree that Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine is a great game.

With 88% being the lowest score, it's easy to understand why this Sega puzzler scored an impressive 92%. That makes it the second best reviewed Sonic game the Review Crew has tackled. I can't imagine we'll find a Sonic spin-off with better scores. I guess you'll just have to check back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to find out.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG ARCHIVE: Want to see how this Sonic the Hedgehog game stacks up against the rest? Below you will find every Sonic game currently in the Review Crew archive. Read the original reviews and see if you agree with the old school critics.

Sonic the Hedgehog 2
What Did Critics Say Back in 1993?
Sega Genesis 93%
Dr. Robotnik's Mean Bean Machine
What Did Critics Say Back in 1994?
Sega Genesis 92%
Sonic the Hedgehog
What Did Critics Say Back in 1991?
Sega Genesis 90%
Sonic CD
What Did Critics Say Back in 1994?
Sega Sega CD 87%
Sonic Spinball
What Did Critics Say Back in 1994?
Sega Genesis 76%
Knuckles' Chaotix
What Did Critics Say Back in 1995?
Sega 32X 67%

ON MONDAY'S EPISODE: With the brand new remake coming out this month, we wanted to take a trip back in time and see what critics thought of Shadowgate on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Did old school magazines fall in love with this creepy PC port, or was this slow-paced cart ahead of its time? Find out on Monday when Review Crew tackles Shadowgate. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!

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