Mean Machines


Publisher: Mentrix
Machine: Sega Genesis

Published in Mean Machines #10


After the kidnapping of a beautiful princess, someone has to get her back, and slay the evil wizard responsible for the deed! This can mean only one man - the eponymous hero, Wardner, who swears to fight through the Wizard's evil troops and rescue the poor princess.

Wardner is a cute platform game, with our lad jumping and shooting his way across each level. Killing foes reveals money, and strategically placed power-ups give Wardner extra zapping ability.

The obligatory end-of-level guardians take their bows, ranging from the dragon on level one to the necromancer on the final stage. Wardner needs special tactics to defeat each monster and cannot rely on fire-power alone. There are plenty of surprises - the guardian on level two looks like the princess until it transmutes into a ferocious spider with a woman's head.


Between levels there's a shop which gives Wardner the opportunity to buy improved weapons, extra fairies or added time. Careful shopping is a must - but remember that all goods are non-returnable.

Warpons Of War-dner

There are four different weapons available to our hero during a game, here's a quick introduction to each. The icon is very important. It powers jup Wardner's weaponry, and this level of power is kept even if he changes weapons!

1. Droopy Balls These are thrown quite a long distance and then fall earthwards in an arc.


2. Straight Balls A lot like the droopy balls, apart from the fact that they aren't affected by gravity.

3. Bendy Balls These balls fire in massive curves, taking out targets perched on high platforms.

4. Big Balls The most powerful balls kept in Wardner's pockets and very effective when they're whipped out against the baddies.

Nasty Surprises


Things aren't quite what they seem in Wardner, and it's definitely not just a case of moving right across the scrolling landscape and firing blindly. For example on the first level tiny gun turrets, difficult to spot, open fire on the hero as soon as he climbs a rope.

Later on he is attacked by giant flies who materialise once our man reaches the top of a stone ziggurat! Other surprises include indestructible eggs, whirling buzzsaws, and moving walkways!

Meet The Beasts

Wardner fights a weird array of monsters as he travels through the game. These include Egyptian heads, fire spirits and spiked wheels. On later levels expect to fight flying eggs, headless zombies, walking cannons and even a giant spider with a human head!


Each monster requires special tactics to defeat, so experimentation is the key. Some beasts can only be killed with certain weapons so collect everything in sight! Look out for those creatures that can't be killed at all like the fireballs, flying eggs and spiked wheels!

Ye Olde Shoppe

Occasionally, Wardner visits the shop, where he can top up on new weapons and special items. The only downside is that it all costs money!

Money is found in many shapes and forms (well, two to be precise). Chests can be opened to yield their monetary load, and blasting meanies provides many money bags to add to your collection.


Cloak: This protects Wardner from enemy hits.

Sewing Needle: Repairs Wardner's cloak, so it can take even more hits!

Clock: If the timer runs out, this useful little item automatically kicks in and adds thirty more seconds to the clock.



Although it features graphics that are a little fuzzy in places, this conversion of the mega-addictive Warner coin-op is superb. It's got some of the best tunes yet heard on the Megadrive, more levels and new challenegs that weren't even in the original coin-op, and very challenging and highly addictive gameplay... as long as you don't use its pile of continues!

As with a lot of Megadrive games, there are far too many continues, and they allow you to finish the game very quickly. If you want to get full value ofr money out of the game play one creait at a time, and you'll find it takes plenty of platform skills and good relfexes to get all the way through the game and get a decent high score. And as long as you remember that, I thoroughly recommend it.


While Wardner mightn't be as graphically impressive as games like Mickey Mouse and Sonic The Hedgehog, it's certainly got the staying power to keep you challenged long after you've finished the others.


There's plenty of platform action on offer, and the funky sound keeps you trapping your toes as you battle all manner of beasties. Although Wardner isn't a big-name coin-op, it's well worth looking up - platform fans will love it.


Presentation 79%
The story is told in great detail, but unfortunately unless you read Japanese it means nothing.

Graphics 75%
The sprites and backgrounds are slightly fuzzy in places, but are nevertheless similar to their arcade counterparts.


Sound 85%
Brilliant tunes and electrifying effects make this an aural delight!

Playability 83%
Wardner's a tricky game, and there are plenty of nasty surprises to catch out unwary players.

Lastability 81%
Don't use all the continues and you've got a challenge that'll keep you going for quite some time.

Overall 84%
A thoroughly enjoyable coin-op conversion which features great sound and oodles of playability. Highly recommended to platform fans.