You can configure Mint as much as you want, try this.
1. Right click on Mint Menu in bottom left corner and select 'Remove from Panel'
2. Right click on bottom panel and select 'Add to Panel', then select 'Main Menu'
3. Right click on bottom panel and select 'New Panel'
Now you should have a Gnome 2 panel layout with the standard Gnome menu, and you can add the applets into either panel.
Intel i7 3770 #! Crunchbang/Win 7 Pro. Toshiba Chromebook