With the news of twelve new Dreamcast games over twelve months from Wave Game Studios we have the first title about to drop. Yeah Yeah Beebiss II is here and I have put it through it paces. Just to give a little context to this title, it is a sequel to a game that never was. Yeah Yeah Beebiss was a title mentioned in NES magazines way back when but failed to get a release. Step in YouTuber John Riggs who wanted to make his own game. Taking inspiration from the crazy story of the first non-game, John decided to make the sequel. He teamed up with Wave Game Studios to publish a physical Dreamcast release.
Yeah Yeah Beebiss II is currently up for pre-order on Wave Game Studios website as well as a few other online retailers. I suggest grabbing it fast if you want a copy as only 250 have been printed. With all that out of the way I am pleased to say that my initial impressions is that Yeah Yeah Beebiss II is a fine indie title. And to make things clear from the outset this is not a big-budget indie project, like Xenocrisis or Sturmwind. It is designed as the first in a range of budget titles from the publisher. So get the notion of the next Dreamcast blockbuster out of your head, this is a simple NES action game running on a Dreamcast NES emulator.
Yeah Yeah Beebiss II is a single screen game with ten unique levels that end with a boss fight. Once you complete the ten levels the game goes back to the start with slight changes to the graphics and difficulty. You play as one of Kyonshi Hui or Jiangshi Bo in the single player game. You can join up with a friend to play the game with two players, although I was not able to test the two player mode for this review beyond seeing it working. Both characters play the same but they have different graphics for their attack. One being a lighting bolt the other a magic wand.
Each level is timed with a set number of ghoulish nasties to destroy before the timer depletes. You will need to use the ladders that make up each level to get to the enemies that spawn randomly throughout the stages. There is never more than three enemies on screen at once although there is an evil eye that continuously hunts you down. The evil eye does not count towards the slaughter count but can be destroyed as well as damage you. Taking it down is not needed although at times you will end up whacking it to clear your path.
Being a NES game there are only two actions, jump and attack. The game uses the Dreamcast D-pad with no support for the analogue stick. I would have like to have seen this implemented but the game is running via an in-built NES emulator and is not an actual port designed specifically for the Dreamcast. You notice the emulator menus when you come to save the game. And this is where I found my first real fault with the game. Not a big issue but I could not get it to save on my 4x memory card and had use a regular one.
I also found the Yeah Yeah Beebiss II pause menu a little confusing at first. You need to pull both triggers to get access to the save menu and a few other options. I did, however, like the title screen and it has a real 8bit feel overall. And 8bit is the crucial phrase for me reviewing Yeah Yeah Beebiss II. It plays well for a NES game, a fine indie example. But it is not a Dreamcast game. This is aimed at indie collectors who understand the indie scene well. Not all games released for the Dreamcast will have the immediate polish we would expect, this looks, plays and feels like a NES game on a Dreamcast.
The gameplay itself is fun, I certainly enjoyed my time with it. The fact it is a single screen game makes for frantic play and there were many times when my timer run out just before making it to the last enemy. I loved the simple mechanics that meant you could see your progress as you improved. My first few goes ended quite quick but I was soon mopping up the rounds one after the other. The first few levels are easy and the difficulty ramps up for levels seven, eight and nine. I did need a few goes at each of them before progressing. There is a toughness that resonates with its 8bit roots.
I was disappointed with the boss level. It felt rushed and as though there was more to come but it didn’t. I will not spoil how to kill it but once worked out it becomes a bit of a non-event. But the boss is almost a bonus for getting through the first nine rounds that have a lot going on. I would have liked to have see more than the three enemy types on show. Maybe a few bats that came at different angles instead of being floor based. But overall the gameplay is fun, it works and provides just enough challenge to keep you playing.
The graphics were provided by Mega Cat Studios who are known for their work on indie games for retro consoles. If I was reviewing this as an actual Dreamcast game I would be saying the graphics are below par, but we must look at this as a NES title. The sprites are chunky and detailed with decent animation. The levels do what they can to stand out although several do have a similar layout and look. But the graphics are fine considering the source material.
My only issue was with collision detection. There were frustrating times when I knew I had hit the enemy but it simply avoided the attack. Or a few of the jumps can be a little too precise to perform accurately. Considering the fast nature of the gameplay I would have like to have seen a little leeway in regards to this. But the issues with collisions do not spoil the game. They were few and far between, and almost what you would expect from a NES game. The only other bug I encountered was when the music suddenly froze and I had to kill myself for it to reset.
On that note, the music has been provided courtesy of Chips ‘N Chellos who have done a remarkable job. The music is actually one of the stand out features of Yeah Yeah Beebiss II. Most of the music is remixed from classical ensembles but pumps along nicely and suits the fast paced gameplay perfectly. In an ideal world I would have like to have heard a few more chip tunes but what is here is excellent. The overall package makes up for a great game with good visuals and sound with simple yet fun gameplay.
Can I recommend Yeah Yeah Beebiss II to Dreamcast fans? Yes I can if you love the Dreamcast indie scene and also love collecting physical games. If you are more a passing fan of indie titles for retro consoles this may not be enough to satisfy you. But looked at purely as a budget title with a physical release it is another positive for those of us who savour every new Dreamcast title. Yeah Yeah Beebiss II may be short and is technically a NES game but it is a fine addition to the ever growing Dreamcast indie library.