Gaming MediaWant to showcase yourself playing a game? Want to write a guide on how to beat the hardest levels of a game? Or maybe you want to give your review of a game you have? If so, this is the place for you!
Touhou is a series of doujin (essentially the Japanese equivalent of indie) games that are mostly bullet hells made almost 100% by one guy. If you wanted to be a tryhard about it you’d end up encountering something like this
Too much? Well rest assured we aren’t exactly doing that crap. The perception of Touhou’s difficulty is mixed: in the shmup (shoot ‘em up) community, Touhou is seen as “casual” and “a cakewalk” compared to some other games out there, which is actually true. It’s a bunch of bullets at your face with very small hitboxes. The games are very popular in the otaku circles in Japan. It has the literal definition of a cult following (and thus it has one in the west too), but even with that the games are a lot of fun.
There are fourteen main games as well as multiple spin-offs (four of them being tournament fighters.) The first five were made for the now defunct PC-98 series of Japanese computers. It was a dying system when the games were released which causes their obscurity. Six and onward were made for Windows.
So what is the plot?
Basically the games take place in the world of Gensokyo (Land of Illusions), a region of Japan that was sealed off from the rest of the world in 1885 A.D. It has a large population of Youkai (Japanese mystical creatures), as well as humans. Due to the time it was sealed off, its culture is similar to that of feudal Japan, though outsiders sometimes find a way to squeeze in.
Located on the border is the Hakurei shrine. A small run-down Shinto shrine that lies in the mountains. It’s unique in the fact that it can be accessed from both sides of the border. The only resident of the shrine is Reimu Hakurei, the shrine maiden (and main protagonist) who makes it her job to investigate any strange occurrences happening in Gensokyo.
A lot of Gensokyo’s inhabitants are easy-going, but others are some of the cheapest bastards ever.
Why is this so popular?
First off, they’re fun. It may seem like a love it or hate it kind of gig, but don’t knock it ‘til you try it. Second is the overall aesthetic. As noted prior, the main games are made entirely by one guy who goes by ZUN. Literally entirely made by him: programming, music, art, everything. They turn out pretty good too (with the exception of the art, but at least that has some sort of charm to it.) Plus, while the characters and plots, while not particularly deep, are still pretty neat. Surprisingly, Gensokyo has a lot of development put into it (for what it is, at least), and has a good amount of charm.
…Oh, and the music. It’s just outstanding. It’s to the point that there’s a 1.3 Terabyte (and increasing) torrent floating around of fan-made, lossless music. Almost every genre has been done. Metal and electronic tend to be big ones though...so is eurobeat.
There are also gigantic piles of fan-made art, anime, silly videos (which propelled the games’ publicity immensely), manga, t-shirts and games just to name a few.
Why is almost every character a girl?
Well why not? Back when ZUN was making the game, most shmups consisted of space ships and giant things in the name of manliness. ZUN figured “well, no one’s really made a game with a shrine maiden protagonist, nor a ridiculous shooting game where the cast is dominantly female, so why not?!” and it stuck. There are only a few male characters within the actual cast: some are one-off mentions, one’s a turtle, one’s an old man cloud (yes. I’m serious.) Another’s a giant catfish, and then there’s Rinnosuke, who doesn’t appear in a game (but in a canon series of side stories.)
So how’s this Let’s Play going?
I’m going to be going through games six through eight, as well as a bonus when I finish (with my attempted androgynous voice being a guide for each ), so somewhat three (or four) LPs for the price of one. I’ve decided on these three because they seem to be the ones people are most consistently introduced to the series with. If I decide I want to return to playing through the games, I may do one through five in the distant future.
Updates will be by stage, and will be done on normal (I suck.) I’ll be using five lives instead of the usual three (spoiler alert: I don’t waste enough to justify doing it) in order to get through the game without continuing. I will be doing mostly one character with live commentary, but I might also be doing other characters in a video with no commentary and totally uncut. (I can do this for six, as well as seven, but with eight I’ll have to see what I can do.) Also if I sound like a nervous trainwreck it's because of personal reasons and the fact I haven't done a Let's Play in over two years.
Embodiment of Scarlet Devil Update 1: Backstory, and the Protagonists
Touhou 6 ~ 東方紅魔郷 ~ The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil
(Romanised as Touhou Komakyou, meaning Eastern Lands of the Scarlet Devil.) Wiki Page
This game is Curtain Fire Shooting Game
Girls do their best now and are preparing. Please watch warmly until it ready.
The border land was wrapped in Scarlet Magic. Girls believe that you solve this mystery...
Pros: Puny hitbox, generally a safer bet.
Cons: Shots are weaker on average, she’s kinda slow.
Shrine maiden of the Hakurei Shrine, and protagonist of the Touhou series. She appears quite carefree on the outside, and indeed deep down, she really is carefree. She lives in her shrine and is rarely visited by anyone, which causes her to be out of touch with current social norms. Even though she only extinguished certain sparks of conflict because they seemed to befall her without warning, her actions have generally resulted in preventing the residents of Gensokyo from visiting human settlements, and keeping outsiders away from wandering into Gensokyo.
Charms and the yin-yang orb are her weapons. Additionally, she has the ability to fly in the air.
Abilities: Flying in the air, manipulating auras
Chronologically, this title is not too far from the previous title, thus her age stays the same as before.
Unintentionally, she is a shrine maiden. Or rather, she is a shrine maiden only because the Touhou series has become the "Shrine Maiden Shooting Game" series. It feels like the cart has been placed before the horse to me.
This time, her outfit is not overly intricate like typical shrine maiden clothing, but has become quite simple and only remotely resembles that of a shrine maiden. Is she really a shrine maiden?
She's more like "You, red-white!" in my opinion.
Shot Types Type A:
Spirit Spell Card
Excellent against swarms of weak enemies, but less effective against bosses. Shot: Homing Amulet Bomb: Fantasy Seal
Dream Spell Card
A good balance in damage and area covered, but the bomb is fairly weak. Shot: Persuasion Needle Bomb: Evil-Sealing Circle
Pros: Very fast, essentially raw power.
Cons: Her range is pretty bad.
Abiding by the fate of a magician, Marisa isolates herself from other people. Although she possesses sharp wisdom, she normally doesn't use it to her benefit. As a being that humanity has left behind, she doesn't get involved with them. She's just satisfied being able to do whatever she wants. Among all, Reimu is her favorite thing (?), so she frequently visits the red shrine maiden to play.
Her weapon is magic. She leads a self-indulgent life full of playing.
Ability: Ability to use magic
This girl is also one of the protagonists. These two (Marisa and Reimu) are the heroines of the Touhou series.
Marisa has a very uncooperative personality, and she really has a pretty bad personality. Although she's human, she remains distant from other humans. It's questionable as to whether she really is human, but she is.
This time, she's wearing something resembling an apron, so it's hard to tell if she's a magician or what.
Shot Types Type A:
Magic Spell Card
Excellent against bosses, but only covers a small area of the screen.
Shot: Magic Missile
Bomb: Stardust Reverie
Love Spell Card
A little lacking in both damage and coverage, but the bomb is very strong.
Shot: Illusion Laser
Bomb: Master Spark
Embodiment of Scarlet Devil is the first in the series of Windows games. Supposedly, they do not have anything in common with the PC-98 series, but do share a few characters (like, four.) This was pretty much the building block that set Touhou on the road to become what it is now.
We get to play as two different characters. Reimu, Gensokyo’s passive-aggressive religious authority and bringer of justice, as well as Marisa, the oddball magician and constant looter. I will be doing a commentated run with Reimu (in fact, it's already recorded.) However, if I am interested by the end I’ll be doing a non-commentated run with Marisa too! We’ll just have to see.
Stage 1 theme.
The image of a midnight forest. As it's the first stage, I aimed for something a little energetic, so hopefully people would get into it.
But isn't it something a little more comical and hectic?
Rumia's Theme: Apparitions Stalk the Night
Not just this, but all the music this time is meant to be light.
This comes from an image of youkai in night
...or, at least, I hope so (^^;
It's fairly relaxed and a little silly.
Youkai of the Dusk
Rumia Ability: Manipulating darkness
Stage 1 boss. A youkai.
She is of no importance to the story, and isn't up to anything in particular in her life. The ribbon tied to her hair is actually a charm; she can't touch it even though there have been times when she wanted to take it off.
There is no evidence of her ability in the game, but in truth, places around her are always as dark as night.
And yes. I know Cirno is called an idiot in the manual. My point was that fanon inflated it to the highest degree.
Stage 2 Theme:Lunate Elf
Stage 2 theme.
I thought of water and mist, and mixed an omen or two.
In many ways, it resembles the feel of older titles.
I don't really know why there's a Stage 2 anyway (^^;
Cirno's Theme:Beloved Tomboyish Girl
I actually did think of a dim-witted girl for this.
However, I don't know if what came out can be considered bright or dark. The tempo is pretty fast, but...
Well, it's stage 2. (ha)
Ice Fairy of the Lake
Cirno Ability: Manipulating cold
Stage 2 boss. A girl of snow.
Her intellect is not very developed. She's just a child. To Reimu and Marisa, she's nothing more than a plain idiot.
She likes playing tricks and often toys with frogs. She freezes them instantly, then watches them revive as they thaw in the water. She tends to fail one out of every 3 attempts, however, and the poor amphibian shatters to pieces.
Cirno's popularity is one that was fueled by almost fanon alone (initially.) I can't not find any PVs that do not involve baka or ⑨ in any way (well I can but they're by the few.)
As antsy as I'm getting with this, I'm going to try slowing updates to once a day. I'm not a fan of the huge gap it'd cause otherwise (I need a day when I can get it to record PCB and hopefully Marisa's story for EoSD.)
Stage 3 Theme:Shanhai Teahouse ~ Chinese Tea
Stage 3 theme.
I intended to make it more Chinese, but it didn't quite work out. (;
However it's still Oriental, because I knew it would be hard to put Oriental songs past stage 4 (;
It's more New Age rather than Fusion, I guess?
Hong Meiling's Theme:Shanghai Alice of Meiji 17
Hong Meiling's theme.
A hint of Europe, mixed with game music. (a 2:8 ratio)
It's strange that it's not more Chinese, but that's because it's composed with the image of the French settlement in Shanghai in mind.
But, Meiling looks like she's not human. Then what is she... (eh)
Hong Meiling Ability: Usage of Qi
Stage 3 boss. A Chinese-looking youkai.
Her clothing is colorful and somewhat traditional. She is the gatekeeper of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, and prevents intruders from beyond the lake from reaching the mansion. She is by no means a special character, but she is the first character that has something to do with the main story. Even if that something happens to be merely mentioning the Mistress.
Second half of the playthrough starts. We in there.
Stage 4 Theme:Voile, the Magic Library
Stage 4 theme.
From here, the game moves indoors, so it's composed with indoor atmospheres in mind. Its tone shifts to something more ominous halfway through the song, where you would normally meet the mid-stage boss.
Other than that, there's nothing special about this theme, but really, it's not a shooting game piece :)
Patchouli Knowledge's Theme:Locked Girl ~ The Girl's Secret Room
Patchouli Knowledge's theme.
Again with this sick feeling...
It's a dark song, without any light or bright moments, despite its quite fast-paced nature.
It could stand to be a little less heavy, as listening to this piece could drag someone down :)
The Girl of Knowledge and Shadow
Patchouli Knowledge Ability: Manipulating fire, water, wood, metal, earth, sun, and moon
The 4th stage boss. She is the friend of the young mistress and is a witch who has lived for 100 years. The "One-week Girl".
Her weak constitution makes her poor at physical combat, but she makes up for for that with her sheer variety of magical attacks. Patchouli's ribbon is not a holy charm, but rather an accessory that boosts magic power.
Since she's a genuine witch, her magical power is terrifying. However, because of the asthma she was born with, she often cannot recite the spells. She also seems to have a vitamin A deficiency.
Maybe her windowless library room is dusty. No, obviously, it's very dusty. But, since she spends all her time near books she considers them a part of herself, and cannot stand to be separated from them. This is how she has spent about a hundred years.
Stage 5 Theme:The Maid and the Pocket Watch of Blood
Stage 5 theme.
A very mysterious song. Its unusual beat toys with your sense of speed, sometimes seeming to go faster.
I was trying for a rock piece, but as I don't listen to rock much, it's quite possible that I have no idea what I'm doing (^^;
Sakuya Izayoi's Theme:Lunar
Clock ~ Luna Dial
Sakuya Izayoi's theme.
You can't have a maid without hard rock (j/k)
It's quite driving, fitting for the second-to-last stage.
...Guess I still don't know much about rock (^^;
Let's just say it's poetic rock, done my way.
Maid of the Scarlet Devil Mansion
Sakuya Izayoi Ability: Time manipulation
5th stage boss. Plays the role of a human maid about 10 to 20 years old.
That power of hers distances her from the human race. She has given up trying to be friendly to ordinary people.
She does not care about honor or power; she thinks so long as it earns her dinner, being the Scarlet Devil Mansion's maid is fine.
She is the chief of the Scarlet Devil Mansion's maids and cleaning staff, and always takes advantage of her ability to stop time when working.
(If she cleans when time is stopped, it won't raise dust.)
Due to the nature of the mistress of the house, it is arguable whether she serves the role of maid or babysitter, but in any case, she is in charge of most of the affairs of the household.
I have decided I would spoiler tag the ending for those who want to see it. I will not be doing the Extra Stage. I will post a gameplay video of it that isn't mine and give the generic details and such. Other than that, wait warmly for Perfect Cherry Blossom until it is ready.
Stage 6 Theme:The Young Descendant of Tepes
Final stage theme.
The final stage themes have always been loaded, so I made it upbeat this time. As the final stage itself is quite short, I made this piece not as assertive.
Remilia Scarlet's Theme:Septette for the Dead Princess
Remilia Scarlet's theme.
With this, I tried for a "This is the end!" feeling.
I didn't want it to be regal or ominous, which is normal for a final stage, so I made it Jazz-Fusion based with a hint of loli... wait, that's not any different than normal.
Its melody is easy for even me to get, so I like this song.
Staff Roll Theme:Crimson Tower ~ Eastern Dream...
Staff Roll theme.
The staff roll has always been dark and desperate, so I made it a bit more happy and hopeful this time. I think.
As the staff list is always short, I couldn't write a long piece.
I could have made it more magnificent, but it ended up a little dry. That was not my intention (heh)
Eternally Young Scarlet Moon
Remilia Scarlet Ability: Manipulation of fate
The final boss. She's been the mistress for about 500 years.
She doesn't clarify this herself during the game, but she is a vampire. She blanketed Gensokyo with a magic mist in order to prevent sunlight from reaching her. Although she has been alive for 500 years, her personality is that of a selfish child.
She is respected by most youkai, but her charisma doesn't stem from her personality; rather, it comes from the fear that they have for her kind. She has one younger sister; nothing else is known about her family.
She is a light eater. In other words, she can drink only a little blood at a time and must leave the rest behind, so the humans off of whom she feeds become a bit anemic, but usually stay alive. Due to that fact, she is never able to increase the number of her kind.
She often spills more blood than she consumes. The spilled blood dyes her dress a deep scarlet, which is what gives rise to her title, the "Scarlet Devil".
She swears that she is a descendant of Tepes, but nobody is certain whether she is truly related to the Vlad "Dracula" Tepes.
Well, let it be known that she is not.
Music:An Eternity that Is More Transient than Scarlet
As you can guess from its name, this is an arranged version of the title theme. So it's also in a Japanese style.
Well, not that there's anything wrong with that.
Extra Stage Theme: The Centennial Festival for Magical Girls
Extra stage theme.
Sometimes it's Chinese, sometimes it's New Age. Why?
This is what happens after messing with my keyboard.
It's like an accumulation of my laziness. If you listen closely, there are many strange rhythms in this song. In other words, my toy-box.
Flandre Scarlet's Theme: U.N. Owen Was Her?
Flandre Scarlet's theme.
I liked this one the best out of the whole game. It depicts a devilish girl in an Oriental and mysterious way.
Loli-tastic melodies like this are what I'm best at, so I had a lot of fun composing this.
Sister of the Devil
Flandre Scarlet Ability: Destroying absolutely anything
The Extra Boss. Also the Mistress's younger sister.
She is a vampiric magical girl and has been the Scarlet Devil's younger sister for about 495 years. She's kind of nuts so she isn't usually taken out of the mansion. She also doesn't try going out.
She really respects her older sister Remilia, but her raw destructive power far exceeds that of her sister's. Although she is usually docile, her insanity makes it difficult for others to understand her.
When vampires attack humans, they generally try to take their prey alive so that they can suck its blood afterward, but Flandre has always been fed with cooked dishes, so she doesn't know how to properly attack a human. Whenever she tries to attack a human, she can't control herself and blows them away without leaving a spot of blood.
Perhaps she can't tell that her daily meals are made from living humans. Her meals look like such harmless foodstuffs as cake and tea, after all...
There was actually supposed to be a third playable character for Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, named Rin Hatsuki. However, she was cut due to time constraints. She has never been used, nor mentioned in a game again. The only portait of her ever known to exist (or at least widely accepted as such) was on Team Shanghai Alice's circle cut in the Comiket when EoSD released:
Some objects in the game data point that she was planned to be playable. In the game's hex code, her name (in Kanji) is found right next to Reimu's and Marisa's names. There were also two discovered attack types: Flower Sign, and Wind Sign. It is unknown as to if she will see the light of day in a game at all.
Well that's it for my end to EoSD. There was such a time gap because of time constraints as well as higher priorities. Perfect Cherry Blossom has already been recorded, I just need to lay down the commentary.