東方紅魔郷 ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil

Posted by meronpan on July 27, 2009

Looks like I’ve been a little less prolific in posting this month, but I guess that’s a good thing so as not to burn myself out ^^;   One big reason for the drop off in posts has been good ‘ol 東方 (touhou).  This obsession is niconico’s fault.  niconico -> U.N.オーエンは彼女なのか (U.N. Owen was her?) meme videos -> what’s that song from? -> omg there’s a billion touhou references everywhere -> guess I better play it.

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If you’re not familiar with it, touhou is a series of curtain fire shooters.  It started out on the PC-98 platform moving to Windows releases starting with the 6th game – 東方紅魔郷 (touhou koumakyou.  “the Embodiment of the Scarlet Devil” is the english subtitle of the game, not the tranlation of koumakyou).  There are short interludes in the stages in which the character you play converses with bosses/mid-bosses…

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… and somehow that along with the character art has been enough for many of the characters to develop large fan bases ^^;  I guess that’s the beauty of the otaku/doujin community.  Always filling in the gaps when left unsatisfied.

Each game seems to have somewhere around 6 or so stages, and each of these comes with at least one boss character, sometimes an additional mid-boss character.  The 12th game is soon to be released — and though some characters appear in later games, we’re still talking about a huuuuge number of ’em.

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Thanks to my previous trip, I am now the proud owner of 3 touhou games, we’ll see if I can even make it through one of them without using a continue ^^;  So far I’m just focused on beating the game with any number of continues so that I have access to the practice mode (you can’t practice a stage until it’s been completed).

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If you like shooters at all, you might want to give touhou a try.  If you’ve never played a danmaku game (shooters where the bullets fill the screen), they may appear intimidating but I think you might be surprised how quickly you adapt and improve.  Plus, it’s a part of otaku culture! :P

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The games are also really cheap!  I think I paid 1000 or 1500 yen for Embodiment of the Scarlet Devil and like 1500 to 2000 for the more recent releases.  Online stores usually mark up the prices by 500 yen or so, but still a helluva lot cheaper than a regular game.

If you’ve been following my twitter you may have noticed that sakuya‘s been giving me a hard time.  The mid-boss & boss of stage 4, she’s a knife wielding maid.


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Incidentally she can also manipulate time ^^;;

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Right now the best I can do is get up to the final boss.  I even got her down to her last life bar on my first attempt… alas haven’t done nearly as well since then.  If I can ever down her without using a continue I’ll  unlock the extra stage… in which I’ll finally be able to face the boss whose theme music got me started in the first place…


Can’t wait ^^

Oh, and speaking of EoSD someone recently made a great video set to double lariat.  I think I cried a little ^^;  I don’t mind spoilers for games like this and if you’re of like mind you may want to read up on the characters before watching.


23 Responses to “東方紅魔郷 ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil”

  1. Seinime said

    Bullet hell games are so hard…I can barely survive in the first few levels T_T. How good are you?

    • meronpan said

      i’m not very good myself ^^;; as far as eosd goes on normal i think my best is getting to about stage 4 without continuing, reimu B. only other bullet hell game i’ve played recently is exelica… again i think around stage 4 is the best i was able to manage without continues.

      i love how touhou has replays built in though – downloaded a replay of one of the world bests for normal difficulty – lots of the techniques he used were waaaay to insane (and point centric) for my skill level, but i was able to reproduce his sakuya mid-boss strategy successfully (floating above her for the first phase).

  2. The games aren’t quite hard. They take a lot of banging your head against brick walls in order to beat them.

    The last touhou game I played and beat was Touhou 7 Perfect Cherry Blossom. Took like 50+ tries to beat Yukarin’s Phantasia stage, but <3 Yukarin and <3 Necrophantasia theme. After that I was spent, I haven't touched another Touhou game with the exception of the fighters.

    • meronpan said

      hahah, the key is to enjoy the insanity ^^ it’s probably gonna be a at least a few more weeks before i unlock the extra stage. …and i kinda doubt i will ever be able to beat lunatic difficulty… but something about the spectacle draws me ^^;

      we’ll see if my interest holds enough to beat all of the games ^^;;

      yukarin looks vaguely familiar… i’m sure i must’ve seen her around niconico…

  3. kesenaitsumi89 said

    LOL.. Been playing all of them since last year! ^^ Good things you found this game.

  4. punynari said

    Still trying to beat this Touhou game with only 1 continue. Like you, I manage to get up to Sakuya with 1 continue but with Reimu A on normal. Thinking of switching to Reimu B to see if this helps.

    Also, with this game I am using a patch that allows you to see the hitbox on your character. It makes the game a little bit easier, especially if your just beginning. Think I got it on the shrinemaiden forums somewhere…

    • meronpan said

      i like reimu b because i can better control what she’s aiming at. also her focus fire gives nice concentrated dps on the bosses so i don’t have to survive as long ^^;

      hmmm seeing the hitbox would be nice… although i did play some mountain of faith which shows it when you focus… that and hours of playing have given me a pretty good idea where it is.

  5. You know, I’ve never played a touhou game even though I’m quite the fan of shmups. Esp vertical shmups! I own Radiant Silvergun FFS!!!
    yet I never jumped on the Touhou bandwagon, just never registered.

    • meronpan said

      i wish i had started touhou sooner. now i can enjoy 50% more of niconico ^^

      you should try it out!

      • Well, I gave Subterranian Animism (touhou 11) a try and it’s OK, save for one really annoying thing. Damn Keyboard controls!!!

        It’s just not sensitive enough, So I tend to overshoot the safe zones. Moving characters with my right hand is a bit weird too…
        But for now I tend to stick with Reimu guided type due to her ability to attact powerups by not pressing any buttons. very useful and a bit reminicient of Triggerheart exelica. And I went straight to hard. Interesting attack patterns there.

        • meronpan said

          yeah the controls were getting to me at first too. but then after watching some replays of the world record high score holders i figured it just meant i needed to change my technique, rather than that the game was unplayable. after deluding myself with that it hasn’t bothered me so much ^^;

          i totally need a power up attractor ability in eosd. i have to restart so many times because i get lazy on the first stage working to pick up the powerups and die stupidly (in eosd you can’t even use the auto attract by moving to the top of the screen until you’re at max power).

          at first hard was out of the question for me, but now that i’m familiar with the bosses i was able to get farther than i thought in hard. even so my goal remains a no-continue clear so that i can unlock the frikkin extra stage ^^;

  6. Rin said

    Touhou is extremely popular right now!!!
    I to do like it somewhat but damn is it hard.
    My favorite characters in Touhou is Remilia Scarlet and Yuyuko…

    • meronpan said

      gaaaa remilia! she kicks my ass. someday i’ll take her down! and on one continue!

      don’t have perfect cherry blossom yet so don’t know much about yuyuko, but hopefully that will change soon ^^

  7. T.I.P. said

    OMFG, shoot’em up games. It gets really frustrating at times, but it kills a lot of time. Haven’t tried any touhou games because I’ll get bored after a day or two.

  8. I have touhou 10 and that’s my last play, on Normal mode.
    can you end this one on Lunatic? ^^;

    • meronpan said

      10 is… mountain of faith? that was actually the first touhou game i bought while i was in japan (though i got eosd and subterranean animism before i left). being my first touhou, i think the furthest i got was stage 4, using tons of continues ^^;; might’ve been on normal, but was probably on easy ^^;; so no, i’m not even close to lunatic ^^;

      put that one on hold because my first goal is to fight the flandre and experience U.N Owen was her? in game ^^;

  9. nanu said

    I got into Touhou because of the musics, and some niconico remixes/medleys. But it’s difficult series to remotely master unless you have Japanese reflexes that haven’t atrophied :D EoSD is one of the tougher Touhous. I’ve only beaten TH8 on easy, probably the easiest game to 1cc (1 credit clear).

    • meronpan said

      it definitely is difficult, but that’s kinda what i like ^^; speaking of which, i 1cc’d normal eosd the other day! will be posting about that soon ^^

      i also love the music and there’s something infectious about the fan works. it’s just amazing how what was once a simple stage 2 boss is now good ‘ol ⑨. love her, poor baka thing ^^;;

  10. Persocom said

    *has UN Owen Was Her permanently stuck in his brain* Scarlet sisters are pure win. I actually got into Touhou from the music first, then the fighting game ones but I’ve tried several of them now, and I love the characters. I was Flandre/Remilia figures

    • meronpan said

      the fighting games looked interesting but for now i’m gonna stick to the main series. (don’t mind watching vids of them thou ^^) and i love getting to know all the characters. it’s like unlocking new characters on niconico… like i can appreciate 25% more of the videos now ^^;

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