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|This couldn't have been more true...|
Touhou as a main franchise has been simple, a vertical scrolling shooter, with some fighting game spinoffs in between. At it's core, Touhou has always been a side-scrolling shooter though.
When I said absolute madness, I wasn't joking. Remember when I said in my Vanquish review that you will get shot from all sides? Touhou is worse. Touhou is unforgiving. Literally every enemy will spray and shower bullets towards you, in all sorts of patterns imaginable. The emphasis on the game is more placed on dodging then actually shooting and killing everything. The fact is, you will never kill all the enemies on screen, it's impossible, the screen simply gets too filled with, Mind you!, beautiful patterns and all sorts of colors. It really is a marvel to look at these patterns and simply admire then.
|Dodging Bullets has never been so pretty and patterned.|
Touhou has been one of the keystones in the ''Danmaku'' type of vertical shooters, Danmaku literally meaning bullet hell. And truly, no better word could have been used to define this kind of game, as evidenced in my previous screenshot, which is actually considered easy mode. On to the gameplay, shall we?
Gameplay is quite simple, you have two character,. who both have two types of bullets to fire, whether it be homing bullets, or concentrated lasers, there is a nice variety between the two characters in speed and power, and type of bullets fired. Your shots can be powered up by grabbing red blocks which enemies drop, and your bullets fire gradually get stronger and stronger, unfortunately, there is a drawback, there is no healthbar. One hit, and your bullet strength gets SEVERELY weakened. And with this type of game, it is entirely plausible that you will get hit here and there...or a lot, depending on what type of player you are. Luckily, you are granted with three continues, and you get restored to full power when using such a continue.
Fortunately, also included is a ''Panic Button''. as I like to call it. The Panic button releases your character's ''Bomb'' which is essentially her magic spell which wipes out everything decently killable on screen while giving your score a nice little bonus. Bombs are scarce though, you get three per lives, and you can get extra by beating the mid-level bosses within a certain time.
Wait, Melancritic? This game has bosses? Yup, and mid-level bosses too! This is where the artistic patterns of the game truly shine, and in which you will try to frantically find yourself looking for an opening and sneaking a few hits in, there were a few instances where I got killed just by admiring all the colors and patterns!
Boss fights can take up quite some time, with multiple health bars, unleashing a flurry of bullets and beams and dodging almost everything and whatnot, it always feels like such a satisfaction when killing an cute little adorable loli...well...some might say that, others might grieve at such a thought.
While the game is quite fun, there are a few major drawbacks here. First is the difficulty. As a first time Touhou player, when playing on normal difficulty, don't expect to go further then Stage Three (Out of Six) with all continued used. The game requires practice to learn the hitboxes and patterns, and practice on top of that in general, those who do NOT want a nice challenge should steer away from this game.
Also lacking are the graphics, but I can forgive Touhou 6 on this point, since it's quite a old game (About 8 years) and mind you, this game was created by ONE guy, he did everything. The later Touhou series are graphically more appealing, so if you want a challenge AND pretty graphics, then get your butt over to the latest Touhou games. (Touhou 11 would be a recommendation here)
And don't expect a deep complicated story as well, the dialogue is cheesy and sometimes just plain weird as a result as of the bad translations floating around there. Touhou works best as a shooter, and if you want a nice little challenge along with an artsy game, then definitely consider playing this.
Touhou is quite a simple game, and a vertical-scrolling shooter at it's best. Those who are looking for a more difficult type of game should definitely try and pick up one of the games and give it a try, most if not all can be found in the glorious vault of the internet.
Touhou Project is available on the PC
(What games do YOU want to see reviewed? Let me know in the comments!)