Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Touhou Review: TH 09.5 Shoot the Bullet

TH09.5 Shoot the Bullet

Haaaa... ZUN's creativity never ends. This release is not a fighting game but also not entirely your average shooting game. Instead, the player has to take photographs of the enemy danmaku. In this game, the player won't fight back by shooting, but by taking photo instead. The main character for this game is a tengu named Aya Shameimaru. She was introduced in the previous game. This game, she will be taking photographs of most bosses that are introduced in the touhou series prior to this game's release (TH06~TH09). 

As usual, the player will have to avoid hitting any bullets and will have to capture a certain amount of photos of the specific stage. The game feature up to 80 stages and extra 8 stages, with increasing difficulty when going through all the stages. The game has no difficulty setting however. Just assume that the game is fixed on a super hard difficulty because.... it is hard.
*Note: in every stage, the required photos are given, the more photos the player managed to capture, the stage will be even more difficult. Meaning that the final photo to capture will be the hardest mode of the stage.

The mechanics of the game is simple. The player will need to roll the film (it is an SLR camera) until the crosshair shows 100%. Then by pressing the fire button, Aya will immediately take the shot. Holding the fire button will allow Aya to focus the photo but holding too long will cause the photo to failed to be taken and the player will have to roll the camera again, losing time and get exposed to enemy bullet. During focusing mode, the time is slowed as well, reducing the chance of the Aya to be hit by a stray bullet in the capturing process. A successful photo is a photo that include the boss's sprite. More points are given if there are more density of the bullets in the photo and also the risks taken by the player. For example, being close to the boss or bullet, It is shown below.

A normal photo with regular bullet density (small photo on the bottom left of the screenshot) 

A photo with high bullet density allows higher score

Failure to capture the boss in a photo will shown as failed.

From the screenshots above, there are empty spaces right after the photo being shot right?  Every bullets that are taken in the photo will be removed. Use this as advantage to reposition yourself to a safer place for the next photo or also to escape from tight position because rolling the film takes time and also slows the movement of the player. However, grazing makes the rolling to be done much faster.

Here are the video of example stages. Some of them are just too hard for me. Some has survival period that require extreme focus and stamina. 

Among all touhou games on windows, if I were to include this game, this may be hardest ever since there is only single difficulty. For a casual touhou player, I don't think most people can clear this game. Only hardcore touhou or any other bullet hell player will be able to clear the game completely. In my opinion, some of the stages are too hard. Well... not all of them because some of the difficult spellcards have different way of exploiting its safespots and also use the focusing modes to capture extremely fast movements like the one in the video above. In the end, it also depend's on the player's talent to pinpoint the danmaku's loophole and use it the own advantage.

Here is the link to the game (Moriya Shrine)

That's all for touhou 9.5. Stay tuned for touhou 10 because starting there, it is the modern era of touhou. Bye

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