Undefined Fantastic Object
～ Undefined Fantastic Object
|Developer(s)||Team Shanghai Alice|
|Publisher(s)||Team Shanghai Alice|
|Release date(s)||August 15, 2009 (Comiket 76)
September 11, 2009 (Retail)
Touhou Seirensen ~ Undefined Fantastic Object (東方星蓮船 ～ Undefined Fantastic Object lit. "Star-Lotus Ship of the East"?) is the twelfth main game of the Touhou Project scrolling shooter series. Made by the dōjin game maker Team Shanghai Alice. The full version of the game was released in the 76th Comiket on August 15, 2009 following the retail release on September 11, 2009.
Undefined Fantastic Object features three playable characters (Reimu, Marisa and Sanae), each with two weapon types. However, unlike Mountain of Faith and Subterranean Animism, the spell card (bombing) system from the older games (such as Perfect Cherry Blossom and Imperishable Night) has been reintroduced. Point value penalties for dying have also been removed. There are 4 levels of difficulty: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Lunatic. Each difficulty level features differences in the number of bullets fired by each enemy, rate of fire, variations in the bullets' pattern of movement, and the number and type of enemy Spell Cards used.
The starting point values are as follows:
- 5000 (Easy)
- 10000 (Normal)
- 15000 (Hard)
- 20000 (Lunatic/Extra)
A character's "shot" is the player's primary method of attacking enemies. The shot's attack area and behavior varies depending on the character and attack type the player has chosen.
Point of Collection
Like previous Touhou games, there is a line most of the way up the screen called the point of collection. If you move your character at or above this line, all items on the screen will be drawn to your character. Unlike previous games, you don't need to have full power or focus to use the POC - it's always available.
Grazing is the act of positioning the character's hitbox close to the bullets, without getting hit. Similar to older games, it is one of the most effective ways to rake in high scores if done accurately and effectively.
For every 10 bullets grazed, the point item value increases by 10 points. Grazing also works during invincibility periods, such as resurrection or bombing, unless the bullets have been destroyed. While grazing in the short term is minimal, it can boost point item totals by a large scale. Being able to calculate remaining point items in the entire game ahead of time is a rare mathematical feat, but helps to determine whether or not it is worth grazing in certain situations.
Undefined Fantastic Object re-introduces bombs with distinctive visual styles that differ between characters, and even between shot types for the same character. A character's "bomb" is the player's limited-use method of getting out of difficult situations. A bomb's attack area, duration, and power varies depending on the character type and attack type the player has chosen, but it typically deals heavy damage to every enemy it touches, in addition to canceling out any bullets in the bomb's way. The player's character becomes invincible during and for a short time after the bomb's effect wears off. At the beginning of the game and any time your character revives, you will start off with 2 bombs. You can increase your bomb Stock by collecting bomb pieces (3 are needed for a bomb) or bomb items. Green UFOs drop a bomb piece when defeated and a full bomb when their score multiplier is full. You can carry up to a maximum of 8 bombs at a time. If you receive a bomb when you already have the maximum, that bomb will be lost. Unlike previous games, if the player loses a life the bomb counter only resets to default value of 2 if the player has less than 2 bombs—which means the player can always utilize all his accumulated bombs. Also, unlike every Windows game up to Subterranean Animism, bombing does not auto-collect every item on screen.
Some enemies will have small green UFOs circling above them, they drop a small UFO after you destroy them, some stage mid-bosses will drop 2 small UFOs after you defeat their final attack. The small UFO will fly around the screen. They come in red, blue and green colours. There are two types, blinking and non-blinking. The blinking UFO will change colours every few seconds, however, keeping your character's sprite in close proximity to the UFO will prevent it from changing colors. The other type of UFO will stay a single colour. It should be noted that these non-blinking UFOs are not random, so their positions in the levels can be memorized to further advantages.
Collecting three UFO items causes a large UFO enemy to appear on the screen. Three of a specific colour of UFO will summon a big UFO of that colour, while collecting one of each will summon a flashing big UFO. If you have picked up two UFO items of the same colour and then pick up an item of a different colour, the first item in line will be replaced by the colour of the item you've picked up last. If you have two UFOs, a UFO of the color that will result in summoning a large UFO will be surrounded by a flashing pentagon so you will know what type to collect without having to look at the bottom-left corner. Each summoned UFO has a life bar and timer for how long you have to defeat it. At about two seconds left on the timer, the UFO will start ascending to leave the screen; it is important to defeat it before it leaves, otherwise all the items it has sucked in will be lost. If the UFO is on the screen at same time with a boss, it will fly away even if there is time left; however, in the case of mid-bosses, the UFO will stop flying away if the boss is defeated in time. In-game dialog will make summoned UFOs explode.
All UFOs suck in the point and power items on the screen. A circle around the UFO shows the score multiplier for the UFO. The multiplier increases for every item the UFO sucks in to a maximum of 100%. The number of items required for a maximum multiplier starts at 34 for stage one and increases as the player progresses through the stages (36, 39, 42, 46, 51). Extra stage UFOs require at least 56 items for a maximum multiplier.
The maximum multipliers for the UFOs are:
- 1 for Red UFOs when not at full power
- 2 for Red UFOs when at full power
- 2 for Green UFOs
- 4 for Flashing UFOs
- 8 for blue UFOs
Blue UFOs are potentially best for increasing score. When defeated, they drop a small UFO and give you points.
Red UFOs are for life parts. When its multiplier circle is full, a red UFO drops a life part, and when defeated, it drops a small UFO, a life part, and several power items. When defeated, the score bonus counts power items as point items, and if defeated while at full power, power items are worth 2 point items each.
Green UFOs are for bomb parts. When its multiplier circle is full, a Green UFO drops a full bomb, and when defeated, it drops a small UFO and a bomb part.
Flashing UFOs change the items the suck in; power items will become point items and point items will be power items. This has strategic use in certain stages where a lot of power item drops are concentrated within a short time span. When the multiplier circle is full, a flashing UFO drops a small flashing UFO that starts at the same color as the third small UFO in your UFO gauge. When defeated, it drops another small UFO of the same color.
When defeated, a UFO provides a score bonus based on how far the score multiplier is filled. UFOs also clear parts of the screen when defeated, in a bomb-like fashion. The power of the explosion is based on how full the multiplier circle is.
Collecting UFO items while a UFO is floating at top of the screen will increase the point value by 1000 per UFO item, regardless of colour. This will consume the UFOs, but is essential for long term scoring strategies, especially from stages 4–6 where early grazing, point items and blue/rainbow UFOs contribute highly to the score.
Rumors have been spreading throughout Gensokyo since early spring about a strange flying treasure ship. Figuring there must be something up there regardless of the rumor itself, and aided by Sanae Kochiya, the girls take off into the air to find it and plunder its treasures.
During the high-speed chase of the "UFO", the player confronts Nazrin, who has come from the flying object and is looking for something in particular. She insists that there is no treasure ship at all. After that, the player runs into Kogasa Tatara, whose role is nothing else but to scare the girls.
As the player finally catches up to the ship, Ichirin Kumoi and her familiar Unzan appear, complaining that all sorts of fairies and humans have been pestering them. She explains that the ship isn't a "ship" at all, but rather some kind of remodeled building given the power of flight. She also mentions that she's trying to revive a certain someone. The fragments - the UFOs that the player has been collecting - are necessary for this purpose, but rather than handing them over, the player instead defeats the pair and enters the ship.
Inside, the player runs into a strange flying object that promptly attacks, then leaves items. Disregarding this, the player then finds Captain Murasa, the youkai ghost captain of the ship. She tells the player that the ship is headed for Hokkai, located on the outer edges of Makai, a world connected to Gensokyo. Since the player entered with enough fragments in their possession, the ship has already begun to enter Hokkai.
Before very long, just outside Hokkai, the player runs into Nazrin again, who has found what she was looking for - the Vaisravana pagoda. After defeating her a second time, Shou Toramaru appears. Now that both the pagoda and the fragments are together, the revival can begin. Shou tells the player that they are trying to revive a "saint" who has been sealed for many years - a person who helped both humans and youkai, and was punished because of it. After defeating Shou, the player opts to help revive this person, since they're already there and everything.
The final confrontation happens deep inside Hokkai, where Byakuren Hijiri has been unsealed. The player's job is to exterminate youkai (or, in Marisa's case, to prioritize protecting humans), so Byakuren disagrees - she is an ally to both, and treats both equally. The player defeats Byakuren in a long battle, and the story ends on peaceful terms, as she and Murasa cruise around Gensokyo in the ship for a while before settling down and rebuilding Byakuren's original temple.
However, the mystery of the UFOs hasn't yet been solved. Marisa discovers that upon opening one of them, a snake comes out and the UFO turns into a piece of wood. The girls take off once again into the night sky to figure out what's going on. Kogasa reappears in the process, again attempting to surprise the player. After that, the strange flying object appears again and transforms into a youkai named Nue Houjuu, who was the one that disguised the fragments. Apparently the player was the only one who saw the UFOs as UFOs - the enemies the player fought against knew that they were actually pieces of the ship. After defeating her, she explains that she was originally just trying to mess with Murasa's efforts to revive Byakuren, but the player caught her interest, so she ended up helping the player out too.
- Playable characters
- Nazrin (ナズーリン)
- Stage 1 boss and stage 5 mid-boss. Being a leader of mice and a natural dowser, Nazrin was commanded by Ichirin to search for the shards that fell from the sky, but her dowsing rods brought her to the humans instead.
- Kogasa Tatara (多々良 小傘)
- Stage 2 boss and extra stage mid-boss. Kogasa was once an umbrella who was forgotten for a long time and thus became an obake. Being bored and lonely, she tries to perfect the art of scaring humans.
- Ichirin Kumoi (雲居 一輪)
- Ichirin is the stage 3 boss who is accompanied by Unzan, similar to Youmu Konpaku and her ghost-half in that Unzan can also participate in battle. Ichirin, by her own accord, is the guard of the large ship in the sky. She seems to be collecting UFO-shaped shards to revive Byakuren Hiziri, her master, whom she refers to as "sister."
- Unzan (雲山)
- Ichirin's companion in stage 3. Unzan is a nyūdō made out of clouds. He is a stubborn, quiet old man who is gentle at heart.
- Minamitsu Murasa (村紗 水蜜)
- Murasa is the stage 4 boss, who is the spirit of a human who fell off a ship and drowned in the past. As the humans feared her, their fears turned her into a yōkai. She pledged herself to saving Byakuren, riding the ship she created.
- Shou Toramaru (寅丸 星)
- Shou is the stage 5 boss, representing good fortune. She was chosen by Byakuren to have the mountain yōkai gather faith in exchange. When Byakuren disappeared after a few hundred years, the temple was in great disarray, and all of her friends who were sealed into the Earth returned. Shou, not wanting to run away or have any regrets, told Murasa and the others how to lift the seal.
- Byakuren Hiziri (聖 白蓮)
- Byakuren is the stage 6 boss. She had a younger brother, Myouren Hiziri, who taught her Buddhist magic, but died earlier than her. This made Byakuren fear death greatly, and obtained the power to regain her youth. However, it was considered Black Magic rather than an art of Buddhism. Ichirin was her servant, while Murasa pledged herself to saving Byakuren. Fans think Byakuren is a thief-type like Marisa because of near duplication of spell cards used in previous Touhou games and completely copying Shinki's penultimate attack.
- Nue Houjuu (封獣 ぬえ)
- Nue is the extra stage boss, also appearing as a sphere of light in stages 4 and 6. She is a very mysterious yōkai who flies through the night sky. Despite being non-human, she was defeated by humans many times in the past, but the accounts of her appearance vary. However, those were all made up, because her form is never seen to anybody but herself. She merely enjoys frightening humans and their imagining of strange things from afar.