The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil

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The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil
Embodiment of Scarlet Devil
Developer(s) Team Shanghai Alice
Publisher(s) Team Shanghai Alice
Series Touhou Project
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release August 11, 2002 (Comiket 62)
Genre(s) Vertical danmaku scrolling shooter
Mode(s) Single-player

Touhou Koumakyou ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil. (東方紅魔郷 ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil.,, lit. Eastern Lands of the Scarlet Devil) is a vertical scrolling shooter and the sixth official game of the Touhou Project series. It is the first to be released specifically for the Windows operating system and the first by Team Shanghai Alice. All games before Embodiment of Scarlet Devil were made for the PC-98 series of computers and were released by Amusement Makers.

Gameplay[edit]

Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, or abbreviated as EoSD, features two playable characters to choose from, each having two distinct attack types. Reimu Hakurei covers a wide area of the screen with weaker attacks, whereas Marisa Kirisame relies on her speed and power to make up for her thinner attack spread. The bombs ("Spell Cards") also show different behavior and damage depending on the character and type chosen.

Some important gameplay features that Embodiment of Scarlet Devil introduces over its predecessor Mystic Square are automatic item collection, which allows the player to collect all items on screen by moving to the top of the screen at full power; and the counter-bomb system, which allows the player to negate an enemy hit by pressing the bomb button immediately after contact with the enemy projectile. Also, this game is the first Touhou game to feature Touhou's iconic "Spell Card" system. Each Spell Card is a particular bullet pattern and is given a name. A bonus can be earned if the player does not use a bomb or die during any particular pattern.

Plot[edit]

In the summer of the 118th season, there occurred an incident called the Scarlet Mist Incident (紅霧異変). Gensokyo was entirely covered in this mist, and since the sun was obstructed, it became a gloomy and chilly summer. Since this strange mist even reached the human village of Gensokyo, and since humans are not typically able to withstand 30 minutes of the strange mist, the humans of the village were not able to exit from their homes for several days until the incident was resolved. Reimu Hakurei, a shrine maiden working at the Hakurei Shrine, felt that it was her duty as a shrine maiden to find the cause of this unnatural weather. Marisa Kirisame, a black-clothed magician, hoped that the person responsible for the mist would have some interesting items to collect.

The heroines found their way to the Scarlet Devil Mansion (紅魔館) in the middle of Misty Lake (霧の湖), where its residents tried to stop the intruders from reaching the lord of the mansion. The source of the mist is revealed to be final boss Remilia Scarlet, a vampire. Remilia reveals that the scarlet mist was created to block out the sun so that she could feel comfortable during the day (because vampires are weak against the sun). After a fierce battle, Remilia is defeated and things return to relative normality in Gensokyo. The Scarlet Mist Incident is the first time the spell card rules were used, which popularized its use throughout Gensokyo, and battles from their own also used the spell card rules.

In the Extra Mode, the heroines returned to the Scarlet Devil Mansion during Remilia's absence and found the entire household in chaos. Remilia's younger sister, Flandre Scarlet, was on the loose, while Patchouli Knowledge, the library witch, was trying to keep her from escaping. Meeting the heroines after 495 years of being locked in the basement, Flandre asked that they would play with her, but the heroines defeated her.

Setting[edit]

The Scarlet Devil Mansion, which features in stage 3 and beyond, as well as on the extra stage, is a western mansion located at the bottom of yokai mountain on a causeway of Misty Lake. It is entirely scarlet in color, and the road that leads to it is also entirely scarlet. It has a clock tower, which rings only at 12 o'clock midnight. The head of this mansion is the final boss Remilia Scarlet, but since she is a child, the head maid and fifth stage boss Sakuya Izayoi is in charge of the place. The gatekeeper is the third stage boss Hong Meiling, who intercepts fairies who come from the lake. The extra boss Flandre Scarlet is also in here, as well as a great number of fairy maids who feature as regular stage enemies. Sakuya manipulates the space inside and makes it seem larger in appearance.

Characters[edit]

Playable characters:

  • Reimu Hakurei — The miko of the Hakurei Shrine. Her two modes of attack in this game are homing amulets and needles.
  • Marisa Kirisame — An ordinary magician. Her two modes of attack in the game are magic missiles and lasers.

Boss characters:

  • Rumia (ルーミア, Rūmia) — Stage one mid-boss and main boss. She is a yōkai who has the physical appearance of a young girl. She has blond hair, red eyes, wears black clothing, and her hair is wrapped in a red ribbon.[1] This ribbon is an ofuda, and Rumia herself cannot touch it. Her ability is to create a sphere of night around her, but as it impedes her own vision significantly, it is not useful in combat. She usually spends her days fluttering around aimlessly.
  • Daiyousei (大妖精, Daiyōsei) — Stage two mid-boss. An almost inconsequential character who received no character profile in the game; fans named her Daiyousei (lit. "Big/Great Fairy"). ZUN later attributed her as bright, playful, and full of expressions. Sometimes appears in dōjinshi with Cirno.[2]
  • Cirno (チルノ, Chiruno) — Stage two boss, attacks with icicles. A leader of the fairies of the Lake of Fog, but is not very bright. Her hobby is freezing frogs and watching them revive as they thaw, but she tends to shatter them instead by accident. She radiates cold air year-round, and can stay awake even in spring and summer.
  • Hong Meirin (紅 美鈴, Hon Meirin, alternate spelling Hong Meiling) — Stage three mid-boss and main boss, a Chinese-looking youkai acting as gate keeper of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. She is known to be a very humanoid yōkai who practices martial arts, but is generally friendly towards humans. She is often referred to as "Chūgoku" (meaning China) by Japanese fans.
  • Koakuma (小悪魔) — Stage four mid-boss. Similar to Daiyousei, she received no character profile in the game and was named Koakuma (lit. "Little Devil") by fans. ZUN later described her to be like Daiyousei — whimsical, enjoys pranks, and doesn't think before doing. He also added that while devils are powerful as vampires and magicians, Koakuma is a rather weak one, therefore, she is a Koakuma (Little Devil).[2]
  • Patchouli Knowledge (パチュリー・ノーレッジ, Pachurī Nōrejji) — Stage four boss and Extra Stage mid-boss. A scholar who is a friend of Remilia Scarlet, holing herself in the library of Remilia's mansion and becoming the de facto librarian. She has command over the seven elements (which the Japanese days of the week are named after, making her the "One-week Wizard") and is in theory an extremely powerful magician. However, her constitution is very poor and asthma often prevents her from reciting her spells. She has a tenuous relationship with Marisa, who tends to carry off her books without asking.
  • Sakuya Izayoi (十六夜 咲夜, Izayoi Sakuya) — Stage five boss and stage six mid-boss. The head maid of the Scarlet Devil Mansion, armed with throwing knives and control over time. Sakuya is the only human living in the Scarlet Devil Mansion.[1][3] She was not born in Gensokyo, and the name "Sakuya Izayoi" was given to her by Remilia Scarlet.In Perfect Memento in Strict Sense, Akyuu guessed that she might have originally been a vampire hunter. Meanwhile, she is utterly devoted to her mistress.
  • Remilia Scarlet (レミリア・スカーレット, Remiria Sukāretto) — Final boss, the mistress of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. A vampire who controls fate, but is weak against sun and rain. She claims to be descended from Vlad III Dracula although she is not. She is known as the Scarlet Devil as when she feeds, the blood of her victims stains her dress red. Apart from her unpleasant needs, she is hardly malicious enough to deserve such a title; merely childish, even though she is over five hundred years old. Although being a vampire is normally a lonely life, she has a good relationship with her many employees (including Sakuya and Meirin). Reimu is one of the few humans who tolerates her, and Remilia seems quite fond of her in turn. Marisa also gets along with her in exchange for access to her library. She prefers melee fighting to danmaku, but when she does resort to the latter, she is fond of red round bullets and knives.
  • Flandre Scarlet (フランドール・スカーレット, Furandōru Sukāretto) — Extra Stage boss. Remilia's little sister, she has been shut in the basement for 495 years because of her destructive powers. Despite this, she likes her sister and doesn't usually try to escape. Most vampires hold back somewhat when fighting humans, as they plan to keep them alive and feed from them later, but Flandre was always fed prepared dishes and does not know her food comes from humans. Thus, when fighting them, she does not hesitate and incinerates them without a second thought.

Development[edit]

In the four years since Mystic Square, the previous Touhou installment, the creator ZUN branched off from Amusement Makers and established his own dōjin circle named "Team Shanghai Alice", with ZUN himself as the member. As EoSD would be the first release of Team Shanghai Alice and the first game made for a Windows audience, ZUN felt that the game would need to leave an impression. This is why EoSD has a Western theme, unlike most other games in the Touhou Project whose theme is Oriental.[4]

The Spell Card system, featured in every Touhou game since EoSD, was created by ZUN in 1999 while working on Seihou, and was intended to be a means to identify bullet patterns with names as well as adding depth to his characters. ZUN further stated that EoSD itself was created for the purpose of introducing this system.[5]

EoSD is also the first time ZUN programmed a Windows application from scratch. As he was more familiar with APIs and DirectX and was relatively unfamiliar with the application level, a lot of time was put into creating libraries and tools for EoSD. As a result, little time remained to improve the game's presentation, and ZUN resolved to improve the next game in that regard.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Page in Perfect Memento in Strict Sense related to the relevant character.
  2. ^ a b そそ, ZUN's diary via webarchives. 2004-1-12.
  3. ^ 『三月精 第2部』「上海アリス通信 三精版 第5号」(『月刊コンプエース』Vol.7 p.275。実質的には「第6号」なのだが誤植で「第5号」になっている。単行本未収録)。
  4. ^ "神主ZUN、『風神録』についてかく話りき!", Chara Mel, Ichijinsha, p. 111, 2007-11-10 
  5. ^ 「システム」「スペルカードボーナス」, 幻想掲示板 (ZUN's guestbook) via webarchives. 2002-11.
  6. ^ ZUN, "Shanghai Alice Correspondence Vol.1". Embodiment of Scarlet Devil Afterword. 2002-8-11.

External links[edit]