April 27, 2011
Touhou: Just… What?
Yesterday I… experienced a few games in a series known as the Touhou Project. While admittedly it was a really fun experience and the games were very enjoyable, they just totally overloaded my “lolwut” capacity. Allow me to further explain.
^Go ahead and prepare your brain for the ensuing flood of “Wut.”
It’s easy to recognize a Touhou game when you see one. There are two defining characteristics. One: These games are needlessly difficult. They’re of a genre called “bullet hell”, similar to the retarded amount of sidescrolling/upscrolling space shooters on old game consoles, only with about a million more bullets per stage. Two: These games are obscenely Japanese. If someone asked you, “Hey, I want to lose all faith in Japanese culture, can you show me one single video game to do that?” this would be that game. If you have a friend who’s an anime maniac (and probably creeps you out at times), you might want to show him or her these games.
^This was on page one of a Google Image Search for Touhou. Go figure.
It’s pretty tough to explain the plotline of this series. The first five games were released only in Japan for the PC-98 computer series, but the rest have been on Windows. Their storylines seem pretty far apart, with the exception of the consistent presence of the protagonist Reimu Hakurei (The one at the bottom in the red in the previous image). I guess it’s sort of a Final Fantasy type deal, with consistent characters but seemingly unrelated plotlines. Many important bosses return as playable characters, and there’s a cast of about four or five that appear in most of the games on Windows. Usually there is some sort of problem (evil red mist, defiled shrine, SOMEONE REPLACED THE ENTIRE MOON) that must be solved, but the plot really doesn’t apply too much to the gameplay.
^Wait, you mean this one was a fake?
Playing this game involves six keys. Z, your shoot key, might as well just be taped down. X fires a screen-clearing bomb for when you can’t take the heat. The arrow keys are by far the most important, and your mastery of dodging bullets and hitbox memorisation is the difference between life or death. The mechanics of the game are simple, but it’s ridiculously hard enough to make up for the simplicity. The amount of crap you’re expected to dodge, even on medium difficulty, is unholy. Bosses attack with “spell cards”, preset attacks that you can practice (like song sections in Guitar Hero) in a practice mode. Trust me, you’re going to want to practice.
^Yes, I used a demotivational in my article. Bite me.
There’s an entire community for these games, even though many of them are really old. Simply typing “touhou” into your search bar will direct you to a number of places with people who can help you get the games, patch them into English, and weep bitterly as you get destroyed by a million bullets. The best place I’ve found for additional information is here, at the wikia page. If you want to try the games out, obtain a copy of Imperishable Night, which is considered the easiest. Stay tuned, I’m going to LP this game and post a video up this afternoon. What do you think of hard games, Japanese games, or Touhou, specifically? Let me know in the comments!