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Touhou Project (Ohga Shrugs)

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Touhou Project
Ten Desires in French
Ten Desires screenshot, as seen in the French released Windows version.
Genres Shoot'em up, Fighting
Developers Team Shanghai Alice (formerly Amusement Makers)
Publishers Team Shanghai Alice (formerly Amusement Makers)
Rising Star Games (International Release)
Creators Team Shanghai Alice
Platforms NEC PC-9801, Windows
Sega Saturn, Dreamcast, Pluto, Eclipse
Nintendo Revolution, Stream (eShop only)
Platform of origin NEC PC-9801
First release Highly Responsive to Prayers
1996
Latest release Impossible Spell Card
May 11, 2014
Official website Maker's website


The Touhou Project (東方Project Tōhō Purojekuto, lit. Eastern Project), also known as Toho Project or Project Shrine Maiden, is a Japanese dōjin game series focused on bullet hell shooters made by developer Team Shanghai Alice. The series was inducted into the Guinness World Records in October 2010 for being the "most prolific fan-made shooter series".

The series mainly takes place in Gensokyo (幻想郷 Gensōkyō, "Land of Illusions" or "Land of Fantasy"). The main Touhou theme is Shintō, though other themes like Buddhism and Taoism is referenced/seen.

History

The Touhou Project began in 1995 when Highly Responsive to Prayers was first developed by the group Amusement Makers for the NEC PC-9801 series and the Sega Saturn; the game was later released in November 1996. The next four Touhou games released between August 1997 and December 1998 also were released on the NEC PC-9801 and Sega Saturn. The Touhou Project was inactive for the next three and half years until the first Microsoft Windows and Sega Dreamcast Touhou game, The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, was released in August 2002 by Team Shanghai Alice after ZUN and some of his friends split from Amusement Makers. The Touhou Project became a media franchise spanning a steadily increasing number of official games, in addition to commercial fan books, light novels, and manga.

Since 2005, Rising Star Games became the main publisher for releasing and localising the Touhou Project games in North America, Europe, and Australia. Later in 2007, Touhou Project games begun to be released on the Nintendo Revolution for international releases starting with Mountain of Faith. In 2008, Touhou games begun to be released in Japan via eShop only, starting with Scarlet Weather Rhapsody.

By 2008, a small indie publisher began importing all the Touhou games prior to Phantasmagoria of Flower View to the digital shops.

Games

Pre-Windows

東方靈異伝 ~ Highly Responsive to Prayers
Highly Responsive to Prayers is the first game of the Touhou series, released in August 15, 1996. It is not a vertical top-down shooter like most other games in the series, and is similar to Arkanoid instead. Reimu Hakurei, the perpetual protagonist, was introduced in this game. Reimu Hakurei enters through the gateway into another world, intent on locating and punishing the one responsible for destroying her shrine.
東方封魔録 ~ The Story of Eastern Wonderland
The Story of Eastern Wonderland is the second Touhou game released in August 15, 1997. This is the first danmaku game of the series, and also marks the first appearance of Marisa Kirisame (here as the second-to-last boss), the second major player character of the series. The resident shrine maiden Reimu Hakurei returns from a training session in the mountains only to find the Hakurei Shrine overrun by a contingent of ghosts and yōkai. Excited at the opportunity to test her fledgling abilities, she takes the powerful Hakurei Yin-Yang Orbs and takes off on the back of her turtle Genjii to seek out the source of the invasion. The game-play is generally the same as Eastern Wonderland throughout the rest of the series.
東方夢時空 ~ Phantasmagoria of Dim.Dream
Phantasmagoria of Dim.Dream Sega Saturn

Phantasmagoria of Dim.Dream Sega Saturn cover

A two-player versus-type shooter similar to Twinkle Star Sprites, the game is labelled as the third Touhou game, released in December 29, 1997. Reimu Hakurei discovers that some mysterious ruins have suddenly appeared just outside of the Hakurei Shrine. She joins in a violent competition with the other people who want to explore them—it is said that the one who reaches the heart of the ruins first will win a fantastic prize.
東方幻想郷 ~ Lotus Land Story
Lotus Land Story is the fourth game of the series, released in August 14, 1998 in Comiket 54. This game introduces the focus mode, a staple of the series hereafter, that slows the sprite's movement to facilitate dodging bullets. Following the events of the previous games, the magical land of Gensokyo is once again at peace until yōkai begin to swarm the Hakurei Shrine and a tremendous power surges from beneath a lake high in the mountains. The shrine maiden Reimu Hakurei once again seeks out and eliminate the source of the disturbance, only on this occasion she is unwittingly joined by an old rival. According to ZUN, only 900 to 1000 copies of the game were sold at the time.
東方怪綺談 ~ Mystic Square
Mystic Square is the fifth and final Touhou game for both the PC-98 and Sega Saturn, released in December 30, 1998 in Comiket 55. Mima and Yuka, final bosses of The Story of Eastern Wonderland and Lotus Land Story respectively, return as playable characters in this game. As so often is the case in Touhou games, something is amiss within Gensokyo. A massive quantity of demons are pouring from a cave high within the mountains. Seeking the source of this invasion, Reimu Hakurei and co. must travel through Makai to confront the one behind the problem.

Windows Era

東方紅魔郷 ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil
Embodiment of Scarlet Devil is the sixth Touhou game and the first on Windows and Sega Dreamcast. It greatly exceeded the PC-98/Saturn games graphically, switched from FM Synthesis to synthesised PCM music (with simplified midi as a fall-back), and was the first game to gather a substantial Western fanbase. It was released on August 11, 2002. The story, told by conversations between characters during interludes in the action, goes as such: the land of Gensokyo (setting of all the Touhou games) has been engulfed by a red mist, and its inhabitants no longer see the sun. As the miko Reimu Hakurei, witch Marisa Kirisame, or the kirin Rin Satsuki, the player attempts to deal with the source of the mist, a mysterious figure called the Scarlet Devil.
東方妖々夢 ~ Perfect Cherry Blossom
Perfect Cherry Blossom is the seventh Touhou game and was released on August 17, 2003. As the month turns to May, winter has lasted far longer than normal in Gensokyo, and the denizens begin to suspect foul play. As Reimu, Marisa or the returning arrival of Yuuka Kazami, the player embarks on a search for those who are working to prevent spring's coming.
東方萃夢想 ~ Immaterial and Missing Power
Immaterial and Missing Power was produced in collaboration with Twilight Frontier, and is the 7.5th Touhou game. Despite being released after Imperishable Night, it is numbered 7.5 because the events in this game took place before those of Imperishable Night. Immaterial and Missing Power is a 2D fighting game instead of the usual scrolling shooter. Though Team Shanghai Alice was only responsible for the storyline and some of the music, the game was listed as one of the team's official works. The game was released on December 30, 2004.
Initially playable characters in this game include some of the characters from previous Windows games, such as the two protagonists Reimu Hakurei and Marisa Kirisame, Alice Margatroid, Youmu Konpaku (both bosses from Perfect Cherry Blossom), Sakuya Izayoi, Hong Meiling, and Patchouli Knowledge (all bosses from Embodiment of Scarlet Devil), and Rin Satsuki. More characters become playable as the player finishes the story mode with the initially playable characters, and so on.
東方永夜抄 ~ Imperishable Night
Imperishable Night is the eighth Touhou game. It was released at the Comiket 66 Convention in August 15, 2004. This story's focus is on a rather more insidious evil than past games. Gensokyo's yearly event, the Moonviewing Feast, is only one dawn away, but someone seems to have replaced the moon with a fake that will not grow full. A team of human and yōukai set out to remedy this before the night is over—the story says that the team the player selects is the only team heading out to investigate, which has caused some problems within the Touhou canon.
In this entry, each of the usual playable characters gets a teammate from the non-human side of Gensokyo. Reimu Hakurei allies with Yukari Yakumo, Yōkai of the Boundary; Marisa Kirisame with Alice Margatroid, the Seven-Coloured Puppeteer; and Yuuka Kazami with Mima. The new team is half-ghost Youmu Konpaku and full-ghost Yuyuko Saigyouji, Stage five and Final bosses of Perfect Cherry Blossom respectively. All the other characters (except Mima) appeared in Perfect Cherry Blossom.
東方花映塚 ~ Phantasmagoria of Flower View
Phantasmagoria of Flower View

Phantasmagoria of Flower View became the first Touhou game to be released internationally. This screenshot is a sample of the North American release with the difficulty set on Normal mode.

Phantasmagoria of Flower View is the ninth Touhou game, and it was released in August 14 2005 at the summer Comiket 68 convention. This game is a versus-type shooter like Phantasmagoria of Dim. Dream, and has very different gameplay from the past three entries in the series. The story puts the characters in an investigation on why the flowers of Gensokyo are blooming out of season and more than usual. Initially playable characters include Reimu and Marisa as usual (as well as two other characters from previous games), but the list adds on as the player progresses in the storyline of each of the players.
Playable characters include Reimu, Marisa, Mima, Youmu, Reisen, Cirno, Lyrica, Mystia, Tewi, Aya, Medicine, Yuuka, Komachi, and Eiki.
Phantasmagoria of Flower View also was the first game of the Touhou series to be released internationally. Rising Star Games localised and released PoFV in 22 September 2005 in North America, and was released in Europe in 4th November 2005.
東方文花帖 ~ Shoot the Bullet
Shoot the Bullet is the 9.5th game in the series. It was released on December 30 2005 in Japan, and was released internationally by Rising Star Games on January 26 2006 in North America, and on February 4th 2006 in Europe. It would also be the last game released for the Sega Dreamcast.
The player, as tengu reporter Aya Shameimaru, is tasked with taking pictures of bosses for her newspaper to clear successively more difficult stages. The game is unique in that the player has no standard shot or bombs; rather, the camera is the main method of offence and defence as it clears bullets from the screen. Scoring is based on the contents of each photo, boss location, number of bullets, and Aya's position.
東方風神録 ~ Mountain of Faith
Mountain of Faith is the tenth Touhou game. It was announced in early May 2007, and a trial version was released at the Reitaisai 4 convention on May 20, 2007. The full game was released on the first day of Comiket 72, August 17, 2007 in Japan; and was released on September 20 in North America and in Europe it was released on October 12 for Windows and the Sega Pluto. Reimu receives an order to close down the Hakurei Shrine, or it will be torn down and the god of Yōkai Mountain will take it over. As either Reimu Hakurei, Marisa Kirisame or Rin Satsuki, the player has to ascend to the top of Yōkai Mountain to find the god behind the happenings and prevent the shrine from being taken over.
Mountain of Faith was also later released to the Nintendo Revolution via eShop in November both internationally and in Japan, which became the first Touhou game to appear on a Nintendo console.
東方緋想天 ~ Scarlet Weather Rhapsody
Scarlet Weather Rhapsody is the second versus fighting game similar to Immaterial and Missing Power and the 10.5th Touhou game by Team Shanghai Alice and Twilight Frontier. It was released on May 25, 2008 in Japan, June 12 in North America, and June 28 in Europe. The storyline in the game revolves around the strange weather patterns occurring around Gensokyo and as the characters are chosen in the game, they must find out who is controlling it. This is the first game to introduce the card deck system and changing weather conditions that affects the gameplay during matches.
Playable characters include everyone who was in IaMP plus Yuuka, Iku, and Tenshi.
東方地霊殿 ~ Subterranean Animism
This is the eleventh Touhou game and was released on August 16, 2008 in Japan, September 4th in North America, and September Fifth in Europe. A mysterious geyser appears one day near the Hakurei Shrine, which also seems to spout evil spirits from underground. Reimu or Marisa go underground with the help of one of three yōkai (Yukari Yakumo, Suika Ibuki, or Aya Shameimaru for Reimu; Alice Margatroid, Mima, or Nitori Kawashiro for Marisa) and stop the source of the geyser before things get far too out of hand.
東方星蓮船 ~ Undefined Fantastic Object
Undefined Fantastic Object is the Twelfth official Touhou game and was released on August 15, 2009 in Japan, and on September 17 in North America and September 18 in Europe. Spring has come to Gensokyo and a magical flying ship that is said to bring good omen has appeared in the sky. The player assumes the role of either Reimu, Marisa, or Mima as the three girls race to board the vessel. While the separate bomb counter is back, the scoring system gets complemented by the "Undefined Fantastic Objects", or UFO's, that appear as traditional unidentified flying objects in three colors (green, red and blue) and must be collected in groups of three in order to get different bonuses.
東方非想天則 ~ 超弩級ギニョルの謎を追え (Touhou Hisoutensoku)
The third versus fighting game and the 12.3rd Touhou game done by Team Shanghai Alice and Twilight Frontier. It was announced on July 14, 2009, and was released on August 15, 2009 in Japan, and on September 17 in North America and September 18 Europe. The game introduces new spell cards and weather conditions as well as improved game-play. Characters from Scarlet Weather Rhapsody can be played in versus mode if that game is installed. The story mode, which is playable with Sanae Kotiya, Cirno, Wriggle Nightbug, Nitori Kawashiro and Hong Meiling, revolves around the silhouette of a giant creature, which piqued the interest of the denizens of Gensokyo. Both Sanae and Cirno's scenarios involve the investigation of the strange being and to find out who is controlling the strange giant. Meirin's scenario involves fighting a strange being in a dream who wanted to destroy the world. This is the only Touhou game in the series to not have an official English subtitle.
Playable characters include all playable characters in SWR plus Sanae Kochiya, Cirno, Hong Meiling, Utsuho Reiuji, Wriggle Nightbug and Nitori Kawashiro.
ダブルスポイラー ~ 東方文花帖 (Double Spoiler)
Double Spoiler is the 12.5th Touhou game and was released on March 14, 2010 in Japan, and on April 1st in North America and April 2nd in Europe. The game focuses again on Aya Shameimaru and is meant as a sequel to Shoot the Bullet as it has a same game-play style but adds new characters and spell cards, covering all characters from Mountain of Faith onwards.
妖精大戦争 ~ 東方三月精 (Fairy Wars)
This is the 12.8th game in the series announced by Team Shanghai Alice on July 23, 2010. The game is the continuation of the Touhou Sangetsusei manga series and was released in Japan on August 14, 2010, and on September 16 in North America and September 17 in Europe. Cirno is the main character of the game and the gameplay is focused on vertical shooting with the inclusion of the ability to freeze bullets.
東方神霊廟 ~ Ten Desires
Ten Desires is the Thirteenth game in the series. It was announced on February 28, 2011. A demo was slated for release at the Reitaisai 8 convention on March 13, 2011, however, the trial release was temporary cancelled due to the Tōhoku earthquake. The full game was released on August 13, 2011 in Japan, on September 1st in North America and September 2nd in Europe. It would also be the last game released for the Sega Pluto and in international releases, the last game on the Nintendo Revolution. Reimu, Marisa and Mima are once again playable as they were in the latest main instalment in the franchise Undefined Fantastic Object joined by Youmu Konpaku as a fourth playable character. In this game, Reimu and Marisa notice an increase in divine spirits and take off to investigate. Mima seeks to utilise the power of the divine spirits for herself, and Youmu Konpaku wants to exterminate all ghosts that are not under her right.
東方心綺楼 ~ Hopeless Masquerade
Hopeless Masquerade is the 13.5 game in the series, and the fourth fighting game made in collaboration with Team Shanghai Alice and Twilight Frontier. It was announced on October Fifth, 2012 and features a different fighting style of 2D sprites than the earlier fighting games. It was released on August 12th in Japan for the PC, Sega Eclipse, and the Nintendo Stream. It was released on September 5th in North America and September 6th in Europe.
The game features the following returning playable characters: Marisa Kirisame, Reimu Hakurei, Ichirin Kumoi, Shou Toramaru, Byakuren Hijiri, Seiga Kaku, Mononobe no Futo, Toyosatomimi no Miko, Nitori Kawashiro, Koishi Komeiji, Mamizou Futatsuiwa. Hata no Kokoro is a new character and the final boss of the game.
東方輝針城 ~ Double Dealing Character
Double Dealing Character, the fourteenth game in the series, was announced by ZUN on his personal blog on May 11th, 2013. A demo of it was released in the Reitaisai 10 on May 26th. The full game was released on August 12th in Japan for the PC, Sega Eclipse, and the Nintendo Stream. It was released on September 5th in North America and September 6th in Europe.
Reimu and Marisa are once again playable along with Rin Satsuki. The story revolves on the yōkai rioting all over Gensokyo and the individual weapons of the three protagonists started acting oddly. It's their job to either take their weapons in hand and fight the yōkai, or to cast their weapons aside.
弾幕アマノジャク ~ Impossible Spell Card
Impossible Spell Card will be the 14.3rd game in the series. It was announced on April 12, 2014, and released at Reitaisai 11 on May 11, 2014 in Japan for the PC, Sega Eclipse, and the Nintendo Stream. It was released in June 5th in North America and June 6th in Europe. The game will be a danmaku type that deviates from the usual play style, and involves the player controlling Seija Kijin who uses a series of cheat items to clear spell cards.

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