Retro Era (PC-98)

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The Retro Era is characterized by its primitive appearance and lack of spell cards.
Hey there, wait up a minute!
The retro Touhou games were released for the PC-98 system, not Windows, so in order to play any of this era’s games, you’re going to require an emulator.
 
Touhou 1: The Highly Responsive to Prayers
Breakout / 1996
Number Abbreviation: Th01
Name Abbreviation: HRtP
Japanese Name: Touhou Rei’iden
 

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Release Information

Genre: Breakout
Publisher: Zun
Year: 1997
Language: English-Patched

Character Information

Playable Characters: 1
(Reimu)
Shot Types: 1
(All your shots can do is change the trajectory of the Yin-Yang Orb and absorb bullets; they can’t damage enemies or flip tiles.)

Plot Point

The strength of the seal that keeps demons and other evil creatures from entering Gensokyo via the Hakurei Shrine, which also serves as an entrance to the “outside world” as you and I know it – has been diminishing. Reimu decides to go in of her own volition to see whether the cause is in there, and needs beaten up. (It does.)

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Main Link

 
 

* This scorefile provided by GlitchyMissingno.

* Since there are no unlocks in HRtP, this scorefile is basically here exclusively for formality’s sake.

Main Link

Main Link (Mega) [GlitchyMissingno]
 

SCREENSHOTS

 
 

Unique Gameplay Mechanics

Breakout
* The screen never scrolls; this is built in the style of breakout games such as “Arkanoid,” featuring a large Yin-Yang Orb that Reimu hits around the screen with her techniques. The Yin-Yang Orb and Bombs (under specific situations) are the only things that can damage enemies. However, you can also be crushed by the orb if you let Reimu get hit by it.

Reimu’s Abilities
* Reimu will fire her shot upwards when you hit Z. This shot cannot damage enemies, but it can erase a bullet it hits and change the Yin-Yang Orb’s movement when it connects.
* She can also use her gohei for similar, more direct purposes when you hit X while standing still. She will swing her gohei back and forth once, her first swing being stronger than her second (her second swing can’t deflect bullets either).
* Combining movement, Z and X can make her do various other tricks, like a Slide Kick (moving + X), a Flip Kick (Slide + X at the end without pressing left or right (or pressing the opposite direction)), and a Shot Barrage (Slide + Z at the end).

Bombs
* Even the earliest game had a Bomb system, despite how different it is than the rest. You start the game with a single bomb, the amount can’t be changed. You can only receive a bomb if Reimu gets hit, but regular tiles can give you a bomb too if you’re lucky. To use a bomb, press left, right and Z at the same time, or Z and X twice. Bombs will hit most, if not all, onscreen tiles once, and if the orb comes into contact with Reimu while it is active, the orb will be launched instead. Bombs can only damage bosses if you have no lives left.

 
Touhou 2: The Story of Eastern Wonderland
Shooting / 1997
Number Abbreviation: Th02
Name Abbreviation: SoEW
Japanese Name: Touhou Fuumaroku
 

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Release Information

Genre: Bullet Hell
Publisher: Zun
Year: 1997
Language: English-Patched

Character Information

Playable Characters: 1
(Reimu)
Shot Types: 3

Plot Point

After returning from a training session, Reimu finds that her shrine has been overrun by ghosts and youkai! Excited by this chance to test her fledgling abilities, she mounts her flying turtle, Genji, and grabs her exceedingly powerful Yin-Yang Orbs so she can go investigate.

 

Main Link

Mirror #1

 

* This scorefile was provided by GlitchyMissingno.

* It has 100% completion status; Extra is available for all shot types.

Main Link

Main Link (Mega) [Moriya Shrine]
 

SCREENSHOTS

 

Unique Gameplay Mechanics

No Boss Health Gauges
* Aside from being the first bullet hell game in the series, this game has another unique functionality: Unlike the rest of the series, bosses don’t have health bars in this game.

Introduction of Extra Stage
* This was the first game in the series to use the concept of an “Extra” stage.

Touhou 3: Phantasmagoria of Dimensional Dream
Versus Shooting / 1997
Number Abbreviation: Th03
Name Abbreviation: PoDD
Japanese Name: Touhou Yumejikuu

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Release Information

Genre: Versus Bullet Hell
Publisher: Zun
Year: 1997
Language: English-Patched

Character Information

Playable Characters: 9
(Reimu, Marisa, Mima, Ellen, Kotohime, Kana, Rikako, Chiyuri, Yumemi)

Plot Point

Some odd ruins have appeared a short distance from the Hakurei Shrine. Curious to investigate, our girls arrive almost simultaneously – only to discover that the ruin… doesn’t seem to have an entrance. Then they discover an edict laid out: Only one person may enter the ruins, but they will be greatly rewarded. Seeing this, the girls decide to hold a competition, where the last one left standing will be allowed to go in and claim the prize.

 

Main Link

Mirror #1

* This scorefile was provided by GlitchyMissingno.

* It has 100% completion status (both Chiyuri and Yumemi are unlocked).

Main Link

Main Link (Mega) [Moriya Shrine]
 

 SCREENSHOTS

Unique Gameplay Mechanics

(Work In Progress)
* This game is similar to PoFV, but is NOT entirely like it; instead of spirits and Scopes, it includes elements such as Fireballs and EX Attacks. I am planning to do a write-up on the differences between PoFV and this title’s workings in the coming days.
– Ace
Touhou 4: Lotus Land Story
Shooting / 1998
Number Abbreviation: Th04
Name Abbreviation: LLS
Japanese Name: Touhou Gensokyo
 

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Release Information

Genre: Bullet Hell
Publisher: Zun
Year: 1998
Language: English-Patched

Character Information

Playable Characters: 2
(Reimu, Marisa)
Shot Types: 2 Each

Plot Point

Youkai have once again begun to swarm the Hakurei Shrine, prompting Reimu and Marisa to separately head for a lake in the mountains – the apparent source of a tremendous power surge. The two reach a gateway underneath the lake which transports them to an odd fantasy world – the location of the mansion Mugenkan, where the mastermind supposedly lurks.

Main Link

Mirror #1

 

* This scorefile was provided by GlitchyMissingno.

* It has 25% completion status (Extra is only unlocked for Reimu A).

-> You can help get this scorefile to 100%! If you have a scorefile which improves upon the progress in this existing file, please submit it to Ace!

Main Link

Main Link (Mega) [Moriya Shrine]
 

 SCREENSHOTS

Unique Gameplay Mechanics

Introduction of Focusing
* This is the first bullet hell game in the series where you can Focus, which will slow you down for easier bullet-dodging (although your hitbox doesn’t become visible when doing this as it does later on in the series).

Hidden Rank System
* As unbelievable as it may sound, this entry in the series brings with it a Rank system. Basically, the better you play in one run (collect lots of items, gain lives, don’t bomb or die), the higher the Rank will be, the harder attacks will become, while dying and scoring little with decrease the Rank. This mechanic disappears after Touhou 7 – Perfect Cherry Blossom.

Dream Bonus
* For all your scoring needs, this game introduces the Dream mechanic. Aside from Power and Point items, the Dream item makes its appearance. These items increase your Dream by a set amount per item, maxing out at 12800. This value is added to the Point item’s, so for example, grabbing a Point item at the top of the screen (51200 points) with 12800 Dream will bring the item’s value to 64000.

Touhou 5: Mystic Square
Shooting / 1998
Number Abbreviation: Th05
Name Abbreviation: MS
Japanese Name: Touhou Kaikidan

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Release Information

Genre: Bullet Hell
Publisher: Zun
Year: 1998
Language: English-Patched

Character Information

Playable Characters: 4
(Reimu, Marisa, Mima, Yuuka)
Shot Types: 1 Each

Plot Point

While our girls are still recovering after the arrival of the youkai, demons from the realm of Makai now begin trying to invade. Once again, Reimu decides to cut off the invasion at the source. Each for their own reasons, Marisa, Mima, and Yuuka also decide it’s in their best interests to investigate.

Main Link

Mirror #1

* This scorefile was provided by Driz.

* It has 100% completion status; Extra is open for all four girls.

Main Link

Main Link (Mega) [Driz]
 

 SCREENSHOTS

Unique Gameplay Mechanics

Soundtrack Inclusion
* Being the last PC-98 era game, this title includes all of the tracks from the previous games. All of them, even the unused ones.

Dream Bonus 2.0
* Mystic Square includes the Dream mechanic as well, but it functions quite different this time around. The gauge above the Power meter is your Dream gauge, and it can be filled up in many ways, such as collecting a Point item at it’s maximum value, or grabbing a Dream item, which brings it to Max immediately. It will also gradually increase on its own if enemies are onscreen during a stage portion. Bombing, dying or letting point items fall (only when it isn’t full) will decrease the gauge. The higher your Dream is, the lower the Point of Maximum Value will be at.
* Reaching Max Dream will erase all bullets, and will make all point items be worth a lot more, anywhere on the screen.