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Touhou 12 - 東方星蓮船 ~ Undefined Fantastic Object. An undefined article.

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Touhou 12 ? Undefined Fantastic Object
This small article will cover globally the 12th release from ZUN, presented on Comiket 76 on 14th august 2009. A long awaited game for all Touhou fans because the game system has been totally changed. A lot of Demo players, including myself, were very anxious to see the rest of the stages and bosses. Let us dive into this article to discover the wonderful game with their splendid music.

The storyline
A lot of people have mixed opinions about whether or not Touhou has a storyline. It doesn?t needs one as each version of the game is a mini plot, and that is what counts. Same goes for UFO. This is the deal in a nutshell:

Our heroines discover a giant ship floating in the sky. Each of them having their own interest head out to investigate the matter. But they are not alone, as more Youkais seem to be after it. What will be on our heroine?s adventurous path?

The girls are preparing
In 'Undefined Fantastic Object' three heroines will be the center of attention: Hakurei Reimu, Kirisame Marisa and the third, and rather unexpected heroine, is our one of a kind Miko from the Moriya Shrine: Kochiya Sanae. All three are playable characters in UFO and have two shot types blessed with quite flashy bombing animations. And for Marisa lovers, rejoice! She is back with her Master Spark!

I am sure most people had a lot of first impression by playing the demo. Instantly noting the refreshing new sprites and portraits for our heroines. Marisa seems to be promoting fashion as she braided a large M on her new skirt. Our other two shrine maidens have kept their original looks (as in dressing) but their sprite and portraits are a major improvement. Could it be that ZUN became more skilled in drawing? We can judge without any doubt that the first three bosses have improved sprites. Comparing them to the sprites in the previous game makes SA a joke almost.

Our loli opponents
So who are these new opponents brought to life by our drunken master ZUN? Below a list from Stage 1 to Extra. I am sure everybody is familiar with the first three bosses from the demo, but I will list them anyway (click on portraits for full body design as seen ingame):

Portraits shown in stage and appearance order

Stage 1 boss ? Nazrin (also midboss)
A cheerful mouse who is holding rather strange equipment as her tools. She appears in stage 1 with the same motive, in search for treasure.

Stage 2 boss ? Tatara Kogasa (also midboss)
Kogasa is a forgotten umbrella who transformed into a youkai over time and developed a body. The large purple umbrella holds one eye with a large tongue. Her body which is holding the umbrella has two eye colours. The boss is obviously inspired from the classical Japanese ghosts: Karakasa

Stage 3 boss ? Kumoi Ichirin & Unzan. (also midboss)
Ichirin appears as type of nun/pirate together with her controllable cloud Unzan in stage three. She is somehow trying to prevent you from entering the ship. The boss becomes quite interesting once Unzan?s fists start showing up on your screen. It feels like being double teamed.

Stage 4 midboss ? Strange blue spirit
The midboss in this stage is a weird spirit in the form of a glowing ball spraying danmaku. It doesn?t have a lifebar, so you will have to survive it. However, it spawns the same fallen fairies Rin does from Subterranean Animism.

Stage 4 boss ? Captain Minamitsu Murasa
Most people, including me, expected a pirate loli girl. But we got totally surprised and did not think of the other typical character: A marine captain of the ship which our heroines were trying to enter. She wields a large anchor and dipper.

Stage 5 midboss ? Nazrin
Nazrin makes a brief return in stage 5. Her portrait is changed holding a strange glowing item (a lantern?). Her spellcards are also totally different in looks. Normally in the older games, the spellcards would somehow be similar to their boss ones.

Stage 5 boss ? Toramaru Shou
She appears in a pretty fancy tiger patterned dress holding the same lantern Nazrin was before with a spear. She gives me a feeling of being some kind of Aztec or ancient civilization. You will be quite surprised when she uses the same techniques Nazrin does.

Stage 6 midboss ? Strange blue spirit
The same one you encounter in stage four with more difficult patterns. Again here you need to sit and survive.

Stage 6 boss ? Hijiri Byakuren
When she appears you will be stunned by her beauty, at least I was. She has a smooth smile and it looks all dreamy and fake. But don?t be fooled because she has quite a challenging for you.

Extra midboss ? Tatara Kogasa
Kogasa makes a return in the extra stage as a midboss trying to prevent from reaching the extra boss. Equipped with lasers, she will give you a hard time.

Extra boss ? Houjuu Nue
Nue?s appearance is awfully reminding of Flandre. Her weird wings which look like scythes and snakes give the appearance of a reaper. Her specialty is to control and command small ufo familiars.

Game mechanics
ZUN has thrown the entire game mechanism back to the pre-Touhou 8 style. Bombs and lives are separated making them no longer depended on your power. Your power is calculated as in MoF and SA where 1.00 is standard and weak with 4.00 as a maximum.

Unique addition to the game are the Undefined Fantastic Objects (UFOs) that appear when collecting either three the same colours from the fairies or one of each colour. Upon appearing, it will start sucking in all power and point items filling it up. Once full it will glow and reward you with a bonus item which are very handy on your journey. These vary from large power items to lives and bombs.

Looks, sounds and music
What really differs from the previous games are the looks. ZUN seems to have dedicated quite a lot of attention to looks and animations as everything looks smooth and flashy. Every boss has a clearly a smoother animation while idling, attacking and way better portrait designs. Rest assure! No thumb faces on the girls! The backgrounds are nicely animated during spellcards which gives the entire boss fight a good look.

A small set of new bullets are introduced to be used by the bosses respectively. A few examples are the waterdrop bullets used by Captain Minamitsu Murasa and glowing pink bullets by Toramaru Shou and Hijiri Byakuren.

The stage musics are fitting and are unique in their kind. Though you can still hear and feel that typical ?Touhou style? in the arrangements. I am not going to make any personal opinions about the tracks as it is no use in this small post. All I can say is a lot of music tracks are too much reminding of the older game songs. The best example would be Nue?s theme being very close to Flandre?s U.N Owen.

Finally a small set of sound effects have been added. We already know the ?humming/buzzing? sound Unzan makes when appearing, but some laser beams, used by Nazrin, Shou and Hijiri remind me of a boat horn combined with the sound of an electric beam.

What would be a good reason to play Undefined Fanastic Object you would ask. I would say: Nothing. If you are a true Touhou fan you don?t make exceptions and go play and experience it yourself. Judgments can be always made based on your personal opinions such as taste for music and spellcards. More beautiful graphics, the classic bombing system and a rather interesting UFO collecting system changes the gameplay again. For the love of our Touhou girls, please play.

Final words: If I only lived (or were) in Japan now to attend the Comiket =(


few teasing screenshots

Awesome thread.

Anyways, played it for the first time on normal. I died on Murasa's survival as I lost a whole load of lives at the stage due to eagerness and recklessness. Too eager to get those red UFOs.

But it seems really easy for Normal. Who agrees with me on this?

i should really get off of MoTK. i have to wait at least 7 hours so i can get home and play it, and waiting around here to pass the time is like gouging my eyes out with my fingernails and then dipping my head in acid.

but yeah Heian Alien is still awesome

Nine West:
Gahh, I really should play this, which probably won't happen until tomorrow...

Anyways, good job, Hele; I see that Aya have a new recruit, huh.

Tenbatsu! Myon Rabbie:
The Tiger-Patterned Vaisravana IS THE SHIT!


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