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Embodiment of Scarlet Devil
the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil
Trial: June 10, 2002
Vertical Danmaku Shooting Game
Single-Player Story Mode
Touhou Koumakyou ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil (東方紅魔郷 ～ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, lit. "Eastern Lair of the Scarlet Devil"), henceforth referred without the definitive article the, is a vertical-scrolling danmaku shoot 'em up, and is the sixth official game in the Touhou Project by Team Shanghai Alice's sole member ZUN. It is the first to be released specifically for the Windows operating system and the starting point for the current canon of the Touhou Project, being a "sweep clean" from the PC-98 era.
Embodiment of Scarlet Devil features two playable characters to choose from, with two Spell Card types each. Reimu Hakurei can cover a wide area of the screen with weaker attacks, while Marisa Kirisame relies on her speed and power to make up for her thinner attack spread. The bombs show different behavior and damage depending on the character and type chosen.
Unlike its predecessor, Mystic Square, Embodiment of Scarlet Devil comes with an "automatic item collection" feature, which allows you to collect all items on the screen by moving to the top of the screen if you are at full power, as well as a counter-bomb system, which allows you to avoid a fatal hit by using a bomb immediately.
Though there are six total stages in the main game, playing on Easy will end the game after Stage 5.
ZUN's general goal when creating Embodiment of Scarlet Devil was to remove the systems appearing in newer shmups, which he thought overly complicated the games, and to let the player have fun simply dodging bullets.
As the first Windows game, the engine was written from scratch using the DirectX API - with help from a few libraries from Amusement Makers - and ZUN apologizes for the seeming lack of creativity with things like grunt enemies, citing a lack of manpower while concentrating on building up libraries and tools himself. The engine would later be used in Perfect Cherry Blossom, Imperishable Night, and Phantasmagoria of Flower View.
If you do a text search of the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil data files, you can find the name "冴月麟" (Satsuki Rin) near the other playable characters. Associated with her are the attack types 花符 (Flower Sign) and 風符 (Wind Sign). Some theories have been invented about this mysterious character, including that she is a Kirin (due to the matching character in her name) and that she is a nurse, based on a remark of Marisa's in the Extra Stage. There is also an unused boss that was found in the data. It may have been a default Rumia, or Rin Satsuki. It seems that it may have been used for stage 1. No one really knows more about it.
During a peaceful summer in Gensokyo, an unnatural scarlet mist appears without warning and covers much of the land. It is strong enough to block out the sun, causing the affected areas to become dark and cold. Reimu Hakurei, a shrine maiden working at the Hakurei Shrine, and Marisa Kirisame, a magician, set out to find the source of the mist. Their search will lead them to the Scarlet Devil Mansion and to its eccentric owners...
Seventeen tracks in total were included in the game. In addition, they were in .wav format, marking a significant step up from the FM synthesis ZUN used for the PC-98 games. However, the game itself included an option to play the music through a MIDI device, and later games would continue to do so until the full version of Phantasmagoria of Flower View.
In the Afterword by ZUN, he states that he was aiming to give the music a "brighter" feel over the PC-98 games by attempting to add jazz fusion elements to the tracks. He goes on to say that Septette for the Dead Princess and U.N. Owen was her? were the songs he most thought of as representative of Embodiment of Scarlet Devil. Incidentally, these two songs are among the tunes most commonly arranged by fan groups.
Shanghai Alice of Meiji 17 and U.N. Owen was her? would later be re-released in an arranged form on Dolls in Pseudo Paradise. Shanghai Teahouse ~ Chinese Tea would also be arranged for Changeability of Strange Dream, and Locked Girl ~ The Girl's Secret Room for Retrospective 53 minutes. U.N. Owen was her? was also arranged for a CD extra that came with the first volume of Strange and Bright Nature Deity, where it was redone to carry a more suitable tone for the manga.
In addition, Lovestruck Tomboy would later be arranged in Phantasmagoria of Flower View as Adventure of the Lovestruck Tomboy.
Embodiment of Scarlet Devil was first announced on ZUN's website on April 15, 2002, approximately three and a half years after the release of Mystic Square. At this time, it was being developed under the name "Eastern Scarlet Teahouse" (東方紅茶館 Touhou Kouchakan); it was changed to the current name afterwards. Beginning with an early trial version on June 10, 2002, the trial versions went through a number of revisions until the game's final release at Comiket 62 on August 11, 2002. Patches would be released up until late that November, ending on version 1.02g.
In addition to its normal release, ZUN also released an exclusive Extra stage demo to doujin shops such as Tora no Ana and Akibaoukoku. In this version, the last part of the boss is much harder.
ZUN — Programer, Graphic Designer, Music Composer
Ponchi (pbg) — Program Support
and All Test Players
The characters in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil continue to be some of the most popular ones in the Touhou Project. In particular, Sakuya Izayoi has consistently been in the top 4 in the Touhou Popularity Contests held by the Japanese Touhou Wiki since its inception after Comiket 63. Remilia Scarlet and Flandre Scarlet continue to be well-loved characters, as well. In addition to the ever-popular Septette for the Dead Princess and U.N. Owen was Her?, songs such as Shanghai Alice in Meiji 17 and Shanghai Scarlet Teahouse ~ Chinese Tea gained much recognition.
- Embodiment of Scarlet Devil scoreboard at royalflare
- Embodiment of Scarlet Devil scoreboard at Maidens of the Kaleidoscope
- Embodiment of Scarlet Devil scoreboard at shmups.system11.org
- Touhou scoreboards at Touhou.pl
- Embodiment of Scarlet Devil: Afterword — "Embodiment of Scarlet Devil brings things back to the starting point, by curbing the game systems that change the difficulty in obscure ways while at the same time, pursuing the natural fun of dodging bullets."
- Embodiment of Scarlet Devil: Afterword
- ZUN's reply to messages on the former Gensou Bulletin Board 1