Avant-Garde Discerning Paralleler/Gameplay
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The game may be played using either a keyboard or a gamepad. Keyboard controls are as follows:
- The Arrow Keys move the character around
- Z causes a short barrage of shots to be fired; it may be held down for rapidfire
- X releases a bomb, also known as a Spell Card (presuming that you have any bombs left)
- Shift slows the character's movement, and changes the nature of the character's shot; it generally makes your attacks more focused
- Esc pauses the game and brings you to the in-game menu
- Ctrl fast-forwards dialogue
Avant-Garde Discerning Paralleler plays like a fairly typical vertically-scrolling danmaku shooting game, in which the player's character is always facing towards the top of the screen, shooting at anything that moves, avoiding and weaving between enemy bullets, and confronting difficult bosses at the end of a stage. It plays more closer to a typical official Touhou Project game.
There are 2 versions of each stage: Lap 1 and Lap 2. Lap 2 features significant differences in the number of bullets fired by each enemy, rate of fire, variations in the bullets' pattern of movement, and the number and type of enemy Spell Cards.
A character's "shot" is the player's primary method of attacking enemies. The shot's attack area and behavior varies depending on the character the player has chosen.
Point of Collection
Like official Touhou games, there is a line most of the way up the screen called the point of collection. If you move your character at or above this line, all items on the screen will be drawn to your character and collected for maximum value. As with Mountain of Faith onwards, you don't need to have full power or focus to use the POC - it's always available.
Like official Touhou games, AGDP features bombs (actually "spell cards") with distinct visual styles that differ between characters. A character's bomb is the player's limited-use method of getting out of difficult situations. A bomb's attack area, duration, and power varies depending on the character type the player has chosen, but it typically deals heavy damage to every enemy it touches, in addition to canceling out any bullets in the bomb's way. The player's character becomes invincible during and for a short time after the bomb's effect wears off.
At the beginning of a given stage, you will start off with 3 bombs. Unlike in a regular Touhou game, there is no way to gain more. If the player loses a life, the bomb counter only resets to default value of 2 if the player has less than 2 bombs — which means the player can always utilize all their accumulated bombs.
Bombing auto-collects all items on the screen, though not for their maximum value.
As usual, it is possible to "deathbomb". After being hit by a bullet, the player is given a very brief window of time to bomb and negate their death, thus not losing a life. The "death" sound effect will play, and the bomb will then activate.
You start off a stage with 3 lives (that is, 2 extra lives plus the one in use). You can lose a life by getting "hit" by an enemy attack.
The hit box for your character is quite small in comparison to your on-screen sprite, approximately only 5 pixels by 5 pixels in size. If you hold Shift, then a colored dot will appear that shows the hitbox precisely. If the hit box of your character's sprite comes into contact with the hit box of an enemy bullet, laser, or the enemy itself, then you have been hit.
In AGDP, the player's life stock is represented by hearts, located on the right-hand side of the screen. The player is awarded extra lives by collecting 1-up items, which are dropped by mid-bosses in certain stages. As each stage is meant to be played individually, lives and bombs cannot be gained through score like they can in regular Touhou games.
When you lose a life, the point item value (see below) will drop significantly. Also, you become invulnerable for a short period of time.
The full version of the game features 16 unique stages, which are individually selected from the main menu. Each team has 8 stages available, and each stage has two difficulty levels. "Lap 1" stages are unlocked simply by clearing the preceding stages, but "Lap 2" stages have a score requirement to be unlocked.
To unlock Lap 2 stages for a given team, that team must have a cumulative high score (the sum of their high scores in all unlocked stages, displayed on the Results screen) that meets or exceeds these values:
- 50,000,000,000 for Area 1
- 100,000,000,000 for Area 2
- 150,000,000,000 for Area 3
- 250,000,000,000 for Area 4
- 350,000,000,000 for Area 5
- 500,000,000,000 for Area 6
- 700,000,000,000 for Area 7
- 900,000,000,000 for the Final Area
Values are accurate to version 1.00d.
The main challenge and the main attraction. Each boss has multiple health bars, represented by star icons at the upper left of the screen. Each health bar is displayed at the top of the screen. Bosses usually alternate between attacking normally and attacking with Spell Cards, switching once with each health bar. Markers on the health bar indicate the start of a Spell Card attack when the boss's health is depleted that far.
Normal attacks are typically incrementally stronger versions of the boss character's basic attack. Spell Card attacks bedazzle the player with combinations of complex patterns that often involve the use of bullet projectiles and obstacles crafted especially for use with that Spell Card. If the player manages to defeat a Spell Card attack without getting hit or using any bombs, a substantial score bonus is rewarded for the feat.
Each attack is accompanied by a timer, displayed in the top-right corner of the screen. When time runs out, the boss will switch to their next attack pattern even if their health bar isn't empty. Waiting for a boss character's attack pattern to self-destruct may be enough to beat them, but mere survival won't earn the player any score bonuses. The exception is when the boss is invulnerable for the duration of the spell card; in these cases the player will receive the bonus on survival.
When fighting a boss, a position marker shows up on the bottom margin of the screen, indicating where the boss is on the horizontal axis. Since your target can be completely obscured by bullets or darkness at times, use this marker to help you aim your shots. The marker will dim when the boss is being hit, and will flash red when her health bar gets sufficiently depleted.
(To be added)
- Your character
- Player Score
- High Score: your highest score for the current character and difficulty
- Score: your current score
- The number of remaining lives and bombs / The approximate location of the point of collection
- Player Status
- Point value: the current maximum value of point items
- Graze: the number of enemy shots that have grazed your hitbox during the game
- The number of enemy bullets on the screen
- Connect Bonus: the current value of the Connect Bonus, present during boss fights
- Enemy Status
- Left bar(s): the number of health bars the enemy has left. White bars indicate the boss will use regular attacks, red bars indicate the boss will use a spell card.
- Right number: the amount of time left before the enemy's attack spell fails (self-destructs)
- Spell Card Status
- Title: the name of the Spell Card being used
- Bonus: the constantly-updating value of the Spell Card Bonus
- History: the number of times you have "collected" the Spell Card currently being used, and the number of times you have faced it.
- Lap 2 levels
- Level Practice
- Spell Practice
Any damage you deal to any stage enemy, whether it be caused by your shots or your bombs, will cause your score to increase very slightly. Actually destroying enemies will not award you any extra points.
As the name implies, point items are the major source of points in the game. They are worth more points the higher up on the screen they are collected, up to a defined maximum. When collected for their maximum value, the numbers displayed upon collection will be colored yellow. The Point of Collection is the same height as where point items reach their maximum value.
As in official Touhou games from Undefined Fantastic Object on, auto-collected items are still worth their full value if you happen to leave the auto-collect area before items contact your hit box. When auto-collecting items with a bomb, however, this does not apply.
The maximum value of point items is displayed on the right-hand side of the screen. Grazing enemy bullets will raise this value, while dying will lower it significantly. Erasing enemy bullets, whether by using a bomb or clearing a Spell Card, will convert them into smaller items that also increase the point item value, which are then auto-collected.
Special light-blue "Connect items" will occasionally be dropped by enemies in a stage. Collecting these items will cause a large cyan disc to appear in the background, along with a "Connect Score" number and a timer. The timer starts out at 10 seconds, and gains 5 seconds from any additional Connect Items, up to a maximum of 20 seconds. Any point items collected before the timer runs out will have their value added to the Connect Score bonus, in addition to the player's current score. Should the player maintain their Connect Score until a boss arrives, its value will be added to any Spell Card bonuses. If the timer runs out before then, however, the Connect Score will be lost. Grazing enemy bullets will extend the timer; taking advantage of this to keep the Connect Score going is crucial to getting high scores and unlocking later stages.
Spell Card Bonus
At regular intervals, a boss will attack using a Spell Card. This is indicated by the background changing and the Spell Card's name being displayed in the upper right corner of the screen. If the boss's health bar is depleted within the time limit and without getting hit or using a bomb, the Spell Card bonus will be added to the total score.
If the player has a Connect Bonus going into a boss fight, the value of the Connect Bonus will be added to any Spell Card bonuses. Should the player get hit or use a bomb, the Spell Card bonus will drop back down to its regular value, but the card won't be considered "failed" until another hit or bomb occurs.
At the end of a stage, the player is awarded a clear bonus, as well as a bonus calculated based on their remaining lives and bombs.
- If the player pauses during a boss fight, there is a chance that their replay will desync. This bug has been noted by the developers, and the chance of it happening has been greatly (though not entirely) reduced in version 1.00d.