In video gaming, a Boss (ボス Bosu) is an enemy-based challenge (and a computer-controlled opponent in such a challenge), a combat between the player another character, that are generally at the end of a stage in the Touhou Project. A fight with a boss character is commonly referred to as a boss battle or boss fight that must be completed in order to proceed to the next stage or clear the game. Boss battles are generally seen at the climax of a particular section of the game, usually at the end of a stage, or guarding a specific objective, and the boss enemy is generally far stronger than the opponents the player has faced up to that point. The boss enemy is often larger in size than other enemies and the player character.
Specific boss types
A stage boss (面ボス Men bosu) is the end boss of a particular stage. A character's role as a stage boss is either not related to the main story (i.e. a "bypasser") or follows a leader of some sort that may be the final boss.
A Midboss (中ボス Chuubosu), also known as a miniboss or middle boss is a boss smaller and usually weaker than the main boss in a stage. Usually, the boss of a stage may also play the role of the midboss and have no spell cards. There have been cases where a midboss would appear twice on the same stage, such as Seiran, or a boss of an earlier stage to re-appear as a midboss, such as Nazrin. Defeating midbosses usually grants the player a large amount of items or a 1-up, depending on the situation. Also, it's rare, but there have been some midbosses that are stronger versions of stage enemies, such as the Wheel Demon.
The Final Boss (ラスボス Rasubosu), also as Saishuu bosu (最終ボス) or Last boss (ラストボス Rasuto bosu), is the opponent that's usually at the end of the game; the big finale. They are usually the main antagonists of a particular game, such as Remilia Scarlet being the one behind the Scarlet Mist Incident and Utsuho Reiuji wanting to take over the world. There have been cases however where the final boss is not the antagonist and is actually innocent, such as Byakuren Hijiri only wanting to leave Makai and start Buddhism for the equality of humans and youkai, but ended up fighting against the heroine. There is also the case that the last boss isn't the "leader" of some sort that have followers that were bosses from a previous stage, such as Utsuho being a pet to Satori Komeiji, a stage 4 boss and the master of the Palace of the Earth Spirits.
Final bosses are usually the hardest boss and that they've got a good number of spell cards to attack the player with. The final boss usually takes place on and most of stage 6 of each game, and after their defeat, it's the end of the game. Story of Eastern Wonderland is the only shoot 'em up game that the last boss, being Mima, is on Stage 5, one stage less. The stages they inhabit are usually heavily guarded by stage enemies and a midboss right before the final boss makes their appearance. Some games have shown that choosing Easy as the difficulty cannot allow you to pass stage 5 to face the final boss.
In fighters, such as Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, the final boss, being Tenshi Hinanawi, is not the default final boss for all character scenarios and her status is replaced by another character, such as Yukari Yakumo being the final boss Remilia Scarlet's scenario and Reimu Hakurei being the final boss of Tenshi's and Aya Shameimaru's scenario. Touhou Hisoutensoku has a different final boss per scenario, then being Suwako Moriya for Sanae Kochiya, Alice Margatroid for Cirno and the Giant Catfish for Hong Meiling. Highly Responsive to Prayers and Imperishable Night also takes a similar approach.
An Extra boss (EXボス Ex bosu) is a type of boss that's optional and that it's suppose to be a challenge for the player that only appears on the "Extra Stage". They can only be encountered if certain conditions are met in the main scenario of a Touhou Project game. These bosses are considered harder to deal with due to their difficult danmaku and having more spell cards than the final boss, usually up to ten of them. In some rare cases, regular stage bosses can take the role of the extra boss, such as Rika and Alice Margatroid. Extra bosses are also usually immune to bombs.
A unique feature of extra bosses is that when the boss casts a spell card, an illustration of said boss appears in the background. Though this is only true from Embodiment of Scarlet Devil to Subterranean Animism.
Only one character has ever had this role: Yukari Yakumo in Perfect Cherry Blossom. This role is thought of being a harder boss than an extra, although ZUN said that the extra boss, that been Ran Yakumo, is the easy version because the danmaku patterns Yukari shows are similar to Ran's. Getting to fight her can only be unlocked by completing the Extra Stage and capturing at least 60 spell cards throughout the game across all difficulties.
A Boss rush is fighting a number of bosses one by one without any form of stage. There might at times have a pause break between the boss fight. The only known level to show this is the extra stage of Banshiryuu, where VIVIT-r or Hirano Sakurasaki has to fight various bosses from the previous games: Shuusou Gyoku and Kioh Gyoku, them being Marie, Milia, Mei & Mai, Gates, Morgan, Muse then Icarus. It can be thought of that all Touhou Project games are in a way a boss rush because the player is put up with a boss or midboss more often than the stage itself, especially with the fighter spin-offs.
List of Bosses
This is a list of all known bosses that have appeared in the Touhou Project and other related series.
See also: Immaterial and Missing Power: Characters, Shoot the Bullet: Characters, Scarlet Weather Rhapsody: Characters, Double Spoiler: Characters, Hopeless Masquerade: Characters and Impossible Spell Card: Characters
| Highly Responsive to Prayers
|| the Story of Eastern Wonderland
|| Phantasmagoria of Dim.Dream
|| Lotus Land Story
|| Mystic Square|
| the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil
|| Perfect Cherry Blossom
|| Imperishable Night
|| Phantasmagoria of Flower View|
| Mountain of Faith
|| Subterranean Animism
|| Undefined Fantastic Object
|| Touhou Hisoutensoku|
| Fairy Wars
|| Ten Desires
|| Double Dealing Character
|| Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom
|| Hidden Star in Four Seasons|
| Shuusou Gyoku
|| Kioh Gyoku
| Torte Le Magic
|| Uwabami Breakers|
Bosses are usually significantly superior to regular stage enemies, and are usually found at the end of a stage. A lot of characters of the Touhou Project have played the role of being a boss of some sort, having their own spell cards or using a sequence of danmaku patterns in the PC-98. The games have had both stage enemies and bosses in them, with rare exceptions of both appearing at the same time or having just bosses. Games such as Highly Responsive to Prayers, Scarlet Weather Rhapsody and Shoot the Bullet only consists of bosses.
As they can sustain a lot more damage than normal enemies, bosses commonly have a health bar which is displayed either on top of the screen or around them in a circle, usually with their name or a portrait of them attached. The health bar changed by removing a star to tell the player how many spell cards the boss has left before they're considered defeated. No health bars were shown in Story of Eastern Wonderland. Also, like the player, they've got a hit box, where the player must hold the shot button in order to decrease the health bar. Usually, there would be only one hit box, but may have more for cases such as YuugenMagan. Each time the player defeats a boss's pattern or spell card, they are rewarded with various items such as a power point, a bomb or even a 1-up. Being shoot 'em ups, it's very seldom to see characters use their own physical body to attack the player and that they just use bullets. Also, each boss will have a timer of some sort, limiting to how long the player has to clear a boss's phrase.
Usually, boss battles are typically seen as dramatic events. As such, they are characterised with unique theme music and dialogue cutscenes before and after the boss battle. This can add more personality to a character/boss and/or adds more information about the story of a particular game. in non-Touhou Project series, such as the Seihou Project and Project Blank, a "WARNING" sign appears right before the boss appears.
Bosses from a fighter or a phantasmagoria, unlike other games, have the same capacity of attacks as the player does, which can make more equal chances of who can win. This means that an opponent's spell card can be just as powerful as the player's. Also, fighters allows a character's body to be more energetic to fight their opponent rather than just be limited to danmaku. In games such as Phantasmagoria of Flower View and Kioh Gyoku, you don't directly attack the opponent; rather, you defeat stage enemies that'll put bullets on their screen for them to get hit.
In some games, the boss can return from a previous game, sometimes in a new form with alternate attacks. Their status of powerfulness may change to reflect the game and the stage that they on, such as Yuyuko Saigyouji originally being the final boss of Perfect Cherry Blossom, then was dramatically dropped to being a stage 1 boss in Ten Desires.
Being fangames, these may take any genre of gaming other that a shoot 'em up to treat on how a boss should role in a particular game. They will often change the status of a Touhou character to become a stronger or weaker boss that doesn't reflect their canon, such as using Flandre Scarlet as the stage 1 midboss of Concealed the Conclusion. There are many fangames that don't take bosses as the prime role of the game and may concentrate on stage enemies.
There is of course RPG fangames, where defeating bosses in these requires the player to gain experiences and items in order to be able to be strong enough in order to defeated the boss, compared to official Touhou games. There's platformers that may take a minimum of 3 hits until a boss is finally defeated, usually by just jumping on their heads, such as in New Super Marisa Land. However, there still exist shoot 'em up fangames that resemble the official games, having 6 stages with an extra stage.
The first ever boss in the Touhou Project is SinGyoku, being the stage 5 boss of Highly Responsive to Prayers. The first ever boss for a shoot 'em up, the main gameplay of Touhou, is Rika with her Flower-Tank with the first ever midboss being the Shrine Tank. The first final boss would either have been Sariel or Konngara, depending on the route taken in HRtP, but the first ever in a shoot 'em up is Mima of Story of Eastern Wonderland. The first ever extra boss is Rika with her Evil Eye Σ. Additionally, the first boss to introduce the spell card system is Rumia in Embodiment of Scarlet Devil.
- Marisa Kirisame makes a reference to video game bosses in Subterranean Animism, explicitly saying to Parsee Mizuhashi that she's "the boss of the dungeon" with Alice Margatroid agreeing.
- Some fans consider the theme of a particular stage to be the "boss theme" of its midboss, such as "Voile, the Magic Library" being Koakuma's theme, but there is no indication that this is really the case.
- Following the pattern in Perfect Cherry Blossom, fans have envisioned what a possible "Phantasm" or "After Extra" stage might be like for games without one. For example, a fan-made Phantasm Stage was made for Mountain of Faith with Momiji Inubashiri as its boss, as well as one for Subterranean Animism (in Subterranean Hatred) with fan-made character Mitori Kawashiro as its boss.
- In fanworks, final bosses may sometimes be compared to each other or treated as a group of friends. This is also the case for extra bosses.