Double Dealing Character/Gameplay/Strategy/Character Review

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Basic Principles[edit]

The game has 3 characters, each of them comes with 2 equipment options. Unlike previous games that had character subtypes in them, in DDC character subtypes share the high-speed shot. You start with 3 bombs (versus 2 in TD), but if you die you will return to having 3 bombs regardless of how many bombs you had before you died (you do not lose fragments). That means, you can easily lose a lot of bombs if you accumulate many of them and die before using them. Essentially, the game behaves exactly like EoSD here. Using a bomb now once again attracts all the on-screen items to you (which is especially good news for Marisa, as her bombs are now much more useful than they were in UFO and TD). If you die, you lose 0.50 power and drop 7 small power items. You can only gain extra lives by collecting life fragments. There are no "full life" items in this game. In addition to life fragments, you may (and should) collect bomb fragments as well. You need 3 life fragments to gain an extra life, and 8 bomb fragments to gain an extra bomb, same as in previous games. You can spawn a fragment by collecting a lot of items at once by going over the POC or using a bomb. If you can successfully trigger a fragment, you will also receive a point bonus. You will usually receive a bomb fragment for absorbing a lot of items, but if the bonus value reaches x2.0 or if you collect five lesser bonuses, a life fragment is spawned instead. The fragments also appear at transitions during a boss fight (that is, after normal attacks or spell cards), but only if you clear the attack (complete it without dying or using a bomb). This also applies to endurance spell cards. Some attacks don't yield fragments. Items spawned during boss battles and through bonuses share the same counter that determines the life fragment spawning. Life fragments can still appear even if you reach the maximum amount of lives (8), but they will be counted as a bomb fragment upon collection. Attacking a boss with high-speed shots will generate power items, focused shots will generate minor point items (high-speed shots generate minor point items too, if you have full power). Point items are spawned at a much faster rate. Deathbomb interval (the amount of time you have immediately after death to cancel it with a bomb) is the same as in recent Touhou games, 8 frames.

Due to the nature of the game, it is a very bad practice to keep many bombs on hand - the risk of losing them is often not worth it. In fact, it is a good idea to use the bombs mid-stage during moments when there are a lot of items on screen, but you can't fly up to absorb them. The amount of items will generally be big enough to trigger a x2.0 bonus and a life fragment. Think of it as exchanging your bombs for lives.

Ability Review[edit]

Reimu[edit]

Special ability: slightly smaller hitbox

High-speed shot: Homing Amulet

This ability pretty much hasn't changed from Ten Desires, they're the usual homing bullets, few in number and lacking in speed. They're also fairly weak, but being homing bullets, they're really easy to use.

Reimu A (Use the bewitched weapon "Purification Rod")[edit]

Run-Circles-Around-Enemies Evasion Stress Type

This type makes fighting midstage enemies somewhat difficult, especially if you're considering staying in focused mode all the time. If you actually want to kill the enemies, you'll have to add some of the high-speed shots from time to time. On the other hand, this shot type is very useful for stage 5, where enemies come from below. If you can leave your focused rod on one side and take the other yourself, you will dominate your enemies completely. This shot type isn't as strict about positioning during boss fights, allowing you to focus on dodging instead of maintaining the optimal shooting position. The bomb of this type is essentially only useful for getting past attacks you're bad at. Don't wait for the bullets to corner you: if you know the attack is bad, start planning your bomb ahead of time for maximum damage output. This shot type exhibits great damage during boss fight - the shots are more powerful than those of Reimu B, and the bomb can be almost as strong as Dark Spark if used skilfully. This makes Reimu A a great type for fighting bosses. Overall, this is a fairly powerful player type, but it has a few quirks that need to be taken into account. It's probably not the best character for a beginner, but it's not that complicated to use.

Low-speed shot: Greedy Onusa[edit]

A slow yet powerful round homing shot. When you start firing, a rod initially appears in front of Reimu. Then, as you keep firing, it will search for enemies to hit. The rod does maximum damage when it's positioned right on top of the enemy, but the rod doesn't maintain this position and slowly drifts away, until only its tip is hitting the enemy. When you stop firing or switch to high speed, it quickly disappears and resets its position. Enemy searching is determined based on the position of the rod. That means that the farther an enemy is from the rod, the lower priority it gets for searching. The range is also smaller than the high-speed shots. One of the most useful properties of this shot is that it hits all the enemies within rod's rotation area, allowing you to heavily damage multiple enemies at once. Because of narrow searching scope and low speed, great care must be taken when using this shot type against midstage enemies. Then again, its high power can simplify stages greatly. A usual trick is to leave the rod on one side and shoot with the character on the other. This ensures rapid killing and easiness of items collection. You may even try to stay near the top of the screen while using this pattern, though it is certainly risky. This tactic works best during stage 5 with enemies that come from below. On the other hand, this shot type is incredibly powerful against bosses, as the rod will always hit the enemy regardless of your own position. Still, it is worth to try and align your character with the boss, as the full damage of this shot type is simply amazing. Remember about the rod drifting and keep tweaking its position for maximum efficiency.

Spell Card: Bewitched Weapon "Merciless Purification Rod"[edit]

A rod appears in front of area and sweeps the screen 8 times. Your speed is greatly reduced while the bomb is active, and your shots stop. This bomb has a small effective area and is also bad at erasing enemy bullets. On top of that, you can't even augment it with your regular shots. The most important thing when using this bomb is to make sure it can hit the enemy right from the start. This is the key to dealing proper damage with it. The proper damage of this bomb is fairly high, allowing you to get through most cards with just one bomb. A common mistake is using this bomb when you're cornered near the wall. This usually ends in about half of the bomb's firepower being wasted. You'll generally have to drop another bomb in that case. With that said, it is very important that use plan the bomb usage ahead to make sure the enemy takes all the damage from it. Perhaps the most peculiar thing about this bomb is that the base part of the rod hits for more damage than the tip.

In fact, this was tested on stage 6 boss normal attack 4. Here are the results (all 8 sweeps had hit the boss):

Tip - remaining health: a bit over 50%.
Base - remaining health: around 33%.
For reference, Dark Spark - remaining health: around 40%.

Reimu B (Don't use the bewitched weapon)[edit]

Traditional balance type

Overall, this type is simple and straightforward. With homing unfocused shots, powerful focused shots and a bomb that excels at erasing enemy bullets, this shot type makes any fight easy to handle.

Low-speed shot: Persuasion Needle[edit]

Frontal high-speed needle bullets. Fairly powerful... if you can hit the enemy with all the needles. Without that, its damage is only mediocre. This shot type isn't very good at focusing its power in a single point. This is the price you have to pay for a good attack scope.

Spell Card: Spirit Sign "Fantasy Seal"[edit]

Summons 8 exploding light spheres that initially rotate about Reimu and then fly off searching for enemies. This is one of the weaker bombs. The spheres still have hitboxes while they're rotating, so if you release the bomb while near the enemy, you can squeeze out more damage.

Marisa[edit]

Special ability: point of collection for items is located slightly lower.

Important note for MoF-TD players: note that Marisa's unique trait has changed, and she no longer gains a larger item absorption area. If you're used to older Marisa types, make sure you're at least not missing and life or bomb fragments. Marisa's focused shots (both types) have narrow scopes but high firepower. Marisa A is a very risky character type, which requires standing close to the boss in order to produce decent damage. Staying far from the boss reduces the shot power so much, you might not even be able to clear the spell card before the timeout. Marisa B can't damage enemies with her bomb, but she can use it as a protective shield, which allows you to pick a better firing position. This type gets better with higher difficulties at it allows you to gain a lot of extra fragments.

High-speed shot: Illusion Laser

Lasers. At power levels 1 and 2 they only fire forward, but at levels 3 and 4 additional diagonal lasers are added. Unlike previous games, lasers don't pierce enemies.

Marisa A (Use the bewitched weapon "Mini-Hakkero")[edit]

Exothermic Power Stress Type

With focused shots that get more powerful the closer you are to the enemy, and an incredibly strong bomb, this character type is just as strong as it looks. However, it'll be hard to hit enemies with your attacks, so you'll have to really develop a sound strategy for both stages and boss fights that take into account enemy bullet patterns and allow you to maximize your time in front of them. It is also possible to collect items with this type by firing a bomb. This makes bomb usage during stages a much better idea.

Low-speed shot: Eight Trigram Fire[edit]

Slow fiery bullets that you shoot in front of yourself. Very powerful if you're near the enemy. Bullets can only travel about 80% of the screen, which means you won't be able to shoot the targets at the very top of the screen if you stay at the very bottom. This is only a problem in theory, though, as such situations don't normally occur during actual gameplay. While you're firing, the bullets also create a damage zone immediately behind you. This makes deaths from running backwards into an enemy slightly less likely. The fire can obscure enemy bullets, so be careful.

Spell Card: Bewitched Weapon "Dark Spark"[edit]

Black Master Spark. Shoots a huge wide laser in front of you. This bomb is very strong and also has a great coverage. However, your speed drops sharply while you're using it, and you can't fire your normal shots. Like in TD, you can adjust the firing angle somewhat by moving your character. This bomb automatically collects items, which makes it much more useful during stages than its previous versions.

Marisa B (Don't use the bewitched weapon)[edit]

Self-Sustaining Spiritual Power Absorption Type

This type contains a tricky low-speed shot and a bomb that allow you to quickly raise your power level. It has a lot of strengths, like the ability to easily recover from death, and an extremely powerful focused shot. However, the bomb is hard to use, and it can't help you much with damage. It takes some skill to make the bomb useful. Perhaps the most frustrating part about this type is the fights where you have to do a lot of horizontal movements. These movements hurt your damage severely, and can easily result in a timeout. Perfecting the use of this type's bomb can make your life much easier on higher difficulties. Once you get used to it, it might just be the perfect type for game clearing. With that said, the quirks of this type require careful planning and practice, so it's recommended for experts.

Low-speed shot: Magic Drain Missile[edit]

These shots haven't changed much from TD, they're still the same accelerating explosive rocket shots. Shot density and coverage are low, but the explosions can hit multiple enemies. The shots themselves are very powerful. You can output a lot of damage during boss fights even if you don't do your best at staying in front of the enemies, or close to them. These shots will occasionally generate power items when they hit an enemy. You will gain power items at the same rate you do when you hit bosses with unfocused shots.

Spell Card: Magic Absorber[edit]

Creates a magic circle which converts all enemy bullets it comes in contact with into power items. The circles stays on screen for a fairly decent time. For every 5 absorbed bullets 1 power item is generated. If the circle absorbs 300 bullets simultaneously, it generates a life fragment. This is an extremely useful bombs for higher difficulties because of high bullet density. On those difficulties, it is sometimes more profitable to use a bomb for potential gain as opposed to trying to dodge the bullets. Because of that, this bomb becomes progressively better with difficulty level. You can gain a lot of fragments by carefully using this bomb. However, you cannot turn the bullets from enemy spell cards into point items (since 1.00a). The size of the circle is about 1/4 of MoF's Spirit Attack. In other words, not really large. Invincibility time granted by this bomb is very short and wears off long before the circle does, so be careful. However, by staying inside the circle, you're effectively immune to all shots. You can still die from touching the enemy though. You can not fire off another Absorber until the previous circle wears off, which makes it impossible to chain the bomb in order to gain extra invincibility time. Because of that, it's very easy to waste these bombs by dying before you can exhaust them. Be very careful.

Sakuya[edit]

Special ability: slightly reduces items' falling speed.

The really unique thing about Sakuya is that both of her bombs deal zero damage. She's a very quirky character, probably not suited for those aiming for easy 1cc.

High-speed shot: Throwing Knives

Throws many knives in front of the character. A wide range shot. Feels a lot like her Illusion Sign unfocused attack from PCB. This shot is very useful for stages, but is horrible against bosses.

Sakuya A (Use the bewitched weapon "Silver Blade")[edit]

Glinting Silver Diversionary Attack Type

When the shots of this type hit midstage enemies, they slow them down. It's a very peculiar shot type, which allows you to develop unusual strategies for stages. It's also a fairly high-damage type. This shot type is very hard to use midstage, but it's highly effective against bosses, as the shots seek their targets. The damage output against a single target is also very high. The proper way to use this shot type midstage is to combine it with high-speed shots. Once you get the feel for it, you'll be able to blast through stages easily. The bomb of this type also allows for easy fragment generation (not as effective as Marisa B, though). Despite the tricky nature of this type, it's very easy to get used to, and is able to perform really well. It's one of the easier types to play as.

Low-speed shot: Bewitched Sword "Silver Blade"[edit]

Creates enemy-searching daggers and launches them. After they hit their target, knives don't immediately disappear, but instead remain stuck in the enemy. After some time, or when you unfocus, the knives explode for high damage, hitting all the enemies around them. While the knives are stuck, they lower the speed of the enemies. This also affects their shooting speed. By quickly slowing down an enemy that fires many bullets and finishing it off swiftly with unfocused shots, you can greatly reduce the number of bullets you have to dodge. These shots slow down the timer during boss fights as well, and make the pattern a little bit easier to dodge. Because of that, this shot is invaluable during certain spell cards. However, the bonus decay rate stays the same. It is therefore possible to receive a negative bonus for clearing a spell card (if you slow the timer down at the very beginning and then time out the card).

Spell Card: Bewitched Weapon "Silver Another Dimension"[edit]

Blacks out the screen, causing all present items to be immediately collected, and erecting a barrier around you. Barrier creation removes all enemy bullets in your immediate vicinity. The barrier then lasts for exactly 10 seconds. If you get hit while the barrier is up, all enemy bullets on the screen are immediately cleared, the barrier is removed and another item collection is triggered. Enemy receives no damage from the barrier whatsoever. If you're not hit while the barrier is active (that is, if the barrier expires naturally), 3 bomb fragments are created. (Is says 2 in the manual, but it seems to be a mistake.) This is the only bomb in the game that can trigger 2 item collections per one use, making this character type second best after Marisa B for generating life fragments. Barrier expiration does not give you any extra invulnerability time, so make sure you aren't killed right after it fades. Also, during barrier creation, and immediately after being shot inside the barrier, your character stops for about 1 second. Unlike Nitori's bomb from SA, invoking another bomb while the barrier in active will cause the activation to fail. Also, the barrier does not increase your firepower. If the boss invokes a spell card, the barrier won't immediately fail, it will continue operating as normal for the rest of its duration. This bomb is especially useful if you manage to invoke it as a deathbomb: not only will you save yourself from death, but the barrier will still be erected.

Sakuya B (Don't use the bewitched weapon)[edit]

Well-Adjusted Item Increase Type

This shot type allows you to create point items by hitting enemies, making it a great type for scoring. Watch out for the "Item Increase Type" description the game provides you with: you will only receive extra point items, not power items.

Low-speed shot: Smart Robber[edit]

A lot of straight flying knives + intersecting knives. Staying close to the enemy will improve the point item generation, but not the firepower. There's no point in staying near the enemy unless you care about scoring. Intersecting knives do almost no damage, do not rely on them. This shot has decent firepower, but incredibly poor range. It will be really hard to walk through stages using this shot. On the other hand, hitting enemies with this shot will cause point items to drop. You can't ignore this source of points if you're doing a score run.

Spell Card: Time Sign "Dual Vanish"[edit]

Momentarily inverts the screen colors, freezes enemy bullets in place, then causes them to turn into point items... yes, that's all it does. It it a very short card that deals no damage to the enemy. You can't be hit while under the effect of the bomb (naturally), making it perfect for grazing (much like Reimu A in SA). This bomb is somewhat close to Sakuya's "Perfect Square" bomb from PCB.

Bomb durations chart[edit]

These values are estimate, accurate to 1-2 frames.

Character Type Seconds Frames Notes
Reimu A 4.85 291
Reimu B 4.02 241
Marisa A 5.70 342 Longest
Marisa B 3.30 200
Sakuya A 2.00 120 Barrier creation and burst time
Sakuya B 3.00 180

Offensive ability comparison[edit]

These values are subject to change. Values can be (and likely are) subjective.

Character Type Frontal Power - Close Range Frontal Power - Mid Range Frontal Power - Long Range Non-frontal Power Bomb Power Notes
Reimu A 3 3 3 4 4 Homing + Autonomous
Reimu B 3 3 3 2 3 Balanced
Marisa A 4 3 3 1 4 Close range
Marisa B 4 4 4 1 2 Power + life fragments
Sakuya A 3 3 3 3 1 Homing, unique
Sakuya B 3 3 3 1 1 Frontal, scoring

Offensive ability comparative test run. Tests were conducted in Spell Practice Mode, using Flying Head "Multiplicative Head" (Easy). All characters were at 4.00 power. Game version 1.00b.

Character Type Total Time (seconds) Notes
Reimu (unfocused) 14.91 All bullets were hitting the enemy
Reimu (unfocused) 33.16 Sub-shots only
Reimu A (focused) 11.40 Rod centered on boss + main shots
Reimu A (focused) 14.10 Rod left near the boss + main shots
Reimu A (focused) 18.98 Rod only, centered on boss
Reimu A (focused) 29.60 Rod only, left near the boss
Reimu B (focused) 14.10 2 streams always miss
Marisa (unfocused) 15.16 Only 2 lasers hit the boss
Marisa A (focused) 14.33 Character stayed at the bottom
Marisa A (focused) 10.15 Sticking to the boss, see notes after the table
Marisa B (focused) 11.40
Sakuya (unfocused) 18.23 See notes after the table
Sakuya (unfocused) 22.06 Main shots only
Sakuya A (focused) 14.55 Main + Sub
Sakuya A (focused) 23.88 Sub-shots only
Sakuya B (focused) 13.65

About Marisa A when sticking close to the boss:

There was no actual way to do this card by sticking close to the enemy because of the defensive system of this card. Because of that, another run was made, with Marisa's performance being compared in Flight Sign "Flying Head" (Easy). The same delta was applied here to create the estimated result. In case you want to know, sticking close to the enemy destroyed Flying Head in 9.76 seconds.
By the way, Reimu's shots were tested with Flying Head as well, as her homing bullets kept choosing the heads during Multiplicative Head.

About Sakuya A, B unfocused:

Because of enemy's hitbox, the maximum efficiency for this shot type was main shots + 1 stream of sub-shots.
This shot type becomes much stronger during the last boss fight, as she has a huge hitbox. There have been reports of unfocused shots being more effective than Sakuya B focused shots.
In other words, the effectiveness of this shot type is determined by enemy hitbox.

General Comparison[edit]

These values are subject to change. Values can be (and likely are) subjective.

Character Type Stage Effectiveness Boss Effectiveness Spell Card Effectiveness Effectiveness for Game Clearing Score Potential Life and Bombs Potential Ease of Use
Reimu A 4 4 3 3 2 2 3
Reimu B 3 3 3 3 2 2 4
Marisa A 2 2 4 2 3 2 1
Marisa B 2 2 3 4 3 4 2
Sakuya A 3 4 3 3 3 3 4
Sakuya B 2 2 1 1 4 2 1