LYX/Game Reviews/Embodiment of Scarlet Devil

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Published here on October 23, 2020.

从今天开始我会简单写一些个人对东方正作的简评,先设立几个原则:

1. 仅讨论作为STG的部分,强调功能性和实用性,尽量回避音乐、人物、剧情、考据等;

2. 可以和此作品之前的正作比较,但不允许和之后的比较;

3. 尽量不讨论旧作,不讨论格斗、对战和小数点作;

4. 不可以说ZUN坏话;

5. 可以骂2UN。

个人水平有限,我讲的不一定都对,也可能会有点乱,有不到之处还望海涵。

太长不看版:TH06虽然明显带有一些缺点,但作为windows平台上的第一款东方project STG,应该看到它积极和进步的一面。

Starting today I will be writing my personal review of the Touhou main games. Here I'll first establish some ground rules:

1. I only discuss the STG parts of the game, focusing on effectiveness and practicality. Topics such as music, characters, plot, and source material are avoided.

2. Comparisons with works before the current one are allowed, but not with works after.

3. Discussion of PC-98, fighting games, Phantasmagoria games, and spinoffs are avoided.

4. No maliciousness towards ZUN.

5. Cursing 2UN[1] is allowed.

My skill is limited, so what I say is not always correct and may be confusing. Please excuse any insufficiencies.

TL;DR: Although TH06 has some obvious flaws, as the first Touhou Project on the Windows platform, its ambition and improvement are to be acknowledged.

一. 画质和操作手感 1. Aesthetics and Ergonomics
从TH05到TH06,中间隔了相当长的一段时间。TH06首先更换了平台,毕竟windows已经成为主流操作系统,而且进入21世纪,就算STG本身对画质要求不那么高,再用旧作那样粗糙的画面,也是说不过去的。

相比较于旧作,新平台新引擎下的TH06画质有了极大的提升,标准的60fps刷新率看起来非常舒服,运行流畅,配置要求也不高,并且ZUN在背景中大量使用了一种能让平面贴图组合成看起来像立体模型一般的伪3D技术,极大的丰富了游戏背景画面。

操作手感略欠佳,自机移动带有延迟,可能是ZUN尚未特别注意到这个问题,亦或代码水平有待提高。

整体上讲,新引擎的表现是合格的。

From TH05 to TH06, there was quite a large gap of time. Firstly, TH06 changed platforms as Windows had become the predominant operating system. Additionally, it was now the 21st century. Even if STG's aren't very demanding visually, using the crude interface of PC-98 wouldn't have been reasonable.

Compared to PC-98, TH06's aesthetics improved dramatically under the new platform's engine. The standard 60fps refresh rate is nice to look at, runs smoothly, and had low system requirements. Additionally, ZUN used a sort of "fake 3D" to compose multiple flat images into something that looks like a 3D mesh, which greatly improved the game's backgrounds.

The ergonomics are less than ideal, player movement has a delay. It could be that ZUN still hadn't noticed this issue, or his coding skills still needed improvement.

As a whole, the performance of the new engine is passing.

二. 自机设计与平衡性 2. Shot Design and Balance
本作有2个自机,每个自机带了2种配置。

灵梦诱导:诱导很方便,很容易上手,但威力偏低了一点点;

灵梦直线:似乎是这个游戏里近身火力最强的机体,但要求对游戏有一定的熟悉;

魔理沙直线:同样威力很高,也同样要求熟悉游戏,子机射击带有延迟;

魔理沙贯通:很有趣的一种设计,激光可以贯穿,在敌人比较多的时候会有一点优势。

移动速度上,保留TH05的高低速移动设计。灵梦整体比较合理,魔理沙高速可能略偏快了一点点,很容易手滑。

雷:每个自机都带有独特视觉效果的雷,算是一种丰富的设计,实际使用效果差别略大,有的雷威力较低,更偏向于消弹。有决死雷,不过时间非常短,而且按出来也会算1miss,估计ZUN没有特别考虑过决死雷的设计。

总体来看各个机体之间的平衡性是比较好的,视觉效果也令人满意。

This game has two player characters, each player has two shots.

Reimu Homing: Homing is very convenient and easy to pick up, but power is a bit lower

Reimu Forward-Focus: Seems to be the strongest shot type up close in this game, but requires a familiarity with the game

Marisa Forward-Focus: Also very powerful, and also requires familiarity with the game. Subshots shoot on a delay.

Marisa Piercing: A very interesting design, the lasers pierce, giving a slight advantage when there are many enemies.

On movement speed, the normal/focused movement of TH05 is retained. Reimu's speed is more acceptable, while Marisa's is a bit fast, it's easy to slip up.

Bombs: Every shot has a bomb with its own special effects, a quite fulfilling design. The actual effects of use are more differentiated. Some are less powerful and are more oriented towards cancelling bullets. There are deathbombs, but the time is extremely short, and executing one still counts as a miss. ZUN probably did not put any special consideration towards deathbombing.

As a whole, the balance between shot types is quite good, and I'm pretty happy with their visual effects.

三. 系统 3. System
保留了旧作的P点和蓝点,增加了道具回收线功能,在满火力状态下可以极大的方便玩家全屏回收道具,但不满火力仍然需要“接鸡蛋”。保留了擦弹系统。

随机抽取起始点的道具掉落序列,个人认为不是一个好的设计,尤其对于第一关而言。

个人没有玩过刷分,从观看录像和与其他玩家的交流来看,这个游戏如果想刷高分,必须尽量多积累擦弹数,然后尽量多的消弹,擦弹数和消弹得分联系非常紧密。这个设计到底好不好,要看与弹幕设计的配合程度,我觉得在这个游戏里,这算不上有多好。

Boss Spell Card系统(以下简称SC)是一个亮点,在这个系统下boss会展现独特的背景画面与相较于通常攻击更加强力的弹幕,击破还会额外取得一定的Spell Card Bouns(旧作的boss没有明确提出这个概念,虽然个别boss也会展现特有的背景,击破也普遍会掉落道具)。

Boss血条边界不明显,通常攻击和SC混在一起,不容易判断。

整体而言系统简洁,变量少,关联简单,比较容易理解。

Retained power and point items from PC98, added the Point of Collection, where players can conveniently collect all items on screen at full power. But when power is not full, they still need to "pick up eggs". Retains graze system.

The randomly-seeded spawn order of items is not a good design in my opinion, especially in stage 1.

I have not scored this game, but from watching replays and discussing with other players, if you want to score in this game, you must graze proactively and cancel as much as possible. The two are highly tied to scoring gain. Whether this design is good or not depends on its coordination with the danmaku design. I feel that in this game, it's not too good.

Boss spell cards (SC) are a high point. Under this system, bosses will present a unique background and related danmaku that is stronger than their normal attacks. Defeating it will be rewarded with a Spell Card Bonus (PC-98 Bosses did not clearly highlight this idea, although some bosses also had unique backgrounds and dropped items when an attack was defeated).

The boundaries of boss health bars are not obvious, normal attacks and spell cards are mixed together and are not easy to tell apart.

As a whole, the system is simple, with few changes and few correlations, quite easy to understand.

四. 弹幕设计 4. Danmaku Design
相比较于TH05,不论是道中还是boss战,弹幕的丰富度、美观度都有了极大的提升,相信ZUN在沉寂这么多年的过程中学习积累了不少东西。

Boss不跟随玩家移动、乱飘是一个不太好的设计,本身boss受创判定不大,自机火力也算不上宽泛,这样的设计容易变成捉迷藏,另外还会带来一个很糟糕的效果:无缝弹幕。

SC由于设计原因,其本身也会有一定的概率出现没有办法躲掉,或者说对操作精度要求过高、人类不能熟练掌握的弹幕,这也是一个不太好的地方。个人认为让人无法足够提前预判的随机墙(看到墙的时候已经死了、或者就算看到也根本来不及安全通过)相当于是在耍玩家,这种随机不是好的设计,应该尽量避免。随机不是运气不好就直接封死玩家,而是都要明确的给活路,只不过运气不好的时候,活路会相对难找一点,这个分寸不容易把握,但是设计者一定要充分考虑。

部分弹幕实际判定与贴图比较接近,很实在,但与自机没有足够好的相对参照,遇到这样的子弹打过来,躲起来非常危险。当然这不是TH06独有的问题,只能说应该还可以设计得更好。

第四关根据自机不同,boss会释放不同的SC,这是一个很有趣的设计,当然这会给设计者自己带来更多的工作量。

保留了EX关卡设计,并且带来了很多与本篇相比更加奇特的弹幕,这点非常好。

游戏带有弹幕Rank,一直不扔雷也不死,难度会逐渐上升至封顶,具体体现在弹速、发弹频率和构型上,这是个比较标准的设计,很多STG游戏都会这么做,当然全部做成固定的也可以。

Compared to TH05, the richness and aesthetics of the danmaku are greatly improved, whether stage or boss battle. ZUN probably learned many things in those intervening years of silence.

Bosses not following the player and randomly drifting is not very good design. Bosses already have small hitboxes, and player shots are not especially wide, so this design easily becomes hide-and-seek. It also causes a very bad thing: walls.

Because of design reasons, spell cards may also have a chance of being undodgeable or being danmaku overly demanding on precise input, something that humans cannot practice to improve on. This is not very good. I feel that random walls without sufficient forewarning (dying as soon as you see the wall, or there's not time to possible get through when you see it) is the same as tricking your players. This kind of RNG is not good design, and should be avoided. RNG should not be walling to death if you have bad luck, but rather present have an obvious route to survival where that route is a bit harder to find when luck is bad. This balance is not easy to get a hang of, but the designer must consider it carefully.

Some danmaku has a hitbox quite close in size to the sprite. Very realistic, but without corresponding reference for the players, dodging these bullets is very dangerous. Of course, this is not a problem exclusive to TH06, so I'll just say that it could have been done better.

The 4th stage changes depending on the player, as the boss will cast different spell cards. This is a very interesting design, though it of course brings more work on the designer.

Retains the extra stage concept, and also presents very different and creative danmaku from the main scenario. This is very good.

The game has danmaku rank. If you don't bomb or die, the difficulty will gradually climb to a peak. This will manifest in bullet speed, firing frequency, and pattern structure. This is a more standard design, and many STG's will do it. Of course, making it all static is fine, too.

五. 总结 5. Summary
TH06对ZUN来说应该是一个重大突破,虽然多少有些不足,但第一次就能做到如此,很不简单。

另外我不确定到底能不能写完,尤其不确定后期到底能不能控制住情绪,各位且看且珍惜。

TH06 was a great breakthrough for ZUN. Although it more or less had some unsufficiencies, but it wasn't easy being able to pull this off on the first try.

On an unrelated note, I'm not sure if I'll be able to finish this series; I'm especially unsure if I'll be able to control my emotions for the later ones[2]. Please read and appreciate while you can.

  1. Chinese community pet name for ZUN, because Z looks like 2
  2. LYX has mentioned on repeated occasions that he strongly dislikes modern Touhou games, and he is rarely seen playing anything after Double Dealing Character