Wily Beast and Weakest Creature/Gameplay

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Title screen of the game

This article describes the overall gameplay and background information for Wily Beast and Weakest Creature.
For general or level-specific strategy, see here.



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 rapid fire;
  • X releases a bomb, also known as a Spell Card (presuming you have bombs left), or a "Spirit Strike";
  •  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;
  • Q returns you to the title screen when the game is paused;
  • Ctrl fast-forwards through any dialogue and replays;
  • Home or P produces a .bmp screenshot in the /snapshot directory (only works in 32-bit color mode).

Basic Gameplay[edit]

Wily Beast and Weakest Creature plays like a fairly typical vertically-scrolling danmaku shooting game like the rest of the Touhou Project games, 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.

There are 4 levels of difficulty: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Lunatic. Each difficulty level features 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 used.


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 and attack type the player has chosen, as well as the player's power level and whether the player is focused or unfocused.

Point of Collection[edit]

Like previous Touhou games, there's 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. As with Mountain of Faith onward, you don't need to have full power or focus to use the POC – it's always available.

Bomb (Player Spell Card)[edit]

Like its predecessors, the game features bombs (actually "Spell Cards") with distinctive visual styles and behaviors 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, as well as automatically collecting every item on screen.

At the beginning of the game, you will start off with 3 bombs (4 if the Otter Ghost was selected). Extra bombs are obtained by collecting bomb fragments, which appear during or after Roaring Mode when the player collects particular Fish Spirits items (see below). Three fragments are required per bomb.

You can carry up to a maximum of 8 bombs at a time. If you collect a bomb fragment when you already have 8 bombs, that bomb fragment will be lost. Like in the earlier Touhou games, on dying the number of bombs will reset to the initial value of 3 (or 4) bombs. Accumulated bomb fragments are preserved when the player loses a life. The counter is reset to 0 upon continuing after a game over, however.

As usual, deathbombing is possible. After being hit by a bullet, the player is given a very brief window of time to bomb and negate their death. The "death" sound effect will play, and the bomb will then activate.


The hit box for your character is quite small in comparison to your on-screen sprite, approximately only 5×5 in pixel size. If you hold Shift, a white dot will appear, showing the hitbox precisely. If the hit box of a character comes into contact with the hit box of an enemy bullet, laser, or the enemy itself, then you have been hit.

You start off the game with 3 lives (that is, 2 extra lives). You can lose a life by getting "hit" by an enemy attack.

In this game, the player's life stock is represented by a health bar with hearts. Extra lives are obtained by collecting life fragments, which appear during or after Roaring Mode when the player collects particular Item Fish Spirits (see below). Three fragments are required per life.

You can carry up to a maximum of 8 extra lives at a time. If you collect a life fragment while you have the maximum number of lives, the life fragment will be added as a bomb fragment.

When you lose a life, you also lose 1.00 Power points (0.07 are scattered for you to collect); however, your power can't decrease below 1.00. Also, all the bullets on the screen are cleared, and you become invulnerable for a short period of time.

Upon losing all their lives, the player is given the choice to continue right where they left off. However, if you do continue, your current score will be reset back to 0, plus the number of times you have continued. The number of bomb fragments will be reset to 0, you can no longer save a replay, and will reach the "Bad Ending" if you finish the game. You may continue up to 5 times in the regular game. You may not continue in the Extra stage.

Beast Spirit Partners[edit]

In addition to the three playable characters, the player can also select one of three Beast Spirits: Wolf, Otter or Eagle. Wolf increases the power and range of the player's focused shot, while Eagle increases the power and range of their unfocused shot (and in adds a piercing effect in Marisa's case). Otter greatly increases the power and duration of the player's bombs, and increases their default bomb count from 3 to 4. Regular stage enemies in Wily Beast and Weakest Creature tend to have noticeably more health than in other Touhou games, making each spirit's respective power-up extremely useful throughout the game.

Spirit Items and Roaring Mode[edit]

Spirit items are dropped by certain defeated enemies, as well as by bosses after clearing each of their attacks (with the exception of the last Spell Card in a stage). They drift around the screen diagonally and bounce off the walls, and will continue to do so until slightly more than 2 minutes have passed, at which point they will become semi-transparent and move off the screen (boss dialogue does not count towards this time limit). When the player is near a spirit item, it will slow down considerably. They come in two major types: beast items and fish items.

  • Beast Spirit items are colored icons depicting either a red wolf head, a green otter head, or a violet eagle head. They cycle through the three animals in that order (Wolf -> Otter -> Eagle -> Wolf) at regular intervals, with the icon's outline flashing yellow before each change. The change will not occur while the player is right next to an item, however. The change will also not occur if the Beast item has a blue outline (or yellow for Eagles — these will appear upon death and during a special Spell Card).
  • Fish Spirit items depict one of four regular items (high-value power, high-value points, bomb fragment or life fragment) surrounded by two blue fish. They don't cycle between types over time.

Collecting a spirit item will place it in a slot in the lower-left corner of the screen, and filling all 5 slots will automatically trigger "Roaring Mode".

During Roaring Mode, the background will darken and a small gauge will appear underneath the player. Pressing the bomb key or getting hit before the gauge runs out will trigger a "Spirit Strike", which erases bullets in a circular area around the player and does minor damage to enemies nearby. When Roaring Mode ends, any fish spirits used to trigger it will be converted into their corresponding regular items (1 spirit = 30 power or point items, or 1 life or bomb fragment). Collecting additional spirits during Roaring Mode will refill the gauge by a very slight amount, and in the case of fish spirits, will automatically spawn their corresponding items right away. The gauge will also decrease at roughly half its usual speed as long as the player is not shooting. If Roaring Mode ends via time running out (as opposed to a Spirit Strike), two "Extra" beast spirits will also appear above the player after a short delay.

If Roaring Mode is triggered with 3 or more beast spirits of the same type, it becomes Berserk Roaring Mode, indicated by a colored flame graphic surrounding the player. Wolf and Eagle Mode replace both of the player's regular shots with an extremely powerful, wide-reaching variant of the shot that corresponds to the respective animal (focused for Wolf, unfocused for Eagle). This will be shot regardless of whether or not the character is focused, but never while the player isn't shooting. Otter Mode will spawn three ghostly otters that revolve around the player and erase any bullets that they touch. The mode that matches the player's chosen partner spirit (see above) will last much longer than the other two, and its duration will be increased even further based on how many matching spirits were collected.

Losing a life will spawn two extra beast items corresponding to the player's chosen type. Unlike regular beast items, these ones have a blue outline and will not change type.

Each stage also contains a Rare Beast Spirit, which is dropped by the midboss if certain conditions are met. If a Rare Beast Spirit is used to trigger Roaring Mode, five spirit items will appear when the mode ends instead of the usual two (collecting a Rare Beast Spirit with Roaring Mode already active will have no effect).

Stage 1 - Jellyfish Defeat the midboss without destroying any of her wisps Reward: Beast x4, life fish x1
Stage 2 - Cow Defeat the midboss at point-blank range Reward: Beast x3, life fish x1, bomb fish x1
Stage 3 - Chick Defeat the midboss while in Otter Mode Reward: Fish x5 (power, point, life, bomb x2)
Stage 4 - Turtle Graze at least 10 bullets (4 on Easy) shortly before defeating the midboss Reward: Beast x4, life fish x1
Stage 5 - Haniwa Defeat the midboss while there are at least 4 Beast Spirits onscreen Reward: Beast x4, life fish x1
Stage 6 - Horse Defeat the midboss during a Spirit Strike Reward: Beast x4, life fish x1
Extra Stage - Chicks Capture Bloody Battle "Highly Spirited Oniwatari" without going above Kutaka Reward: Beast x4, life fish x1

Boss Battles[edit]

The main challenge and the main attraction that appears at the end of each stage. Each boss has multiple lives, which are represented by stars shown at the upper left 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' health is depleted that far.

Normal attacks are typically incrementally stronger versions of the boss character's basic attack (usually first seen during the midboss section). Spell card attacks bedazzle the player with combinations of complex patterns that often involve the use of projectiles and obstacles crafted especially for use with that spell card. If the player manages to defeat a spell card attack without getting hit, using a bomb or triggering a Spirit Strike, a substantial score bonus is rewarded for the feat.

Each attack is accompanied by a timer. 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'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 however is when the boss is invulnerable for the duration of the spell card; in this case 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.


There are three characters to choose from in the game, each with a focused and unfocused shot that receive boosts in power based on Roaring Mode and the player's chosen spirit partner.

Unfocused Shot Focused Shot Wolf Mode Eagle Mode
Reimu Hakurei Homing amulets shot out in a spread. Eagle Spirit increases the size of the amulets and their number from 1 to 3 per option fired. Needles fired straight ahead. Wolf Spirit doubles the needles' size. A large stream covering about 1/3 of the screen's width. Five giant streams of homing amulets.
Marisa Kirisame Lasers shot straight forward, and in a spread at 3.00+ power. Eagle Spirit gives the lasers a piercing effect. Slow, straight-moving missiles with a blast radius. Wolf Spirit increases the blast radius. Huge missiles with an even bigger blast radius. Huge piercing lasers with a 5-way spread.
Youmu Konpaku Sword slashes fired straight ahead from Youmu and the spirit options trailing behind her. Eagle Spirit upgrades it to a 3-way spread. A sword slash that must be charged up and travels further the higher the power level. Wolf Spirit increases the range. A nonstop barrage of focused sword slashes. Widespread and enlarged unfocused sword slashes that cover the entire screen.

Screen Layout[edit]

Screen layout

The layout of the overall screen is typical for a Touhou Project shoot 'em up.

  1. Your character
    • Roaring Mode timer
  2. Player Score
    • Hi-Score: your highest score for the current character, type, and difficulty
    • Score: your current score
  3. The number of remaining lives and bombs / The approximate location of the point of collection
    • Right numbers: fragments needed for an extra life / bomb
  4. Player Status
    • Power: your shot power level, maxing out at 4.00
    • Point value: the maximum points achievable of the point items
    • Graze: the number of enemy shots that have grazed your hit box during the game
  5. Enemy Status
    • Stars: the number of health bars the enemy has left
    • Middle number: the amount of time left before the enemy's attack spell fails (self-destructs)
    • Circular health bar
  6. 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 "captured" the spell card currently being used, and the number of times you have faced it.
  7. The boss enemy
  8. Spirit slots



Any damage you deal to any stage enemy, whether it'd be caused by your shots or your bombs, will cause your score to increase very slightly. Actually destroying enemies will award you slightly more points, but the points earned from this are around the range of hundreds to thousands of points per enemy. This isn't a significant amount at all. However, destroyed enemies release items for you to collect, and those are very important for scoring as covered below.


"Grazing" is the act of having a bullet pass near one's hitbox. You can only graze a bullet once, so you won't gain any additional graze by following a bullet. Lasers can be continually grazed throughout their duration, but once again, moving around will not gain you any additional graze.

Despite the presence of a graze counter, grazing in Wily Beast and Weakest Creature does not appear to have any effect on score.

Point Items[edit]

As its name implies, point items are the major source of points in the game. The higher up on the screen you collect them, the more points they're worth, up to a defined maximum. You can easily tell when you are collecting point items for their maximum value, since they'll show the value in yellow text. The point of collection is the same height as the height where point items reach their maximum value, so take advantage of this fact whenever you can for massive points. As in Undefined Fantastic Object onwards, auto-collected items are still worth their full value if you happen to leave the auto-collect area before items contact your hit box, or if they're auto-collected in another manner such as by bombing or dialogue.

The point items' starting value on all difficulties is 10,000.

The point item value is increased by collecting green point value items. These items are released by shooting enemies during Roaring Mode, or by destroying enemy bullets via a voluntary Spirit Strike or clearing a boss phase. They are automatically collected, though losing a life before they reach the player will cause them to stop and fall straight down.

Power Items[edit]

Power items increase your power gauge by 0.01 and are worth 100 points. Power items collected at full power act like Point items instead.

Spell Card Bonus[edit]

Occasionally, a boss will attack using a spell card. You'll know this is happening when the background changes and the spell card's name appears in the upper right corner of the screen. If the boss's health bar is depleted within the time limit and without getting hit, using a bomb or triggering a Spirit Strike, the spell card bonus will be added to your score.

The bonus starts at out at a value equal to:

1 million × stage number × difficulty value

with difficulty value being:

Easy Normal Hard Lunatic Extra (considered to be stage 7 in the formula)
0.5 1 1.5 2 1

The bonus decreases over time, starting 5 seconds after the spell card starts. The bonus decreases at a constant rate of:

2 / 3 × (starting value) / (time limit in seconds - 5) per second 

Clear Bonus[edit]

At the end of stages 1 through 5, the player is awarded a small stage clear bonus.

(stage × 1 million)

At the end of either the main game or the Extra Stage, the player is awarded a larger game clear bonus as well.

Base clear bonus (E/N/H/L: 6 million, EX: 7 million) + (5 million × lives) + (1 million × bombs)


This is a list of known glitches, bugs or other unusual capabilities that aren't supposed to be part of the original gameplay.

  • Replay glitch: if you select "Retry Game" from the pause menu while Roaring Mode is active, then save a replay of the following run, the replay will become bugged. Specifically, the items and Beast Spirits that would've resulted from the aborted attempt's Roaring Mode will immediately appear at the beginning of Stage 1, causing the replay to desync. Starting the bugged replay from any stage besides Stage 1 will not pose an issue. This glitch also applies to Practice Mode and Spell Practice.
  • Related to the above: if a full replay of the demo (ie. clear stage 3) ends with Roaring Mode still active, selecting "Return to Title" will cause the same bug if that replay is started again. Selecting "Replay Again" and then returning to the replay menu will not pose any issue.
  • If one of the previously mentioned replay-desync glitches is active, the player will usually be seen dying in the replay while he actually survived during his run. If the player reaches 0 lives and dies again, he will continue to respawn regardless of the amount of lives. The correct amount of lives will be displayed when the next stage is started. The replay will continue to play all available inputs for this stage and eventually run out; when this happens, the character stops moving completely until the next stage. An extreme number of Extra Beast Spirits can be created due to these deaths, which will also disappear at the start of the next stage.
  • Under the above conditions, a Roaring Mode triggered at the end of the level will have glitchy behaviors. The game will be in a constant Roaring Mode state and the Berserk Roaring Mode flame sprite will stay on screen independently of the character's position. While the Beast Spirit gauge will be seen full, you can still collect Beast Spirits and start a new Roaring Mode, which will cancel the glitch. This does not appear to be the source of further desyncs. As seen in this clip.
  • Finally, certain short replays (like killing Kutaka's Extra Stage spells in Spell Practice before they start) experience an infamous Hidden Star in Four Seasons glitch, the sprintf buffer overflow. When replayed multiple times, images from one replay form an afterimage in the following replay. This will continue to darken the screen (due to the Spell Card backgrounds stacking) until new replays become imperceptible, all whilst lagging the game. The afterimages can still be seen after quitting the replay, during the loading screen. As seen here.
  • Youmu Eagle is notoriously under-powered due to a typo in the game's code. Her damage cap reads '60' instead of '160', meaning she will deal a measly 60 damage at full power even though her slashes were supposed to deal over 100.
  • When Roaring Mode ends, if you immediately collect a Rare Beast Spirit and trigger another Roaring Mode in the time before the first Roaring Mode's Extra Beast Spirits spawn, those 2 Extra Spirits will be replaced by the set of 5 that the Rare Spirit rewards you with. This allows the player to collect the rewards from the Rare Spirit twice (once from the overwritten set and once from the 'regular' set), including any life or bomb fragments.
  • In Achievements, exiting quickly after selecting a new achievement will crash (CTD) the game.
  • In Spell Practice, against any of Kutaka Niwatari's Extra Stage spellcards, she can be killed before her spellcard declaration. Doing this does not count as a capture, nor does it increment that spellcard's attempt count.
  • While watching replays and skipping, the music will also attempt to skip ahead so that the replay and music are always synced (this is intended). However, skipping during the final Extra Stage card will instead begin to play a different song, namely The Animals' Rest. Skipping during the conversation thereafter will result in weird visual behavior of the stage background, and can also randomly play other songs, such as Returning Home from the Underground and Electric Heritage.
  • The previous glitch can also sometimes happen during replays of regular stages. In these cases, the music played is the next Stage's theme.
  • Viewing Bad Endings from Achievements seems to be bugged. Viewing Reimu's skips to the Staff Roll, and viewing Marisa's or Youmu's seems to show you the Reimu A Extra Ending.
  • In a similar fashion, watching Reimu Eagle's Extra (achievement #15) will show you Reimu Wolf's instead.
  • Watching a replay in which another player finishes an achievement-worthy run of any kind will also unlock the achievement for you if you didn't already have it. This exploit makes the task of getting all in-game achievements extremely easy and pointless. As such, it's recommended never to watch someone else's replay to the very end.
  • A returning classic from Hidden Star in Four Seasons: bombing during the timeout spell breaks it. This is believed to be due to the boss's bomb-invincibility, which wears off once the bomb is over. It would seem the bomb invincibility and the normal timeout-spell invincibility are stored in the same boolean. Someone should really tell ZUN about that one.
  • The "Pause+R" shortcut to quickly restart runs is disabled, despite being featured in the manual.
  • Spirit Items aren't effected by slowdown effects, such as when you defeat the Extra Boss. All other items are.
  • During a slowdown effect, many more items can be created on death than is intended. Extra Beasts will spawn several times over. This is however usually not a problem on unmodified versions of the game.
  • The Spirit slots on the HUD is not rendered in front of Reimu's amulet spell card attack, causing the large sprites to overlap in front of it as seen here.
  • Marisa Eagle has a chance of her laser glitching; Marisa's lasers are supposed to be bit tilted, but they can sometimes be straight instead. This usually happens on stage 1 when fighting Eika Ebisu, when passing through the POC and getting a power level of 3 from the power items. This bug can be fixed by pressing shift to switch to focus fire.
  • Reimu's unfocused bullets, the homing amulets, have a destruction animation that is always scaled up as though you were using Eagle — even if you aren't. Conversely, Youmu's unfocused bullets destruction animation is always scaled down as though you weren't using Eagle, even if you are!

The following apply to multiple games, including Wily Beast and Weakest Creature:

  • Game loading will always fail if the game is minimized.
  • On many devices, capturing the game in full screen (either through screenshots or recording) is impossible and yields a black screen instead.
  • The Playtime information in Player Score is inconsistent and usually does not reflect the real in-game playtime, usually being much shorter.