Part 1: Chapter 1R: Wonderful Shrine Maiden of Paradise - Part 1Music: Fantasy Maiden Wars
I'll be linking to Vantouzare's channel for most of the game's music, so a big thanks to him. I seem to have a different translation than him, though, so there'll be some minor inconsistencies in names. If there's a huge difference, it's probably because he cut out the first half of the track's name (which is an original title) to save space.
And as a brief sidenote, this update and the next are going to be pretty image-heavy because there's a lot of game mechanics I want to explain.
Like most SRW games, starting a new game sends the player to a character select screen. But unlike normal SRW games, I'm not choosing between a Super and a Real.
To explain that bit of jargon, there are two types of robot anime: Super Robots (classic hot-blooded "fuck you physics" shows where stylish robots save the day in increasingly flashy ways), and Real Robots (more dramatic shows that focus on human interaction and usually emphasize the robot's status as a machine). These classifications are very outdated (you'll almost never see a pure Super or Real Robot show now), but they're still important in SRW. Why? Because whether or not a robot is a Super or a Real greatly influences how it plays. Super Robots will have ridiculous defense and offense, but low mobility and attack range. They also tend to have very costly attacks that can quickly leave them as nothing but giant meatshields if you're not careful. Meanwhile, Real Robots are basically the exact opposite. They're fragile and (usually) not as strong, but are very agile and generally don't have to worry about range or Energy.
Just like the source materials, most SRW units today are a blend between the two archetypes. However, and we're finally getting back to the original topic here, the main characters the player chooses from at the beginning of the game are usually one of those rare pure Supers/Reals. But Reimu and Marisa are both protagonists of bullet hell games, and as such both have shit defense and high evasion. Does this mean the game's just giving us a boring choice between Real and Real? That's not exactly wrong, but only if you're only looking from a SRW perspective.
In reality, we're being given the classic Touhou choice. Do we want the weak but easy-to-use Reimu or the strong but harder-to-control Marisa? I'll be doing both, but if you ever intend to play the game note that Marisa's story is slightly harder.
Moving on, difficulty. The changes between difficulties are actually kind of extensive, so I'll get into the specifics in a future post. For now, I'll just talk about the names.
First off, the translation actually cut out the real names of the difficulties to save space. It follows the normal Touhou difficulty list: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Lunatic. Second, the alternate names are all SRW references. Easy is Alpha because most of the SRW@ series were a joke, Normal is Alpha Gaiden because... I don't really know, that game was kind of bullshit, and Hard is F Final, a game I'm not actually familiar with but assume to be tedious. Lunatic (which you can't access until you beat the game once) is EX (Hard), a special difficulty you could unlock in the SRW OG games. Or maybe SRW EX, but as I understand that game's not that bad.
Music: Beginning of a Scarlet Dream
After you've picked your character and the difficulty, the game starts! The opening cutscene is the same for both characters, but since it's kind of hard to read I'll post a transcription:
Fantasy Maiden Wars posted:
A land that existed in ancient times, on the boundary of an eastern country. Its history stretches back so far that there are no records of its origin in any literature. However, youkai have always run rampant, and humans lived in fear of them.
But as human culture awakened and began to expand, the influence and power of youkai began to dwindle. The youkai sages feared what was to come, and constructed a barrier in response. It was called the "Boundary of illusion and Substance". It possessed the power to take in youkai who found their powers weakened. The youkai of Gensokyo were able to preserve their power as a result.
Alas, that temporary solution did not last long. As culture evolved to that of the present day, all things unscientific were reduced to mere "superstitions". The youkai whose very existence were denied by humans were losing their power again. Gensokyo was in crisis. Its collapse was imminent.
As Gensokyo began to sink into the depths of darkness, the youkai sages once again taught the rest of their brilliant plan. A new barrier would be erected to seperate Gensokyo from everything else. It would be the boundary of common sense on one side, and the lack of it on the other. The new barrier forcefully ended all correspondence between Gensokyo and the outside, and the remaining youkai and humans were left to build their own civilization...
This barrier is called the "Great Hakurei Barrier", and the shrine maiden who would bear the duty of maintaining the Great Barrier and preserving within it is called the "Hakurei Shrine Maiden"...
There's a storm going on in this cutscene.
(A): Currently, the northern unit has surrounded their target and is spreading danmaku... Ah! The left flank is being attacked!
(A): What do you want me to say? We're advancing with an army but it's like we're being toyed with! Just hurry up and alert the greater tengu. At this rate we'll be overrun!
(B): ...Understood. I'll see if any of our troops are free and send them your way.
After a brief pause, a non-generic character shows up.
...Okay. Looks like the kappa followed their orders and took shelter. All that's left is the village on the other side. I need to hurry and finish patrolling...
(B): Hey! Patrol tengu! What are you doing over here? You should be on the front line.
I've been assigned a different task. The Greater Tengu ordered me to confirm that no kappa were wandering.
(B): What sort of kappa would be out on such a stormy night?
Indeed. However, we cannot assume that everyone is so prudent.
(B): ...Understood. Well, give us some backup once your hands are free. Every soldier counts, after all!
I plan to do just that. I will head there in a moment.
I need to focus on my mission.
Sorry. There's some sort of big fuss going on, but I gotta go no matter what.
Whoa! What loud thunder. I'd better get down the mountain while I can...
We won't be seeing her again until we start Marisa's story.
Music: Border of Regular and Irregular Days
...It's been a while since I've gone there, but the road's as battered as ever. That storm passed a few days ago, but...
I need to find its cause before the humans start getting hurt...
A group of... fairies? In this direction? Don't tell me... Looks like I should pick up the pace. The shrine just ahead is home to the 'Hakurei shrine maiden'. She's a specialist at resolving incidents. I've got to warn her about this before it's too late!
Music: For the Gensokyo of Tomorrow
Geez, what's going on?
It's pretty faint, but there's a ton of small red clouds everywhere to represent the mist.
Besides, why are there so many fairies here? At the shrine of all places...
Hee hee hee!
Fairies are immature pricks who as a race aren't very bright. They're physical embodiments of nature's power, and can always regenerate from death as long as nature exists. This makes them excellent trash mobs in the Touhou shooters!
...Something's wrong here. Hey, you fairies. This isn't a playground, you know. Go home already.
Your donation box is always empty and your shrine's haunted!
Ever since Reimu became the Hakurei shrine maiden, the Hakurei Shrine very quickly fell in esteem. It's a very common joke that Reimu is penniless and desperate for donations.
...They've got a lot of nerve for fairies. Do they really want to be exterminated that badly?
Yes! She finally came out!
More fairies appear.
...! Where did all these fairies come from!?
Ahaha! She fell for our taunt! What a stupid shrine maiden!
She can't even fly on her own. We'll pound her from the air!
One of the things about Gensokyo is that almost everyone can fly. Some people have reasonable justifications as to why, but for the most part it's just a fact of life.
...Hmph. Looks like I let my guard down a bit. I must still be sleepy or something. Let me just say one thing, though.
Music: Specter Buster
Everyone said she couldn't fly without riding a turtle!
The fairies are kind of correct. Prior to Touhou 6, Reimu was unable to fly on her own, and to get around she rode on the back of a flying turtle. Following Touhou 5, though, Reimu finally got off her ass and trained a little. In the process she gained her power, being Capable Of Flying In The Sky.
Why the heck did I capitalize that? Another thing about Gensokyo is that literally every character has their own special ability. The majority are very ambiguously phrased (it's pretty rare to have something that isn't "capable of"), and they're all kind of vague and very prone to ridiculous extrapolations. You do not want to see a Touhou power level debate.
Flying on my own isn't a problem. And if you're wondering about the turtle, I released him in the lake out back.
Hold your horses there Reimu, I've still got to explain how the game works. If you're already familiar with SRW games, just skip ahead.
At the beginning of every chapter, this screen pops up. The Victory and Defeat requirements are self-explanatory, but Bonus is a bit more vague. Every chapter essentially has an optional challenge that, if you fulfill, will give you a little something extra at the end.
Like most SRPGs, most of the game happens on an overworld map. All units are, in true SRW style, represented as just their heads. This is actually kind of a Touhou reference too, but if you don't already know the joke you're better off not knowing it.
Selecting any character who hasn't moved yet will open up this menu.
Move is self-explanatory.
Ground, however, is a bit more complex. As the name implies, this makes the selected unit land on the ground. Notice how Reimu no longer has a shadow under her?
There is almost no point whatsoever to landing. That is a thing the manual of the game actually says. It'll usually hurt you since it'll probably reduce how far you can move since you'll actually have to deal with terrain movement penalties,
but it also lets you benefit from terrain bonuses. Certain types of terrain will give bonuses to any unit on them. The shrine lets Reimu recover 20% HP and 10% MP at the beginning of every turn whether she's flying or grounded, and if she's grounded she gets a 10% boost to defense.
The majority of terrains aren't nearly as helpful though.
Air is the exact opposite of Ground, and Focus is a pretty big game mechanic that I'll get to.
Spirit takes you to a different menu where you can spend a character's SP on special Spirit commands. Every time a character levels up, they'll gain some more SP, and at certain levels they'll also learn new Spirit commands. As of now, Reimu only has Sense, which gives her 100% accuracy for a turn and 100% evasion for one battle. It's great for ensuring a perfect battle, but it's also pretty costly.
Finally, Status takes you to yet another sub-menu with three pages to look through. There's a lot of information here, but none of it's really important right now so I'll go over it later. And just as a note, pretty much every time I say "later" in this update I'm talking about the next update.
On to menu two! You can access this by selecting an empty panel. This stuff is pretty self-explanatory so I'll just do a quick rundown. The top left window gives you some minor information, End Turn does what you think, All Map opens up a miniature version of the map, Units takes you to a list of all the still alive player/enemy units, Objective reopens the Objectives window, Spirits is a database of all the Spirits you have access to, System lets you change the game settings, and Save does both what you think and gives the option of returning to the title screen.
Whew, that sure was a lot of exposition. Let's change the flow a bit and hit something.
Not! I'm just going to have Reimu park here instead. Didn't she mention there was a turtle around here?
This is where I released Genji. I don't see him right now... I wonder if he's doing okay? Well, I can always look for him if I feel like it.
Well that was thrilling. Throughout the game are a couple spots like this, where you can park a character and get some flavor text. It's totally pointless, and you don't get anything for seeing all 15 bonus conversations, but I'll show them off anyways.
Let's attack for real now. Selecting Attack takes us to this list of Reimu's attacks, all arranged in order of increasing attack power. Only Persuasion Needle is selectable right now because
there are enemies in a radius of five panels away from Reimu. But wait, Yin-Yang Orbs had a range of 3-5. Why can't I use that? Two reasons! First, Yin-Yang Orbs are not a Post Movement Attack (which are marked by P's next to the name), so I can't use it after moving. Second, Yin-Yang Orbs requires Reimu to have 105 Power to use, and right now she's still at 100.
Power (Will or Morale in normal SRW games) is an extremely important mechanic. Ranging from 50 to 150, and starting at 100, a character's Power has a major effect on their offense and defense. Besides the obvious "the more/less Power you have the more/less damage you deal and receive", at certain thresholds of Power your characters will gain access to their stronger moves and activate some skills.
Gaining Power is kind of complicated as what increases/decreases it is dependent on each character's personality (Reimu here is Resolute, which is actually kind of a bad personality for her), but in general just being in a battle will increase Power.
Back to the attack! This screen will pop up before any attack, and it gives a quick run-down on both side's HP, MP, and chances of hitting. You also get an option to switch what attack you're going to use, and turn off animations.
The very last thing to note before I finally attack is that Reimu's MP isn't full. This is because she's flying; in exchange for ignoring terrain movement penalties, your character will lose 1 MP per panel traveled. This is an incredibly insignificant amount and will never really have an effect, especially since all characters recover 5 MP at the beginning of every turn.
Watch me finally hit something!
After every battle, this screen pops up. Characters gain experience as long as their attack hit, and if they struck a killing blow they'll get much more experience. Every 500 experience your character will level up, up to a level cap of 20. Killing opponents will also earn you Graze and Points, two other things that I'll explain later.
FMW doesn't automatically end your turn when all units have moved, which is handy if you want to save scum the next turn.
Music: Danmaku Tactics
Not much happened on the enemy phase. The two fairies closest to Reimu attacked and got destroyed for their troubles, while the other six fairies threw up some danmaku.
Danmaku (literally "curtain fire", it's basically a general term for all the bullets everyone fires) is probably the biggest new game mechanic in FMW. Enemies will usually throw them up first thing, and characters standing in them will suffer defense, evasion, and movement penalties. Overlapping danmaku fields will stack in effect, so it's really not a good idea to try and brute force your way through them.
There are two ways to handle danmaku right now: clearing it out, which can be done through killing the opponent spawning the danmaku,
and Focusing, a direct reference to an important game mechanic in the Touhou series. While a character is Focused, they'll ignore the effects of Danmaku and gain a slight boost to Accuracy. In exchange, they lose some MP at the beginning of every turn, can't move as far,
and will be unable to completely dodge attacks. This is actually kind of handy with certain set-ups, but we're not there yet.
Gah... They're pretty strong for fairies. I didn't want to have to use a spellcard against a bunch of fairies... But it looks like I have no choice. I'll just have to punish you all at once!
Music: Steel Brain
So this is the Hakurei Shrine that lies on the eastern border of Gensokyo. Which means she must be the Hakurei shrine maiden, Reimu Hakurei.
Another fairy!? No... it's a human.
The battle's already started, I see. I guess those fairies I saw earlier were heading for the shine after all. ...I see. It seems exposure to this mysterious energy is making the fairies aggressive.
Hey, you! It's dangerous to be here right now! The fairies are acting weird today. Don't blame me if you get hurt.
Seems to me you're the one who's about to get hurt.
...Where'd you come from, anyway? And who are you?
What, you don't remember me? I'm...
Another human showed up. What should we do?
It doesn't matter if one or two more show up. They're not scary if we attack together!
...This is no time to be chatting. We'll have to continue after we take care of these guys.
At this point, Reimu explains Focusing to Keine. I just did that so I'll skip their chat.
Let me show you how it's done!
Oho. You sound pretty confident. Show me the power of the Hakurei shrine maiden!
Keine, unlike Reimu or Marisa, is a true blue Super. She's got 1800 more HP and 400 more Armor than Reimu, but she's also got 1 less Move so she can't even get in attack range this turn.
So I'll just leave the situation to Reimu. I could finish off this fairy fairly simply since it's almost dead, but that's a bad idea.
A better choice is to weaken this fairy. All of them are going to be attacking me anyways, so the more enemies I cripple on the player phase the more enemies I can kill with a counter attack on the enemy phase.
By the way, like most of the older SRW games, FMW will automatically select the strongest available move for counter attacks. Using Persuasion Needle would be complete overkill here, so I'll just change what I'm going to do with the Counter option.
Ascension Kick is weaker, but it's more accurate and has no cost whatsoever (usually, moves will either cost ammo, MP, or both). It's good for finishing off enemies, though to be honest Homing Amulet is even better.
After killing two fairies, Reimu gets a level. Melee and Range affect physical and ranged attacks respectively, Skill is your chance at getting a Critical Hit, and Defense, Accuracy, and Evasion are self-explanatory.
Reimu's wiped out most of the fairies, but I got a little unlucky and she got hit. Nothing to fear though!
Keine starts with Trust, a Spirit that lets her heal any allied unit on the field for 2000 HP.
Things must be getting pretty serious for the fairies to be causing such a ruckus...
I spent the turn cleaning up the enemies, leaving only one survivor.
And fortunately she won't do anything until you get close to her. I had Reimu weaken her on the player phase,
and finish her on the enemy phase.
For fulfilling the Bonus condition, I get this! Whenever you complete a chapter, you'll get 10 WP. Fufilling the Bonus condition will give you an extra 5. As for what WP does, that's for next update.
Well, that settles that.
Looks like that's all of them. I'd expect no less of a youkai exterminator. You're quite skilled.
Thanks. So, what brings you to the shrine at a time like this? Come to pay your respects?
No, not quite. I'm actually here to request that you investigate this incident.
Incident is a catch-all term for "something weird."
Can you really say that after getting attacked by fairies? Let's not just stand around talking. Why don't we continue this talk over some tea?
...Fine. But let me just say that the wonderful donation box is over that way.
At the end of every chapter you'll get a little results screen.
At this point, the only really pertinent information is the stuff on the left.
So with that, the first update of this LP has concluded! At least the gameplay segment has, anyways. There's still stuff to watch/read if you want.
First up, here are some attack videos! I'll be showing off the game's own attack animations along with what Sanbondo probably used as reference while they were making them. Since the spellcard segments are a little long, I also put some time stamps in the video descriptions so you can skip along.
Second, a Save/Quit conversation. Whenever you choose to return to the title screen after saving, you'll get a quick little chat from the characters in the game. Most of these are one character only, so I'll be breaking up their dialogue to make it easier to read.
Good evening. I, Keine Kamishirasawa, will be your host for tonight's All Night FMW. Let's begin. If you are listening to the radio now... I take it you have completed your homework for tomorrow?
I'm sure there are those who will stay up late because of homework. And those are the ones who end up sleeping in class the next day...
If you're one of those, prepare to be headbutted by the teacher.
You will not be able to perform the morning greetings with energy like that either. The day starts when you greet the teacher with a hearty "Good morning!" after all.
...Oh, it seems we are out of time. Okay everyone, it's time to sleep. I will be waiting for you in class tomorrow. See you then!