Part 5: Chapter 2R: A Visitor to the Human Village - Part 1
I haven't been to the human village in a while. The busy atmosphere is nice every so often.
Hey guys, you know what this game needs? Original characters! That's right, Sanbondo actually created some entirely new characters to improve the story! Here's the first:
Generic Faceless Man A, in the flesh! But wait, there's more!
(B): Must be a shrine maiden. She's wearing one of those outfits with exposed armpits. I haven't seen one in a while, but those armpits are really sexy.
Generic Faceless Man B is... special, shall we say.
(C): Ya think? Jus' looks like they ran outta cloth to me.
Generic Faceless Man C is more down to earth. All three of these guys actually have biographies in the Gensokyo Chronicles.
...Well, the humans seem to be doing okay. It doesn't look like the mist has had much influence yet. Ah, here's Daimonji. I wonder if Keine'll be here soon.
You're welcome. That was delicious.
Good afternoon, Reimu. Glad to see you're on time.
Um, Keine, did you just...
Hey, what kind of greeting is that?
Oh, sorry. Good afternoon, Keine.
Wait, what am I saying!?
What's all this fuss about? Is something wrong?
You just came out of Daimonji just now, didn't you? What's the meaning of this?
What do you mean? I just finished eating. The taiyaki was really good.
Fine. I'll just go buy mine, then.
In that case, you'd better hurry. I think they were almost out of red bean paste...
Thanks for stopping by!
Boy am I full. I ended up staying longer than I thought. Well, I'm off duty today, so even if Sakuya sees me it's okay! Working off the shift system is great!
Taiyaki... My taiyaki...
...If you're looking for taiyaki, they just sold out, Ms. shrine maiden.
What did you say? It's only the afternoon!
That's true... I guess someone bought a whole bunch this morning... So they ran out of red bean paste earlier than usual.
No... My taiyaki...
What's wrong, Reimu? You don't look too good. Do you have a stomachache?
...By the way, I've been meaning to ask, but why did you want to meet here?
Ah. I come here for a snack every now and then when the school has a day off. It's pretty well-known, so I thought it would be perfect for a meeting place.
...Keine, do people ever say you're thickheaded?
Just imagine Reimu intently staring at Keine's hands.
Also, this taiyaki's a gift for someone. You can't have it.
I wouldn't just take it from you! Sheesh. Let's just get this over with.
Sure. Why don't we share the information we gathered first? Did you find anything out?
But it might not be a bad idea to try it at night. What about you?
I tried searching the resources I have at my house. I figured I would check if something like this had happened in the past, but...
Figures the history teacher would start by hitting the books.
Yup. That's the foundation of investigation.
Keine's power is the ability to create and consume history, so naturally she's a very big history buff.
No, I don't understand what it means to consume history either.
History's pretty convenient. You can find out everything that happened before.
Convenient...? Reimu, you appear to be misunderstanding the nature of history.
Creating history is the act of connecting the dots between events. From that, you tie together the threads of causality. In other words, based on the specific values of...
I'm not listening!
Hey! I'm in the middle of talking!
You're taking too long to explain! I don't care what history is right now. Did you find anything useful?
As far as I researched, no.
Then just say that!
Why do you say that? Are you saying you've never learned from something that's happened in the past?
There's no youkai that'd repeat the same incident twice. And if there was, they'd probably be too stupid to be a major problem anyway. I mean, even if we knew that an incident like this happened before... Just knowing that isn't going to help much.
I see. So that's how you think.
If you want to resolve an incident, all you need is power and good intuition.
Is that how it works now? Well, at any rate, we might find something at the place where we're headed today.
Oh yeah, did you have some sort of special plans for today?
I thought we could head to the mansion of the Hieda family. We can ask if we could take a look at their archives.
Hieda... You mean THAT Hieda family?
They have the best information on youkai in all of Gensokyo. The head of the family, Akyu, is very knowledgable as well.
I know. She is able to repeatedly reincarnate, and she compiles the "Gensokyo Chronicles" across generations.
Right. She also has the ability to not forget anything she's seen.
That sounds convenient. Don't they call it the Power of Gumonji or something?
My, aren't you well-informed?
Well, it's only because I met with the current generation, Akyu Hieda, before. She's damn smart, it's terrifying.
I would appreciate it if you didn't speak about her in such a rude fashion.
Here we are. I made an appointment so she should be here.
No matter how many times I see it, her mansion always looks so elegant.
Excuse me. I'm Keine, the teacher at the schoolhouse. Would Ms. Akyu happen to be home?
Oh, good afternoon Ms. Keine. I am glad you came.
Someone at Sanbondo must have really like Akyu, because she's got a whopping seven mugshots.
Good afternoon. I'm here to investigate the matter we discussed ealier. Also, it's not much, but I brought something for the Hieda family to share.
What a pleasant aroma... Is that taiyaki from Daimonji?
Oh, my family loves that. Thank you so much!
Haven't seen you in a while Akyu. Looks like you've grown a bit since I last saw you.
Ahaha, my height has not changed that much. Though, my knowledge has increased quite a bit.
Anyway, I'd like to talk to you about this scarlet mist...
Ah, yes. I heard about the mist from my family. Although, my body is weak so I have not seen it myself... Is this a serious incident?
At this rate, it might start damaging the human body. That's why I started investigating together with Reimu... But so far, we don't even have a clue where to start.
If there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.
If you would be so kind as to show us to your archives, I'd like to take a look. I'd be interested in hearing what you have to say after that.
No problem, Ms. Keine. If there's anything you do not understand, please do not hesistate to ask anyone here for assistance.
Thanks. I'll keep it in mind. Let's go, Reimu.
Wha? Let's take a break and have some tea first.
What are you talking about? I'm full, anyway.
Fine, let's go.
Heh heh. Those two never change. I shall go put the tea on...
Music: What's The Strategy?
...So you have no idea either, then. I can't believe we have nothing to go on even after investigating this much...
Well, she went to the trouble of brewing us this strange tea. Let's just relax here for a while.
There's actually kind of a joke here, but it's really, really minor and involves kanji puns. Which as we all know are the cutting edge of humor.
This gives the tea it makes a pleasant aroma.
Borrowing the power of the gods, huh? That explains why it's kind of sweet.
I suppose my -fu is too weak, because I have no idea what the heck Reimu means.
I think this is a reference to a later line in the series, where fermentation is called a gift from the gods.
Turns out it's about alcohol. Figures.
After we finish a tea time I'd like to keep at it a bit longer. Though I don't even know where to start.
I know. With just the mist, there are too few hints to go off.
I'm not sure if it will help, but you might try the bookshelf over there.
You have certainly been working hard. Have you made any progress?
No, unfortunately. Old books are difficult to read. To tell the truth, I would like to continue my attempts a little longer... But unfortunately, I must begin preparations for tonight's dinner. If you would allow it, I would like to continue this some other day.
No clue. I haven't seen her around the village.
Oh, are these your guests? Pardon my interruption. I will be taking my leave now.
No, please. We don't mind. That aside, that's quite a dangerous looking sword you're carrying. Are you...?
Oh, please do not worry about that.
Ms. Youmu came all the way from the Netherworld to conduct her research.
This... might be a plot hole? In the actual Touhou games, the Netherworld was sealed off from the realm of the living by a huge barrier until Touhou 7. It's not impossible for Youmu to find a way out though.
The netherworld? Wait, are you dead?
No, I am half-human, half-ghost. As a half-breed, half of me is not dead. This thing floating in the air is the ghost half and my body is the living half.
Youmu's last name is actually a joke reflecting her odd nature. In traditional Japanese folklore, the soul splits between the mental Kon and the physical Paku after death. Youmu just had that happen a little early.
Huh. Never knew that could happen. I have heard of human and youkai half-breeds, though.
A half-human half-ghost combination is pretty unusual. You wouldn't happen to be investigating this scarlet mist, would you.
No. Milady has ordered me to investigate a certain matter.
What sort of matter?
Here's another nice thing Sanbondo did. When Youmu first showed up in Touhou 7, she was literally stealing spring in order to do this. There's no explanation given as to how she could do that, though, so FMW1 has her researching how!
I was not given the particulars about why she was in need of such information.
Hm... What a bizarre thing to research.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a single clue.
You have inherited the memory of your predecessors... So maybe there is a hint somewhere in there...
My apologies, but nothing comes to mind. Although I have my predecessors memories, they are not in full. The closest thing I can think of is the fairy tale Hanasaka Jiisan.
O-oh, I see. Well, thank you anyway. I guess that a human could not know something that even Lady Yuyuko does not know...
...Urk. If you want to know so badly, then you can visit the youkai sages for all I care!
M-My apologies! I will be taking my leave now...
...What was that all about?
Who knows? Anyway, let's get back to our research.
Sure. There's somewhere I want to go so I can't stay too long, but...
Cue a sudden crashing noise.
Music: Descent - A Crisis Draws Near
W-What was that?!
An earthquake...? No, that was too small of a tremor!
There's another crash.
This is no earthquake. Something's hitting this house!
Keine, let's head outside!
From now, every chapter will be starting with this screen. Unless you're doing some sort of challenge run, you should always just pick everyone.
Once you finish selecting your units, you can choose to start the chapter or arrange how your units are initially positioned.
By the way, have you noticed something odd with the numbering?
Some chapters have required limits who no matter what will be selected. Chapter 2 forces Youmu, and since she hasn't officially joined yet she's just automatically the first unit.
Are you two all right?
It's that girl from before!
...No, she's not causing this. Your name was Youmu, right? What in the world is going on?
Something crashed into the mansion just as I was stepping outside. Then that darkness appeared...
There's a voice coming from the darkness. It's actually a youkai!
In that case, why don't I say thank you with some of my amulets?
Reimu immediately opens fire.
That's my line. What were you trying to do by attacking a house?
Oh, this is a house? No wonder it's not tasty.
Why would you eat it!?
Because I'm huuuuuuungryyyyyyy!
You were hungry so you tried eating someone's house. That's a new one.
Somehow I don't think she has anything to do with the scarlet mist.
Mysterious Idiot here is referencing her stage theme, A Soul as Red as a Ground Cherry.
Hey, you're humans, right? You look tasty...
Oh? Who looks the tastiest?
I'm not picky about my food.
As admirable as that is, we're not on a lunch break.
You eat when you're hungry, don't you?
Ah! She is biting the wall!
Stay back, Akyu! It is dangerous to be out here!
If it is just for a minute it should be fine.
It seems that even she herself cannot see inside the darkness, though...
A youkai is still a youkai. The darkness surrounding Rumia blocks lasers, so be careful.
Good thing the only here with a Laser attack is Rumia!
Understood. For your own safety, please fall back.
It must be some sort of fate that we met here. I shall assist you!
This is payback for my wall. Beat the tar out of her!
I don't really care about the wall, but I'm up for some youkai extermination!
Rumia flies to the other side of the map.
Aside from being amazingly detailed, the Human Village provides some nice bonuses. The goal of the map is to finish fast though, so no point sticking around.
Here's me using a Pro Reimu Strategy: move her as far forward in the direction of the enemy as possible.
Last I checked, Critical Hits are a flat x1.5 to the final damage. They are very useful, but you can only get one if your character's Skill is higher than the enemy's.
Keine can't really do anything this turn, so I just have her move as far up as possible.
Now for Youmu. Normally she has the same amount of Move as Reimu (6), but with Accel on
she can move a whopping 9 squares.
I proceed to not use those extra 3 squares at all and instead park Youmu next to Keine.
Reimu finishes off the red fairy,
humiliates a Kedama,
and cripples a blue fairy. This is how Reimu should be performing normally.
Oh, and Youmu did something too I guess.
Music: Lightsword Flash
Sanbondo did something really clever with Youmu's music here. Most Touhou characters have two themes, the music that plays on their stage and the music that plays while you fight them. Generally the boss theme is considered that character's main theme, and as such the FMW tracks usually arrange that. Youmu, on the other hand, is using an arrange of her stage theme instead of her boss theme. Why? Because in this game she's a player character!
Youmu first appeared in Touhou 7 as a boss, but when she reappeared for Touhou 9 as a playable character she had Mystic Oriental Dream ~ Ancient Temple as her theme. So since she's player only in this game, she has her "player character" theme. And when you fight Youmu as a boss in FMW2, naturally enough she has her boss theme.
At the beginning of turn 2, another tutorial starts up. This one is about Bombs.
As long as you have one bomb (the counter's on the top-left window, the B x 1),
All of your characters have access to the Bomb command.
At the cost of 10 Power, a character can use a Bomb and hit a wide area around them. Only enemies will be damaged (Bombs have a 100% hit rate too, so don't worry about missing), and all danmaku in range is destroyed. However, experience and points rewarded for beating any enemies will be significantly decreased. There's quite a few places where these can be used, but generally I like to save them for the boss.
Reimu continues her relentless advance to Rumia.
At least Reimu dodged the counter.
Youmu and Keine kill the enemies spawning danmaku.
I probably should have waited until now to move Reimu so she would've had a 100% hit rate, but at least she'll be able to hit/evade at max.
So of course a blue fairy near Reimu lands a 19% hit.
Retribution is immediate.
This silly fairy followed the AI's rigid rules of targeting characters at low HP.
This silly fairy was very lucky.
Oh well, at least Reimu finally hit level 7.
Turn ends with Reimu dodging a 14% and hitting with a 100%. I know, I was surprised too.
This is what Reimu will be spending SP on.
I'm not running Instinct Dodge on her though, so no reason to leave her at critical health.
Youmu and Keine do some more clean up. They both get criticals, which was completely unnecessary on Youmu's part but helpful on Keine's.
Whether Reimu Focuses or not, she won't reach Evil Sealing Circle range on Rumia until next turn. Better to be safe than sorry I suppose.
If you're curious, Rumia would only have a 19% chance of hitting an Unfocused Reimu. Which would normally be "never going to happen," but I've come to expect the worst.
I think you look the tastiest. Those two look like they have some extra baggage.
Extra baggage...? Anyway, I didn't expect to find a youkai here. It's finally starting to feel like I'm resolving an incident.
Music: Stalking the Night with a Cross
It is a staple of SRW boss dialogue to act like your attack didn't do a thing until they're at critical health.
Also I refuse to believe somebody actually got hit by Moonlight Ray. You're ruining my immersion Sanbondo.
If you're curious, I had Youmu Evade. The fairy missed.
I was hoping this fairy would attack Reimu and get killed, but I guess Youmu's a more appealing target since she's not at full health. Or because she can't counter. I'm not sure about AI priorities.
Anyways, this fairy was not as smart.
Rumia's attempt to hit Reimu went about as well as you'd expect.
Keine messes up her 84% chance to finish off this fairy,
But Youmu doesn't.
You know, I think almost all of the experience and graze from this chapter have gone to Keine and Youmu for finishing off enemies Reimu crippled.
So I'll give Reimu the boss as compensation.
You're pretty good, but how about this?
That youkai had a spellcard!?
A spellcard? What is that?
This is a particularly silly question when you note that Youmu already has her own Spellcard. They're all marked by that giant blue circle.
The Spellcard Rules are rules for dueling with the beauty and meaning of danmaku. Both sides name their best attacks and use them.
Uh... So, what does that mean?
We have two options. Either we defeat her, or run away until the turn counter at the upper right runs out.
This is an excellent SRPG interpretation of the Spellcard System in the actual Touhou games. There you have a time limit to deplete a boss' health; if you succeed, you've "Captured" the spell and get a huge point bonus, and if you take too long you "Time Out" the spell and get to move on to the next phase of the fight. Timing Out spells is basically the only way Pacifist runs of Touhou games work.
A Spellcard's danmaku is much stronger than normal danmaku. Specifically, you should be careful of their special effects. You can check what a danmaku's special effect is by pressing the Square button.
I see. That will come in handy.
Hold on, I thought this was common knowledge in Gensokyo. I mean, even Rumia knows about it.
Looks like you've been slacking on your studies.
I am sorry... Wait, why am I getting scolded?
We don't have time for that! Here she comes!
Alright, the Spellcard System! This is probably the biggest addition to the SRW formula after danmaku. Every enemy with a giant SP next to their icon has a Spellcard, and once their HP is depleted they'll activate it. This gives them a new health bar,
special danmaku with special penalties,
and a brand new attack they will always use if they're able to.
The closest thing SRW has to the Spellcard System is SRW Alpha Gaiden's tendency to have bosses fully restore their health once you hit certain HP checkpoints. In a way, that's essentially what the Spellcard System is, but I find it more fun for several reasons. First off, in SRW@G it never really felt like you were gaining progress. The boss would still be using the same attacks, still be in the same position, and essentially just had 5 million HP you had to whittle down by dropping finishing moves. Run out of resources? Too bad, game over.
With the Spellcards, each health refill starts an entirely different phase (and each phase gives experience, points, and graze!). Danmaku effects can range from almost harmless like this one (oh no my ranged attacks can't hit as well, good thing I have two units specializing in melee!), to completely game-changing (a future effect prevents you from using any attack Post-Movement). You don't have to just sit there and take it though.
All of my units have already moved, so I can't really provide pictures. I'll continue rambling about my thoughts on the Spellcard system next turn.
The power to control darkness sounds pretty powerful. But it seems like you'd bump into things a lot.
You just don't get it. Bumping into things is the trademark of darkness!
Rumia, ever the genius, decides to engage Keine in a headbutt contest.
I'll let you be the judge of the victor.
Now where was I? Oh, right, if you don't want to deal with the danmaku, you don't have to! Spellcard Danmaku is still danmaku, so a Bomb can easily clear it out. Of course, you only have a limited amount of bombs, and soon bosses will have more than one Spellcard. You'll need to think carefully about how you want to manage your resources.
Speaking of resource management, that's another thing the Spellcard System encourages! Keine just nuked Rumia's healthbar, but it came at the cost of most of her MP. It's fine here since Night Bird is Rumia's only spell, but if she had another spell Keine would be restricted to much weaker attacks (which... isn't actually an issue for Keine, but it would be a huge problem for Youmu or Marisa). Since each spell has a turn limit, and you're not penalized for taking until the last turn, it's best to ignore huge, flashy finishing moves and instead let loose a salvo of strong yet efficient attacks.
This is yet another reason why Reimu is so good, and it has the secondary effect of making finishing moves actually feel special. In normal SRW games, it's very possible to actually get sick of watching finishing moves because it's the fifth time in the row you're using it on a boss. In FMW? If you're using a finishing move you must either really want to skip past a spellcard or you're at the very last spell and happen to have enough MP left. Either way, you're not going to be able to spam finishers in this game.
The last thing I want to talk about is the time limit. Besides being a cool implementation of actual Touhou game mechanics, it both adds challenge and gives you a way out if you screw up. You've only got X turns to deplete a boss' healthbar, but at the same time if you straight up don't have the resources to take a boss down you can just run away forever and still win. Personally speaking, Timing Out spells was one of the only ways I managed to get past FMW2 on Lunatic!
Alright, enough from me. I'd like to finish off Rumia with Reimu, but there's something I need to show you guys.
First off, I have Youmu use this. She doesn't need it since she's already past 120 Power, the amount necessary to use her finisher, but why not do more damage?
Let's obliterate Rumia.
I would have never imagined that I would end up like this... Crossing swords with a youkai while running errands...
Can you hit me with that sword when you're surrounded in darkness!?
Certainly. Being swallowed in darkness does not make something disappear!
Watch Youmu cut the youkai clad in darkness!
The thing I wanted to note here is that Youmu's finisher has special dialogue for Rumia. Because this game is so short, all of the characters have specific dialogue for each boss. It's very cool.
Youmu's level up upgrades her Parry level. She and Keine share the Parry skill, but Youmu is much, much better at it.
Rumia also drops this wonderful item. A Tengu's Fan increases Move by 1, and it is going straight on Keine.
You got me...
Take that! Ahh, nothing beats a good youkai hunt.
This is payback for my wall!
I guess Akyu's screams can be heard from miles away?
I thought we were past that wall thing already...
I had a hobby of do-it-yourself projects back then. And after pouring my blood, sweat, and tears into building it...
I didn't expect you to take to such servile tasks.
Maybe I should rethink reincarnation...
Reimu does not hold grudges when it comes to things that aren't food or money.
Learn from this experience, and live peacefully from now on, okay?
If you make a mess like this again, I'll have to teach you a lesson.
Grr... Don't you forget this!
Youmu and Rumia also have very anemic attack lists. This is understandable for Rumia since she was originally a Stage 1 boss, but for a Stage 5 boss/player character like Youmu it's kind of disappointing. Be sure to listen to the full tracks!
Oh, that's it for you?
Come play again whenever you wanna see me do the business. Later!