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Overview

Phantasmagoria of Dim. Dream is the third game within the Touhou Project, released for the Japanese PC-98 in 1997. In this game, the player indirectly combats another character through charging and releasing Spell Cards.

Plot

During a quiet morning walk, Reimu Hakurei, resident Shrine Maiden of the Hakurei Shrine, stumbles across some ruins not too far from the Shrine's gateway. Spotting Marisa Kirisame and Mima among the gathering crowd, she asks about the ruins' sudden appearance. She is given a flyer that states that the ruins' grand opening will be soon, and that those who enter will recieve a reward. However, after looking around, they fail to find an entrance, but instead they find a notice that states that the ruin can only hold 1 visitor. The crowd that has gathered decide to have a competition: the one who defeats all others will have the priviledge to enter the ruins and recieve the promised reward.

Gameplay

Phantasmagoria of Dim. Dream is a competitive vertically scrolling Danmaku shooter, where two players engage in a toned down style of Danmaku gameplay on a split-screen. After certain conditions are met, both players will be able to release a variety of Spell Attacks based on which character they are using in an attempt to reduce the remaining health of their opponent.

There are four difficulties: Easy, Normal, Hard and Lunatic. Each difficulty affects the number and speed of base bullets that appear onscreen, as well as the difficulty of AI opponents. Additionally, each difficulty has a specific initial Spell Attack level.

In Story Mode, the player faces off against 9 AI opponents, each one more difficult than the last. The game also features a Match Mode where the player can face off against individual AI opponents or real-life players, as well as watch AI vs AI matches.

Defeating Enemies and Damaging Opponents

In Phantasmagoria of Dim. Dream, the player must defeat onscreen enemies in order to build up Spell Attacks to damage an opponent. Enemies and opponents can be defeated through the use of the following abilities:

Shot

The shot is the basic way of attacking enemies. The shot's strength and area of effect is different depending on which character the player has chosen.

A bomb will save the player in times of need
Bomb
Bombs can be used to get out of desperate situations. The duration of a bomb will depend on which character the player has chosen, however, it will deal damage to every enemy onscreen, as well as cancelling out all bullets in the players screen. During a bomb's effect, the player will become invincible. You are granted two bombs at the beginning of every round, and once one has been used, there is no way to recover it until the round is over.

Your total bomb count can be seen at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.

Spell Gauge

The Spell Gauge is a visual indication of a character's stored magical power, which appears at the bottom of the player's side of the screen. After the gauge fills to certain points, it becomes possible to unleash more powerful attacks, as well as influence the opponent's field. The gauge is divided into four parts, each part being referred to as a level.

The Spell Gauge is filled a little by each enemy you defeat. You will gain a larger boost if small white bullets are eliminated from the field after being caught in the explosion from an enemy that has been defeated.

To activate an attack from the Spell Gauge, the shot key must be held, which will charge the gauge. When the shot key is released, an attack from the Spell Gauge will be released depending on where the charge indicator was on the gauge at the moment of release. Different characters will charge the gauge at different speeds.

The Spell Gauge can only be charged as high as its current fill level.

Spell Gauge Abilities

- Level 1                                                                      - Level 2
Charge Shot                                                              Charge Shot - Level 2 Spell Attack

- Level 3                                                                      - Level 4
Charge Shot - Level 3 Spell Attack                        Charge Shot - Boss Attack

Charge Shot

The Charge Shot is a far more powerful version of the normal shot, as they are able to take out various enemies at a time, as well as defeat fireball enemies very easily. Although they have no direct effect upon an opponent's field, they can be used to create a chain of combos which will release a great amount of firepower upon opponents. Another advantage that comes from using a Charge Shot alone is that it does not decrease your Spell Gauge's fill level when fired.

There can only be one Charge Shot on the player's field at any time. To ensure that this remains true, the player is unable to charge the Spell Gauge until the Charge Shot has dissapeared from the field completely.

Spell Attack

Spell Attacks are character specific abilities used to attack an opponent in their own field. They are activated by charging the Spell Gauge to level 2 or 3, and when activated, a warning sign will be displayed on the opponent's field briefly, which is then quickly followed by a barrage of bullets.

- Level 2 Spell Attack
A level 2 Spell Attack will be activated when the player charges the Spell Gauge to level 2 before releasing the shot key. When activated, the opponent will face a barrage of small white bullets, although these can be repelled onto the player's screen if an enemy is destroyed an a bullet is caught in the explosion.

Level 2 Spell Attacks will decrease the Spell Gauge by 1 level.

- Level 3 Spell Attack
A level 2 Spell Attack will be activated when the player charges the Spell Gauge to level 3 before releasing the shot key. When activated, the opponent will face a barrage of character specific bullets which cannot be repelled in any way (although they can be cancelled out through the use of a bomb).

Level 3 Spell Attacks will decrease the Spell Gauge by 2 levels.

The Boss attacks an opponent independently

Boss Attack

A Boss Attack will be activated when the player charges the Spell Gauge to the max (4). When activated, a manifestation of the player will appear on the opponent's field and attack of it's own will. These manifestations have a set amount of health, and will disappear from the field when they have recieved a specific number of hits, or if it is not destroyed within a certain amount of time.

Boss Attacks will decrease the Spell Gauge by 3 levels.

Spell Level

At the bottom corners of a player's field, the strength of their Spell Attacks and Boss Attacks are displayed.

The initial Spell Levels are set depending on which difficulty you have chosen. In Story Mode, the base Spell Levels increase by after each round, which can happen until a maximum of 16 is reached.

- Spell Attack Level
This is shown at the bottom left-hand corner of a player's field, in green. The current Spell Attack Level indicates the strength of a player's Spell Attacks, as well as the number and velocity of bullets. Everytime a player fires a Spell Attack at their opponent, their Spell Attack Level will increase by 1, which can happen until a maximum of 16 is reached.

- Boss Attack Level
This is shown at the bottom right-hand corner of a player's field, in red. The current Boss Attack Level indicates the type of attacks a Boss summon will do, as well as the duration of time that it will remain on an opponent's field after being summoned. Everytime a player begins a Boss Attack, both player's Boss Attack Levels increase by 1, which can happen until a maximum of 16 is reached.

Extra Attack

Extra Attacks, also known as EX Attacks, are character specific special attacks which are deployed into an opponent's field whenever the player destroys a Fireball enemy within a short distance of where it appeared (although it won't count if the Fireball was caught in an explosion).

Yumemi's Charge Max Ability powers up her shot and speeds her up
Charge Max Ability

Whenever the player has 0 bombs left and a full Spell Gauge, a character specific special attack can be activated by pressing the bomb button. Although these last for a limited time, they are very powerful, as they include many powers up, such as a stronger version of a character's basic shot, increased movement speed and invincibility.

While the Charge Max Ability is engaged, the Spell Gauge will continuously drain (the rate of which varies for each character), and when it reaches Level 1, the Charge Max Ability will be disengaged and the character's power and speed will return to normal, and the invincibility will wear off.

Hit Combos

After defeating an enemy, they will explode. These explosions can damage and destroy other enemies, and when other enemies get caught in the successive explosions of previous enemies, a combo counter will appear in the top left-hand corner of the player's field, indicating the number of enemies caught in the chain reaction.

After a brief moment of inactivity, the combo counter will reset to 0.

Spell Points

Whenever you begin a hit combo and the combo counter appears, Spell Points will also be accumulated, and will be shown under the combo counter. After certain Spell Point values are reached, a special attack will be launched at your opponent:

- 51,200                                                  - 300,000
Boss Attack                                           Boss Panic (Level 3 Spell Attack)

After a brief period of inactivity (i.e, no Spell Points being added), the counter will reset to 0. When this happens, all the Spell Points accumulated will be added to your score.

Field Objects

During the game, many field objects will appear that will success harder to achieve.

- Stage Enemies
The field can become cluttered with all sorts of field items
Stage enemies come in different sizes and colours. Their size will affect the size of explosion they leave behind when defeated, and their colour represent how many shots it will take to defeat them, and when shot, their colour will change to show how many shots are required to defeat it. The colours are as follows:

- Red                      - Green                        - Blue                     - Purple
1 Hit                        2 Hits                           3 Hits                     4 Hits

The appearance of a stage enemy depends on which character you are facing at the time, however, they are basically the same despite their varied appearances.

- Small White Bullets
These are the basic projectiles, and are easy to dodge, although when they come in large quantities they can become troublesome. Their base movement speed depends on the difficulty the player has selected, and it also slowly increases over the course of one round.

When they are caught in an explosion left behind by a defeated enemy, they are removed from the player's field and appear at the top of the opponent's field.

- Spell Attack Bullets
Character based projectiles which only appear whenever a Spell Attack, Boss Attack or Extra Attack is performed. Their speed is different depending on which character the player has selected, and they cannot be removed from the field when caught in an explosion left behind by a defeated enemy.

- Fireballs
Fireballs are created when a large number of small white bullets have been cleared off the screen due to being caught in an explosion left behind by a defeated enemy, or other Fireballs. They appear at the top of a player's field and travel in a downward direction, their speed dependant on which difficulty the player has chosen, as well as the duration of the current round. They require much more firepower to destroy, although they can be easily taken out with the use of a Charge Shot.

When Fireballs are destroyed, they reappear at the top of the opponent's screen.

They are also great for increasing your Spell Points, as when they are caught in an explosion left behind by an enemy, they also leave behind an explosion and reward with a great deal of Spell Points.

Character Stats

Each character has a different set of stats to fit the player's needs:

- Reimu Hakurei                                          -  Mima                                                           - Marisa Kirisame
Movement Speed: ★★★                            Movement Speed: ★★★★                           Movement Speed: ★★★
Attack Power: ★                                           Attack Power: ★★★★                                   Attack Power: ★★★★
Charge Speed: ★★★★★                          Charge Speed: ★★                                       Charge Speed: ★★★

- Kana Anaberal                                          - Ellen                                                              - Kotohime
Movement Speed: ★★                                Movement Speed: ★★                                 Movement Speed: ★★★★
Attack Power: ★★                                        Attack Power: ★★★                                      Attack Power: ★
Charge Speed: ★★★★★                          Charge Speed: ★                                          Charge Speed: ★★★★

- Rikako Asakura                                        - Yumemi Okazaki                                       - Chiyuri Kitashirakawa                  
Movement Speed: ★★★★                         Movement Speed: ★★★★★                       Movement Speed: ★★★★★
Attack Power: ★★★★★                              Attack Power: ★★★★★                               Attack Power: ★★
Charge Speed: ★                                        Charge Speed: ★★★                                  Charge Speed: ★★★★

Scoring

There are 2 ways to increase your score in Phantasmagoria of Dim. Dream, not including Stage Bonuses.

Enemies

Any damage dealt to an enemy, Fireball or Boss, whether it be dealt by a shot, Charge Shot or a bomb, will increase your score slightly. Defeating enemies will award you with a slightly more points, although these tend to range in the hundreds, per enemy.

Spell Points

Whenever you begin a hit combo and the combo counter appears, Spell Points will also be accumulated, and will be shown under the combo counter. However, after a brief period of inactivity, the Spell Point count resets to 0, and any accumulated Spell Points will be added to your score.

Clear Bonus

At the end of each stage, you will be provided with bonus points based on how well you performed. The bonus is calculated like this:

Max Combo x 10,000
Number of Spell Attacks x 100,000 (Level 2 and Level 3 attacks provide the same bonus)
Number of Boss Attacks caused by Spell Points x 150,000
Number of Boss Attacks reverse (by another Boss Attack) x 200,000
Number of Boss Panic Level 3 Spell Attacks x 300,000

Additionally, if it is the final round during Story Mode, another bonus is granted:

Lives remaning x 1,000,000

The combined total is the rewarded stage bonus.

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