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Overview

Lotus Land Story is the fourth game in the Touhou Project, released for the Japanese PC-98 in 1998. It was the first game to feature the focus mode, which allows players to slow down their character in order to manoeuver around bullets easier. It was also the first game to introduce boss lifebars, bombs that auto-collect items, graze counting, and a way of boosting the player's ultimate scoring potential through the collection of special items, as well as score bonuses for the elimination of bullets after defeating a mini-boss or boss, all of which have also became staples of the series.

Plot

All is well in the land of Gensokyo, that is, until a massive amount of Youkai begin laying waste to the Hakurei Shrine. The resident Shrine Maiden, Reimu Hakurei, immediately begins to exterminate the Youkai, however, she is incapable of dealing with the sheer number of them, which leads her to determine that they are coming from a suspicious lake high up in the mountains found behind the Shrine. She sets out to in an attempt to destroy the root of the problem and save the Shrine from complete destruction, while at the same time, Marisa Kirisame, a powerful witch, senses a mysterious power in the mountain, so she decides to head there, fully intent on making that power her own.

Gameplay

Lotus Land Story plays out like many other vertically scrolling Danmaku shooting games, with your character always facing the top of the screen, shooting at anything that moves while avoiding and weaving through the many bullet patterns, and facing bosses at the end of each stage.

There are four difficulties: Easy, Normal, Hard and Lunatic. Each difficulty affects the number of bullets fired by each enemy, the rate of fire, the movement patterns of them, and the intensity of enemy Spell Cards.

There are 6 stages in the game, each more difficult than the last, although the game will end prematurely at stage 5 if played on Easy mode, as well as on any other mode if a continue is used.

After clearing the game without the use of a continue on any one difficulty, an Extra Stage will be unlocked. The Extra Stage features significantly stronger and fast enemies, two extremely hard boss battles, and no option to continue once all of your lives have been used up.


Defeating Enemies

Lotus Land Story features many different enemies which you must defeat in order to progress through the stages. The player can do so through the use of the following abilities:

The Shot
The shot is the basic way of defeating an enemy. A shot's attack area and behaviour will vary depending on the character and Attack Type you have chosen, and you can also power up the shot by filling the Power Level through the collection of power items, where small power items increase your power level by 1, and large ones by 10. The shot will gradually become more powerful as the player reaches the levels of 15, 31, 47, 71, 95, and 127 (MAX). When the player reaches MAX power, all onscreen bullets will cancel out.

Bomb
A bomb will save the player in times of need
Bombs can be used to get out of desperate situations. A bomb's attack area, duration and power will vary depending on the Attack Type you have selected, but most of the time, it will deal heavy damage to every enemy onscreen, as well as cancel out any onscreen bullets, as well as automatically collecting every onscreen item. While a bomb is activated, and a short period after it has finished, the player's character will be invincible. At the beginning of the game, and after every respawn, you will have 2 bombs. You can increase your bomb supply through the collection of bomb items. You can carry a maximum of 8 bombs at a time, and if you collect a bomb item while at the limit, that bomb will be lost.

Rank

Lotus Land Story features a ranking system where, as your rank increases, enemy bullets will have their speed and numbers increased. The effect the ranking system has on the game can be seen most prominently in boss battles, where the bullet difference between minimum and maximum rank can differ by a factor of 4 or more.

Factors that increase your rank:
- Play time
- Getting extra lives
- Point items collected in a single stage
- Collecting items during a bomb (bomb bonus)
- High clear bonus
- Attaining full power and collecting power items
- Clearing a stage without getting hit
- Clearing a stage without using a bomb

Factors that decrease your rank:
- Getting hit
- Letting items go off-screen (not including power items)
- Low clear bonus
- Timing out on boss attacks

Characters

Lotus Land Story features two playable characters with two different attack types:

Reimu Hakurei

Reimu is a useful character for beginners as her attacks are widespread, although rather weak.

- Attack Type A
Attack Type A features bullets which automatically lock-on to enemies.

- Attack Type B
Attack Type A spreads out Reimu's range of attack even more with additional bullets.

Marisa Kirisame

Marisa is a useful character when you want to power through bosses quickly by dealing heavy damage to them, however, her range of attack is very limited.

- Attack Type A
Attack Type A features two lasers which appear at Marisa's side. They require a small amount of time to charge after being used, however, they are very powerful

- Attack Type B
Attack Type B grants Marisa even more destructive power through the addition of more powerful bullets.

Scoring

Scoring works similar to many other Touhou games.

Enemies

Any damage dealt to your enemy, whether it be dealt by a 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.

Grazing adds an extra challenge to the game
Grazing

To graze a bullet, you must come dangerously close to an enemy's bullet. Each graze will add a certain number of points to your score, depending on the difficulty the player has selected, and will add 1 point to the player's "Graze number", which is used to calculate the player's final clear bonus. You can only graze a bullet once, meaning you won't gain any additional points or grazes if you follow a bullet, while you cannot graze lasers at all. There is a maximum of 999 grazes in any stage.

Point Items

Whenever an enemy is defeated, there is a chance that it will release a point item. The higher up the screen you collect them, the more points that will be awarded, up to a maximum of 51,200 points. Whenever you collect a point item for maximum value, the number will be shown in yellow. The number of point items collected in a stage is also used to calculate the Clear Bonus.


Power Items

Whenever an enemy is defeated, there is a chance that it will release a power item. The number of points you gain for these will remain at 10 per item, until your power level reaches MAX, where each additional power item collected will then be worth more than the last, until the maximum value per item, which is 12,800, is reached. Unlike point items, the points you gain from power items will always be the same anywhere on the screen. However, if you lose a life, the points you earn per item will revert back to 10, and you will have to restart the process to reach the maximum of 12,800 per item.

When a large power item is collected, it increases the current value of power items as if the player had collected 10 of them. However, if the player collects one when the value per item is at the maximum, the player will recieve 25,600 points instead.

Full power items award 1,000 points.

Dream Bonus

The dream bonus system is a feature which is unique to Lotus Land Story.

Whenever the player collects special dream items, the dream bonus, which is shown at the bottom-right hand corner of the screen, increase by a pre-set interval. When a dream item is collected, the value of the dream bonus (after the increment) is added to your score. Whenever point items are collected, the value of the current dream bonus is added onto the value of the item collected, however, if you are hit, the value of your dream bonus drops by one, and after you clear a stage, your dream bonus returns to 0.

The dream bonus you finish with is used to calculate your clear bonus.

Bomb Usage

When the player activates a bomb, all onscreen items are pulled in and collected for double their worth.

Enemy Bullet Bonus

Whenever you defeat a boss or mid-boss' attack pattern (through depleting their health bar to certain points or through defeating them), all onscreen bullets are nullified, and each one is worth a number of points, up to a maximum of 12,800.

Boss Clear Bonus

Whenever you defeat a mid-boss or clear an attack pattern of a boss (through depleting their health bar), all oncreen enemy bullets are nullified, and then tallied up and added to a Boss Clear Bonus, where more onscreen bullets means a much higher bonus. The worth of bullets is determined by their size and type, up to a maximum of 12,800. The total Boss Clear Bonus is displayed after the boss or mid-boss is defeated. This bonus is not related to the enemy bullet bonus.

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:

Stage number x 1,000
Power level x 100
Graze count x 50
Dream bonus (at time of completion)

This combined total is then multiplied by the number of point items the player collected during that stage.

If the stage happens to be the final stage, a stage bonus of 10,000 is used instead, and the following is added:

Number of lives left x 10,000


Finally, depending on the conditions you played under, the result is multiplied by these modifies, rounded down to the nearest 10:

4 Initial Lives: x 0.7
5 Initial Lives: x 0.5
6 Initial Lives: x 0.3
Easy Difficulty: x 0.5
Normal Difficulty: x 1.0
Hard Difficulty: x 1.2
Lunatic Difficulty: x 1.4
1 Continue Used: x 0.8
2 Continues Used: x 0.6
3 Continues Used: x 0.4

The end result is then added to your score.

Music

In Lotus Land Story, every stage has different music, while every boss has their own theme. The translated name of each theme is provided below the original version:

- Title Screen Theme
    幻想郷 ~ Lotus Land Story
    Gensokyo ~ Lotus Land Story

ZUN Note:
    It's the usual. Though we've just about had enough (^^;;
    I wonder what makes this a Japanese-style song.
    Hm, well, I do like the song itself quite a bit, but ...
    Not much else, aside from the fact that it doesn't really match the title screen (^^;;;
    Well, I suppose even that (not matching the title picture) is a trademark of this series (^^;
    (Not really)

- Reimu's Stage 1 Theme
    Witching Dream

ZUN Note:
    Ye~s. This song turned out kind of cool.
    But, it might be a little too dark.
    There's that drum pattern in the second half that's almost out of desperation. Just a little.

    Yep. Ah, well.

- Marisa's Stage 1 Theme
    Selene's Light

ZUN Note:
    This is a pretty cute song, isn't it?
    I guess the kind of cute that you'd say fits a witch girl?
    (No way, it's definitely not.)
    I always write my songs pretty haphazardly, so I never really have any idea how they'll turn out.
    I do seriously put some thought into the theme, but ...
    (By the way, this is a pretty cute song (^^;)

- Stage 1 Boss: Orange's Theme
    装飾戦 ~ Decoration Battle
    Decoration Battle

ZUN Note:
    The first boss song is pretty hard.
    It's popular for boss music nowadays to be dignified, but as you can see, most of the bosses in this series are cute girls, so I try to make their songs cool.
    So, why are the first boss songs hard, well, it's actually pretty easy for me to make a cool (sounding) song most of the time (I think).
    But, if the first stage boss theme is really cool, I don't have anything left over for the rest of the songs, and end up making something really weird - that's my pattern.
    So, it's a pretty serious problem.
    Well, what do you think of this song? (^^;;

- Stage 2 Theme
    Break the Sabbath

ZUN Note:
    The patterns in this song are similar to those from last time.
    It starts bit-by-bit and goes pah-pa pah-pa
    (mysterious)
    It was actually pretty easy to make, so it didn't leave a strong impression (^^;

- Stage 2 Boss: Kurumi's Theme
    紅響曲 ~ Scarlet Phoneme
    Scarlet Symphony ~ Scarlet Phoneme

ZUN Note:
    My boss songs are basically short.
    If they're long, you might not be able to hear the whole thing
    I was going for a song that would evoke the image of a convalescent demon, but ... ?
    Well, it has a nice feel (^^

- Stage 3 Theme
    Bad Apple!!

ZUN Note:
    This song feels like my older songs.
    Well, since it started turning out weird, I did try to make it at least sound like something I might have written long ago ...
    It's nice to have something this rhythmical(?).
    And, it's very 3rd-stage-ish(??) ...

- Stage 3 Boss: Elly's Theme
    霊戦 ~ Perdition crisis
    Spirit Battle ~ Perdition crisis

ZUN Note:
    I kind of like this song.
    The stage 3 boss is kind of strong. The song has the same feel to it.
    She may look strong, but the song gives you the feeling you'll definitely win(?)

- Stage 4 Theme
    アリスマエステラ
    Alice Maestra

ZUN Note:
    I imagined a cool-looking Western-style mansion while making this song, and it ended up turning into something I really don't understand (^^;
    But, I think it has an altogether different atmosphere from the the other songs ...
    (Or maybe it's the same (^^;;;)

- Stage 4 Boss A: Reimu Hakurei's Theme
    少女綺想曲 ~ Capriccio
    Maiden's Capriccio

ZUN Note:
    Yeah. I really like this song.
    The biggest problem, is no matter who listens, it's just not a shrine maiden song at all (^^;
    But, I think this song best expresses the atmosphere of this game.

    It's a little cute, too.

- Stage 4 Boss B: Marisa Kirisame's Theme
    星の器 ~ Casket of Star
    Vessel of Stars ~ Casket of Star

ZUN Note:
    It's hard to make weirder songs than this.
    The intro has a kind of boss-ish feel to it.

    It has a bit of a somber feel to it.
    (Hm, I wonder, yeah)

- Stage 5 Theme
    Lotus Love

ZUN Note:
    I had no idea what this was when I made it, but it's grown on me now.
    Once you get used to it, you can see how it's quite cool, and how it has quite a nice feel. Quite.

    The stage is short, too, so in-game the song only loops once. Poor thing.

- Stage 5 Boss: Yuka Kazami's Theme 1
    眠れる恐怖 ~ Sleeping Terror
    Sleeping Terror
 
ZUN Note:
    I'm usually pretty haphazard in my song writing, but this time I pretty much had the thing all planned out (in my head) before I got started.
    I don't think I use this type of bass pattern very often, though.
    But, I didn't have many voices in the 26 version, so it didn't come out all that well (;_;

- Final Stage Theme
    Dream Land

ZUN Note:
    This is a very short song (^^;
    I think it came out very lonely-sounding too (^^;;;
    Well, in any case, is it, I wonder?
    Kind of. Uja~

- Final Stage Boss: Yuka Kazami's Theme 2
    幽夢 ~ Inanimate Dream
    Faint Dream ~ Inanimate Dream

ZUN Note:
    The last boss theme. It has a very final feel to it.
    I think it came out pretty cool somehow~
    Nobody really knows if Yuka herself is cool.
    Personally, I think I rather like her.

- Extra Stage Theme
    禁じざるをえない遊戯
    The Inevitably Forbidden Game

ZUN Note:
    I made this one fairly rhythmical (not)
    The main part is pretty simple, so it feels nice.

    I get the feeling listening to it that this is how my songs are most of the time.

    I like songs like this, but sometimes I want to write something with a different atmosphere.

- Extra Stage Boss #1: Mugetu's Theme
    メイド幻想 ~ Icemilk Magic
    Illusion of a Maid ~ Icemilk Magic

ZUN Note:  
    The younger sister, Mugetu's, theme. For some reason it feels like a maid song.
    This is a pretty cool song, isn't it? Even though it's short. (Because it's short?)

    Well, in any case, it turned out to be a maid song like this.

- Extra Stage Boss #2: Gengetu's Theme
    かわいい悪魔 ~ Innocence
    Cute Devil ~ Innocence

    The theme for the older sister Gengetu, the real last boss. I wanted for it to have a real Western feel to it, but ... ?
    I was aiming for a song that was pretty similar to Mugetu's theme.

    Rather, I was really hoping to come up with a Mr. Dracula sort of song ... (;_;

- Bad Ending Theme
    Days

ZUN Note:
    Hmm. It's a song that feels like there's no reason for hopes
    or dreams. At least when I know I can't make bright songs, the
    bad end song will come out well.
    Except the good end feels like a bad end, too.

- Good Ending Theme
    Peaceful

    Huh, it feels kind of peaceful.
    Maybe ... a little bright?

- Staff Roll Theme
    Arcadian Dream

ZUN Note
    Well, the staff roll is kind of cool, after all.
    (Is that all you can say? (^^; )
    It seems like a very simple song, but it might actually be a very simple song.
    Well, there's very little staff, so I don't really need a long staff roll song (^^)

    For some reason, it's a lot like a boss song (^^;;;

- Name Registration
    幻想の住人
    Those Who Live in Illusions

ZUN Note:   
    Seems like there should be a game over song, too.

    Yeah. Maybe a little too energetic.

Unused Music

Lotus Land Story also has 6 themes which were never included in the final version of the game, although they can be accessed through the Music Room in Mystic Square:

- Lotus Road


ZUN Note:
    I was going to use this as the stage 1 theme.
    But, I thought it was a little too light, so  I didn't use it ...

- Dreamy pilot

ZUN Note:
    I was going to use this as the stage 4 theme.
    I thought it was kind of air-headed, though, so I threw it out.
    But, maybe it's not that bad?

- Incomplete Plot

ZUN Note:
    I was going to use this as the stage 5 theme.
    But for some reason I threw it out. *g*
    It's pretty nice, too ...

- Border Land

ZUN Note:
    I was going to use this as the stage 6 theme.
    I thought the last stage theme should be a bit more mellow, though, so I threw it out.

- Magic Shop of Raspberry

ZUN Note:
    I was going to use this as the extra stage theme.
    But I thought the extra stage song should be a little lighter, so I cried and cried and threw it out.

- Crescent Dream

ZUN Note:
    I was going to use this for the staff roll.
    It's not STG-esque, though, so I threw it out.

Endings

Lotus Land Story has 8 different endings, each one being triggered through meeting a certain criteria.


Good Endings

The good endings are achieved when the player beats the game on any difficulty other than Easy without using any continues:


- Good Ending 1
Beat the game without using any continues, using Reimu Type A

- Good Ending 2
Beat the game without using any continues, using Reimu Type B

- Good Ending 3
Beat the game without using any continues, using Marisa Type A


- Good Ending 4
Beat the game without using any continues, using Marisa Type B

Bad Endings

The bad endings are achieved when the player beats the game on Easy, beats the game but has used one or more continues, or loses the last life during the final stage in Normal difficulty or higher:

- Bad Ending 1
Use Reimu Type A

- Bad Ending 2
Use Reimu Type
B

- Bad Ending 3
Use Marisa Type A

- Bad Ending 4
Use Marisa Type B

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