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Overview

Mystic Square is the fifth game in the Touhou Project, released on the Japanese PC-98 in 1998. It was the last game on the PC-98 series of computers, and the last to be published by Amusement Makers, while it was also the first to feature Alice Margatroid, a character who has since appeared in many other games in the series.

Plot

One day, out of the blue, a large quantity of Demons and Youkai begin to travel from Makai, the World of Demons, to Gensokyo, which swamps the land and leave Reimu Hakurei, the resident Shrine Maiden of Hakurei Shrine, with a lot of exterminating to do. Frustrated by this, Reimu tracks the source of the invasion to "The Cave in Which the Door to Makai is Said to Be", which lies in the mountain behind Hakurei Shrine, and decides that she must root out the cause of the invasion. Unknown to her, however, Marisa Kirisama has learned of her plans, and decides to follow her in the hopes of stealing some unique powers found in Makai. Elsewhere, Mima, the evil spirit that floats around Hakurei Shrine, and Yuka Kazami, a Youkai, decide to head for Makai as well, each with their own reasons for doing so.

Gameplay

Mystic Square 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, and 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, an extremely hard mid-boss and boss battle, and no option to continue once all of your lives have been used up.

Defeating Enemies

Mystic Square 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 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  Power levels of 11, 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 and automatically collect every onscreen item, however, enemies defeated through the use of a bomb will not drop any items. 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 3 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

Mystic Square 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 (excluding dialogues)
- Getting extra lives
- Point items collected in a single stage
- Attaining full power and collecting power items

Factors that decrease your rank:
-Dying
-Using bombs

Characters

There are four playable characters to chose from in Mystic Square, each with their own unique attack pattern. The player decides which character to play at the beginning of the game.

Reimu Hakurei

Basic Performance
- Attack Power: ★
- Movement Speed: ★
- Attack Range: ★★★★★
- Bomb Duration: ★★★★
- Bomb Power: ★

Shrine Maiden; Homing Type
- Main Firepower: Homing Card Shot
 -Summary: Reimu is an excellent choice when faced with a swarm of enemies, as her widespread and homing attacks deal with them rather quickly. However, her attacks aren't as effective against bosses.

Marisa Kirisame

Basic Performance
- Attack Power: ★★★★★
- Movement Speed: ★★★
- Attack Range: ★★
- Bomb Duration: ★★
- Bomb Power: ★★★★★

Magic-User; Forward Concentrated Type
- Main Firepower: Magic Missile
- Summary: Although Marisa is weak at first, once her Power level hits MAX, she is easily the most powerful character in the game, which helps to quickly dispatch bosses.

Mima

Basic Performance
- Attack Power: ★★★★★
- Movement Speed: ★★★★★
- Attack Range: ★
- Bomb Duration: ★
- Bomb Power: ★★★★

Ghost; High-Speed Shot Type
- Main Firepower: Energy Shower
- Summary: Mima is a good character to use when it comes to taking out all sorts of stage enemies, although she might have a little trouble when facing off against a boss.

Yuka Kazami

Basic Performance
- Attack Power: ★★
- Movement Speed: ★
- Attack Range: ★★★★★
- Bomb Duration: ★★★★★
- Bomb Power: ★★

Youkai; Wide-Range Type
- Main Firepower: Flower Shot
- Summary: Yuka is a very easy character to use, as she has a good range with both bombs and regular shots.

Scoring

Scoring works similarly 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

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, although laser-like bullets can be grazed.

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. Whenever the Dream Gauge is at MAX, point items can be collected anywhere onscreen for a much higher value. 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 receive 25,600 points instead.

Full power items award 1,000 points.

Dream Gauge System

The dream gauge is displayed at the bottom-right corner of the screen, above the power level meter. As the player meets certain conditions, the dream gauge will increase of decrease accordingly, and as the gauge increase, the point on the screen where items can be collected for maximum value will move lower.

Factors that increase the dream gauge:
- When a dream item is collected (fill gauge to MAX)
- When a point item is collected (will fill even further if the item is collected near or at the top of the screen)
- When a power item is collected for it's maximum potential worth
- When a non-boss enemy is onscreen (the more enemies, the quicker it fills up)

Factors that decrease the dream gauge:
- When a life is lost
- When a bomb is used
- When a point item falls from the field area (this will not happen if the dream gauge is at MAX)

When the dream gauge is at MAX, point items may be collected for a tremendously higher value, based on the difficulty the player has selected, and will also allow the player to collect point items for their maximum value anywhere onscreen.

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 onscreen 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.

No-Miss Bonus

Additional points are rewarded if you manage to complete a stage without getting hit.

No-Bomb Bonus

If you complete a stage and recieve the no-miss bonus, you will also recieve a no-bomb bonus, providing no bombs were used during that stage.

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
- Dream bonus x 100
- Graze count x 50

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 or Extra Stage, a stage bonus of 10,000 is used instead, and the following is added:

- Number of lives left x 10,000
- Total number of point items collect x 2,500

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 Mystic Square, 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
    怪綺談 ~ Mystic Square
    Wondrous Romance ~ Mystic Square

- Stage 1 Theme
    Dream Express

- Stage 1 Boss: Sara's Theme
    魔法陣 ~ Magic Square
    Magic Formation ~ Magic Square

- Stage 2 Theme
    夢想時空
    Dimension of Reverie

- Stage 2 Boss: Luize's Theme
    霊天 ~ Spiritual Heaven
    Spiritual Heaven

- Stage 3 Theme
    Romantic Children

- Stage 3 Boss: Alice Margatroid's Theme
    プラスチックマインド
    Plastic Mind

- Stage 4 Theme
    メイプルワイズ
    Maple Wise

- Stage 4 Boss: Yuki and Mai's Theme
    禁断の魔法 ~ Forbidden Magic
    Forbidden Magic

- Stage 4 Boss: Yuki's Theme
    真紅の少女 ~ Crimson Dead!!
    Crimson Maiden ~ Crimson Dead!!

- Stage 4 Boss: Mai's Theme
    裏切りの少女 ~ Judas Kiss
    Treacherous Maiden ~ Judas Kiss

- Stage 5 Theme
    The Last Judgement

- Stage 5 Boss: Yumeko's Theme
    悲しき人形 ~ Doll of Misery
    Doll of Misery


- Final Stage Theme
    世界の果て ~ World's End
    World's End

- Final Stage Boss: Shinki's Theme
    神話幻想 ~ Infinite Being
    Legendary Illusion ~ Infinite Being

- Extra Stage Theme
    不思議の国のアリス
    Alice in Wonderland

- Extra Stage Boss: Alice Margatroid's 2nd Theme
    The Grimoire of Alice

- Bad Ending Theme
    神社
    Shinto Shrine


- Good Ending Theme
1
    Endless

- Good Ending Theme 2
    久遠の楽園
    Eternal Paradise

- Staff Roll Theme
    Mystic Dream

- Extra Ending Theme
    Peaceful Romancer

- Name Registration
    魂の休らむ所
    Soul's Resting Place

Endings

Mystic Square has 12 different endings, each one being triggered through meeting a certain criteria.

Good Endings

The good endings are achieved when the player beats the game without using any continues:

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

- Good Ending 2
Beat the game without using any continues, using Marisa.

- Good Ending 3
Beat the game without using any continues, using Mima.

- Good Ending 4
Beat the game without using any continues, using Yuka.

Bad Endings

The bad endings are achieved when the player beats the game, but has used one or more continues:

- Bad Ending 1
Beat the game using one or more continues, using Reimu.

- Bad Ending 2
Beat the game using one or more continues, using Marisa.

- Bad Ending 3
Beat the game using one or more continues, using Mima.

- Bad Ending 4
Beat the game using one or more continues, using Yuka.

Extra Endings

The Extra endings are achieved when the player complete the Extra Stage:

- Extra Ending 1
Beat the Extra Stage using Reimu.

- Extra Ending 2
Beat the Extra Stage using Marisa.

- Extra Ending 3
Beat the Extra Stage using Mima.

- Extra Ending 4
Beat the Extra Stage using Yuka.

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