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Overview

Mountain of Faith is the 10th game in the Touhou Project, released on the Windows OS in the 17th of August, 2007. The game features a unique scoring system that is based on the Faith meter, which varies with the player's gameplay, as well as the removal of the standard bomb system present in The Story of Eastern Wonderland - Phantasmagoria of Flower View.

Plot

Autumn has arrived in Gensokyo and, as per usual, the Hakurei Shrine is a popular meeting place for Youkai, causing it to become an area avoided by humans. As a result, faith in the deity of the shrine begins to fall, leading to a visit from someone who claims to be a representative of the God of mountains, who orders Hakurei Reimu to shut her shrine down for good. Reimu is troubled by this, as she cannot shut the shrine down due to the role it plays in watching over the Great Hakurei Border. Marisa Kirisame, Reimu's magician friend, is suspicious of this turn of events and, not surprisingly, bored. Depending on who is chosen, one of the heroines decides to ascend the Youkai Mountain and confront the God behind the threats.

Nitori attempting to convince Marisa to leave Youkai Mountain
As she approaches the mountain, the heroine encounters many of Gensokyo's gods, including the two Goddesses of Autumn, Shizuha and Minoriko Aka, and the curse Goddess, Hina Kagiyama, who tries to chase the heroine away from the mountain due to the dangers it presents. After defeating these Goddesses and pushing on, the heroine reaches the foot of the mountain, and she is confronted by the valley kappa, Nitori Kawashiro, who also attempts to convince her to leave. After being defeated, Nitori mentions that a God has recently appeared on the mountain, which has caused trouble for the kappa and tengu there.

As the heroine ascends the waterfall on the mountain, she is confronted by the guard of Youkai Mountain, Momiji Inubashiri, and then the tengu reporter Aya Shameimaru, who was sent by the leaders of the tengu society as she is familiar with outsiders. After being defeated, Aya allows the heroine to pass through to the lake where the Moriya Shrine recently appeared, and as she reaches the shrine grounds, she is confronted by the resident shrine maiden, Sanae Kotiya. Sanae claims that the lake and the Moriya Shrine were recently moved to Gensokyo, and that she plans on collecting all of the faith in Gensokyo for "Lady Yasaka," which would lead to the end of the Hakurei Shrine, and so the heroine objects. After defeating Sanae, the heroine proceeds to the mountain's summit, where she encounters a lake surrounded by pillars, as well as the Goddess of wind and Rain, Kanako Yasaka. She claims that she plans on collecting all of the faith in Gensokyo in order to prevent the people's faith from declining to a point where the Gods lose their power, as she believes that Gensokyo would fall into a state of chaos if this were to happen. After being defeated, Kanako agrees to make peace with the tengu and kappa which occupy the mountain, and they agree to accept her as the Goddess of Youkai Mountain.

As the issue is resolved, Reimu returns to her normal daily life at the Hakurei Shrine, and Marisa decides to sneak into the mountain to steal chestnuts, until she hears a rumour that there was yet another God present at the Moriya Shrine. Pairing this together with the observation that Kanako had taken residence at the lake rather than the shrine itself, the selected heroine heads for Youkai Mountain once again. As she reaches the shrine, Kanako attempts to chase her off, although she is defeated and the heroine reaches the inner sanctuary, only to discover the shrine's true Goddess, Suwako Moriya. She tells the heroine that Kanako defeated her in battle long ago, thus becoming the Goddess of the shrine in the public eye, although Suwako retained possession of the land, however, it was Kanako's decision to move the shrine to Gensokyo. As the heroine is about to leave, Suwako demands that she play with her, just as she played with Kanako and Sanae.

During an interview with ZUN, he stated that the plot of Mountain of Faith was never fully resolved so that future installments could base their stories on its loose ends.

Gameplay

Mountain of Faith 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 number and type of enemy Spell Cards used.

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

Mountain of Faith 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 0.05, and large ones by 1.0. The shot will gradually become more powerful as the player reaches the Power Levels of 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0. When the player reaches MAX power, all onscreen bullets will cancel out and turn into star items, which are automatically collected.

A bomb will save the player in times of need.
Bombs and Options
Bombs can be used to get out of desperate situations, although they have received a major revamp in Mountain of Faith, as they no longer vary with the attack type used, and there is no longer a separate bomb counter, instead the use of each bomb is based on the player's power gauge. They 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. Utilizing a bomb will reduce the player's power gauge by 1.0, meaning it cannot be used whenever the player has a power gauge of less than 1.0.

Options are a new addition to the series, taking the form of orbs which surround the player and shoot "shots." The number of Options the player has depends on the power gauge, for example: if the player has a power gauge level between 3.0 and 3.95, 3 Options will surround them. Despite the power gauge reaching its max level at 5.0, however, only 4 Options are available to the player.

Boss Battles

Many spells cards require quick thinking in order to avoid them.
Each boss has multiple lives, which are represented by multiple health bars, and they will normally switch between Spell Cards and normal attacks once with each lifebar .

A boss' Spell Cards will often comprise of complicated patterns which will involve projectiles and magic made especially for each Spell Card. If the player manages to defeat an enemy Spell Card without getting harmed or using a bomb, a substantial score bonus is awarded.

Both a normal and Spell Card phase of a boss battle will be accompanied by a timer. When the timer runs out, the boss will switch their next attack pattern, even if their health bar isn't empty, although doing this without being hit or using a bomb will provide no score bonus.

Characters

There are two playable characters to chose from in Mountain of Faith, Reimu and Marisa, each with three attack types. The player decides which character to play and which attack type to use at the beginning of the game.

Reimu Hakurei - The Shrine Maiden of Paradise

The shrine maiden of the Hakurei Shrine, she sets out for Youkai Mountain in order to find out who's ordering her to shut down the shrine, and why she must do so.


Attack Type A (Homing Type)

  • Shot: Homing Amulet 
  • Focus Mode: Rear Position


Attack Type B (Forward Concentration Type)

  • Shot: Sealing Needle
  • Focus Mode: Forward Position


Attack Type C (Sealing Type)

  • Shot: Youkai Buster 
  • Focus Mode: Left/Right & Concentration Type 

Marisa Kirisame - The Ordinary Magician

An ordinary magician. She is suspicious of the recent turn of events, and so she decides to do something in order to alleviate her boredom.

Attack Type A (High Attack Power)

  • Shot: Spread Star 
  • Focus Mode: Trace & Stationary Formation


Attack Type B (Penetration Type)

  • Shot: Illusion Laser
  • Focus Mode: Close Contact Formation


Attack Type C (Magic User Type)

  • Shot: Cold Inferno 
  • Bomb: Forward & Absolute Formation

Stages

There are 6 stages in Mountain of Faith, as well as an Extra Stage:

Stage 1 - The Multitudinous Autumn Gods

Takes place en route to Youkai Mountain, in an area covered with autumn leaves.
  • Mid-Boss: Shizuha Aki
  • Boss: Minoriko Aki

Stage 2 - The Scars of the Gods

Takes place en route to Youkai Mountain, within the Great Youkai Forest.
  • Mid-Boss and Boss: Hina Kagiyama

Stage 3 - The Flawless Fortress

Takes place at the foot of Youkai Mountain, in the Untrodden Valley.
  • Mid-Boss and Boss: Nitori Kawashiro

Stage 4 - The Mountain Fortress

Takes place on Youkai Mountain, at Heaven's Falls.
  • Mid-Boss: Momiji Inubashiri
  • Boss: Aya Shameimaru

Stage 5 - A Wind Blows on the Sacred Mountain

Takes place on Youkai Mountain, at the Moriya Shrine.
  • Mid-Boss and Boss: Sanae Kotiya

Stage 6 - Ah, the God of Wind on the Grounds of the Divine Lake

Takes place on Youkai Mountain, at the Wind God's Lake.
  • Boss: Kanako Yasako

Extra Stage - Pleasant Japanese God

Takes place on Youkai Mountain, in the Moriya Shrine's inner sanctum
  • Mid-boss: Kanako Yasaka
  • Boss: Suwako Moriya

Scoring

Mountain of Faith removes the grazing based aspect in favour of the new Faith Points system.

Enemies

Any damage dealt to an enemy, whether it be dealt by a shot or a bomb, will increase the player's score slightly. Defeating enemies will award the player with a slightly more points, although these tend to range in the hundreds, per enemy.

Point Items

Whenever an enemy is defeated, there is a chance that it will release a point item. The higher up the screen they are collected, the more points that will be awarded, up to a defined maximum. Whenever a point item is collected for maximum value, the number will be shown in yellow. Point items with a yellow border around them will always give out their maximum value. The auto-item-collect line is in the same location as where points can be collected for their maximum value.

Power Items

Whenever an enemy is defeated, there is a chance that it will release a power item. These increase the player's shot power, as well as give 10 points per item. When the player's shot is fully powered up, and instead of power items being dropped, small faith items will drop instead.

Faith Point Items

The number in the lower left corner of the screen is the Belief counter, which starts off at 50,000. As time time passes by, the Belief counter will decrease, which can be halted momentarily by shooting and defeating enemies. As the Belief counter increase, the value of each point item increases as well as the value of the spell card bonus.

The Belief counter can also be increased through the collection of Faith Point items, which are green stars and orbs. The amount that Large Faith Point items add to the Belief counter is dependant on the difficulty selected:
  • Easy: 5,000
  • Normal: 5,000
  • Hard: 8,000
  • Lunatic: 10,000
  • Extra: 10,000

Small Faith Point items add 100 points, while Faith Point items receieved whilst bombing or from clearing a boss' spell card add 10 points to the Belief counter.

If a life is lost, the Belief counter will decrease by the following:

- (Faith points - 50,000) / 3

This formula remains the same regardless of the difficulty selected.

If a bomb is used, the Belief counter will decrease by 3,000 points. However, if a death bomb is performed, no points are lost. If a boss' attack is timed out, the Belief counter will drop by 30,000. which occurs even on Aya and Suwako's survival spell cards.

Spell Card Bonus

Whenever a boss or mid-boss' Spell Card is defeated within the allocated time limit, without being hit or using a bomb, the player will recieve a Spell Card bonus, which is added to the total score. The intial value of the Spell Card bonus starts out at Belief counter x (10 (stage number x 3)), and will decrease over time. The Extra Stage will be counted as stage 7.

Clear Bonus

Unlike the other games in the series, the clear bonus is only awarded at the end of the final stage/extra stage, which is calculated like this:
  • Easy: (Lives in Stock x 20 million) (Power x 200,000) (Faith x 100) points.
  • Normal: (Lives in Stock x 25 million) (Power x 200,000) (Faith x 100) points.
  • Hard: (Lives in Stock x 35 million) (Power x 400,000) (Faith x 100) points.
  • Lunatic: (Lives in Stock x 40 million) (Power x 600,000) (Faith x 100) points.
  • Extra: (Lives in Stock x 40 million) (Power x 800,000) (Faith x 100) points.

Power is based on the first two digits, meaning if the player had 3.35 power, the value would be 33 x 200,000.

Development

After the completion of Imperishable Night, ZUN achieved his goal of creating three Touhou games for Windows. Despite his ideas to make the next game feature the simpleness of The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, he put the idea aside in order to work on things unrelated to the main series. After Phantasmagoria of Flower View was completed, ZUN decided to wait a year before making a new game so that the series' popularity would drop, but to his surprise, its popularity only continued to increase, and so he decided to make the next game.

ZUN wished for the tenth game in the series' to have a sense of nostalgia for him, and so he based it upon the Suwa myths he had heard whilst he was in his childhood. However, since Suwa mythology had become largely unknown within today's society, he decided to provide his own ideas on the subject as he believed it would be interesting, causing him to go on a trip to study the Gods of the Suwa region.

The Akimiya Kaguraden which was used as the background for Kanako's spell cards.
ZUN believed that one of Mountain of Faith's main purposed was to go back to the basics, leading to the lack of the Spell Practice mode featured in Imperishable Night, as well as the unique character bombs from previous games in the series. Shoot the Bullet was used as a prototype for Mountain of Faith, causing the character and enemy models from the previous Windows games to be scrapped in favour of new ones.

ZUN also stated that having the freedom to remove existing features and revamp the system is one of the benefits of producing doujin games.

Influence

After Mountain of Faith was released, many fans were drawn to the shrines Suwa so they could see the place which the game was based upon. Ever since July 2008, prayer plaques with manga drawings began appearing in the Suwa Taisha as a result of the visits by fans of the series. According to The Moriya Priests Museum of Documents, the number of visitors in 2008 were similar to that of 2007, when people were also attracted to Suwa due to the airing of Fūrin Kazan. Many locals hoped that this would become a new way to attract tourists, similar to how Lucky Star had attracted many fans to Saitama.

Music

In Mountain of Faith, 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
    封印されし神々
    Sealed Gods

    The same song as ever...
    I tried to make it really majestic, as befitting for a Japanese-style God.
    It's a pretty queer and unusual rhythm, but it all comes through if you
    keep listening to it. Especially, say, while you're debugging the game.

Stage 1 theme
    人恋し神様 ~ Romantic Fall
    A God That Misses People ~ Romantic Fall

    It's been many a day since I last used this kind of mood.

    Considering the melodious part where the tempo suddenly drops, and tune
    which doesn't really cause any tension... I think this is the song most befitting
    of a stage 1 of all the stages 1 and 2 songs in Touhou games up until now.
    What do you think?

Stage 1 Boss - Minoriko Aki's theme
    稲田姫様に叱られるから
    Because Princess Inada Is Scolding Me

    It has a pretty good tempo compared to the rest. I tried making it
    with the image of a harvest festival and an inexperienced and thoughtless god.
    The only game that can do this kind of nervousless piece is Touhou.
    Normally, fighting a boss with this kind of music would be difficult.
    It is a short loop, but the boss fight itself is short anyway.

Stage 2 theme
    厄神様の通り道 ~ Dark Road
    The Road of the Apotropaic God ~ Dark Road

    This is the second stage theme.
    In contrast with the first stage, this is a gloomy piece.
    It combines both western and oriental styles; I think it has a nice feeling to it.
    The boss is a gothic lolita, so the music turned out this way.
    The transition from the mysterious intro to the chorus where your field of
    vision expands has a pretty good feeling to it.

Stage 2 Boss - Hina Kagiyama's theme
    運命のダークサイド
    Dark Side of Fate

    Since she's a gothic lolita, I thought I should make it a more painful kind of feeling,
    but when I thought of my own preferences, and the matter of the entire game,
    this kind of feeling just settled in.
    Well, she's just a stage 2 boss. It's better to make her look a bit stupid.

Stage 3 theme
    神々が恋した幻想郷
    The Gensokyo The Gods Loved

    It's the first tune you hear after infiltrating Youkai Mountain. It's bursting with the heavy verses of Gensokyo.
    I prepared the best melodious tune I could for the beautiful valley the youkai reside in.
    I hope I have managed to convey a rather liberal feeling, in contrast to the darker stage two theme.

Stage 3 Boss - Nitori Kawashiro's theme
    芥川龍之介の河童 ~ Candid Friend
    Akutagawa Ryuunosuke's "Kappa" ~ Candid Friend

    You will hear this song quite a bit, so I've put forth my best effort so that you won't get tired of it.
    For that purpose, I've used some strange phrases and rhythms, but I wonder if it was any good.
    My hypothesis is that you'll be listening to this one a lot. Since my first impressions of the song,
    as I continued to listen to it, it seems to have gradually changed on me.
    As the concluding piece, it should end up having a rather sorrowful sound to it, I guess?

Stage 4 theme
    フォールオブフォール ~ 秋めく滝
    Fall of Fall ~ Autumnal Waterfall

    When you think of waterfalls, there are two images: the powerful, vast waterfall and the meek, trickling one.
    But this time, I opted for the image of the former.
    Touhou has always, always had a dark feel to it, so I tried to express a somewhat refreshing feel. Why is that?
    An autumn waterfall. I think the thing waterfalls convey the most is autumn.

Stage 4 boss - Aya Shameimaru's theme
    妖怪の山 ~ Mysterious Mountain
    The Youkai Mountain ~ Mysterious Mountain

    I made the same Aya's theme, Wind God Girl, with the image of Aya the newspaper reporter,
    but this time I emphasised the image of the youkai "Tengu" from ancient Japan.
    If I somehow gave it an old, nostalgic feeling, you too would become one of the youkai.
    Ahh, it feels so nostalgic.

Stage 5 theme
    少女が見た日本の原風景
    The Primal Scene of Japan the Girl Saw

    This time, the Japanese element is deep throughout. Especially as it gets more Japanese
    the more you progress through the latter half.
    Comparing this tune to the others, the Japanese element is relatively small, but the very
    dark, nostalgic melody and rapid chorus feel very latter half.
    If you listen to it combined with the gameplay, it feels even more latter half (well, it is the latter half).
    Even so, the Moriya Shrine seems even more extravagant than the Hakurei Shrine...

Stage 5 boss - Sanae Kotiya's theme
    信仰は儚き人間の為に
    Faith is for the Transient People

    It feels like the metal section suddenly got bigger here; I thought I'd give this a heavy feeling,
    but I got careless and overdid it, which is a bad habit of mine. Tee hee.
    Whether it's the melody or something else, it's the heaviest in this game.
    From this point on, it suddenly becomes bright, and at the end it kind of lost its touch...
    The stronger they are, the less the feeling of tension: I promise this is true in Gensokyo.

Stage 6 theme
    御柱の墓場 ~ Grave of Being
    Cemetery of Onbashira ~ Grave of Being

    Since the stage is short, the tune is also short. The final stage has a drawn out Last Boss battle,
    so if I didn't make the path leading to it shorter, it would lose its potence, which is why it's short.
    I'm not omitting the vital steps.
    I tried expressing the feeling "hey, something's about to start" in this tune.
    Of course something's going to start, since it is the final stage after all.

Stage 6 boss - Kanako Yasaka's theme
    神さびた古戦場 ~ Suwa Foughten Field
    The Venerable Ancient Battlefield ~ Suwa Foughten Field

    This is a strange god who befriends human and youkai alike with an overwhelming power.
    I composed a part which makes you feel awe towards a god, and a part which makes you feel the gravity of history.
    Anyhow, it's a playful tune which possesses ample reckless abandon. There's a huge difference
    compared to Sanae in the melody, but maybe this is the difference between gods and humans.

Extra stage theme
    明日ハレの日、ケの昨日
    Tomorrow will be Special; Yesterday was not

    I thought of writing the most cheerful piece for this game.
    Not especially tasty yakisoba, okonomiyaki, takoyaki, and heavily
    seasoned gesoyaki. And unusually expensive.
    Served as a junk food snack platter, with cans of beer, all the while gazing at the grounds.
    I love that kind of festival day at the shrine. That's one of the ways to enjoy beer.

Extra stage boss - Suwako Moriya's theme
    ネイティブフェイス
    Native Faith

    It's a cheerful piece with a rapid feeling. Moreover, I tried to add a Japanese
    and childish feeling to the melody. It fits Suwako perfectly.
    Such a lively tune is on the contrary, actually a piano piece from hell.
    Again, this song has an abundance of chaos, even moreso than Kanako.
    You'd definitely think she was playing around with the shrine maiden, what with
    the particularly high speed piano.

Ending theme
    麓の神社
    Shrine at the Foot of the Mountain

    This time, there are many triple beats that permeate your whole body. I feel that
    things like triple beat match the Japanese-style game nicely.
    It asserts itself modestly without being too dark or too light.
    Made this way, it becomes an atmospheric piece, thus it's suitable for any scene.

Staff roll theme
    神は恵みの雨を降らす ~ Sylphid Dream
    The Gods Give Us Blessed Rain ~ Sylphid Dream

    Pray to the gods for rain, and rain will fall. It doesn't have any
    relevance to the actual story, but the simplest thing to understand
    as a god's blessing is rain, so...
    The wind god doesn't just make the wind blow like a tengu can;
    there's also a connection to the meaning of harvest gods.
    If you think of farming, you think rain. That's why it's rain.

Score theme
    プレイヤーズスコア
    Player's Score

    It's too lonely when the Game Over screen is silent, so I put this in.
    Oh, how mysterious, it's even more lonely, now.

    But why?

Bugs

Unlike in previous Touhou games, there are no secrets or special unlockables in Mountain of Faith; just bugs.

Overpowered Marisa B

If the player selects Marisa B and keeps her power withing 3.0 and 3.95, any damage dealt whilst not focusing will be greatly increased, allowing the player to power through the game easily.

Replay Desychronization

Replays sometimes become desychronized during stage 4, leading to strange behavior and a failed stage, even if it's a replay of a 1CC (1-Credit-Clear).

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