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Overview

Subterranean Animism (known as Touhou Chireiden in Japan) is the 11th game in the Touhou Project, released for the Windows OS during the 74th Comiket on the 16th of August, 2008.

Plot

All is well in Gensokyo, until one Winter's day, a geyser erupts near the Hakurei Shrine, causing earthly spirits to be released. Reimu Hakurei, who is overjoyed at the hot spring which appeared as a result of this eruption, turns a blind eye to the earth spirits which had been released. However, Patchouli Knowledge, the resident bookworm at the Scarlet Devil Mansion, is concered about the situation at hand, and so she decides to visit Yukari Yakumo for some advice on how to handle it. Keeping in mind the agreement between the youkai of the surface and the youkai living underground to not disturb each other, it is decided that either Reimu Hakurei or Marisa Kirisame (depending on who the player chooses) should investigate underground with the aid of a youkai partner who will communicate with them through the use of magical artifacts.

Yuugi introducing herself as one of the Four Devas of the Mountain

As the heroine makes her way underground, she comes across Yamame Kurodani, who suspects her of being a youkai from the surface, and Parsee Mizuhashi, the bridge princess who guards the "bridge" to the underground. After defeating these two, the heroine runs into Yuugi Hoshiguma, one of the many Oni living underground who used to be one of the Four Devas of the Mountain alongside Suika Ibuki, who is impressed by the heroine's strength and wishes to fight her. After defeating Yuugi, she agrees to lead the heroine to the Palace of the Earth Spirits, where she encounters Satori Komeiji, the master of said palace who can read people's minds with her third eye, who engages the heroine due to the invasion of her home. After her defeat, she allows the heroine to enter the Hell of Blazing Fires in order to confront one of her pets, who happens to be in charge of the geyser that erupted on the surface.

Once the heroine reaches the Hell of Blazing Fires, she encounters Orin, one of Satori's pets and the source behind the geyser eruption, who fights the heroine in order to test whether or not she's capable of defeating her friend, who has acquired a dangerous new power. After being defeated, she requests that the heroine help her friend, whose personality had suddenly changed once she acquired her new power. Descending into the lowest level of the Hell of Blazing Fires, the heroine encounters Orin's friend Utsuho Reiuji, a hell raven who received the power of nuclear fusion after swallowing the god Yatagarasu upon suggestion from a mysterious voice, which is presumed to be Kanako Yasaka's, with the promise that it would fulfill the wishes of the worlds both below and above the surface. However, Utsuho had misunderstood what she had been told, and decided to use her newfound power in order to take over the surface world. After being defeated, Utsuho abandons her plans to take over the surface world, and the heroine decides to head to the Moriya Shrine in order to question Kanako and Suwako Moriya.

Once at the Moriya Shrine, the heroine finds that Kanako and Suwako are not present and instead, she bumps into Koishi Komeiji, who happens to be Satori's sister. It is revealed that Koishi sealed away her own third eye in order to avoid the harsh treatment Satori received due to her ability, however, this backfired as it granted her the power to read people's subconscious. Koishi, interested in testing out the abilities of the person who defeated her sister, Orin and Utsuho, decides to fight with the heroine. After Koishi's defeat, the heroine questions either Sanae Kotiya or Suwako (depending on the character partner chosen) about the events that took place underground, who reveals that Kanako wished to obtain a new form of energy in order to revolutionise the kappa's industry, and thus bring in more believers. Seeing that no harm was meant through their actions, the heroine returns to her normal daily routine.

Gameplay

Subterranean Animism 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 (Fairy Class), Normal (Kappa Class), Hard (Tengu Class) and Lunatic (Oni God Class). 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

Subterranean Animism 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 (0.083 for Marisa partnered with Alice), 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 and 4.0, although if the player has chosen the Marisa/Alice combination, this gradual increase will continue as the player reaches 5.0, 6.0, 7.0 and 8.0.

A bomb will save the player during times of need

Bombs and Options

Bombs can be used to get out of desperate situations, and much like in in Mountain of Faith, there is no separate bomb counter; instead, the use of each bomb is based on the player's power gauge. In Subterranean Animism, each bomb has a variet of effects, some used solely for offensive means, whilst other are used solely for defense. 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 work the same way as they did in Mountain of Faith, 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.

Lives

The player will begin 3 lives so long as the default settings remain.

Unlike in previous games, the player gains more lives through the collection of star fragments, as opposed to reaching a certain number of points or collecting a 1up item. These fragments are dropped by a boss after the player defeats one of their Spell Cards without dying (the use of a bomb does not prevent the fragment from being dropped, however, timing the Spell Card out does), and once 5 of these fragments have been collected, the player is rewarded with an additional life.

Point of Collection

The point of collection is a line that is present close to the top of the screen that, if crossed, maxes out the Communications Gauge, causing all onscreen items to be drawn to the player. The point of collection is shown clearly at the beginning of stage 1 and, much like in Mountain of Faith, can always be utilized, even without a full Power Gauge.

Boss Battles

Many Spell 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 Subterranean Animism, Reimu and Marisa. Unlike in previous games, the player must select a partner for the character that is being used, which will affect the attack type, bomb, support skill and even the conversations that take place between the other characters in the game.. The player decides which character to play and which partner to use at the beginning of the game.

Reimu Hakurei - The Shrine Maiden of Paradise

The shrine maiden of the Hakurei Shrine.

Type A - Forward Concentration Type

  • Partner: Yukari Yakumo
  • Option: Rolling Option
  • Shot: Purple Needles of Painful Reproach (A violet-colored needle that flies straight forward)
  • Bomb: The Opposite of a Lack of Common Sense (All points except for graze points are temporarily lost)
  • Support Skills: The option's shots wrap around from one side of the screen to the other. The character can teleport from one side of the screen to the other (press the arrow key twice when at the end of the screen without firing)

Type B - Guided Penetration Type

  • Partner: Suika Ibuki
  • Option: Left-Right Formation Option
  • Shot: Fierce God's Will-o'-the-wisp (High-power penetrating bullets that home a little)
  • Bomb: Foregathering Spiritual Flowers (All enemy bullets that hit the area turn into homing bullets and attack enemies)
  • Support Skills: Collect all items on screen (release all buttons).

Type C - High Mobility Type

  • Partner: Aya Shameimaru
  • Option: Selected Position Option (Fires in the same and opposite direction of the character's movement. Option position is fixed while in focus movement)
  • Shot: Rain Deep in the Mountains
  • Bomb: Darkness of the Crow (Attacks everything around the character for a fixed period of time)
  • Support Skills: The character can move at very high speed (release the shot button).

Marisa Kirisama - The Ordinary Magician

Just a plain old magician.

Type A - Reinforcement Type

  • Partner: Alice Margatroid
  • Option: Doll Option (Concentrated during normal movement, spread-shot during focus fire)
  • Shot: Rainbow Wire (A super-low-speed shot)
  • Bomb: Remote Sacrifice (Sacrifices a doll to fire a super high-power laser)
  • Support Skills: The player can make up to 8 options and stock up to 8 bombs.

Type B - Changing Formation Type

Water Sign - Forward Wide-spread Formation

Wood Sign - Oblique Angle Formation

Metal Sign - Left/Right Attack Formation

Earth Sign - Rear Attack Formation

  • Shot: Every Angle Shot
  • Bomb: Five Seasons
  • Support Skills: The player can change the options' attack formation (press shot and focus fire simultaneously)

Type C - Defense Oriented Type

  • Partner: Nitori Kawashiro
  • Option: Rear Formation
  • Shot: Air Torpedo (Fires a strong, high-precision missile)
  • Bomb: Optical Camouflage (Puts up a barrier for a fixed time. If the player is hit while the barrier is up, all bullets on screen will disappear. If the player does not get hit before the barrier disappears, some power will be restored)
  • Support Skills: If a bomb is used, the player's power will be restored if they don't get hit.

Stages

There are six stages in Subterranean Animism, as well as an Extra Stage:

Stage 1 - The Wind From the Thankless Land

Takes place in the Fantastic Wind Hole, en route to the Ancient City.

  • Mid-Boss: Kisume (The Fearsome Well Aparition)
  • Boss: Yamame Kurodani (The Bright Net in the Dark Cave)

Stage 2 - From the World Above into the Past

Takes place in the Deep Road to Hell, en route to the Ancient City.

  • Mid-Boss and Boss: Parsee Mizuhashi (The Jealousy Beneath the Earth's Crust)

Stage 3 - The Snowy Forgotten Ancient City

Takes place in the Former Streets of Hell, inside the Ancient City.

  • Mid-Boss and Boss: Yuugi Hoshiguma (The Rumoured Unnatural Phenomenon)

Stage 4 - Frightening Eyes Nobody Loves

Takes place inside the Palace of the Earth Spirits.

  • Mid-Boss: Orin in cat form
  • Boss: Satori Komeiji (The Girl Even the Spirits Fear)

Stage 5 - Hell Fire of Times Past

Takes place inside the Hell of Blazing Fires.

  • Mid-Boss and Boss: Orin (Hell's Traffic Accident)

Stage 6 - The Tempestuous Second Sun

Takes place inside the Hell of Blazing Fires.

  • Mid-Boss: Orin
  • Boss: Utsuho Reiuji (The Scorching, Troublesome Divine Flame)

Extra Stage - The Lovely Visitor From Hell

Takes place at the Moriya Shrine.

  • Mid-Boss: Sanae Kotiya (Deified Human of the Wind)
  • Boss: Koishi Komeiji (The Closed Eyes of Love)

Scoring

Subterranean Animism 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. Unlike previous Touhou games, the value of each point item is determined not by how high up on the screen they are collected, but by how high the Communications Gauge is. The higher the gauge is, 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.

The overal point value for each item is calculated by taking a base value, which is shown on the lower-left corner, and multiplying it by a second value located beside the first value. The first value is limited, and begins at a fixed number, which can be increased through the collection of point items (increases by 10 for small special point items, and 100 for large ones), and will return to its original value after death. The value will cease to increase after a certain number has been reached.

DifficultyStarting ValueMaximum Value
Easy25,00050,000
Normal50,000100,000
Hard100,000200,000
Lunatic200,000400,000
Extra200,000400,000

The second value begins at 0.00, at which point each item will be worth a minimum of 10 points. This value can be increased both temporarily and permanently through the grazing of large amounts of bullets.

Power Items

Whenever an enemy is defeated, there is a chance that it will release a power item, which award an increase to the power gauge. Small items award a power boost of 0.05 (0.083 for Marisa A), and large items award a power boost of 1.0. The maximum value the power gauge can reach is 4.0 (8.90 for Marisa A), and once this value is reached, power items will be replaced with small special point items.

Special Point Items

Special point items are green star point items, similar in apperance to the Faith Point items present in Mountain of Faith. These have the effect of slightly increasing the value of point items.

Communication Gauge

The gauge present on the lower left corner of the screen represents the strength of the communication channel of the player character and the youkai who is assissting them. It ranges from 0.00 and 1.00, which is multiplied by the value to the left of it in order to calculate the value of each point item, and can be increased through successfully grazing bullets. Much like the Faith Gauge in Mountain of Faith, however, it decreases at a fast rate over time, and so bullets must be continuously grazed in order to successfully keep it at a high value. Once the maximum value is reached, it has the effect of autocollecting items on the screen dependant on where your character is positioned.

Grazing

Grazing makes a return to the series after its absence from Mountain of Faith. In order to graze a bullet, the player must come dangerously close to an enemy's bullet, with a counter on the right hand side of the screen shows the number of bullets grazed. As detailed above, grazing increases the base value of the Communication Gauge, with every 100 bullets grazed increasing it by 0.01.

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 a value of 1,000,000 x (stage number difficulty level), with difficulty value being as shown:

DifficultyValue
Easy0
Normal1
Hard2
Lunatic3

Bonuses in Extra mode have a starting value of 11,100,000, with the exception of some of Koishi Komeiji's spell cards (namely, her survival cards and Subconscious "Rorschach in Danmaku"), where the bonus decreases over time, beginning from 5 seconds after each card is activated. The bonus decreases at a constant rate of 0.9 x (starting value) / (time limit in seconds - 5) per second.

Clear Bonus

At the end of each stage, bonus points are awarded based on how well the player performed. The bonus is calculated by 1,000,000 x stage number] (1,000,000 x number of lives in stock). At the end of stage 6 and Extra mode, the bonus is increased as follows:

DifficultyBonus
Easy(lives in stock x 20,000,000) (Power x 2,000,000)
Normal(lives in stock x 25,000,000) (Power x 3,000,000)
Hard(lives in stock x 35,000,000) (Power x 4,000,000)
Lunatic(lives in stock x 40,000,000) (Power x 6,000,000)
Extra(lives in stock x 40,000,000) (Power x 8,000,000)

When playing as Marisa A, the power must be divided by two.

A silent bonus is also rewarded, calculated by 1000 x accumulated point value.

Music

In Subterranean Animism, 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

地霊達の起床

Awakening of the Earth Spirits

ZUN note:

Well, it's the same feeling as always. One thing that's very cave-like about caves is the sounds that echo around

in them, so I did my best to make it cave-like.

Caves are great.

- Stage 1 Theme

暗闇の風穴

The Dark Blowhole

ZUN note:

Since it's in a cave, I made it darker than my usual stage 1 themes.

It's cute, with a little uneasiness to it ... well, the good rhythm hides

the uneasiness and makes a trap out of it.

I think I'd like to try a horror game with a sense of speed to it, too.

- Stage 1 Boss - Yamame Kurodani's Theme

封じられた妖怪 ~ Lost Place

The Sealed-Away Youkai ~ Lost Place

ZUN note:

I thought I'd try making it cool for a stage one song.

It's a very simple song with that particular game music feel to it.

I think it's best if a simple melody helps bring the game action to

a climax.

- Stage 2 Theme

渡る者の途絶えた橋

The Bridge People No Longer Cross

ZUN note:

We're going down deeper and deeper.

It's not too bold and very ambient, so it's the traveling song of traveling songs.

Somehow it feels kind of Japanese, but that wasn't on purpose, hence the "somehow".

By the way, this has nothing to do with anything, but caves are great.

- Stage 2 Boss - Parsee Mizuhashi's Theme

緑眼のジェラシー

Green-Eyed Jealousy

ZUN note:

She's a youkai with a wounded heart.

So, I thought I'd like to make her a melodious song, and this is how it ended up.

You wouldn't think it's a song for a shooting game, but when I tried to think of something

good for a shooting game it settled down into something like this.

- Stage 3 Theme

旧地獄街道を行く

Walking the Streets of a Former Hell

ZUN note:

It has that peaceful brawl feeling of a certain Edo street.

It's best to be light and cheerful, after all, isn't it?

This song also has a very nostalgic feel to it.

I'd love to swagger down the city streets with as much excitement as this song has sometime.

- Stage 3 Boss - Yuugi Hoshiguma's Theme

華のさかづき大江山

A Flower-Studded Sake Dish on Mt. Ooe

ZUN note:

I was aiming for a strong, very playful image.

In fact, Yuugi is teaching herself how to fight without spilling a drop of the sake

from her cup. She must be bored.

Somehow I think the oni of hell have more fun than humans.

- Stage 4 Theme

ハートフェルトファンシー

Heartfelt Fancy

ZUN note:

I tried not to make it too one-sidedly Japanese.

The Palace of the Earth Spirits is surprisingly Western. The people

who live there are probably fancy, too.

But, it's a cat house. I want to be tamed by the cat.

- Stage 4 Boss - Satori Komeiji's Theme

少女さとり ~ 3rd eye

Satori Maiden ~ 3rd eye

ZUN note:

She's the master of the Palace of the Earth Spirits. She's a little fancy and loves animals.

Actually, she should be the highest ranked enemy in Subterranean Animism, but it looks like

fighting isn't her specialty.

I tried to make the song dramatic and otherworldly, too.

- Stage 5 Theme

廃獄ララバイ

Lullaby of Deserted Hell

ZUN note:

Since people stopped being condemned to the hellfires, the oni don't visit anymore

either, so this place has become the playground to spirits and animals.

Actually, I'm thrilled whenever I see something like a building people have abandoned.

The grounds of former hell must be enveloped in the sort of loneliness that surrounds ruins ... is what I thought of as I made

this.

- Stage 5 Boss - Rin Kaenbyou's Theme

死体旅行 ~ Be of good cheer!

Corpse Voyage ~ Be of good cheer!

ZUN note:

This is the theme for a cheery, yet bizarre cat.

Since stages 4 and 5 were pretty heavy, I tried to clear it up in a flash.

The cart Orin is pushing is a wheelbarrow. What's it carrying, you say?

Best not to ask such questions, I think.

- Stage 6 Theme

業火マントル

Hellfire Mantle

ZUN note:

I tried to make it feel like an end-of-game song.

Flying through lava is standard fare for shooting games.

I guess if there's anything in particular I'm trying to say, it's that it's not

unusual for shrine maidens to fly above lava like this. Crows, too.

- Stage 6 Boss - Utsuho Reiuji's Theme

霊知の太陽信仰 ~ Nuclear Fusion

Sun Worship of Gnosis ~ Nuclear Fusion

ZUN note:

I tried to make it as modern, light, and simply boss-like as I could.

In fact, she's not that great a youkai, for a last boss. She was originally just a bird.

She's just really, really powerful. I understand very well that even a fool that possesses

great power can't cause too much harm. Ah, even if it's the power of dreams.

- Extra Stage Theme

ラストリモート

Last Remote

ZUN note:

It feels like it's rushing you along for some reason, but there's no real reason

to hurry, and everyone's acting carefree.

Even Reimu can't compete with the Moriya Shrine crowd in terms of not having a

care in the world. The song title has no relation to a certain shooting game.

- Extra Stage Boss - Koishi Komeiji's Theme

ハルトマンの妖怪少女

Hartmann's Youkai Girl

ZUN note:

I tried to make it eerie and have the aura of a broken girl.

I think the eeriness is fitting for an extra boss.

Actually, I think a garden with roses strewn all about where thorns can prick you

is really fitting for a battle, but for some reason it's the shrine this time.

- Ending Theme

地霊達の帰宅

The Earth Spirits' Homecoming

ZUN note:

The theme here is staying up all night drinking and then making your lonely way home.

The vengeful spirits head back into the depths of the earth, saying to themselves,

"Aw, the festival's over", and "I guess we'd better be getting back now".

Those vengeful spirits are such old fogeys.

- Staff Roll Theme

エネルギー黎明 ~ Future Dream...

Energy Daybreak ~ Future Dream...

ZUN note:

I made it the same as always. Well, for the most part.

It has that "This is the end~" feeling.

It's the ending, but the song title is Daybreak. It's not Tamiaki.

Bugs

Subterranean Animism features certain bugs which allow for certain parts of the game to be abused.

Hitbox Abuse

In the demo v0.01, it was possible for the player to remove their character from the screen by going diagonally down on either bottom corner of the screen. The character's hitbox would remain below the bottom of the screen, while the options would remain above, allowing for the player to shoot while grazing most bullets directed towards them with no chance of being hit.

Bomb Abuse

During the stage 3 boss fight with Yuugi, it is possible to prematurely end the battle through using a bomb a second before the spell card where she snipes you, invincible, ends. This can also be done with Orin during stage 6 and Sanae during the extra stage, using a bomb on the position they will appear around a second before they appear to battle.

Marisa C Bomb Bug

If the player reverse bombs at the exact moment of death while using Marisa C, it is possible to not only survive, but keep up the Kappa Shield as well.

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).

EASY MODO Extra Stage Bug

If the game is completed on Easy after the Extra stage is unlocked, a bug will cause the Extra stage to re-lock until the game is completed on Normal or higher again.

Trivia

  • While playing, it possible to see Reimu and Marisa's names, written in yellow and green respectively, on the right hand side of the screen.
  • Subterranean Animism features three character with three eyes: Satori, Koishi and Utsuho.

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