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Touhou Koumakyou ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil. (東方紅魔郷 ～ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil. lit. Eastern Lands of the Scarlet Devil ) is a vertical scrolling shooter, and is the sixth official game of the Touhou Project series. It is the first to be released specifically for the Windows operating system, since all games before Embodiment of Scarlet Devil were made for the PC-98 series of computers. Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, or EoSD for short, was also the first game to be released by Team Shanghai Alice, since all Touhou games before were released by Amusement Makers.
Embodiment of Scarlet Devil features two different playable characters to choose from, with two different attack types each. Reimu Hakurei can cover a wide area of the screen with weaker attacks, while Marisa Kirisame relies on her speed and power to make up for her thinner attack spread. The bombs (Spell Cards) also show different behavior and damage depending on the character and type chosen.
Some important gameplay features that Embodiment of Scarlet Devil introduces over its predecessor Mystic Square are "automatic item collection" which allows the player to collect all items on screen by moving to the top of the screen at full power; and the counter-bomb system, which allows the player to negate an enemy hit by pressing the bomb button within a short reaction time immediately after. Also, this game is the first Touhou game to feature Touhou's iconic "Spell Card" system, where special bullet patterns are named and a bonus can be earned if the player does not bomb or die during those patterns.
During a peaceful summer in Gensokyo, the setting of the Touhou Project, an unnatural scarlet mist appears without warning and covers much of the land. It is strong enough to block out the sun, causing the affected areas to become dark and cold. Reimu Hakurei, a shrine maiden working at the Hakurei Shrine, feels it is a shrine maiden's duty to find the cause of this unnatural weather. Marisa Kirisame, a black-clothed magician, hopes that the person casting the spell will have some interesting items to collect.
The heroines find their way to the Scarlet Devil Mansion in the middle of a lake, where its residents try to stop the intruders from reaching the lord of the mansion. The source of the mist is revealed to be Remilia Scarlet, the vampiric mistress of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. Remilia reveals that the scarlet mist was created to blot out the sun so that she could feel comfortable walking out during the day since vampires are weak against the sun. After a fierce battle, Remilia is defeated and things return to relative normality in Gensokyo.
In the Extra Mode, the heroines return to the Scarlet Devil Mansion during Remilia's absence and finds the entire household in chaos. It turns out that Remilia's little sister, Flandre Scarlet, is on the loose while Patchouli Knowledge, the library witch, is trying to keep her from escaping. Meeting the heroines after 495 years of being locked in the basement, Flandre asks that they play with her.
- Playable characters
- Reimu Hakurei — The miko of the Hakurei Shrine. Her two modes of attack in this game are homing amulets and needles.
- Marisa Kirisame — An ordinary magician. Her two modes of attack in the game are magic missiles and lasers.
- Boss characters
- Rumia — Stage one mid-boss and boss, she is able to manipulate the darkness.
- Unnamed Midboss 1 — Named Daiyousei (Big Fairy) by fans, she is the midboss of stage two.
- Cirno — Stage two boss, attacks with icicles. A leader of the fairies of the Lake of Fog, but is not very bright.
- Hong Meirin — Stage three mid-boss and boss, a Chinese-looking youkai acting as gate keeper of the Scarlet Devil Mansion.
- Unnamed Midboss 2 — Named Koakuma (Little Devil) by fans, she is the mid-boss of stage four.
- Patchouli Knowledge — Stage four boss and Extra Stage mid-boss. A recluse in the library who specializes in elemental magic.
- Sakuya Izayoi — Stage five mid-boss, boss and Stage six mid-boss. The head maid of the Scarlet Devil Mansion armed with throwing knives and the control over time.
- Remilia Scarlet — Final boss, the mistress of the Scarlet Devil Mansion. A vampire who controls fate, but is weak to sun and rain.
- Flandre Scarlet — Extra Stage boss, and Remilia's little sister. She's been shut in the basement for 495 years because of her destructive powers.
In the four years since Mystic Square, the previous Touhou installment, the creator ZUN branched off from Amusement Makers and established his own dōjin circle named "Team Shanghai Alice", where he is its only member. As EoSD would be the first release of Team Shanghai Alice and the first game made for a Windows audience, ZUN felt that the game would need to leave an impression. This is why EoSD has a western theme unlike other games in the Touhou Project, whose theme is typically oriental.
The Spell Card system, which would be in every Touhou game henceafter, was conjectured by ZUN about three years before the release of EoSD, and was intended to be a mean to identify bullet patterns with names as well as adding depth to his characters. In a reply on his guestbook, ZUN stated that EoSD itself was created for the purpose of introducing this system.
EoSD is also the first time ZUN programmed a Windows application from scratch. As he was more familiar with APIs and DirectX and did not really know much about the application level, a lot of time was put into creating libraries and tools for EoSD. As a result, there wasn't enough time to touch up the game's presentation, and ZUN resolved to improve the next game in that regard.