Touhou Eiyashou (Imperishable Night; TH08) [Orange Farm Archive]

Today, I’ll be reviewing this excellent doujin game, the eighth in a still-going series of top-down shmups accurately described as “curtain fire” games. The Touhou series stands out in that it’s created by a single person, ZUN, who is the sole member of Team Shanghai Alice, as well as its unique artwork, stunningly beautiful music, and of course, the gameplay.

Touhou 8’s major gameplay change is the partner system. You start out with four teams to choose from, and each consists of a human and a youkai(demon animal spirit). By holding the shift key, you switch to the youkai, which moves slower, but lets you see the tiny 5×5 hitbox – that’s right, it’s 5×5 – and gives you more power in your punch. Other, additions include the time system, spell practice, and Last Spells.

The game itself is a work of art. From the first time I played it, I’ve been in love with the theme and the atmosphere the game generates. It is, after all, called Touhou, meaning Eastern Style, for a reason. The actual artwork is unique – ZUN has an moe-ish drawing style, but it’s different. I’ve read that in order to single-handedly create a game, your artwork doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be a bit creative and, most of all, consistent, which Touhou accomplishes quite nicely. The backgrounds especially are beautiful, many(if not all) of them being in 3-D.

Next, the music. Again, it’s really, really good. Touhou 8 in particular improves upon Touhou 7, which had a lot of shrill sounds, but was still fantastic. This game has a number of pretty catchy tracks that you will find yourself humming as you play through certain stages. Touhou music has always been popular – apparently there are around 50 fan groups dedicated solely to remixing its music. Check the video at the end of this post, and watch some more to listen to the music.

Finally, the most important part – the gameplay. The methods of moving your character around and firing are simple and easy to pick up, and there are a few more advanced features that you don’t even have to mess around with. What makes the gameplay awesome are the spell cards. Each boss has a certain number of Spell Cards, meaning a specifically themed pattern of bullets that you need to dodge while still landing hits on the enemy. As with the other PC Touhou games, the game consists of six levels, including an alternate level 4 and final stage, and on top of that, you have the Extra Stage. The bosses grow more and more difficult, and the game offers four difficulty modes. For example, on Easy mode, we’d have this spell:

While on Lunatic mode, the same spell would come out looking like this:

The types of spells range from simple spirals..

…to time-stopping water droplet-effects…

…to death lasers:

And those are just the tip of the iceberg. What impresses me the most about them is the math that must have gone behind it. Spirals and sine waves are everywhere, and some of the patterns group the bullets so they appear to swirl around each other, or accelerate towards the bottom of the screen; things like that.

Since I can’t make a video(the framerate in windowed mode is like 200), here’s a link to level 4(my favorite). It’s not made by me and I take no credit for it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUqjhn6vziE

Final Score
Graphics: 9.5/10 – Near perfect 2-D and 3-D sprites/backgrounds, and the art is excellently made. My only qualm with the graphics is that the simple bullets are hard on the eyes. You’re supposed to be able to see the bullets really clearly against the background, but I think if they were just a little bit softer it would be nice.
Music: 10/10 – The soundtrack is amazing. There is lots of epic piano and Eastern-styled music. Also, the sound effects aren’t intrusive at all, yet you can still hear what’s going on quite clearly.
Gameplay: 10/10 – Simple gameplay, insanely difficult obstacles to apply it to. I love this shit.
Replay Value: 9/10 – With four(eight later) characters, two alternate levels, an extra stage, and four difficulty modes, it’s sort of imperative that you play it more than once. A LOT more than once. Learning the spell card patterns is a lot of fun, and once you’ve got it down, bump it up a difficulty.
Total Score: 9/10 – In the end, this is an amazingly awesome doujin game that built on the strengths of both 6 and 7.

Now that I’ve been playing Touhou 8 for a while, it’s time for Touhou 9 – which I hear is largely multiplayer-based. I’ll have to get my roommate to play with me. I wonder if it has network?

5 Responses to “Touhou Eiyashou (Imperishable Night; TH08) [Orange Farm Archive]”

  1. 1 komidol
    October 16, 2008 at 8:52 PM


  2. 2 darkslime
    October 16, 2008 at 9:56 PM


    I’ll catch up, I swear

  3. 3 Eggplant
    October 17, 2008 at 6:35 AM

    Eh, TH09 isn’t that great… Sure you get to play as certain bosses/midbosses from previous games, but meh. Yeah, the multiplayer aspect is basically a rehash of TH02(?) (One of the PC98 games OTL)

    I’d personally say that you’re better off skipping to TH10, but that’s just me :x

  4. 4 Freedom III
    October 17, 2008 at 3:45 PM

    I’d definitely say don’t skip this one…it has one of the largest collection of best songs, most commonly represented characters, along with some pretty awesome bullet patterns…

  5. 5 Eggplant
    October 20, 2008 at 1:11 AM

    @Freedom III, I was talking about Phantamagoria of Flower View, not Imperishable Night.

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October 2008
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