Home » Games » [Comiket 81] Strawberry Bose – Touhou Gensou Maroku ~ the Devil of Decline

[Comiket 81] Strawberry Bose – Touhou Gensou Maroku ~ the Devil of Decline

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Originally published 3/14/2014

Touhou Gensou Maroku ~ the Devil of Decline is a doujin RPG made by Strawberry Bose. Strawberry Bose is a company probably most known for their first doujin touhou rpg called Touhou, the Genius of Sappheiros (English patch available). They have made a few more games after DoD, with the most recent one being 東方玄夢妖譚 ~ the Nightmare of Rebellion (C85). As you can see, DoD has not been translated into English yet and the translation has been stalled for quite a while. However, I decided to play DoD because I was a huge fan of GoS and I wanted to play a single player RPG.


Story and music

Taken from the DoD wiki,

Yet another incident occurs in Gensokyo, where humans and youkai alike have begun to mysteriously disappear. The player can select one of four characters, namely Reimu, Yukari, Byakuren or Meiling, and embark on a journey to resolve the incident.

Yup, incident resolving! Typical of a touhou game. But since I barely know any Japanese, I really have no idea what the characters say throughout the game, nor how the story actually develops. From what I can tell, the wiki’s description is pretty accurate. After the individual main character scenarios, the culprit summons up three towers which splits Gensokyo into 3 stratums, scattering its various buildings and areas up. It is up to our heroes to find the culprit and restore Gensokyo.

The music in this game consists of various arrangements based off of the original Touhou games. Overall the music fit the game very nicely and is very enjoyable to listen to while exploring Gensokyo. Oh, and the theme that plays while you’re at the Hakurei Shrine and in the chaos plains is determined by the main character chosen. For Byakuren, it is an arrangement of Emotional Skyscraper ~ Cosmic Mind, for Reimu it is Spring Lane ~ Colorful Path, for Yukari it is Necrofantasia, and for Meiling, it is Shanghai Teahouse ~ Chinese Tea. My favorite is Byakuren’s of course, but Reimu’s comes very close.

Characters and the shikigami system

Nearly every touhou character up to Double Dealing Character is either available as a party member or as a shikigami. At the start of the game, you get to select either Reimu, Yukari, Byakuren, or Meiling as your main character. They each start with a unique shikigami, and the character that you chose must be in your party at all times. Each main character also has a different starting party. As you progress through the game. you will recruit more characters. However you will not get the other three main characters until you reach the end of the main game. In my play-through, I selected Byakuren as my main character because she was amazing in GoS, and because she’s one of my favorite characters. Otherwise I probably would have chosen Reimu, as she Is THE true main character of Touhou and because her interactions with the other characters would have been hilarious.

The characters in DoD don’t have any skills of their own aside from their unique Last Words, which are spells that can be triggered sometimes when the character takes or deals damage. Each character however has a different stat growth, and will be tailored towards a specific role based on the stats. So for example, Patchoulli has the highest Intellect and mp for spell damage, but she has terrible health, and physical defense. On the opposite end, Suika has the highest strength and very high physical def and health but has terrible intellect intellect and mp.

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Nearly every touhou character up to Double Dealing Character is either available as a party member or as a shikigami. At the start of the game, you get to select either Reimu, Yukari, Byakuren, or Meiling as your main character. They each start with a unique shikigami, and the character that you chose must be in your party at all times. Each main character also has a different starting party. As you progress through the game. you will recruit more characters. However you will not get the other three main characters until you reach the end of the main game. In my play-through, I selected Byakuren as my main character because she was amazing in GoS, and because she’s one of my favorite characters. Otherwise I probably would have chosen Reimu, as she Is THE true main character of Touhou and because her interactions with the other characters would have been hilarious.

The characters in DoD don’t have any skills of their own aside from their unique Last Words, which are spells that can be triggered sometimes when the character takes or deals damage. Each character however has a different stat growth, and will be tailored towards a specific role based on the stats. So for example, Patchoulli has the highest Intellect and mp for spell damage, but she has terrible health, and physical defense. On the opposite end, Suika has the highest strength and very high physical def and health but has terrible intellect intellect and mp.

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Onto the shikigami’s. They are either the Touhou characters who have disappeared, or original characters/monsters found within Strawberry Bose’s games. They are equippable up to 3 per character, and they each provide the characters with a 5 skill set, passive bonuses, and stat bonuses. Like the characters, each shikigami can level and increase in their stats. Shikigamis are attained through events at first but after recruiting Satori, your party has a chance of recruiting certain monsters that it encounters throughout the game. Due to this system, you can play the game with your favorite characters as long as you give them the right shikigamis.

Equipment

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In addition to the shikigamis, each character can equip a weapon, armor, shield, and an accesory. There are 4 types of weapons available: sword, spear, mace/axes, and staves. Each weapon type deals their respestive damage type: slash, pierce, and strike. In addition, each of the three main types have their own skill sets as well, with up to 4 selectable for battle. These skills can be obtained semi-randomly by using physical attacks while fighting enemies. Staves increase magic damage but they do not have a skill set of their own

In the boxes to the right of the HP and MP, there are the 7 magic types (fire, water, earth, lightning, light, dark, and mystic) as well as the 3 physical types. There are various equipments and shikigami that can boost your magic resists. A star resist will reduce that element’s damage by 75%, double circle reduces 50%, and a circle reduces by 25%. Armor is self explanatory, though there are different armor types that only affect your character’s speed. The shields provide your character with a chance of reducing the damage of an attack, based on block value and block type. Finally the accesories can give provide your characters with various bonuses including stat boosts, status effect resists, magic resist, physical resist, damage boosters, and various things like experience boosts. As you can see, there are tons of ways to customize your characters to your playing style and situation.

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Lastly, equipment can be found in treasure chests scattered throughout the world, dropped from enemies, or crafted from materials. Materials can be found the same way as the equipment. Similar to The Genius of Sappheiros (GoS), If you want the best items in the game, you’ll have to craft them.

Gameplay

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Gameplay consists of traveling around Gensokyo while solving simple puzzles, and battling various enemies. There are tons of areas in the game, with lots of different environments based on actual areas from Gensokyo. The world and graphics are rendered beautifully in this game, a great improvement upon what Strawberry Bose had with GoS. Travel between areas is done by either walking through the area and getting to the yellow circle at the end, or by going to the main map and selecting an area. Initially the map is grayed out but slowly becomes available as you travel through Gensokyo by foot.

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The game has an auto-save feature, which saves your game whenever you open the menu or walk onto a healing point. So whenever you reset the game or lose a battle, your party is teleported to the the start of the area, the healing point if it is unlocked, or back to the Hakurei Shrine. There is no penalties to dying, but it can be quite a pain to run back to where you left off since all the enemies respawn when your party is wiped out, or when you use a healing point.

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Encounters begin when you run into one of the purple ghosts on the map.  At the start of a battle, you can choose to fight or flee. Afterwards you can scroll through your character’s weapon skills and shikigami skills. The order in which a character or enemy gets to act is determined by their agility. However, there are shikigami like Aya who have a skill that allows the selected character to act first; this is very important for a lot of boss fights.

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Each enemy type generally has a weakness. For example, the bird types on the top left are often weak to piercing attacks and lightning. So make sure to exploit enemy weaknesses, or you will find yourself in trouble. The wiki and the in-game bestiary will assist you in finding out the enemy weaknesses.

The bosses in the game were fairly challenging, but it was fun figuring out how to set up my party to deal with each boss. The two final bosses in DoD and its expansion are very easy in their normal form but there are switches that will activate the hard modes, granting the bosses extra health and stats. Of course I had opted to challenge both bosses in their true forms. The main game’s boss, Anra, was quite difficult in her true form. It actually took me about 42 turns for me to defeat her, which was maybe about an hour’s worth of gameplay? The final boss of the expansion, Shinki, in her true form wasn’t quite as much of a challenge. However my party had most of the best equipment and my shikigamis were all quite leveled up. I ended up defeating her on my first try. A bit of a disappointment considering the difficulty of the true final boss of GoS.

Conclusions

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I think I wasted a lot of time trying to recruit some shikigamis that I ended up not even using throughout the entire game. The time it took me to finish all of DoD was about the time it took for me to finish the main game of Genius of Sappheiros (~139 hours). However, GoS + its expansion took me 206 hours somehow @_@. I had to do way more farming in that game than for DoD. There was a decent amount of grinding that I needed to do in this game, but it was mostly to level up and recruit shikigamis. Item drop rates are respectable and there are shikigamis which will increase the drop rates for items. And unlike GoS, being able to instantly reset the enemy spawns made it much easier to farm them as well.

I highly recommend this game to any touhou fan who also likes RPGs. Overall I had lots of fun playing through DoD, as it was my first time ever playing through a game in Japanese.  The only assistance you really need can be obtained through using google translate and the japanese wiki, along with the game play videos and commentaries from chefmkt on youtube. I would have liked to see some more complicated puzzles, as DoD was really lacking in that area. If I had to rate this game, it would be a 4.5/5. It’s by no means a perfect game, but it is quite a unique rpg with touhou characters! I look forward to playing Strawberry Bose’s other games, once the japanese wikis are more complete, or once there are full translations.

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