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Castle of Shikigami (known as Shikigami no Shiro in Japan) is a series of arcade Bullet Hellshoot 'em ups developed by Alfa System. The overarching plot involves a mysterious castle in the country of Alcaland, which has been the subject of many "missing persons" cases. A handful of psychics have converged on the location to conduct their own investigations of the incident, each for his or her own reasons.As of 2008, all three of the main games have been released in the U.S. for the PlayStation 2 (for the first two games) and Nintendo Wii (CoS III). Other ports on Sega Dreamcast (CoS II), Nintendo GameCube (CoS II), Xbox (CoS II), and Xbox 360 (CoS III) are also available, but only in Japan. The entire series also saw Japan-only PC ports, however a Fan Translation is in the works for the first game's PC port.
Bullet Hell: Enemies in these games are capable of filling the screen with lots and lots of bullets, even moreso in the harder difficulties.
Canon Foreigner: Nigi Gorgeous Blue (CoS II) was originally from Gunparade March.
Reika (CoS III) originally comes from an old laserdisc game known as Time Gal.
Characterization Marches On: Reika, in that she actually has character in her appearance in the third game. In Time Gal, she was pretty much a blank slate. In Castle of Shikigami III, however, she is portrayed as ditzy and somewhat forgetful, yet still competent.
Comforting the Widow: Kohtaro had a woman with whom he made a Childhood Marriage Promise, but who is now hospitalized. Sayo falls in love with Kohtaro. In the third game, that ex becomes the Big Bad. Or seemingly so, until you realize that all the bosses in the third game are illusions and not the real people.
Covers Always Lie: The "Mobile Light Force 2" U.S. cover of the first game features a trio of gunslinging Charlie's Angels lookalikes that appear absolutely nowhere in the game. It's also the exact same cover as the first Mobile Light Force game (which is actually Gunbird. It's all rather confusing.)
Flanderization: In-Universe. Kohtaro's story mode in Shikigami No Shiro III involves the uneasy grounds of Kohtaro's and Sayo's partnership, with the underlying tension of undisclosed feelings; Sayo being a Tsundere (while also feeling guilty about this) with Kohtaro constaly apologizing. Come Dramatic Change Mode, many story modes where Kohtaro is one of the two selected characters involve this dynamic in a rather one-dimensional way that varies from scenario to scenario (ie, Sayo is turned into a Clingy Jealous Girl in some, in others, Kohtaro is almost completely Oblivious to Love, etc).
Gameplay Grading: You're graded twice through out stage in for the first two games, one for the first half of the stage and the other in the second half. In the first game, you're graded by how fast you beaten the level, the point items collected, and your overall Tension average. The second game changes the Tension average with how many x8 multipliers you where able to get. The third game changes things up where you are graded at the end of the stage instead of its two halves, adding a bonus for beating the bosses with x8 bonus as well as penalties for losing lives and using continues.
Medium Awareness: Pretty much everyone makes a remark at some point that shows they know they're in a video game. For example, in the third game, Fumiko openly mocks Yukari for getting excited about being back for the third game while she doesn't appear to realize that she's been demoted from Stage 4 to Stage 1.
No Fourth Wall: The third game, in which everyone seems to know that they're in a video game.
One Game for the Price of Two: Shikigami no Shiro Evolution, the Japan-only Xbox Updated Re-release of the first game, which has two different versions. The Red version has a gallery with datable on the characters, unused character voices, and trailers, while the Blue version has developer videos. Both versions however have better enemy A.I., TATE display mode, and a new Evolution Mode in the game.
Power Nullifier: Shikou (second boss, third game) shoots arrows that temporarily seal normal firenote although Shikigami attacks can still be used during his second attack phase.
Power-Up: Collecting coins (without dying) in the first game powers up your character's attacks up to Lv.3 . The coins are still present in later installments, but don't provide power-up bonuses (your character's attacks are already at Lv.3).
The Power of the Sun: Freedom Wind and the two bosses after her launch volleys of fireballs that look like miniature suns.
Rank Inflation: In the third game, you're graded by your performance, with F- being the lowest and SS being the highest. At the end of the game (or where you decide to give up), you're given a rank on your overall performance and a title to go with it.
Scoring Points: As a series of shoot 'em ups, you know what to expect. The series' central scoring mechanic is the Tension Bonus System (or TBS for short) players receives when their character is dangerously close to enemy fire or obstacle, going from x2 to x8. The higher the Tension, the more points the coins dropped by enemies are worth. Defeating enemies with shikigami attacks causes much more coins to be released and they will be automatically collected to the player. At the end of each stage section (or the stage altogether in the third game), you're graded by your performance and you gain bonus points based on how well you do in the stage.
Shout-Out: Both Fumiko and Sayo resemble Marisa and Reimu of Touhou, particularly their PC-98 designs. In those games, Reimu wore more traditional shrine maiden garb and Marisa in her very first appearance was a redhead with a purple outfit.
Smart Bomb: Nearly every character has this in some form, which clears the screen of bullets and/or renders the player invulnerable while it's in effect.
Turns Red: Mini-bosses and stage bosses alike have at least three attack patterns, depending on how much HP they have remaining. From the second game onwards, their life meter is partitioned according to each segment.
The Vamp / Villain Protagonist: Fumiko. According to the manual, she's said to be as evil, if not more so, than the game's Big Bad. Her lines in games reflect this as she speaks of things like world domination.