Castle of Shikigami
(also known as Shikigami no Shiro
in Japan) is a series of arcade Bullet Hell shoot '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
). Other ports on Sega Dreamcast
), Nintendo GameCube
), and Xbox 360
) are also available, but only in Japan
. The entire series also saw Japan-only PC ports. There was a Fan Translation
is in the works for the first game's PC port, however, in 2017, the first installment of the series has been picked up by Degica Games for an overseas release on Steam.
A Character Sheet
is currently in the works.
This series uses the following tropes:
- Beehive Barrier: Most of the bosses in the third game is shrouded in one.
- Berserk Button: Do NOT call Fumiko an "old maid".
- Bittersweet Ending: Kohtaro's scenario in Castle of Shikigami III ends with him breaking down in tears over the apparent death of Tsukiko and Sayo comforts him.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: The second game is filled with very odd examples of Engrish.
- Blade on a Stick: Batu's cross-shaped spear.
- 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 a blank slate. In Castle of Shikigami III, however, she is portrayed as ditzy and somewhat forgetful, yet still competent.
- Charged Attack: Batu's Shikigami attacks.
- 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.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Reika is certainly..."out there".
- Eldritch Abomination: What "Tsukiko" (actually an illusion) turns out to be in CoS III.
- Epic Flail: Yukari uses one in the third game when she reaches her second lifebar. One made up of flowers that sprays bullets.
- Fedora of Asskicking: Gennojo wears one.
- 5 Bad Band: In each game.
- The first game:
- In the second:
- In the third:
- 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.
- Guest Fighter: Tagami (CoS) originated from Elemental Gearbolt, another game developed by Alfa System.
- Head Pet: Nagino's bunny.
- The Hero: Officially, Kohtaro Kuga, though Reika and Nagino are more prominent on the third game's cover art.
- Hitbox Dissonance: Despite how large your character sprite/model may appear, their hitbox is the tiny light that shines in the middle of their body when enemy fire or an obstacle is nearby.
- Hot Witch: Fumiko, complete with Robe and Wizard Hat.
- Kill Sat: Fumiko and Munchausen have Shikigami attacks that rain down lasers from above that leave behind Spheres of Destruction.
- Let's Get Dangerous!: Munchausen. When you can see his eyes, RUN.
: "I shall educate you. Prepare yourself.
- Life Meter: Bosses in the series have the typical gauge-type life meter, often divided for each of their phases.
- Lonely Piano Piece: Castle of Shikigami III's ending.