A small gem. A shining orb. A fragile soul. And the largest sphere.
"How is she doing these days?" she wondered as she stared at these objects.
Time does not flow in this place. History repeats itself.
She, too, was in Gensokyo.
Touhou Eiyashounote ~ Imperishable Night is a video game created by Team Shanghai Alice for Windows computers in 2004. It's the eighth installment in the Touhou Project franchise.
It's the night of the full moon, seemingly one like any other. But the youkai who tonight would normally be invigorated have instead been thrown into panic... because the power of the full moon is missing. Sensing a formidable enemy at work, one youkai seeks out a human accquaintance and together they cast Gensokyo into eternal night until the one who "stole the moon's light" can be found.
It's the night of the full moon... but it refuses to end. Another human sets out to break this curse, seemingly unaware of the real incident.
Designed as The Climax of Touhou's first "trilogy", Imperishable Night has higher stakes, returning characters Promoted to Playable, and even the heroes fighting each other. It's also filled with gameplay content, including a huge number of playable characters (12 including the unlockable solo routes) and two possible versions of Stages 4 and 6, each with different bosses. Finally it introduces the Lunarian civilisation, which would go on to be prominent in Touhou Bougetsushou and Legacy of Lunatic Kingdom.
IN expands on the "focus" mechanic by using it to switch between the human Player Character and their youkai partner, and including a "Human/Youkai Meter" which must be managed in order to collect Time Orbs and resolve the incident before dawn.
The game also features the Last Spell mechanic - a final "sudden death" Spell Card which bosses will use under certain conditions, granting the normal bonus if captured (completed without getting hit, bombing or timing out) but ending without penalty if not. Players have their own Last Spells as well - a variant on the normal "deathbomb" mechanic which activates an extra-powerful Smart Bomb if you press the bomb button as you are struck by an attack.
The game's official website can be found here (in Japanese).
This game provides examples of:
- Attack Drone: Each youkai partner has a "familiar" that attacks for them. Bosses have many familiars, which only the human member of the Player Character team can destroy.
- Bad Moon Rising: The true incident, though initially only Youkai can notice the difference. It turns out to be because Eirin replaced the night sky with a fake.
- Comeback Mechanic:
- Netherworld Team: Gets a free bomb if they end a stage with fewer than 3 bombs.
- Scarlet Devil Team: A bomb item spawns if the player dies while they have bombs.
- Dueling Player Characters: Stage 4 pits the player against Reimu (if playing as the Marisa/Alice or Sakuya/Remilia teams) or Marisa (if playing as Reimu/Yukari or Youmu/Yuyuko).
- Failure Is the Only Option: You have to get each team's normal ending once to unlock that team's better ending.
- Fairy Tale: This game's storyline is based around The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. The theme music of Kaguya Hōraisan, the final boss, is even called "Flight of the Bamboo Cutter".
- Godzilla Threshold: A human incident-resolver teaming up with a youkai to cause an incident shows how the real problem is even worse.
- Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: The difficulty levels are named after the phases of the moon, befitting the game's theme.
- Easy: New Moon
- Normal: Waxing Crescent
- Hard: First Quarter
- Lunatic: Waxing Gibbous
- Extra: Full Moon
- In-Universe Game Clock: Imperishable Night starts off explicitly at 11:00 PM, and your goal is to reach the end of the game and restore the real moon in time for a festival by 5:00 AM. Depending on how many time icons you collect in a stage, time will advance either by 1 hour or 30 minutes. Using continues also adds 30 minutes.
- Lame Pun Reaction:Wriggle: Hey, hey, hey! You've got some guts not being bugged by me. I hope you've got the determination to match that!
Reimu: Was that a pun?
- Lovely Angels: This game fits this trope by the player playing a team of two female characters, although most LA teams are a little bit more functional than they are in this game.
- Mechanically Unusual Fighter: The Netherworld Team (Youmu and Yuyuko) take this and run with it.
- Most teams have a Human/Youkai meter going from -100% to +100%. However, because Youmu is half-phantom rather than a full human, their human gauge stops at -50%. Conversely, when playing as solo Youmu she's the only solo character whose meter caps at -50%/+50% rather than scaling to 100% on one side and 20% on the other.
- Normally unfocused mode has wide shots and focused mode has narrow ones. The Netherworld team inverts this, with Yuyuko's shot being much wider than Youmu's.
- Youmu's externalised soul functions as an Attack Drone which angles away from the direction she's moving.
- Mercy Mode: After running out of continues a few times, the game's options allow you to start with a few additional lives. "A few" ultimately resulting in a continue's worth of lives totaling 8, where most other games only let you have half as many. Perhaps another reason for Easy-Mode Mockery specifically in this game.
- The Night That Never Ends: As mentioned in the title, twice. Unusually it's the Player Characters who are doing this, in an attempt to counter the strange moon.
- Poor Communication Kills: The boss fight with either Reimu or Marisa is the result of one or both sides either not understanding what's actually going on, or outright refusing to listen. When the Ghost Team tries to mention the Moon to Marisa, Marisa says "this has nothing to do with the Moon!" and if Magic Team brings it up to Reimu, she turns around and blames them for the Moon as well!
- Powerup Magnet: As before, the player attracts items while at full power and above an invisible line on the screen. However, Imperishable Night also grants you this benefit if you cross the line while focused or while playing as Marisa.
- Public Domain Character: Princess Kaguya, and more subtly her attendant Eirin (Touhou's version of the Shinto god Omoikane). ZUN notes that he'd been reluctant to include such big names in Touhou until it had established its own identity, fearing that it would seem like a Shin Megami Tensei ripoff.
- Tag Team: The player controls Reimu, Marisa, Sakuya or Youmu in unfocused mode, but while focused they switch out for Yukari, Alice, Remilia and Yuyuko respectively. Solo versions of each character can also be unlocked.
- This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: "Now bitch, get out of the way!"
- Timed Mission:
- The game clock starts at 11:00pm, progressing by 1 hour at the end of each stage and by 30 minutes each time the player uses a continue. Allowing the clock to reach 5:00am will result in a Non Standard Game Over. The progression can be slowed by collecting above a certain number of Time Orbs on each stage, which halves the amount of time that stage adds to the counter (and on difficulties higher than Easy, causes the boss to use their Last Spell).
- After being defeated, Kaguya will unleash a series of five Last Spells in an attempt to dispel the eternal night, causing the time counter to accelerate for each the player fails to capture. Running out of time in this phase will end the fight, but still counts as clearing the game.
- Translation Convention: Marisa responds to some confusing dialogue between Reimu and Yukari with "Speak Japanese. This is Gensokyo!"
- True Final Boss: The first time each team reaches Stage 6 without continuing it will be Stage 6A "Princess-Concealing Orb in the Night Sky", in which they are lured away from Kaguya by Eirin. The second time it will be Stage 6B "Five Impossible Requests", in which they face Kaguya herself. Completing both unlocks the Extra Stage and allows the player to choose their route on subsequent playthroughs with that team.