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Video Game / Touhou Hisouten ~ Scarlet Weather Rhapsody

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Red and ready for a rematch.

Touhou Hisoutennote  ~ Scarlet Weather Rhapsody is a video game created by Team Shanghai Alice and Twilight Frontier for Windows computers in 2008. It's the 10.5th videogame installment in the Touhou Project franchise.

About a year after the events of Mountain of Faith, Gensokyo starts experiencing bizarre weather patterns, prompting a number of humans and youkai to investigate. Considering it strange but harmless, Reimu does not... until the Hakurei Shrine is flattened by a localised earthquake, and she sets out to give the culprit a piece of her mind.

Built on a modified version of the Touhou Suimusou ~ Immaterial and Missing Power engine, SWR is a Mascot Fighter like its predecessor, using most of the same sprites but with overhauled gameplay. Gone are the Multiple Life Bars, Spell Card declarations and item pickups, replaced by a new deck system and weather conditions. This game would later receive a followup in Touhou Hisoutensoku, an Expansion Pack which can also be played as a short standalone game.

The game's official website can be found here (in Japanese).

This game provides examples of:

  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: During Tenshi's spellcards she changes the weather on her stage from "Clear" to "Aurora", with corresponding visuals. She then proceeds to one-up this by raising the stage into space and changing the weather to the event-exclusive "Twilight".
  • Bootstrapped Leitmotif: Rather than her original battle theme from Touhou Suimusou ~ Immaterial and Missing Power, Suika uses her pre-battle theme Broken Moon (variants of which were used for that game's title theme and credits).
  • Bottle Episode: Because vampires can't travel through rain (nor fight above the clouds) Remilia's route takes place entirely inside her mansion, with Sakuya dragging other characters there for her to interrogate.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Averted in that the "spell trance" mechanic from IaMP is no longer present, with player Spell Cards now functioning as conventional Super Moves that don't require setup (though they do require having sufficient cards in your hand). Similarly, most boss Spell Cards now disable the boss's normal attacks completely while in use; instead bosses have non-spell phases between cards in which they fight with their normal moves.
  • Discard and Draw: Literally. If you use a Skill Card that depicts a skill you don't currently have, the card's skill will replace one of your current skills. Characters have 12-15 skills they can choose from, but only 4-5 at a time are active.
  • Empathic Environment: Invoked. Due to the incident, the "temperament" of the playable characters is imprinting itself on their surroundings, manifesting as weather which matches their personality. Komachi, familiar with the similar auras emitted by souls of the dead, spends her route reading the weather patterns of characters she meets.
  • Evolving Attack: Using a Skill Card depicting a skill you already have will upgrade that skill, increasing its damage and possibly applying extra properties.
  • Field Power Effect: Each weather condition has a different effect on gameplay, which tends to synergise with the playstyle of the character it's associated with.
    • Sunny (Reimu): Flight becomes more maneuverable and its Spirit cost is halved. Characters can perform Border Escapes without burning Spirit.
    • Drizzle (Marisa): Spellcards gain +25% power, but using one causes this weather to time out more quickly.
    • Cloudy (Sakuya): Spellcard energy builds faster, and spellcards require one less card to activate (minimum 1). When a spellcard is used, this weather ends immediately.
    • Blue Sky (Youmu): Non-card Special Attacks can be cancelled into each other as if they were spellcards (as long as they haven't been used already in the same chain), advancing the weather timer a little each time.
    • Hail (Alice): Spirit Orbs recover at double speed; special moves gain +25% power but advance the weather timer a little on each use.
    • Spring Haze (Patchouli): Grazing causes characters to lose Spirit Orbs, but can protect against even melee attacks (at increased cost). The weather timer advances each time an attack is blocked or grazed.
    • Heavy Fog (Remilia): All attacks gain Life Drain properties, restoring health to the user equal to 50% of the damage dealt.
    • Snow (Yuyuko): Non-spellcard attacks reduce the opponent's spellcard energy, even when blocked (but not when grazed). Draining a card's energy to zero will destroy that card and advance the weather timer.
    • Sunshower (Yukari): Mis-blocking any attack results in a Guard Crush and advances the weather timer a little, but Guard Crushing has less effect on how quickly characters regenerate Spirit.
    • Sprinkle (Suika): All special moves are upgraded to maximum level until the weather ends.
    • Tempest (Aya): Characters run faster and airdash further, and can use airdash or flight one additional time in midair.
    • Mountain Vapour (Reisen): All cards flip face-down, but spell cards can be activated regardless of the number of cards in the player's hand. Ends immediately when a card is used.
    • River Mist (Komachi): Characters are randomly pushed closer together or pulled further apart.
    • Typhoon (Iku): Characters become Immune to Flinching but cannot block.
    • Aurora (Tenshi): Duplicates a random weather effect.
  • Fight Like a Card Player: Each player has a deck of 20 cards, from which they draw randomly over the course of a battle. System Cards have effects like restoring HP or changing the weather, Skill Cards replace and/or upgrade your standard attacks, and Spell Cards are Super Moves which require having a certain number of cards in your hand to activate.
  • Final Boss:
    • New character Tenshi is the final boss for most routes.
    • Suika is the final boss for Patchouli. Amusingly this comes right after a fight with Tenshi, whom she dismissed as being irrelevant to the incident.
    • Yukari is the final boss for Remilia.
    • Reimu is the final boss for Aya and Tenshi.
  • Floating Continent: Heaven (or at least the Bhavaagra part) is depicted as a number of floating landmasses which can be reached from the peak of Youkai Mountain. In Reisen's ending, Eirin claims that Heaven was once a giant keystone like the ones wielded by Tenshi, and that its removal from the Earth caused a great cataclysm.
  • High-Altitude Battle: Tenshi's stage is set above the clouds, and for her final attack she raises the battlefield into the stratosphere.
  • Hyperlink Story: The game features 15 Story Modes which cross over with each other for certain fights. In rough chronological order it goes: Yuyuko, Suika, Patchouli, Marisa, Remilia, Alice, Sakuya, Youmu, Aya, Reimu, Iku, Komachi, Yukari, Reisen, Tenshi. A more detailed overview is given here.
  • Immortal Immaturity: Tenshi started the incident simply because she was bored, thinking it would exciting to play the villain and fight whatever brave hero came to stop her.
  • Mana Shield: In addition to the mechanics carried over from IaMP, grazing more powerful projectiles will now cause your Spirit Orbs to drain.
  • Manipulating the Opponent's Deck: In battle, Reisen can "inflict madness" on her opponents through a mix of bending light/sound to create illusions, and psychically disrupting their rhythm. This is represented both by attacks with confusing properties, and by some of her Spell Cards (plus her associated System Card) having the unique ability to destroy cards in the opponent's hand. One of these attacks, Desolation "Discarder", also inflicts a status ailment which renders the opponent unable to play cards for a short time.
  • Multiple Life Bars: Unlike IaMP, characters don't have multiple health bars, but their Spirit meter has been divided into multiple Spirit Orbs. Instead of emptying the opponent's Spirit Meter, delivering a Guard Crush now breaks one of their Spirit Orbs, emptying it and slowing its regeneration speed.
  • Mythology Gag: One of Sakuya's Palette Swaps imitates the color schemes of the PC-98 minor character Ruukoto introduced in Touhou Yumejikuu ~ Phantasmagoria of Dim. Dream.
  • Old Save Bonus: The game can be linked to Touhou Hisoutensoku Choudokyuu Ginyoru Nonazo O Oe to unlock Sanae, Cirno, Meiling, Utsuho, and Suwako, as well as rebalancing some of the other characters.
  • Our Angels Are Different: The Final Boss Tenshi is a celestial whose name is pronounced like the Japanese word for angel, though written differently.
  • Pun-Based Title: Hisouten ("Scarlet Perception Heaven") is a reference to Tenshi's home of Bhavaagra/Uchouten ("World Peak Heaven") - also known as Hisou-Hihisou-Ten ("Heaven of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception").
  • Shoot the Bullet: Projectiles have their own Hit Points, and take damage over time while in contact with a projectile of equal tier (light normal, heavy normal, light spellcard, heavy spellcard). When projectiles of unequal tier collide, the weaker one is simply destroyed.
  • SNK Boss: Like the previous game, bosses in Story Mode do not play by the rules, having multiple lifebars that each represent a spellcard, depending on how far into the story the fight is (as the length of a character's story mode is no longer fixed), as well one (two for fights that consist of 4/5 spell cards) that has the AI use its regular moveset, all while Immune to Flinching during spellcards. Similarly, while some are basically beefed-up versions of a character's actual super (or are at least similar to them), some are completely unique. The story supers range from being relatively fair, to being completely rigged in favor of AI, especially given the deck system only applies to the player. Yukari is perhaps most notorious, with her story boss version using many spellcards that flood screen with projectiles.
  • Title Drop: Tenshi's final Spell Card, "Scarlet Perception Heaven of All Mankind" (Zen Jinrui no Hisouten). To maintain the effect, some Fan Translations render it as "Scarlet Weather Rhapsody of All Mankind".
  • Trash the Set: The Hakurei Shrine gets destroyed twice over the course of the game - first by Tenshi to get Reimu's attention, then by Yukari because Tenshi sneakily incorporated one of her keystones into its reconstruction.
  • Video Game Flight: In addition to IaMP's air dashing, characters can now fly by pressing dash and a direction at the same time. This places them in a continuous graze state, at the cost of draining their Spirit Orbs while in use.

Alternative Title(s): Scarlet Weather Rhapsody