Koumajou Densetu: Scarlet Symphony

Original Title
Frontier Aja
Official Website
Often referred to simply as “Touhouvania” by Western fans, Koumajou Densetsu is the first game by doujin circle Frontier Aja and draws heavily upon Konami’s Castlevania series for inspiration.

Players take control of Reimu in an eight stage side-scrolling action game, using her gohei as a whip when on the ground and while airborne using amulets as a basic projectile attack. Marisa (and later, Cirno) can be summoned briefly to perform special attacks provided the player has collection enough souls to do so. Souls work exactly like Castlevania’s hearts and are found in candlesticks, jars, and left by defeated enemies. Occasionally hidden or out of the way breakables will hold recovery items, 1ups or a large number of souls.

In keeping with her abilities in the main Touhou games Reimu can fly and can do so indefinitely so long as she isn’t hit. If Reimu is hit she will fall until she either lands on solid ground or if particularly unlucky lands in a bottomless pit and dies.

Once completed the player unlocks a short extra mode set not long after the main game, this reuses graphics and rooms from the main game but with some new twists – for example the familiar first stage is given a night time makeover and a new boss.

Patches added a lot to the game – in version 1.00 there were no title cards, difficulty levels, dialogue, extra game, English or French language options (these were added by Frontier Aja themselves) and Marisa was the only partner character.

The game was successful enough to spawn a sequel, a soundtrack and a few other pieces of merchandise. A double pack that included the second game and a few extras was released on the 30th of December 2011.