Lucky Star, known in Japan as 'Touhou Akumajou ~ Lucky Star in Scientist's Castle' (Japanese: 東方悪魔城 ～ らき☆すたで科学者の城; Hepburn: 'Tōhō Akumajō ~ Raki Suta de Kagakusha no Jō') is a 1987 survival horror maniac shooter game developed by Drillimation Studios and published by Namco. The game was released in the arcades in October 1987 and later released on the Nintendo Entertainment System, PC-9801, Commodore 64, Amiga, and MS-DOS computers in November and December 1987 respectively. It is the first game in the Lucky Star series of danmaku shooters created as a spin-off of the Touhou Project games.
If you think it's scary on the outside, wait until you see the inside! You're in for the longest night of your life - zombies, creepers, mystaghosties, and endermen, monsters lurking from around every corner, ready to strike. As you descend deeper and deeper, they get thicker and thicker. Better stick close to the cavern floor - it's your only chance of finding a weapon or two. You're gonna need 'em. Because when you finally meet Dr. Manhole, you know he'll be going for the jugular. So keep your courage up and your stake sharp. And say your prayers!
The game is a danmaku shooter that plays similar to Touhou Project. The game is broken down into six stages with three phases each. Konata uses the Lightning Rod given to her from a youkai that can grant them any wish to defeat monsters that jump out and try to frighten the player. The game begins with three lives with an extra life at 30,000 points, another at 80,000 points, and another after every 80,000 points. Konata has a health bar, which decreases by one when Konata is struck by an enemy or projectile, and Konata is killed when the health bar is depleted. Chocolate cornets, which is what Konata eats for lunch at school, restores lost health. The goal of the game is to defeat Dr. Manhole which causes the destruction of his fortress.
Throughout the game, Konata can use a bomb to wipe out all bullets on screen. Konata can only use a bomb once per stage, and she gains one whenever a life is lost. Other items include point bonuses, a starman to make her temporarily invincible, and weapon upgrades.
In order to get the good ending, the player must beat the game without using continues. Beating the game using continues results in the bad ending.
The game begins after Konata Izumi has graduated from junior high school, and after the end of every academic year, Dr. Manhole rises from his tomb for a final reign of terror. Konata meets a pacteria-like youkai that nearly resembles Konata minus her ahoge, and grants her the wish to become a magical girl. To fight off all of Team Ankoku's hackers, Konata is given the Lightning Rod. Konata battles numerous bosses based on Team Ankoku, and when Konata encounters Dr. Manhole, Manhole encourages her to beat him without using chocolate cornets. After defeating Dr. Manhole, Konata escapes Manhole's lair as it crumbles apart.
Lucky Star has a total of 19 songs, which were composed by Kinuyo Yamashita and Masahiro Kajihara. This is also the first Drillimation game where Go Shiina and Satoru Kousaki were not involved with composing the soundtrack.
|1||Dr. Manhole's Fortress||Title screen||10 seconds|
|2||Go Konata, Go!||Intro sequence||16 seconds|
|3||Vampire Killer||Stage 1||31 seconds|
|4||Poisoned Mind||Stage 1 boss||7 seconds|
|5||Stalker||Stage 2||35 seconds|
|6||I'll Destroy Your Mind||Stage 2 boss||69 seconds|
|7||The Wicked Child||Stage 3||65 seconds|
|8||Stage 3 boss|
|9||Walking on the Edge||Stage 4||42 seconds|
|10||Stage 4 boss|
|11||Heart of Fire||Stage 5||60 seconds|
|12||Stage 5 boss|
|13||Out of Time||Stage 6||32 seconds|
|14||Nothing to Lose||Stage 6 boss Part 1||42 seconds|
|15||Black Night||Stage 6 boss Part 2||18 seconds|
|16||Victory Attained!||Stage Clear||6 seconds|
|17||Team Ankoku is Defeated||Game Clear||6 seconds|
|19||Game Over||Game Over||6 seconds|
The game mainly received positive reviews. Sales of the game were slow at first, with only 4,000 machines being made. Localization issues caused the game to be prevented from being released outside of Japan, but Drillimation Studios California, which is located in Creation Universe Anaheim in Anaheim, California, helped speed up the process and the game. The word was spread in the United States via political cartoons in newspapers and commercials. As a result, the game was a success, selling more than 250,000 machines to arcades across the globe.
Critics said that the game was very fun to play with its humorous dialogue, great graphics, and CD-quality audio. Some critics say the game is difficult to beat, but with a slow computer, it can make things easier. GamePro also stated that this was a game that a female audience would enjoy, but male players can enjoy the game as well. A couple of arcades also had weird drawings on their whiteboards, with the quote "Konata is my wife". The game won the Game of the Year award in 1988 for Best Scrolling Shooter.
The game was attacked by some critics after some American players deemed it as "too scary". USAToday also stated that "Drillimation had created a game that's as frightening as a horror movie". GamePro also made the following comments:
- Video games are designed to play on our emotions, and many of them want to make us run to the arcade with a tub full of quarters. This game, called Lucky Star by Namco, is based on the popular Drillimation cartoon that's been airing on Saturday mornings for the past ten years. The main character doesn't appear in the series, and it's not an original either, it's based on one of Drillimation existing IP's. This new game ended up being put under fire after parents found it "too scary". Scary as you might think, it is actually a vertical shooter, similar to Galaga but is played exactly like the Touhou series. Despite the name, many players were alienated if this was going to be a puzzle game but found out when they played it.