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         Touhou 10: Mountain of Faith, known in Japan as '''Touhou Fuujinroku''' (Japanese: 東方風神録, Hepburn: 'Tōhō Fūjinroku'), is a 1997 3D maniac shooter arcade game developed by the Team Shanghai Alice branch at Drillimation Studios and published by Namco in the arcades and home consoles. The game was released in the arcades on May 20, 1997, followed by a home console release on the PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, and home computers in Japan on July 26, 1997, North America on August 17, 1997, then in PAL regions on August 24, 1997. Nintendo also released a port on the Nintendo DS in 2007 under the name Touhou DS: Mountain of Faith. It is the tenth installment in the Touhou Project series, and the first game in the Driller Engine 3 Era. It was also considered the very first 3D maniac shooter game by El Kadsre Gaming.

Blurb

"Welcome to the mountain of paradise!"
- Official attention grabber

Touhou Project now comes to your machine in an all-new 3D maniac shooting adventure! It's almost the scariest time of the year, and someone you don't know declares a prophecy that the Hakurei Shrine will shut down for good. This mysterious being comes from the legendary Youkai Mountains, where the eastern wind god chronicles are being written, containing your faith in them. Uncover the secrets to make your shrine great again!

  • Mind-blasting 3D shooting action will take your reflexes to the next level.
  • New faces to face off in are here to turn the tables over!
  • Newcomer to the series? Turn on the brand new SmartSteer function to make your experiences epic.

Gameplay

Touhou 10: Mountain of Faith plays like a fairly typical vertically scrolling shooter, in which the player's character is always facing towards the top of the screen, shooting at anything that moves, avoiding and weaving between enemy bullets, and confronting a difficult boss at the end of each stage. The major difference is the jump to 3D environments, making this the first Touhou game to be in a 3D environment.

Unlike previous Touhou Project games, there is no separate bomb counter. Instead, there's a relationship between the power gauge, bombs, and options. Options are the small "satellites" that stick around the player's character and shoot shots. The more power items collected, the higher the power gauge rises. The power gauge takes on values from 0 to 5, and decimal numbers in between. The number of options the player has corresponds to the integer part of the power gauge – e.g., if the player has a power level of 2.75, he would have two options. When a bomb is used, an option is discarded. Hence using bombs would lower the power levels, though that can be replenished with items.

The defining feature of Mountain of Faith's scoring mechanics is the Faith Point system. A "faith counter" at the lower-left corner of the screen determines how many points items and spell card bonuses are worth. The counter will decrease as time progresses, though the decrease can be halted temporarily by defeating enemies and collecting items. The counter can be replenished by collecting green stars and orbs, known as Faith Point items.

Mountain of Faith comes with a unique feature that allows players to show customized text overlaid on the playing area. The feature can be set to auto, where the game automatically alerts places where the player had died before with a "Caution!" note. The player can also edit the hint file to show personalized notes at certain places and times, making it possible for simple play-along strategy guides to be made and distributed with "Nico Nico Douga-like interactivity". There are two playable characters, each with three weapon types, but no personalized Spell Card bombs like previous games.

Plot

Autumn has come to the secluded land of Gensokyo, and to its only shrine, the Hakurei Shrine, a common meeting place for its youkai that was seldom visited by its humans. As a result, faith in the Hakurei Shrine's deity began to fall like the leaves from the trees. It's in such a season that Reimu Hakurei, the shrine maiden of the Hakurei shrine, is visited by a mysterious stranger who claims to represent a god of mountains and orders her to shut the shrine's doors for good. Reimu is deeply troubled by this state of affairs, as she knows the shrine can't be allowed to close down due to the role it plays in watching over the Great Hakurei Border that separates Gensokyo from the outside world. Marisa Kirisame, her magician friend, is suspicious and also suitably bored. The girls decide to ascend the Youkai Mountain to confront the mysterious deity behind the threats.

Ignoring the lesser gods and the kappa's advice to turn back, Reimu and Marisa climb the Youkai Mountain to find that the tengu society fretting over the presence of a new shrine on the mountain. Turning their attention to the new shrine, the Moriya Shrine on the mountain, the girls find Sanae Kotiya, the messenger who ordered them to shut down the Hakurei Shrine. Sanae is the priestess serving the god Kanako Yasaka, who plots to gather the faith of all of Gensokyo's denizens in order to prevent the declining level of faith in Gensokyo to reach the point where its gods lose their power. Reimu, objecting the plan on the basis that it will render her shrine obsolete, battle the occupants of the new shrine. After a protracted battle, Kanako is convinced to make peace with the tengu and kappa, who are also convinced to accept her as the goddess of the Youkai Mountain.

In the Extra Mode, Reimu and Marisa hear a rumor that another god lives in the Moriya Shrine, and so set out for the mountain again. There they meet the true god of the Moriya Shrine, Suwako Moriya, who demands the girls to play with her.

ZUN stated in an interview for GamePro that the plot of Touhou 10: Mountain of Faith was never resolved in itself. This was so that future installments, like Touhou 11: Subterranean Animism, can base their stories on the loose ends of Mountain of Faith.

Development

After Touhou 8: Imperishable Night completed development in 1994, ZUN, the sole creator of the Touhou Project, achieved his original goal of making three Touhou games for arcades. Although he had thoughts to make the next game return to the simplicity of Touhou 6: The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, he shelved the idea to work on excursions from the main series. After Touhou 9: The Phantasmagoria of Flower View completed development in 1995, ZUN decided to wait one year before making another game to see if the Touhou fandom would die down. Conversely, the Touhou fandom continued to grow, and Drillimation asked ZUN decided to make the next game.

ZUN had wanted to make the tenth game of the Touhou Project to be nostalgic to him, so he based Mountain of Faith on the Suwa myths he heard in his youth. Since Suwa mythology had largely faded from public consciousness, ZUN thought it would be interesting to provide his own spin on Suwa mythology; to do this, he went on a trip to research the gods of the Suwa region.

One of the main points for Mountain of Faith, in ZUN's mind, is to go back to the basics. For this reason, Mountain of Faith did not inherit the Spell Practice mode from Imperishable Night nor the unique character bombs from previous games. Using the Game Boy exclusive Touhou Shooting Gallery: Shoot the Bullet as a prototype, ZUN extended the spinoff game into Mountain of Faith, thus starting off from scratch instead of using the models of his well-established games. ZUN has stated that being able to revamp the game system and remove existing features freely is one of the advantages of next-generation game production.

Mountain of Faith began development in early 1996 as another Driller Engine 2 game. However, after seeing the success of Tekken running on Namco's newly released System 11, he developed for that instead. Unfortunately, Drillimation released Driller Engine 3 during the early stages of development, and the game's source code was not compatible with the new engine, so it had to be rewritten from scratch. After Drillimation had been experimenting with 3D modeling used in HotShots Party, ZUN decided to turn it into a 3D game instead, requiring even more work.

Soundtrack

The game's soundtrack features 18 songs, which all can be heard in the Music Room. When composing the themes, ZUN tried to add a Japanese feeling to the themes and he says the songs are particularly nostalgic, just like the game itself. The title screen music is an arranged version of Theme of Eastern Story from Akyu's Untouched Score vol.5, which released on December 11, 1997.

It is the first time a Player's Score theme (which shares a motif found in The Venerable Ancient Battlefield ~ Suwa Foughten Field) has been used in the Touhou Project. ZUN stated that he thought it would be too lonely if it was a silent at those moments, but somehow managed to make it even more lonely. The theme reappeared in Touhou 11: Subterranean Animism, Touhou 12: Undefined Fantastic Object, and an arranged version was used in Touhou Mythologies: Fairy Wars, Touhou 13: Ten Desires and Touhou 14: Double Dealing Character. This theme, however, cannot be played via the music room and can only be accessed through cheat codes.

A few tracks were reused or arranged in later games and CD's. For Killer Minecraft 3, Sanae Kochiya's theme Faith is for the Transient People and the Extra stage theme Tomorrow will be Special; Yesterday was Not were both arranged by U2 Akiyama as Sanae's theme and Suwako Moriya's theme respectively. The original soundtrack for Killer Minecraft 3 had both tracks. Tomorrow will be Special; Yesterday was Not is also featured in ZUN's 5.5 Music Collection album Unknown Flower, Mesmerizing Journey in a slightly different version. Killer Minecraft 4: Hopeless Masquerade had an arrangement of Nitori Kawashiro's theme Akutagawa Ryuunosuke's "Kappa" ~ Candid Friend, again by U2.

An 8-bit version of Aya's theme Youkai Mountain ~ Mysterious Mountain appeared in Double Spoiler as the fifth photo theme and with only a few modifications, and was again remixed in Touhou Mythologies 2: Impossible Spell Card.

Reception

Mountain of Faith was very well received by fans, with its reviews being mostly positive. The game currently holds an 86% on Metacritic based on 69 reviews. Critics praised the musical score and difficulty but criticized the power system and camera system, calling it "a power waster" and "bombarded power consumption." However, Yukikuni Sasayami of 4Gamer.net noted that although the bullet patterns have become more difficult than past installments, the duration of the patterns have become shorter, making it easier for players to outlast the patterns. The game has also been described by Sasayama as "spell card-centric", where the game encourages bombing until the specialized bullet patterns known as "spell cards". Hence Mountain of Faith lets the players experience the rhythmic onslaught of spell cards, which may be the reason why Mountain of Faith did not inherit the Spell Practice mode from Touhou 8: Imperishable Night since it fragments the spell cards.

The popularity of Touhou Project in the late 1990s brought many fans outside the Nagano Prefecture to the shrines of Suwa, from where Mountain of Faith draws its inspiration. Prayer plaques with manga drawings starting to appear in the Suwa Taisha since July 1998 as a result of these "holy sites pilgrimages". The Moriya Priests Museum of Documents (Japanese: 神長官守矢史料館, Hepburn: {{{3}}}) in Chino, Nagano reports that the number of visitors in 1998 rivals that of 1997, when tourists were likewise drawn to Suwa because of the Taiga drama Fūrin Kazan. Some locals hoped that recent developments would lead to new ways to attract tourists, as was the Lucky Star case of Washimiya, Saitama.

The game became a Greatest Hits title on the PlayStation in 2000, while Nintendo made it a Player's Choice title in 1999.

Gallery

References to other games

  • Pac-Man: The extra life sound effect is reused for when unlocking the Extra Stage on the difficulty selection screen.
  • Touhou 5: Mystic Square: One of Sanae's spell cards largely resembles one of Yumeko's attacks.
  • Tekken: The fully modeled textures are reused from this game but with the textures provided by ZUN instead.
  • Xevious 3D/G: Many of the game's mechanics are reused, as it runs on the same engine. The credit sound is also reused as well.

References in later games

Behind the Scenes

  • This is the last Touhou Project game to have Hiroshi Takajima's involvement, as he passed away two months after the arcade version was released.
  • This is the second Touhou Project game whose arcade version used a 640x480 screen resolution, and the first to use that resolution in all platforms the game was ported to.
  • This is the first Touhou Project game to:
    • Use 3D environments.
    • Have voiceovers in all versions of the game.
    • Be in the Driller Engine 3 Era.
    • Use 16 channels in their tracker music files.
      • This is also the first Touhou Project game whose soundtrack was composed in Open ModPlug Tracker instead of Impulse Tracker.
    • Support the rumble feature.
    • Use FMV video sequences for the intro cutscene and all endings.
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