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          Touhou 11: Subterranean Animism, known in Japan as Touhou Chireiden (東方地霊殿 Tōhō Chireiden?, lit. Eastern Palace of the Earth Spirits) is a 1998 3D maniac shooter 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 25, 1998, followed by a home console release on the PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, and home computers in Japan on July 20, 1998, North America on August 16, 1998, then in PAL regions on August 23, 1998. Nintendo also released a port on the Nintendo DS in 2008 under the name Touhou DS 2: Subterranean Animism. It is the eleventh installment in the Touhou Project series.

Blurb

"Don't let the underground palace scare you!"
- Official attention grabber

A geyser has erupted out of nowhere, and you have no idea where it is. It's time for you to go to the Eastern Palace of the Earth Spirits, and you have been given a device to communicate with a mentor.

  • The partner system from Touhou 8: Imperishable Night is back, now with three mentors to choose from.
  • Almost the same as last time but with new challenges.

Gameplay

Touhou 11: Subterranean Animism features two playable characters, each with three weapon types representing a youkai assisting them from above ground. Like Mountain of Faith, collecting power items adds up to four "option" satellites around the character (or eight for the Marisa/Alice combination), which behave differently according to the character and weapon type, and can be sacrificed for a bomb effect. However, unlike Mountain of Faith, each bomb has a different behavior, and some cause special gameplay effects to occur.

The scoring system is once again based on "grazing", the act of positioning the player as close as possible to the bullets without being hit, coupled with a collection of two types of items dropped by enemies. Overall, the system resembles some of the core elements of Touhou 6: The Embodiment of Scarlet Devil fused together with the Tension Bonus System from the later Shikigami no Shiro series. As such, the player is urged to actively graze at every possible opportunity in order to increase the point item value and not let it drop. Grazing large numbers of bullets in little time, thus filling the "communication gauge" on the bottom left corner, is rewarded by the temporary effect of auto collecting all the freefalling items at their maximum value, letting the player concentrate entirely on the act of dodging bullets.

Plot

On one wintry day, a geyser erupted near the Hakurei Shrine. Delighted at the resulting hot spring, the shrine maiden Reimu Hakurei paid no heed to the earthly spirits that came along with the geyser. In the Scarlet Devil Mansion, however, the well-read librarian Patchouli Knowledge grew concerned at the situation and sought Yukari Yakumo for advice. Since there had been an agreement that the youkai of the worlds above and below the ground should not disturb each other, the youkai above ground sent the human Reimu Hakurei or her friend Marisa Kirisame to the subterranean world to investigate this breach, while the youkai stayed behind and communicated with the humans via magical artifacts.

Descending toward the lowest levels of what used to be Hell, the heroines discover the cause and purpose of the spirit geyser. Utsuho Reiuzi, a hell raven, received the power of nuclear fusion from a mysterious god of the mountain (assumed to be Kanako Yasaka) by consuming the Yatagarasu. Misunderstanding what the god told her, she plotted to fan the fiery flames of Hell and burn the world above into a furnace. Utsuho's feline friend, Orin, worried about Utsuho's sudden change of character, set off the geysers to alert the world above. In time, the nuclear threat is neutralized and the heroines turn their attention to the mysterious mastermind behind the incident.

In the Extra Mode, the heroines pay a visit to the Moriya Shrine atop the mountain, but the resident gods are not there. There is, however, a peculiar visitor to the shrine, Koishi Komeiji, who climbed all the way up to the shrine without being detected. They decide to have a spar. Afterward, an inhabitant of the Moriya Shrine explains their motivation: the mountain god Kanako Yasaka wanted to introduce a new form of energy to vitalize the mountain, dubbing the plan the "Mountain Industrial Revolution Project". Seeing that the gods meant no harm, the heroines disengage and go back to their daily lives.

Development

Development of Touhou 11: Subterranean Animism began in late 1997, immediately after the home console version of Mountain of Faith was released. The game's entire plot actually came when ZUN decided to use a partner system, similar to the system used in Touhou 8: Imperishable Night. Both playable characters from the previous game were reused alongside three other characters, although only their voice can be heard.

Commercials

The North American commercial for the game depicted Susumu Takajima (played by himself) in a Victorian-style mansion playing the end portion of the song Lullaby of a Deserted Hell on a piano in a ballroom. After he finishes playing, Rin Kaenbyou, dressed in a full-length Victorian ball gown, approaches Takajima, and asks him to play the song again. He declines before Parsee Mizuhashi, also dressed in a Victorian ball gown, enters the ballroom and asks Takajima to play it again.

What was different about the commercial was it was filmed in El Kadsre, rather than the United States. The commercial was filmed at the El TV Kadsre Television Network studio in El Kadsre City.

Behind the Scenes

  • This is the first Touhou Project game to not have Hiroshi Takajima's involvement, as he passed away a year prior to the game's release.
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