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Sunday, July 10, 2016

Touhou Corner: Undefined Fantastic Object

Touhou Seirensen (lit. 'Star Lotus Ship') ~ Undefined Fantastic Object (東方星蓮船 ~ Undefined Fantastic Object) is the 12th Touhou Project title. Developed alongside the series' third fighting game spin-off, Touhou Hisoutensoku, it was released together with said title at Comiket 76 on August 15, 2009.

Directly following the events of the previous main-line title, the many geysers caused in the events of Subterranean Animism have shot to Gensokyo's surface selected ancient youkai from their thousand-years sleep, together with an unknown flying device whose first dubbed name acts both as the game's title and as a nod to the conventional meaning of UFO, Unidentified Flying Object. According to the character and shot type chosen, one heroine between Reimu, Marisa and Mountain of Faith's Sanae Kochiya will travel Gensokyo for either finding out more about the mysterious construction, raid it for treasures or just exterminating yokai creatures in general. Regardless of the heroine chosen and her motivations behind the travel, it's soon found out that a group of the newly-awoken youkai is gathering artifacts mysteriously displayed as flying saucer UFOs to break the seal that has sent legendary human magician Byakuren Hijiri in a century-long sleep.

The main gameplay-related feature of the game is tied with the UFOs in the game, which can grant players certain advantages upon distruction in form of smaller UFOs that can supply extra points, life parts and bombs. Speaking of bombs, the 2nd-gen attack system for this game has been discharged in order to bring back the Spell Card Bomb system from former Windows titles, in addition to each of the playable characters being able to choose between two kinds of shots.

Diverging from the former Touhou games's Shinto-based feeling, ZUN developed Undefined Fantastic Object's story with Buddhism in mind, be it between the newly-introduced characters' backstories and the many references to Buddhist god Bishamonten. Another unexpected source of inspiration for the game's main theme and general enemy design is Taito, as the year prior this game's release was celebrating the 30th anniversary of the original Space Invaders. As ZUN himself worked for a number of years at Taito as a musician, he put several nods to the Japanese software house that often range further than the mere UFO-like enemy looks and "Space Invaders-y" flying pattern formations, such as some of the game's new spell cards being titled after Bubble Bobble sequels Bubble Symphony and Bubble Memories among others!

There's currently only one song arrangement from Undefined Fantastic Object in Taiko gaming, as well as being A-One's first contribution to the franchise.

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-Undefined Fantastic Object songs-



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