The main games are vertical scrolling shoot-em-ups divided into 6 stages. The games focuses highly on the bosses more than the stage itself, each boss having their own personality with their own theme and trademark bullet patterns. The stages often contain mid-bosses, whom are sometimes more minor characters or a previous/future boss of a stage. There are 4 difficulties: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Lunatic. Playing the game on easy difficulty, however, limits you to 5 stages and there are instances where some spell cards are harder on Easy than on Normal. Beating the game without using continues (which you can after losing all your lives; there are only 3 continues per play) on a difficulty higher than normal unlocks the Extra Stage, which is typically on Hard or Lunatic difficulty.
The land of Gensokyo follows a spell-card system in which no one can kill each other yet still have a fair fight. This translates into the game as something known as "spell cards". The random enemies in the stage do not have spell cards, but mid-bosses and bosses do which are their aforementioned trademark bullet patterns. These spell cards can be categorized into two different types: normal ones and survival spell cards. Normal spell cards are the ones where the player must dodge the enemy bullets and whittle down the boss's hit-points. Survival spell cards typically occur when the boss has low health and are rendered unhittable somehow, forcing the player to simply survive the barrage of bullets.
The player has a choice to pick a certain character, usually a choice between Reimu and Marisa. After picking a character, the player can choose a certain play-style. Each play-style differs in bullet-type, spread, power, and bomb. Bombs are typically high-powered attacks that usually gets rid of most or all bullets on screen as well as renders the playable unkillable. The player gets 3 bombs back after losing one life unless otherwise specified. The player has a small hitbox that doesn't correspond to their sprite size. Unless otherwise specified, each player starts with 2 lives and 3 bombs.
The games can be downloaded here.
|PC-98 Games (Retro Era)|
|Games that need an emulator to be played since they are played on the PC-98 system. These games lack unique gameplay mechanics.||Touhou 1 ~ Highly Responsive to Prayers Touhou 2 ~ Story of Eastern Wonderland Touhou 3 ~ Phantasmagoria of Dimensional Dream Touhou 4 ~ Lotus Land Story Touhou 5 ~ Mystic Square|
|Windows One (Classic Era)|
|Games that are played on a Windows system. The era lasted from 2002-2005. The classic era hailed the first use of a spell-card. It also started showing the boss HP gauge along the top of the screen as well as showing the player's hitbox when pressing shift. The games also started having unique gameplay for each game. This era also contains the first of the fighting games (created with Tasogare Frontier) and other spin-off games (e.g. Shoot the Bullet). These games are indicated by a decimal.||Touhou 6 ~ Embodiment of Scarlet Devil Touhou 7 ~ Perfect Cherry Blossom Touhou 7.5 ~ Immaterial and Missing Power Touhou 8 ~ Imperishable Night Touhou 9 ~ Phantasmagoria of Flower View Touhou 9.5 ~ Shoot the Bullet|
|Windows Two (Modern Era 1)|
|Games that are played on a Windows system. The era lasted from 2007-2010. The first modern era looks crisper than the classic era and the boss gauges are cleaner. The Point of Collection, or the area where the items on screen are brought to the player, is now always available instead of having to focus like in the classic era.||Touhou 10 ~ Mountain of Faith Touhou 10.5 ~ Scarlet Weather Rhapsody Touhou 11 ~ Subterranean Animism Touhou 12 ~ Undefined Fantastic Object Touhou 12.3 ~ Hisoutensoku Touhou 12.5 ~ Double Spoiler|
|Windows Three (Modern Era 2)|
|Games that are played on a Windows system. The era lasted from 2010-Present. The second modern era has the boss gauges wrap around the boss instead of the top so that the player doesn't have to look up to see how much health the boss has left.||Touhou 12.8 ~ Great Fairy Wars Touhou 13 ~ Ten Desires Touhou 13.5 ~ Hopeless Masquerade Touhou 14 ~ Double Dealing Character Touhou 14.3 ~ Impossible Spell Card|
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