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The game may be played using either a keyboard or a gamepad.
Keyboard controls are as follows:
- The Arrow Keys move the character around
- Z causes a short barrage of shots to be fired; it may be held down for rapid fire
- X releases a bomb, also known as a Spell Card or spiritual attack (presuming you have sufficient power)
- Shift slows the character's movement, and changes the nature of the character's shot and bomb; it generally makes your attacks more focused
- Esc pauses the game and brings you to the in-game menu
- Ctrl fast-forwards through any dialogue
- Home or P produces a .bmp screenshot in the /snapshot directory. (Only works in 32-bit color mode.)
Undefined Fantastic Object plays like a fairly typical vertically-scrolling danmaku shooting game, 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 difficult bosses at the end of a stage.
There are 4 levels of difficulty: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Lunatic. Each difficulty level features differences in the number of bullets fired by each enemy, rate of fire, variations in the bullets' pattern of movement, and the number and type of enemy Spell Cards used.
A character's "shot" is the player's primary method of attacking enemies. The shot's attack area and behavior varies depending on the character type the player has chosen.
Point of Collection
Like previous Touhou games, there is a line most of the way up the screen called the point of collection. If you move your character at or above this line, all items on the screen will be drawn to your character. Unlike previous games, you don't need to have full power or focus to use the POC - it's always available.
Undefined Flying Object re-introduces bombs with distinctive visual styles that differ between characters, and even between shot types for the smae character. A character's "bomb" is the player's limited-use method of getting out of difficult situations. A bomb's attack area, duration, and power varies depending on the character type the player has chosen and if the player is in human form or phantom form, but it typically deals heavy damage to every enemy it touches, in addition to canceling out any bullets in the bomb's way, as well as automatically collecting every item on screen. The player's character becomes invincible during and for a short time after the bomb's effect wears off. At the beginning of the game and any time your character respawns, you will start off with 3 bombs. Bomb items will increase your current stock by one. You can carry up to a maximum of 8 bombs at a time. If you receive a bomb when you already have the maximum, that bomb will be lost.
There are 3 stages in the demo version of the game:
- Stage 1:「春の湊に船の影」 A Ships Shadow in the Spring Heavens
- Stage 2:「雲に潜む一つ目の化生」 A Ghostly Life Lurking in the Clouds
- Stage 3:「高速の廃墟と巨人」 The Giant and the High-Speed Ruins
The main challenge and the main attraction. Each boss has multiple lives, which are represented by multiple health bars shown at the upper left of the screen. Bosses usually alternate between attacking normally and attacking with Spell Cards, switching once with each health bar. Colored sections on the health bar indicate the start of a Spell Card attack when the boss' health is depleted that far.
Normal attacks are typically incrementally stronger versions of the boss character's basic attack. Spell Card attacks bedazzle the player with combinations of complex patterns that often involve the use of projectiles and obstacles crafted especially for use with that Spell Card. If the player manages to defeat a Spell Card attack without getting hit or using any bombs, a substantial score bonus is rewarded for the feat.
Each attack is accompanied by a timer. When time runs out, the boss will switch to their next attack pattern even if their health bar isn't empty. Waiting for a boss character's attack pattern to self-destruct may be enough to beat them, but mere survival won't earn the player any score bonuses. (Note: There are some bosses that are invulnerable. For those bosses, you WILL get a score bonus if you survive the countdown to zero.)
When fighting a boss, a position marker shows up on the bottom margin of the screen, indicating where the boss is on the horizontal axis. Since your target can be completely obscured by bullets or darkness at times, use this marker to help you aim your shots. The marker will dim when the boss is being hit, and will flash red when her health bar gets sufficiently depleted.
- Level Practice: This feature allows a character/team to practice a level that she/they have already beaten. You begin with 9 lives and 3 bombs. If you lose all your lives, you can't continue.
Any damage you deal to any enemy, whether it be caused by your shots or your bombs, will cause your score to increase very slightly. Actually destroying enemies will award you slightly more points, but the points earned from this are around the range of hundreds to thousands of points per enemy. This is not a significant amount at all. However, destroyed enemies release items for you to collect, and those are very important for scoring as covered below.
As its name implies, point items are the major source of points in the game. The higher up on the screen you collect them, the more points they are worth, up to a defined maximum. You can easily tell when you are collecting point items for their maximum value, since they show the value in yellow text. The auto-item-collect line is the same height as the height where point items reach their maximum value, so take advantage of this fact wherever you can for massive points. Point items that have yellow borders (only dropped by boss characters) give full points regardless of where they are collected.
Power items increase your power gauge.
Spell Card Bonus
Occasionally, a boss will attack using a Spell Card. You will know this is happening when the background changes and the Spell Card's name appears in the upper right corner of the screen. If the boss's healthbar is depleted within the time limit and without getting hit or using a bomb, the Spell Card bonus will be added to your score.
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