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A guide to 12.3, Volume I/III (v2.0)

AwkwardSpecimen Jan 10th, 2013 209 Never
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  1. Section 0: Preface
  2. This is a guide to Touhou Hisoutensoku, or simply just TH12.3. A spinoff of the main shmup series, TH12.3 is a fighting game that tries to incorporate many elements of the shooting games into the spinoff game itself. While single player story mode or arcade modes are available, these modes are known to build bad habits for 2-player gameplay. Thus, in an attempt to raise the general standards of the community, this guide was written. (1/7/13)
  4. This guide will be divided into a total of three volumes, each building off of the previous volume and starting from absolute scratch. Volume I will cover enough material to let you reliably beat the CPU AI; however, it does not cover anything other than the surface details that people will find through regular gameplay against the computer. Volume II will cover enough material to allow players to hold their own against human opponents by introducing them to the deeper gameplay mechanics and their usages. Finally, Volume III will discuss advanced tactics. Some of these tactics are not unique to 12.3, while other tactics are.
  6. So, without further ado, let’s begin.
  10. Table of Contents
  11. 0.      Changelog
  12. 1.      What is this game?
  13. a.      The title screen
  14. b.      Making a name for yourself
  15. c.      How do I start playing?
  16. d.      Where are the characters?? [INSERT NAME OF WAIFU] pls.
  17. 2.      The HUD
  18. a.      Orbs
  19. b.      Weather
  20. 3.      How do I get my character moving?
  21. a.      Buttons
  22. b.      Attack
  23. i.      Types of attacks
  24. ii.     Chaining attacks
  25. iii.    Limit
  26. c.      Defense
  27. d.      Movement
  28. e.      Graze
  29. 4.      The card system
  30. a.      How do I get cards? (TH12.3—the TCG)
  31. b.      Skills
  32. c.      Supers/Spellcards
  33. d.      System cards
  35. Section 0: Changelog
  36. 1/3/13—Started version 1.0
  37. 1/5/13—Version 1.0 done; started Version 2. Added Learning Plan
  38. 1/10/13-Version 2.0 Volume I done
  39. 1/24/13-Version 2.0 Volume II done
  41. Section 1: What is this game?
  42. As stated in the Preface, TH12.3 is a fighting game based off of the main Touhou series. Since this merges elements of a rather unique 2D shooter with those of a fighting game, this game is very different from most fighting games that you’ll find.
  43. Assuming that you are an English speaker, after you get the game (which you probably pirated; shame on you, and shame on us, too, for being hypocrites), you can download the latest 1.10a patch, English patch, and SokuRoll (a 3rd-party program that helps with netplay). You can find these at:
  45. 1.10a patch: http://www.koumakan.jp/games/th123_update_110a.exe
  46. English Patch: http://koumakan.jp/games/th123/SokuEnglishTranslation-v1_1a.exe
  47. Rollcaster: http://bit.ly/VwHQnP
  49. After you finish downloading these patches, open th123e.exe. After a brief load time, you will see the main title screen, with many different icons.
  51. Section 1a: The title screen
  52. The title screen of TH12.3 has a total of 12 options. In the order that they are listed:
  53. 1.      Story mode—This is the 1-player mode of TH12.3. In this mode, you will fight a series of characters. Unlike the normal modes, these characters have decreased HP, but after you knock them down once and they get up, they will use spellcards that can only be found in story mode. Having this system makes story mode more like a series of boss fights rather than a fighting game as the games were intended to be.
  54. Story mode is not important in this guide and will be covered sparsely in the guide, simply because it has nothing to do with actual gameplay. Experience gained from actual gameplay carries over to Story mode, but the reverse is not as true.
  55. 2.      Arcade mode—This mode pits you against all of the characters you have unlocked for several consecutive fights. This mode ends when you either lose or defeat the characters.
  56. 3.      Vs Com—This mode pits you against an AI of your choice.
  57. 4.      Vs Player—This mode pits you against another player playing on your computer.
  58. 5.      Vs Network—This mode allows you to battle somebody else over the internet.
  59. 6.      Practice—This mode allows you to practice combos on a training dummy, or practice movement in general.
  60. 7.      Replay—This option allows you to watch your recorded replays.
  61. 8.      Musicroom—This option allows you to listen to the in-game music.
  62. 9.      Result—This option allows you to review your successes in Story Mode, and to try fights in Story Mode again.
  63. 10.     Profile—This option allows you to configure each profile name—more on that later.
  64. 11.     Config—This option allows you to configure various aspects of the game, ranging from volume to difficulty to replay options to graphical options.
  65. 12.     Exit—Self-explanatory
  67. Section 1b: Making a name for yourself
  68. Having the name “profile1p” is boring and confusing, especially over netplay. To make a proper name for yourself, go to profile and create a name. This will allow you to configure decks (more on that later), keep track of Story Mode scores, and have your name show up in replay file names.
  70. Section 1c: How do I start playing?
  71. To start playing, you are given the options of story mode, arcade mode, vs com, vs player, and vs network. Story mode is, as listed before, a series of boss fights. Thus, for proper gameplay alone, it is recommended that you select arcade mode or vs com. However, for actual human vs human gameplay, vs network or vs player is needed. (Note that, at this level, doing so would not be a very good option)
  72. Of course, if you like to have a sandbox-esque gameplay experience, practice mode allows you to adjust things with the extended options and the F1-F5 keys. While the F1-F5 adjustments are possible in vs player, vs com, and arcade mode, there are no extended options by pressing the escape key.
  74. Section 1d: Where are the character?? [INSERT NAME OF WAIFU] pls.
  75. If you have unlocked all of the characters through story mode, you’ll notice that there aren’t many of them. This is because TH12.3 is an expansion off of TH10.5, or Scarlet Weather Rhapsody (SWR). To connect the two games, open configex123.ini, and change the line under [th105path] to path=____ (where ___ is the directory that Scarlet Weather Rhapsody lies in). This will give you more characters to use.
  77. Section 2: The HUD
  78. After you pick a character and enter a game mode, you’ll see your character along with the opponent’s character standing as a countdown begins. You’ll also notice that, besides your characters, there are many other indicators on your screen. What are they?
  79. 1.      The HP bar—If you have played any regular fighting game, you’ll notice immediately that, above where your character stands, there is an HP bar with your character’s face and your profile name to denote whose HP bar is whose. If any player’s HP bar is depleted to 0, the round is over, and the player who wins gets one light on their win indicator. The round is then restarted.
  80. Note that if both players have their HP bar depleted to 0 at the same time, it will count as a double KO. If it is the first round, both players will get a light on their win indicator. If it is the second, nothing happens to the indicators, and the round restarts as usual.
  81. 2.      Win indicators—Next to your HP bar are two thin blackened bars placed side by side. Once you win a round by depleting your opponent’s HP bar, you receive one light on an indicator, and vice versa for your opponent depleting your own HP bar. The first one to get two lights on their win indicator wins the match.
  82. 3.      Cards—On the bottom corners of the screen are rectangles. As you perform attacks, a red gauge fills up. Once the gauge fills up completely, you receive a card, the equivalent of a super in this game. Cards will be discussed in more detail later.
  83. 4.      Orbs—Located on the bottom right and left of the screen, one for each player. These are very, very important.
  84. 5.      Weather—This is between both HP bars. This is also important (though not at this level)
  86. Section 2a: Orbs
  87. Orbs are a type of stamina gauge in TH12.3. Your orbs are an indicator of your guarding capabilities, your attack capabilities, and your movement capabilities. If you use up all of your orbs, you will be unable to fly (Will be discussed later), you will be unable to use your B and C buttons, and thus, most of your bullets; and your guarding capabilities will be severely limited.
  88. As your orbs deplete, after a brief delay based on how you depleted your orbs in the first place, they will regenerate. Note that their regeneration speed depends on the weather and what cards you use, but this is not important.
  89. It is possible to temporarily break an orb, which renders it impossible to use for a brief period of time (It turns red and does not refill with blue). This time that the orb stays broken gets shorter as you break more orbs—if you have all of your orbs broken, your orbs will regenerate ridiculously fast, but having only one orb broken will cripple it for a good amount of time. There are two ways that you can break an orb in general situations—the first is getting guard crushed, which will be discussed in section 3. The second is to use a Border Escape, which will not be discussed at this level of play.
  90. An advantage of breaking an orb either way is that, in most cases, all orbs but the crushed one will refill. So, for example, if you get guard crushed with 5 orbs, 4 of your orbs will regenerate fully, but one will be broken.
  92. Section 2b: Weather
  93. Weather is a mechanic unique to SWR and TH12.3. During the course of a round, the weather is usually “clear”, where weather does not do anything. However, every so often, it will change and affect gameplay of both players.
  94. Many weathers do not give noticeable effects, but there are a handful that change gameplay greatly at this level. The most notable of these is Typhoon, which prevents both players from blocking and flinching and allows offensive maneuvers from both sides. Other obvious weathers include River Mist, which forces both players to oscillate back and forth, along with Tempest, which allows both players to travel around the stage much faster. A full list of weathers (and more details about weather in general, which will be covered in Volume II) can be found here: http://hisouten.koumakan.jp/wiki/Weather
  95. (We will find out in the later volumes that weather is not random and can be controlled to some extent)
  97. Section 3: How do I get my character moving?
  98. No fighting game is won by staying still (unless your opponent manages to selfdestruct). Thus, it is important to learn what moves and options are available to you once the match starts.
  100. Section 3a: Buttons
  101. In TH12.3, there are a total of 10 buttons you use.
  102. Four of these buttons are the directional keys. To move right, press right; for left, press left; for jumping, press up; and for crouching, press down. These directional keys are used to input attacks as well.
  103. Note that numberpad notation is used for fighting games like TH12.3. Back is marked as 4, forward as 6, up as 8, down as 2, and any combination marked as the number between those two directions on a numberpad (For example, 1 is down and back). Having “5” as notation tells you not to press any button.
  104. Keep in mind that in most fighting games, you will automatically turn to face your opponent. Thus, while forward is denoted as 6, which would correspond to “right”, forward can also be facing left.
  106. The remaining six buttons are used for various functions. By default, these buttons are fixed on Z, X, C, A, S, and D, but in this guide (and in general), they will be referred to as A, B, C, D, E, and S.
  107. Three of these buttons—A, B, and C—are attack buttons. In this game, A corresponds to melee. B is a weak bullet move, while C is a stronger bullet move.
  108. “D” is used for various movement purposes. For example, it is used in highjumps, flight, dashing, and, as you’ll find later, border escaping.
  109. E and S do things to your cards. E is used to reorder your cards—if your cards are ordered as 12345, with 5 being selected (You can tell if a card is selected if it has a glowing yellow border around it), by pressing S you will shift to 51234, with 4 being selected. Meanwhile, pressing S uses the card that you have selected.
  110. Instead of using E and S, you can also use A+B and B+C, respectively.
  112. Section 3b: Attack
  113. To win most fighting games, your opponent’s HP must be lowered to 0. Usually, this is done by attacking them. As previously mentioned, there are only 4 attack buttons (if you include the card button), but there are many ways you can use the attack buttons coupled with the directional keys to perform moves.
  115. Section 3bi: Types of attacks
  116. There are a total of 11 types of attacks. Note that, in this system, j. means “in the air”, and [A] means “hold A”.
  118. 1.      Dial A—This is an autocombo, done by pressing 5A repeatedly after landing 1 5A. This is easy to do but yields limited damage.
  119. 2.      Far  attacks—This type of attack is denoted as f.5A, since it can only be done far away and with a 5A. f.2A exists as well for Youmu.
  120. 3.      Light attacks—These are 2A, 4A, and 5A.
  121. 4.      Medium attacks—These attacks are usually 6A and 3A.
  122. 5.      Weak bullet—These attacks use the B bullet. Skills involving B are not included.
  123. 6.      Strong bullet—These attacks use the C bullet. Skills involving C are not included.
  124. 7.      Skills—These attacks are activated with a combination of directions and B or C. See section 4a for more details.
  125. 8.      Spellcards—See section 4b.
  126. 9.      Charged attacks—These attacks are usually 6[A] and 3[A]. Some of these types are f.5[A], and some are even bullets (I.E. 4[B]). Charged melee attacks cause a guardcrush if blocked wrong.
  127. 10.     Light air attack—This is j.5a. It usually grants a hitbox good for attacking a grounded opponent from the air.
  128. 11.     Medium air attack—This is j.2a, j.6a, and j.8a.
  129. 12.     Dash attack—This is done out of a dash by pressing A, B, or C, and is denoted as 66A, 66B, or 66C. It cannot be done by Remilia.
  131. Section 3bii: Chaining attacks
  132. Attacks can be chained to each other in several different ways. For example, performing a dial-A is the most obvious chain. However, the general attack sequence on the ground is 2 (or 3)->4->5->6->7->8, and steps can be skipped (2->5->6 is a valid chain). Charged attacks are special—melee charged attacks can only be chained from light attacks and can only be chained into spellcards. Meanwhile, charged bullets are interpreted as a regular bullet of that type—Patchouli’s 4[B] can be chained to 6[C], which can then be chained into a special.
  133. Note that some attacks violate the cancelling rules. For example, Sakuya’s 6C cannot be cancelled into a special.
  134. Dash attacks have special cancel rules, but in general they can either be cancelled into a special or a spellcard.
  135. Air attacks chain slightly differently, though still very similarly. The order goes 10->11->5->6->7->8. Keep in mind that, to chain a skill or spellcard, it must be air-usable. More on that later.
  137. Section 3biii: Limit
  138. When you chain specific attacks together, you start a combo. A combo is a sequence of attacks that your opponent cannot escape from due to the stun from the hits.
  139. However, you’ll notice that if you chain enough attacks together in a combo, your opponent will be surrounded by a blue circle and they are automatically knocked down. This is a “limit seal”.
  140. Every attack, from bullet to melee, has a limit value—for example, 6As have 40% limit, while 5As have 0% limit, to cite two general examples. By chaining these attacks together, you add the limit values. So, if you somehow manage to chain two 6As together, you will get 80% limit. When you reach 100% limit or somewhere above, a limit seal will appear, making your opponent invincible. However, while they have the limit seal around them, they are not permitted to do anything except for switch around their spellcards.
  141. Limit also affects your ability to juggle opponents, but this will not be discussed in Volume I.
  143. Section 3biv: Counterhits
  144. Counterhits are possible with most moves in the game, except for a few moves like 5A and a few specials. For a counterhit to be performed, a player needs to be attacked while starting up an attack. It is also possible to counterhit by hitting a player out of a highjump, something that will be discussed later.
  146. Section 3c: Defense
  147. On the other spectrum of gameplay, defense is necessary to make sure that your opponent does not win the game by depleting your own health bar. Considering that defense is relatively complicated compared to regular fighting games, we will only discuss two defensive techniques—highblock and lowblock. Highblock is done by holding 4, or backwards. Lowblock is done by holding 1 (I.E. holding both 4 and 2).
  148. The reason highblock and lowblock are both notable is because there are a total of three types of melee attacks—high hitting attacks, medium hitting attacks, and low hitting attacks. If you block with either method, all of these attacks will be blocked, but if you block a high-hitting attack with a lowblock or a low-hitting attack with a highblock, you will suffer a wrongblock. A wrongblock can lead to half, one, or more orbs (up to an automatic 5) depleted at once. Losing all of your orbs results in a guard crush, which stuns you for nearly a second and lets your opponent attack you for free. This is why it’s important to rightblock attacks.
  149. It is impossible to wrongblock in the air; however, there are many disadvantages to this, the most obvious one being that it is impossible to block most grounded attacks in the air.
  150. Bullets damage your orbs no matter how you block. We will discuss how to get around this in Volume II.
  152. Section 3d: Movement
  153. Considering how much movement matters in TH12.3, it is no surprise that there are many types of movements. Here are all of the movements that you should know at this level:
  154. 1.      Flight—Arguably the most notable method of movement in TH12.3, all characters can fly. Some fly differently than others and at different speeds, but every character has a method of flight that allows them to move around in the air as well. Flying depletes orbs, and can be done by holding a direction and pressing D. So, holding 6 and pressing D will cause you to fly forwards.
  155. Your flight counter after you jump is 2, meaning that you can only fly up to two times. This resets after you land on the ground again.
  156. 2.      Jump—A type of movement present in most fighting games. To perform a jump, as stated before, press 8. After a brief delay, your character will be airborne.
  157. 3.      Highjump—An arguably superior version of the jump, a highjump is done in two ways under normal conditions—pressing 2 then 8 very quickly, or holding D and pressing 8. An advantage of the highjump is that it ascends much faster than a regular jump (approximately 1.5 times faster), allowing for faster gameplay in general, but its main advantage is that it grazes while regular jumps do not. However, it counts as an attack and will register a counterhit if hit at the beginning of the highjump. In most cases, it is better to highjump than to regular jump. In Volume II, we will compare the advantages and disadvantages of highjumping as opposed to regular jumping.
  158. 4.      Airdashing—A quicker (not in the case of Utsuho) but less continuous version of flight, an airdash allows for a quick burst of speed in the air without using any orbs. It is done by tapping 6 twice in the air to quickly go forwards, or  tapping 4 to go backwards in the air. Being a method of flight, it shares the flight counter with flight itself.
  159. 5.      Dashing—A dash allows you to cover ground quickly. It does not consume any orbs, and a dash attack can be done out of it. To perform a dash, double tap 6 on the ground and hold the second 6; alternatively, press 6 and hold D. A dash, by default, will end after about half of a full screen of travel.
  160. 6.      Walking—Simply holding 4 or 6 will allow you to walk back and forth. This is usually a suboptimal method of travel; walking forwards is usually a misinput, while walking backwards is a sign of blocking.
  162. Section 3e: Graze
  163. As flashy as highjumps, flying, airdashing, and even dashing may look, they would be more or less useful if it weren’t for the fact that they graze. Being basically a bullet hell shooter combined with a fighting game, if there was no way to get past bullets without blocking, the game would likely be stalled by people spamming bullets from full screen. This inherent problem is counteracted by the graze mechanic.
  164. When you perform any of the aforementioned four maneuvers, you will enter a graze state immediately. This allows you to pass through most bullets (We will discuss briefly bullets that cannot be grazed) unharmed and unmarred by knockback or damage, and usually there is no orb usage associated with the act of grazing itself.
  167. Section 4: The card system
  168. Most fighting games have a “super” system of sorts, where characters can perform stronger attacks by inputting a set of buttons, at the cost of a gauge. In TH12.3, that gauge and system is replaced by a card gauge and a card system, where you use cards from your deck instead of supers. However, unlike most fighting games, this system has more use to it than one-time benefit attacks.
  170. Your deck can only and must contain 20 cards, as well as a maximum of 4 of each card.
  172. Section 4a: How do I get cards? (TH12.3—the TCG)
  173. When you first start the game, you do not have all of the cards available; they have to be earned through arcade, player vs player, vs comp, and story mode Alternatively, you can download the score.dat file here, and replace your own file with it—http://koumakan.jp/games/score123.dat. Note that this will delete your data.
  175. Section 4b: Skills
  176. In TH12.3, every character has a bank of skills that they can access. To view this bank, go to profile, deck configuration, and pick your character. The first few cards should have a series of button inputs listed under them. Those are the inputs that you need to use in order to activate a skill, or special. The default skill of any character is the first one listed for each input. So, for example, the first card that you see on Patchouli’s card config page is Summer Red, meaning that it is the default 236 skill. Somewhere further down the list is Winter Element, which is listed before the other two skillcards.
  177. TH12.3 is unique in the fact that it uses a skill levelup system. To level up a skill, use the card associated with that skill. Your character will flash and the skill will be used. Leveled up skills, as the name may imply, have stronger effects than their unleveled counterparts.
  178. It is also noteworthy that special changing is possible. To change a special, simply use a skillcard of the skill that you want. This changes your input to that of the special in question.
  179. Sometimes, it is not worth it to use a skill when you want to raise a skill level—many attacks cause very high lag. To bypass usage, hold 2, 4, or 6 and press the S button (or the card use button). This causes your character to enter a stance approximately 1 second long. While a 1-second delay is fairly laggy, this is nothing compared to certain specials that the cast possesses.
  181. Section 4c: Supers/Spellcards
  182. Spellcards are the equivalent to supers in most other fighting games. When a spellcard is used, it expends a certain number of other cards. If you choose to use a spellcard, any cards with a yellow border will be spent. Note that, if none of the cards in your hand have a yellow border, a spellcard you have selected in your hand cannot be used, due to lack of cards in your hand.
  183. Every spellcard has a superflash at some point during the spellcard’s usage, which manifests as approximately a one-second delay before the spellcard’s effects actually take place. Some attacks have a noticeable preanimation or a used attack before the superflash actually happens, which can tell the opponent that you are using the spellcard, or, in the case of the latter, catch the opponent offguard as a normal attack would.
  184. Spellcards have varied effects, which can help make gameplay easier, do damage, or even change parts of your moveset.
  186. Section 4d: System cards
  187. System cards are cards available to every character. When a system card is used, a small flash occurs, and only the card itself is used (In the case of “One Penny Saved”, the card is not used). System cards can raise your stats, be used for a counter attack, or cause some other effect on the field.
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