Labyrinth of Touhou is a fan-made RPG based on Touhou Project, yadda yadda yadda, game discussion topic can be found here.
It has recently come to my attention that I have a high tolerance for grinding (well, I've actually known this for a while). Labyrinth of Touhou isn't anywhere near the grindiest game I've played (*glares at FFXI*), but it seems to put off some players despite my insistance that it's not necessary until endgame. So perhaps it'll be more fun for them to watch me game over several times with underleveled characters.
To make this, my second playthrough, more interesting, I figured I might as well crack open this New Game + feature on the buggy 2.06 patch. This lets me have access to every single character from the start of the game, although they all start fresh at level 1 of course. I figured people who'd want me to use their favorites like Utsuho or Yuka would rather have me start with them than wait for me to beat the final boss before even unlocking them. There are still several characters I haven't even tried using yet, so this will be a good opportunity for me to try them out, so long as you vote for them!
This is my stipulation: I will only be allowed to level up 12 characters throughout my playthrough, which you will get to vote on. This means no switching out certain characters when convenient for specific boss strategies, which might force me to get creative at times without resorting to level grinding. Since I start with all characters unlocked, some of the early game will be a bit easier because I have a full party to start with. However, I'll be at the mercy of my viewers when it comes to party balance issues, which will likely come back to bite me on the later bosses where significant strategy is required to overcome them at a reasonable level. Just keep in mind that giving me a bad party might tax my ability to grind, although I'm sure those of you who are sadistic will take great delight in it.
Anyhow, onwards to the first topic of business: Choosing my party! I'd divvy up the 40 different characters of the game into 4 major roles: tank, physical offense, magical offense, and support. Mixed attackers get their own category as well. Ideally, I would like to have at least 2 tanks, 2-3 physical characters, 2-3 magical characters, and 4-6 support characters (hopefully with 1-2 healers). However, I will honor whatever the people vote for (because it's funnier to watch me struggle through the game). Here's a short blurb of all the characters. And yes, there will be spoilers on who's in this game, but if you were worried about spoilers (for a Touhou game no less), why are you even reading a Let's Play?
Tanks: I'm listing the most dedicated tanks here. These are the characters I want to keep in the front of the party row, to soak up the most attacks. They will oftentimes be tasked with switching out other characters in battle, especially since most of them can't do much damage.
Hong Meiling - China is built like a Paladin tank. She has high HP and Defense, decent Mind, and fairly low damage output. What sets her apart from all other tanks is that she gets a few healing spells of her own. Colorful Rain heals herself for a pretty sizable amount, and her other skill can heal other party members of status ailments and a tiny bit of HP (status healing is fairly rare and valuable in this game). This lets her tank for some periods of time without any healer to back her up, although you can't expect her to significantly heal anyone else.
Komachi Onozuka - The Shinigami's stats are quite interesting. She has pretty terrible DEF and MND, but her HP is simply incredible, beating every single other high-HP character by a country mile. She's best used against enemies and bosses with defense-ignoring attacks. However, a healer is pretty much required to keep her going, and not just any healer, but a healer with very strong cures (Minoriko and Eirin come to mind). Aside from that, she has pretty good attack power for a tank and can cause instant death with several of her attacks. Her other extremely useful spell is Narrow Confines of Avici, which attempts to inflict poison, paralysis, instant death, and a multitude of stat debuffs at once on all targets. It's a bit expensive to use, but quite valuable in tougher fights.
Tenshi Hinanai - Miss Masochist is the exact opposite of Komachi: low HP, but absolutely amazing DEF and MND. Her State of Enlightenment spell increases both by an additional 100% in battle, which means she takes 0 damage from most boss attacks, letting her stay in without any healing backup needed. However, defense-ignoring attacks will make short work of her. Her other use is for her unique Sword of Rapture, which has a 40% chance of dispelling any stat buffs on the target. It's the only move of its kind in the game. Just don't expect her to ever do much damage.
Rinnosuke Morichika - MANnosuke boasts the best stat totals in the entire game. Not only does he have high HP, DEF, MND, and elemental resistances, but he also has good attack power, giving him excellent damage output for a tank. He also possesses the sickest buff spell in the game: World-Shaking Military Rule, which increases all active characters' ATK, DEF, MAG, and MND by 100%. It's hideously expensive and can only be used once per fight anyway, though. He does come with to major drawbacks as well. His starting TP is the lowest in the game, which means he can't be used often in normal fights until equipment and skill point bonuses remedy the situation. He also requires more EXP than anyone else to level up, so he tends to lag behind in levels, although his high stat growths help balance this out.
Physical Attackers: Guess what these folks do...oh, and ideally it's best to have each of the 6 attack elements (Fire, cold, Wind, Nature, Mystic, and Spirit) represented in your team. You know, if you care about party balancing. Just saying.
Remilia Scarlet - Remi comes with fantastic stats, but is stuck with a very limited movepool. She has a pretty good self-buff, and a solid single-target non-elemental attack, and...that's pretty much it. Not much variety to her, but she dishes out very consistant damage in all situations, and her good HP, DEF, and MND means she can fill in for a tank as well. She's also one of the fastest attackers in the game, making her quite a Lighting Bruiser.
Chen - The epitome of a Fragile Speedster. Absolutely terrible defensive stats coupled with practically the highest speed in the game (Aya gets more speed growth, but Chen levels up so much faster anyway). Her attack power isn't impressive, but she does get a great self-buff that doubles her attack at the cost of halving her DEF and MND (not like she wasn't going to get 1-shoted by anything and everything anyways). Her main job is to switch in after a bosses attack, buff herself, spam her low-delay attack, then switch out before the boss's next attack.
Youmu Konpaku - I'm not quite sure what to make of Youmu. She has some pretty powerful attacks that cover 2 useful elements (Wind and Nature), but she has such low SP that she probably won't be able to use them more than once at a time for a long while. She also has disappointingly low speed coupled with enormous delay on her attacks. She does have a unique bonus, though: she recovers far more SP from using "Focus" than any other character. This lets her stay out in battle to recover SP rather than being forced to switch out for a more fragile character. She's really nice against bosses that drain SP, though. She also has good HP and DEF, but gets eaten alive by magic due to her terrible MND.
Wriggle Nightbug - She's got pretty average stats, and her attacks don't do as much damage when compared to other dedicated attacks, but she does boast the strongest poison effects in the game. Unfortunately, it's very hard to measure just how effective poison is in this game, so I have no clue how helpful her attacks actually are. Take it as you will. Note that all her spells are Nature-elemental.
Yuugi Hoshiguma - Her sake still hasn't dropped yet! Yuugi boasts fantastic HP, ATK, and DEF, and can land some of the most powerful physical attacks in the game (especially against Fire-weak enemies). She has enormous delay on her attacks, though. Additionally, she has a weak but quick move that can poison and paralyze, as well as a a weak multi-target attack. She can tank physical attacks pretty well, but like Youmu gets slaughtered pretty easily by magic.
Nitori Kawashiro - Our little kappa is somewhat of a glass cannon. Her stats aren't anything amazing, but she has a good mix of attacks covering 2 elements (Cold and Nature), plus a strong single-target non-elemental attack with a high SP cost and delay. She could use a bit of buff support to help boost her offense, though, as her attack power is rather average.
Flandre Scarlet - Forget what I said about Nitori: Flan is a true glass cannon. Flandre goes down against any non-Fire attack, but she boasts sickenlingly high attack power to compensate. Her attacks all have drawbacks, though: they either damage herself or lower the team's active guage. Still, her damage output is so high that I don't really even care most of the time.
Rin Kaenbyou - Orin is fast and possesses some pretty nice multi-target moves, one of which is Fire-elemental, while the other has no element but does pierce defenses somewhat. This makes her excel at clearing out regular enemies, but she's not quite as effective against bosses that aren't weak to fire.
Suika Ibuki - She's very similar to Yuugi in some ways, but the opposite in others. Like Yuugi, she has strong single-target physical attacks (of the Wind and Nature variety this time), although not quite as powerful as Yuugi's strongest. Her DEF is lower, but she gets much better MND as well. She also trades a bit of HP and ATK for more SPD. Instead of a status attack, she gets a self-buff and can also dispel stat buffs/debuffs on allies. Her weak multi-target attack does lower enemy speed as well. Yuugi can do more spike damage, but Suika gets more utility.
Magical Attackers: Once again, these are the most dedicated magic attackers. Those with a more unique or notable utility role are filed under Support. Also note attack elements.
Marisa Kirisame - She's fast, she can self-buff her magic, she's got some strong and cheap spells for the early game, and MASTER SPAAAAARK is very valuable against many late-game bosses. Her biggest downside is that all her spells are Mystic element, meaning she can't do much against bosses that resist it.
Patchouli Knowledge - A glass cannon made out of some sort of magic-resistant glass. Patchy boasts some of the best MAG, MND, and SP, but the worst SPD, DEF and HP as well. She can tank magic attacks, but even lowly cannon fodder enemies can 1-shot her with anything physical. Her large array of spells cover 4 different elements plus one non-elemental option, meaning she'll consistantly find a way to deal high damage even against enemies that resist magic in general.
Rumia - Her stats aren't great, but she gets a good damage formula on her Mystic spells like Moonlight Ray, and Dark Side of the Moon ignores enemy MND. She might also get filed under Support for her ability to slightly heal the party's HP and remove all stat debuffs. Nothing stellar, but not terrible.
Fujiwara no Mokou - She nukes stuff...and that's pretty much it. She gets a Mystic and a non-elemental spell on top of the expected Fire attacks, though, so at least she's got some degree of variety. Pretty standard decent mage with OK survivability.
Kaguya Houraisan - I personally like to use the NEET as a second Patchy. Her spells are more expensive and aren't as powerful, but they cover multiple elements (Fire, Nature, Spirit) and most of them have the very nifty extra effect of completely ignoring enemy MND. Needless to say, that's incredible. She also has some grossly expensive spell that buffs one other character's stats and instantly fills their action guage, giving your next best damage dealer a second shot. Quite a useful character indeed.
Yuyuko Saigyouji - She's like Patchy with less MAG, more DEf, and much higher HP. All her spells are of the Spirit element, which means she can't do too much against enemies that heavily resist it, but they do have some nice added effects. Half her spells will lower the target's active guage, and most of them have a chance of causing instant death. Saigyouji Flawless Nirvana, with a staggering cost of 188 SP, comes with a 100% chance of instant death against many regular enemies. For when you really want them dead.
Maribel Han - I never bothered using her on my first playthrough, so I'm not personally familiar with her. She possess a strong self-buff, and a good collection of powerful nukes that might debuff the target as well, so on paper she looks pretty nice. Her good variety of buffs and debuffs do much to offset her somewhat average stats. She also covers 3 elements: Spirit, Mystic, and Wind.
Utsuho Reiuji - She nukes stuff...and she nukes them really well. A glass cannon with an emphasis on "cannon". Giga Flare completely ignores the target's MND, and is actually Mystic element as opposed to Fire like all her other spells. A nuker in the truest sense of the word.
Kanako Yasaka - A mage with good defenses. Nice mix of elements (Spirit, Cold, and Wind), along with a non-elemental spell that uses enemy DEF instead of MND. Pretty reliable mage who doesn't beg to be placed in the 4th row slot of your party.
Yuka Kazami - She specializes mostly in Nature-elemental spells...and then she busts out MASTER SPAAAAAARK. It's not as strong as Marisa's (especially since she can't self-buff), but it's still nice to have. Her stronger, more expensive nukes also have nice added effects: a 10% party-wide cure and healing of all stat debuffs, respectively. She's also unique in the sense that she's a mage with excellent DEF, but somewhat weak MND.
Alice Margatroid - Although all her spells use her MAG stat to calculate damage, half of them target enemy MND while the other half hit DEF. She has one elemental (Fire or Mystic) and one non-elemental version for both, giving her excellent consistancy and variety in her assault. She's also got decent defenses and HP for a mage. While she can't do amazingly high damage like many other attackers, she will always be able to do something, favoring DPS over spike damage. Plus she's great at clearing out groups of normal mobs with her relatively cheap spells and high SP growth.
Suwako Moriya - She gets a balanced mix of ATK-based and MAG-based spells, covering 3 elements: Mystic, Cold, and Nature. Too bad I find her physical spells to be far more useful than her magical ones. Froggy offers the longest-lasting Paralysis attack in the game, as well as possibly the most powerful Nature-elemental attack, especially for its relatively low SP cost. Her defenses are pretty terrible, though.
Keine Kamishirasawa - The definition of average. Keine can fill multiple roles: she can target either DEF or MND with non-elemental moves, and she has some OK buff spells for support. She just doesn't excel at anything. A Jack of All Trades in a game where nearly everyone else goes for min-maxing.
Shikieiki Yamaxanadu - I'm not really sure why I list her her, because she technically should belong in her own category of "Deals damage regardless of anything". Last Judgment is a very powerful single-target non-elemental attack that ignores all defenses, letting it do the same (high) damage from the most epic boss to the lowliest mook. OK, so she does have other spells too, including a suped-up version of Komachi's mass status/debuff spell, but why use anything else when you have Last Judgment? She's not very useful against normal enemies, but will always contribute quite a bit of damage to boss fights.
Support - Supporting characters are vital if you wish to survive boss fights. Stat buffing/debuffing, status effects, and healing are all essential for the game. So please give me some of them, or I will cry.
Reimu Hakurei - Your first character, and one of the best support characters in the game. Her spells may be expensive, but she gets a group DEF/MND buff and the only good group healing spell in the game, which are both invaluable for boss fights. She can also paralyze enemies with Evil Sealing Circle as well. Her damage output drops after the first few floors, but for boss support it's hard to do better than the original miko.
Sakuya Izayoi - She has one job and one job only: Lunar Dial, the only party-wide Speed buff in the game. No, seriously, that's pretty much all she's good for. OK, so she's not bad at clearing out regular mobs with her high speed and Soul Sculpture, but Lunar Dial is her only contribution to boss fights. It's still a very useful contribution, though.
Cirno - The STRONGEST with the strongest speed debuffs in the game, along with a multi-target paralysis spell. She can mess with the opponent's turns, but if the random number generator is not on your side, expect her to take heavy damage once the enemy finally gets their turn. Her complete reliance on Cold spells as her only attack element diminishes her already not very impressive damage output.
Minoriko Aki - A very dedicated white mage. She has the fastest, cheapest, and strongest single-target healing spell in the game out of all the support characters, along with a cheap and quick single-target DEf/MND buff. She's sort of like a faster, single-target version of Reimu. Don't expect any damage out of her, even if she does have a MND-piercing spell. One downside to her as a healer is that she can't remove status effects, so you'd want Meiling or Mystia to assist her if you plan on using her as your main healer.
Aya Shameimaru - She's like Sakuya, except with single-target speed buffs and better damage output. I don't like how every one of her attacks is Wind-elemental, but I do appreciate the usefulness of speed buffs and her low delay spells coupled with her impressive speed.
Iku Nagae - She's an odd one. She's slow, but has reasonable survivability for a mage. She's wholly dedicated to Wind elemental spells (this includes lighting) that target MND, but her spells have the odd effect of lowering enemy DEF. She has a pretty decent offensive buff, but it comes with the risk of paralyzing its target, so I probably wouldn't use it much until I get status resist gear later in the game. A narrow buffer/debuffer with decent offense and survivability.
Sanae Kotiya - She's usually compared to Minoriko, and for good reason. Her spells have much higher delay, so she can't heal nearly as fast as Minoriko can, nor does she even heal as much HP each time. Her spells are also notably more expensive. However, her healing will remove status abnormalities, and her single-target stat buff increases every single stat, not just DEF/MND (although only by 25% instead of 50%). Which of the two to use is up to personal preference.
Ran Yakumo - She's got probably the best damage output out of all the supporting characters, coupled with expensive but useful buffs that affect even reserve characters. She can hit both Mystic and Spirit elements for good multi-target damage, or nail enemies with a quick non-elemental composite row attack. One of the few characters that excel against both normal mobs and tough boss fights for two entirely different reasons.
Reisen Undongein Inaba - The poor useless little bunny specializes in stat debuffs, but her offense isn't enough to take advantage of it. She's too reliant on Mystic-elemental spells to do damage to low MND targets, and her durability is below average as well. Being able to debuff every stat at once is very nice, but don't expect her to do anything to bosses that are immune to debuffs.
Eirin Yagokoro - Eirin possess decent HP, DEF, and MND, making her a lot more durable than most other healers. Unfortunately, her one healing spell is slow and grossly expensive to cast. But it does have one very unique quality to it: Hourai Elixir can heal OVER the HP cap, providing the target with a reservoir of "extra" HP. Since it's %-based healing, she's best paired with Komachi, who already has ridiculously high HP. Aside from that, she's got decent attack spells too: she covers 3 elements (Cold, Mystic, and Spirit) while debuffing either ATK or MAG, and Galaxy in a Pot is sort of like a weaker, cheaper version of Patchy's Silent Selene.
Yukari Yakumo - Her stats are almost at pseudo-tank levels, and while her offense isn't much, she can both paralyze and slow down all targets at once. She possess two other fantastic support spells: a group DEF/MND buff identical to Reimu's, and an extremely expensive but unique spell that instantly fills every other characters' active guage. Time it right, and you can blitz an enemy with a string of your most powerful attacks in a very short time frame, perfect for ending tough boss fights.
Renko Usami - Like Reisen, only with worse offense and even better support options. Her only offensive attack may be extremely weak, but it comes with a nice speed debuff. She can also debuff all stats on all enemies at once, unlike Reisen's single-target spell. Finally, she's got a party-wide buff to ATK/DEF/MAG/MND with lots of drawbacks, but it's hard to deny the usefulness of such a strong buff.
Mystia Lorelei - At first glance she looks decidedly average, but I've found her to be remarkably useful. High speed and leveling rate coupled with a strong multi-target paralysis attack means she can disable all enemies before they have a chance to act, allowing slower characters to catch up and mop up. Against bosses, she can do OK damage quickly with her cheap low-delay Ill-Starred Dive, or provide valuable support with her high speed and one of the best status healing spells in the game. Mysterious Song may be only single-target, but it does more than just remove status effects: it also converts all stat debuffs into stat buffs. Simply fantastic for bosses that like debuffing moves.
More info can be found on the wiki.
The 12 characters that I will be using have been selected:
As of 05/02/10, I am pleased to announce that this Let's Play is complete!
Chapter 1 - Floor 1 (Part 1)
Chapter 2 - Floor 1 (Part 2)
Chapter 3 - Floor 2 (Part 1)
Chapter 4 - Floor 2 (Part 2)
Chapter 5 - Floors 3 + 4 (Part 1)
Chapter 6 - Floors 3 + 4 (Part 2)
Chapter 7 - Floor 5
Chapter 8 - Floor 6
Chapter 9 - Floor 7
Chapter 10 - Floor 8
Chapter 11 - Floor 9 (Part 1)
Chapter 12 - Floor 9 (Part 2)
Expositional Interlude #1
Chapter 13 - Floors 10, 11, and 12 (Part 1)
Chapter 14 - Floors 10, 11, and 12 (Part 2)
Chapter 15 - Floors 10, 11, and 12 (Part 3)
Expositional Interlude #2
Chapter 16 - Floor 13
Chapter 17 - Floor 14 (Part 1)
Chapter 18 - Floor 12 Revisited
Chapter 19 - Floor 14 (Part 2)
Expositional Interlude #3
Chapter 20 - Floor 15
Chapter 21 - Floor 16 (Part 1)
Chapter 22 - Floor 16 (Part 2)
Chapter 23 - Floor 17
Chapter 24 - Floor 18 (Part 1)
Chapter 25 - Floor 18 (Part 2)
Expositional Interlude #4
Chapter 26 - Floor 19
Chapter 27 - Floor 20 (Part 1)
Final Chapter - Floor 20 (Part 2)
Wait, what's this? It's not over yet! I'm back, this time with the post-game content! This is Labyrinth of Touhou - Plus Disk Edition!
Chapter 1 - Introductions
Chapter 2 - Floor 21
Chapter 3 - Floor 22
Chapter 4 - Floor 23
Chapter 5 - Floor 24