Double Dealing Character 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 and attack type the player has chosen, as well as the player's power level and whether the player is focused or unfocused.
Damaging enemies/bosses with the unfocused or focused shot also has a minor additional effect. The unfocused shot causes power items to appear as damage is dealt (if not already at full power), while the focused shot gradually increases the point item value.
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. As with Mountain of Faith onward, you don't need to have full power or focus to use the POC - it's always available.
Bomb (Player Spell Card)
Like its predecessors, Double Dealing Character features bombs (actually spell cards) with distinctive visual styles that differ between characters. 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, 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. Most shot types also become invincible during a bomb and for a short time after the bomb's effect wears off; however, MarisaB and SakuyaA only are invincible for a short period after the bomb is launched.
At the beginning of the game, you will start off with 3 bombs. Extra bombs are obtained by collecting bomb fragments, which appear on collecting item collection bonuses (see below), after defeating boss attacks without dying or bombing, or from the ability of SakuyaA's bomb; eight fragments are required per bomb.
You can carry up to a maximum of 9 bombs at a time; the game only displays 8, but you continue to accumulate bomb fragments for a hidden 9th bomb. If you collect a bomb fragment when you already have 9 bombs, that bomb fragment will be lost.
Like in the earlier Touhou games, on dying the number of bombs will reset to the initial value of 3 bombs. Accumulated bomb fragments are preserved when the player loses a life. The counter is reset to 0 upon continuing after a game over, however.
As usual, deathbombing is here. After being hit by a bullet, the player is given a very brief window of time to bomb and negate their death. The "death" sound effect will play, and the bomb will then activate.
You start off the game with 3 lives (that is, 2 extra lives). You can lose a life by getting "hit" by an enemy attack.
The hit box for your character is quite small in comparison to your on-screen sprite, approximately only 5 pixels by 5 pixels in size. If you hold Shift, a colored dot will appear, showing the hitbox precisely. If the hit box of your character's sprite comes into contact with the hit box of an enemy bullet, laser, or the enemy itself, then you have been hit.
In Double Dealing Character, the player's life stock is represented by hearts. Extra lives are obtained by collecting life fragments, which appear on collecting item collection bonuses (see below) or by defeating boss attacks without dying or bombing; in particular, every fifth bomb fragment dropped will be replaced by a life fragment regardless of whether it was spawned by an item bonus or by a boss (however, bomb fragments from SakuyaA's bomb will not count towards this total). Three fragments are required per life.
You can carry up to a maximum of 8 extra lives at a time. If you reach the requirement for an extra life while you have the maximum number of lives, it will be lost (along with the life fragments accumulated).
When you lose a life, you also lose 1.00 Power points (0.07 are scattered for you to collect); however, your power cannot decrease below 1.00. Also, all the bullets on the screen are cleared, and you become invulnerable for a short period of time.
Upon losing all their lives, the player is given the choice to continue right where they left off. However, if you do continue, your current score will be reset back to 0 + the number of times you have continued, your number of life and bomb fragments will be reset to 0, you will not be able to save a replay after continuing, and you will reach the "Bad Ending" if you finish the game. You may continue up to 3 times on Easy and Normal, 4 times on Hard, and 6 times on Lunatic.
The main challenge and the main attraction. Each boss has multiple lives, which are represented by stars 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. Markers 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.
When a boss attack is defeated without getting hit or using any bombs, the boss will release a bomb or life fragment (as mentioned above, every fifth bomb fragment dropped will be replaced by a life fragment).
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.
- Main article: Double Dealing Character/Translation
There are 3 characters to choose from in Double Dealing Character, each with two shot types. As in Ten Desires, each shot type has a different weapon for fast and slow movement, and each character has a special ability. The two shot types for each character have the same shot for fast movement, but have differing weapons for slow movement and different spell cards.
| Reimu Hakurei
|Reimu A||Reimu B|
| Marisa Kirisame
|Marisa A||Marisa B|
| Sakuya Izayoi
|Sakuya A||Sakuya B|
- Your character
- Player Score
- High Score: your highest score for the current character, type, and difficulty
- Score: your current score
- The number of remaining lives and bombs / The approximate location of the point of collection
- Right numbers: fragments needed for an extra life / bomb
- Player Status
- Power: your shot power level, maxing out at 4.00
- Point value: the maximum points achievable of the point items
- Graze: the number of enemy shots that have grazed your hitbox during the game
- Enemy Status
- Stars: the number of health bars the enemy has left
- Middle number: the amount of time left before the enemy's attack spell fails (self-destructs)
- Spell Card Status
- Title: the name of the Spell Card being used
- Bonus: the constantly-updating value of the Spell Card Bonus
- History: the number of times you have "captured" the Spell Card currently being used, and the number of times you have faced it.
- Marisa sometimes gets a glitched laser at high power.
One of Marisa's side options sometimes spawns an extra laser that has a strange angle when reaching 4 power. Dying removes it and powering up again may result in normal behaviour. For some reason, it probably won't show up during the replay, or it may appear at a different time, which results in a desync.
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 whenever you can for massive points. As in Undefined Fantastic Object onwards, autocollected items are still worth their full value if you happen to leave the autocollect area before items contact your hitbox, or if they're autocollected in another manner such as by bombing or dialogue.
The point items' starting value on all difficulties is 10,000. The maximum value depends on the chosen difficulty:
The point item value is increased by grazing, and collecting green point value items. These items are released on cancelling enemy bullets, which can come from finishing a boss attack, or using a bomb. In addition, damaging enemies/bosses with the focused shot will release these items as well.
The total added point item value is:
(number of green items collected * 2) + (graze counter)
This is rounded down to the nearest 10. When the point item value reaches the maximum value, it cannot increase further.
Item Collection Bonus
When auto-collecting a group of items, if there are 20 or more items collected, the player will receive a bonus to their score. The bonus is based on the value of items collected with a multiplier based on the number of items collected:
In addition to the bonus, a bomb fragment or life fragment will drop. A life fragment will drop if 60 or more items are collected (corresponding to the maximum possible multiplier); as mentioned above, every fifth bomb fragment dropped will also be replaced by a life fragment. Otherwise, a bomb fragment is dropped.
Power items increase your power gauge by 0.01 and are worth 100 points. Power items collected at full power are instead worth 10,000 points. In addition, damaging enemies or bosses with the unfocused shot (or either shot for MarisaB) will release power items, unless the player is at full power, in which case green items will drop instead.
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 health bar is depleted within the time limit and without getting hit or using a bomb, the Spell Card bonus will be added to your score.
The bonus starts at out at a value equal to:
3 million * stage number + 2 million * difficulty value
with difficulty value being:
Extra is considered to be stage 7 in the formula.
The bonus decreases over time, starting 5 seconds after the spell card starts. The bonus decreases at a constant rate of:
2/3*(starting value)/(time limit in seconds - 5) per second
At the end of a stage, the player is awarded a clear bonus.
(stage * 3 million)