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- Return to Labyrinth of Touhou
Labyrinth of Touhou gameplay switches between the Hakurei Shrine (Preparation), the Dungeon (Exploration), and Battle (...Battle) sections.
Controls and Basics
X: Cancel, or bring up the Menu Z: Select A: Open map (Dungeon only)
You're limited to a total party of 12 characters, with 4 constituting the 'active' party members at a time (The bottom four on your menu screen). These are the only characters who fight in battle, however, you can change them (Via the menu outside of battle, or the Switch command in-battle) freely with reserved party members.
Each character has a fixed selection of spells that is unique to them, as well as different growth rates for their individual stats. Swapping characters around and using them in tandem to maximize their effectiveness is important to victory, as is being able to cover for their weaknesses.
Characters who die in battle are not lost, but rather return temporarily to Gensokyo, and will rejoin you once you return. This will also happen to any character who runs out of TP. However, even if you still have party members in reserve, if all of your active party members are defeated, you will get a Game Over.
Gensokyo is the main 'hub' of activity for preparation during the game.
- Hakurei Shrine: Go here to level up. You must actively return here to actually increase in levels, characters will not level up automatically. When a character levels up, you will be asked to add a small bonus to a stat. See the Stats section for more info.
- Magic Library: Here, accumulated Skill Points can be spent on a character in order to further boost stats. Each level in a stat costs progressively more, with normally weak stats costing more as well. As the increase is percentage-based, it is best to raise already-high stats for characters. See the Stats section for more info.
- Scarlet Mansion: Go here to change which characters are part of your party of 12. You will need to put in new characters in order to be able to use them! You can also unequip party members with ease using this screen.
- Another Space: Go here to enter the dungeon. At first you can only start from 1F, but by finding Relay Points, you can go further.
- Akyu's House: Visit Hieda no Akyu to save your game or load up an older one.
The menu can be accessed by hitting 'X' at the Gensokyo or in the dungeon
- Status: Allows you to view the current status, as well as the details of the character's Spellcards
- Formation: Allows you to swap two characters around in your formation as you wish
- Equipment: All characters can equip three pieces of equipment with no restrictions. Equipment adds a percentage boost to the main stats, or a flat boost to elemental affinities, ailment resistances, or SP Recovery rate. Note that these percentage boosts may not add exactly the given amount - see the mechanics section for more.
- Rest: You can Rest your team to recover SP. When you rest, all party members with more than 2 TP will lose 2 TP, and gain SP equal to 2*MaxSP*Rec%.
- Back to Gensokyo: Selecting this option in a dungeon will instantly transport you back to Gensokyo.
In the Dungeon
The dungeon consists of 20 floors (+10 more on Plus Disk), each more challenging than the last, with new enemies, obstacles, and layouts to discover and overcome. Events in the dungeon are marked with various symbols - such as ! marks, which indicate an event or feature of note (If these don't disappear, they are usually re-usable or require a later condition to be met), or markers for boss battles. The map is only revealed an adjacent square at a time, which can lead to accidentally running into battles or events, so be careful.
Thankfully, to help you out, two features exist to aid you: Relay Points (Marked by magic circles) will, after being reached, allow you to teleport to them instantly from Gensokyo. The second is the mini-map, which can be accessed with the A key, and will display all of the revealed map, along with the locations of any events.
The encounter rate is also displayed during the dungeons. The actual chance of an encounter occuring on a given step is the displayed percentage - 50%, so the displayed rate can go above 100% (Which is only a half chance), but that is extremely rare. It usually takes 20-28 steps to reach the minimum 50% rate, depending on map size.
Battle runs on an individual turn-based system, with the amount of time a character must wait between turns determined by the individual action's after-attack wait percentage and their speed. When entering battle, all characters - allied and enemy - begin with roughly 75-80% of their wait gauge filled, so the fastest characters get the first attack.
In battle, characters have five commands:
- Attack - a generally worthless action, actually. Only characters with high attack can do decent damage, and even then, the formula for this is the worst in the game. Use it only when you know it will finish a target off to avoid spending SP
- Spell - Use up some SP to perform a Spell Card. All characters have 2-5 different Spell Cards that they are capable of using, which do a variety of things - damage, healing, buffing, debuffing, etc etc. This is what you should be using most of the time.
- Focus - Uses up the character's turn to recover SP equal to double their SP Recovery Rate stat (the flat number, not reliant on max SP despite the percent sign). In general, you should change the character out for someone else temporarily, but when you have few characters remaining, you may want to keep them out.
- Change - Switch a character of your choice with a character in reserve. You don't have to select the character using the command. Characters will lose 1 TP upon being switched out, and can't be switched out if they're at 2 TP or lower. However, characters in reserve will recover a small amount of HP and SP for every action done in battle, so it is advisable to switch out exhausted/seriously damaged characters for fresh ones, as opposed to trying to heal them, in many (but not all) situations.
- Escape - Flee the battle. Escaping works without fail in random encounters, but bosses cannot be escaped from. Active characters lose 3 TP plus the HP-based penalty seen below.
The order you put party members in during battle can matter a lot - single-target attacks tend to target party members in the first or second slot far more than the third or fourth, although there are attacks that specifically target a given slot. In addition, there are attacks with Row damage - instead of the obvious "Single" or "All" targetting-spells, Row target spells will deal less damage to characters in the back. To be specific, the first character takes 100%, the second takes 80%, the third takes 40%, and the last takes only a mere 10% damage. There are moves like this that you can use too, so be aware of the difference, as enemies have an order too.
Completing a battle will earn everyone Experience Points (100% for characters in the active party, 90% for characters in reserve, and 80% for anyone else), and also some Skill Points and possibly an item. After a battle, characters will recover all lost HP, but those who are in the active party will lose TP - -1 for a victory, and -3 for fleeing, plus an additional TP penalty if the character is not at full health:
- 75%-99%: -1 TP
- 50%-74%: -2 TP
- 25%-49%: -3 TP
- 0%-24%: -4 TP
After a battle, any character who is at 0 TP (even if they are in the back row) will immediately return to Gensokyo, as if they have been defeated, unless there is a dialog after the battle (most boss battles).
Characters do not recover SP after battle automatically, but all HP, SP, and TP will be recovered upon returning to Gensokyo, and you can also recover SP by benching a character between battles (This takes no TP) and allowing them to sit out for a bit.
There are a lot of stats, but in truth, they are all fairly simple to remember. There are four stat types: Standard, Elemental, Status, and Other. Each grows in different ways, too.
- HP: Hit Points. Like in most RPGs, this represents the character's health. It can be handy to have good HP on everyone.
- SP: Spell Points. Using Spell Cards consumes SP, so characters with expensive spells need more SP in order to cast more before needing to be swapped out/use Focus.
- ATK: Physical Attack. Used for the Attack command, as well as Physically-based Spell Cards. Characters without Physical attack spells shouldn't bother with this.
- DEF: Physical Defense. Reduces damage from enemy's physical attacks.
- MAG: Magic Power. Used for magically-based Spell Cards, like ATK is for physical moves
- MND: Mind. Defense against magically damaging spells
- SPD: The speed at which the wait gauge fills. Higher speed allows you to act faster.
- EVA: Although it would in theory be evasion, due to errors in the coding, This Stat Does Nothing. Don't Raise It (In early versions of the game, this stat would let you evade regular attacks. Even this was removed with the 2.04 patch)
These stats grow automatically at each level up and are the only ones that do so. Each character grows their base stats the exact same way, so a level 30 Sakuya will always have the same base HP as another player's level 30 Sakuya. However! That's just the base value. If you use a level up bonus or a skill point level up on one of these stats, you increase a multiplier value. The actual stat the character has is equal to (Base Stat) * (Multiplier %), with multiplier starting at 100% at Lv 1. Raising a stat on level up adds 2%, and raising a stat via Skill Points adds 3%. Equipment also adds to this multiplier - meaning that a +40% ATK accessory is not a 40% boost to the stat you see, but just a 40% boost to the base stat.
Furthermore, the base stat multiplier goes up passively on level up even without any bonus investment on most stats (especially HP) but not SP. For each level, HP goes up by 3% and ATK/DEF/MAG/MND goes up by 2%. SPD starts at 100 plus 2.25% of your level times the SPD growth rate, and goes up by about 0.0645% per level. SP growth rate is always at 12.5% of the listed SP growth value for each character, and never increases regardless of your level. Because all your base stats and growth rates increase naturally with each level, faster-leveling characters will increase their growth rates more quickly than slower-leveling characters, which helps compensate for their generally lower starting growth rates.
There are six elements in the game: FIR (Fire), CLD (Cold), WND (Wind), NTR (Nature), SPI (Spirit), and MYS (Mystic). Each character and enemy has a predetermined value for these elements, from 1 to 500, with '100' being "neutral" affinity, and a higher value reducing the damage, while a lower value increases it.
Elemental Affinities do not raise automatically upon level up, but can be raised when levelling up - which will give a permanent +2 to the value. You can also level it up via Skill Points, which will add +3 for each skill level. In addition, various equipments can add a flat value to Elemental Affinity.
The damage modification for elemental attacks is based off of 100 / Affinity , meaning that the value is a nonlinear result. For instance, an affinity of "50" results in taking 2.0x times as much damage, while an affinity of "150" only results in 0.66x as much damage. Similarly, an affinity of "10" results in 10x as much damage (Though you'll almost never see anything with an affinity that low), while an affinity of "200" only results in 0.5x as much damage, and an affinity of "500" results in damage being reduced to a fifth. Raising below-100 affinities results in a greater payback in terms of damage reduction, and should be done early.
There are five possible status ailments in the game: PSN (Poison), SIL (Silence), PAR (Paralysis), DTH (Instant Death), and DBF (Status Debuffs). Each has a preset value for each character, but unlike elemental affinities and normal stats, you can never raise these permanently. You will have to increase them with equipment.
Ailment Resistance rate is actually equal to 3x the given number - so a PSN resistance of 20 will grant 60% Poison Resistance. In addition, if you are hit by an ailment, its 'effect' will be reduced based on your resistances - except for DTH. Certain attacks in the game have success rates for status ailments that go higher than 100%, so you may need higher than 34 resistance in some cases.
The effects of the statuses are as follows:
- Poison: Drains away HP as the Wait gauge fills. The reduction is a standard rate based on who inflicted it, but in general, it is less worrysome as your HP gets higher. When inflicted on enemies, it is said to do more damage as your level rises, but the specifics are unknown. Early in the game, it can drain a character down to 1 HP almost instantly. It will disappear naturally after a while. Unlike other status ailments, it continues to take effect even on characters in the back, but it still goes away after battle.
- Silence: Prevents the character from using spell cards. It lasts a set amount of turns, but will last for less time if the inflicted character has a higher SIL resistance. Its duration won't go down if the character is moved into the back though, but will go away after battle.
- Paralysis: Prevents the character's wait gauge from increasing until it goes away. Some Paralysis lasts longer than others, but high resistance will reduce it. Its duration will not decrease if the paralyzed character is switched to the back, but will go away after battle. Note that a character who has a full wait gauge can still act if they are paralyzed; it only prevents the gauge from increasing, it doesn't actually stop them from acting.
- Death: The most dangerous status ailment by far. A character hit with Death is instantly returned to Gensokyo as if their HP had hit 0. This is the most common ailment to go above 100% success rate, so later in the game, equipment to boost Death Resistance is very important.
- Status Debuff: Reduces a stat (ATK, DEF, MAG, MND, SPD, or EVA) by a set amount. The amount it is reduced by will be reduced if your Debuff resistance is increased. See the Stat Buffing section for more info.
There are two other stats of note. SP Recovery is a set value for each character that can only be increased by equipment. Using Focus in battle or Rest out of battle restores that percentage of their SP; however, the amount restored is capped as if their maximum SP was 200. Therefore, characters with 200 or more SP will recover 2 points of SP per 1% of Recovery. Characters in reserve also recover SP based off their SP Recovery stat, but it's also worth noting that characters with higher Speed recover faster when in reserve.
The second other stat, TP, indicates a character's "motivation". Each character has a set amount of TP that goes down after each battle or when switched out during battle, and when it hits 0, they will automatically leave your party to return to Gensokyo. You can raise a character's initial TP via equipment or levelling up via Skill Points (At +1 each level), but you cannot recover it once you enter the dungeon. Like HP and SP, it will fully recover upon return to Gensokyo.
There is also an invisible stat called "Battle Points", similar to Experience. Characters gain 1 battle point for every battle that starts with them active; and another point for each battle they finish active. For the most part, this merely determines which character will be shown on the Save File screen (The one with the most will be here). However, a couple characters will require you to have accumulated Battle Points with other characters in order to recruit them.
Status Buffing and Debuffing works on a % of the character's total stat. A character with 1000 DEF, and a 50% DEF boost, will have effectively 1500 DEF. Only ATK, DEF, MAG, MND, SPD, and EVA can be raised or debuffed, and the maximum is +100% or -50%. These effects are cumulative - a 30% ATK buff followed by another 30% will result in 60%, and a 50% DEF buff followed by a 25% DEF debuff results in a total of 25%.
However, buffs and debuffs will be reduced by 1/5th of their current value at the start of the effected character's turn - so a 100% DEF buff will drop to only 80% when their turn comes around, and then to 64% the next turn. This applies to debuffs too, slowly returning towards 0. Note that this only occurs when a character's turn actually comes - therefore, characters in reserve will not recover - or lose - status buffs or debuffs while waiting in reserve.
In general, levelling is important, but not the only thing that matters. For the majority of the game, you shouldn't feel too much need to grind extra experience and skill points just to beat a boss... if you've been spending the bonuses wisely. As bonuses to the normal stats are a percentage, not a flat value, it is important to put priority on boosting stats that are already high (Such as Patchouli's MAG) or that are of great importance to the character (Such as Reimu's SP), and not putting these into stats that are going to be terrible regardless (Such as Patchouli's DEF or HP). Of course, as skill points become more abundant, you can level up other stats a small amount too for an almost negligible cost, although there are some that aren't worth it (EVA, due to the fact it doesn't work ; or boosting ATK or MAG for a character who won't use one or the other).
Once in battle, it is generally advisable to switch characters out, to automatically restore SP and HP over time, than to use Focus. This isn't always the case though - characters in a tanking role (Meant to take the hits by being at the front of the party) may be better off staying out and Focusing than swapping out for a more fragile character.
Against regular enemies, it's important to clear them out as fast as possible in order to avoid losing unnecessary TP or risking a potential death, so characters with Row and especially All attacks are important. Keeping a tank or two in the first and/or second slot is important as well so that enemies that do survive your barrages are not likely to end up nailing a fragile character. Some enemies can outspeed even your fastest characters though, so be prepared for that.
In battles with bosses, buffing your stats, debuffing the boss, and using status ailments becomes even more important. Arguably the most important is to ensure 'turn advantage' - that you get more actions and the boss gets fewer. Characters who can cause SPD Up for your party (Such as Sakuya) or those who can slow down or paralyze a boss (Such as Cirno) can become invaluable, as can those who can boost defenses (Such as Reimu) or the rare few who can heal (Reimu again) to help survive - because these fights are long and arduous, and chances are you will come out of most of them without a full party anymore. Since there are no 'revive' effects, keeping your party alive in the first place is important.
- Return to Labyrinth of Touhou