It wouldn't be wrong to call Shoot the Bullet one of the most difficult Touhou games. Although some people think of it as merely spell card practice, I find the challenge enjoyable. Also because it's the one of the few Touhou games I'm actually good at. My replays here are not only a personal record, but a "solution" for difficult spell cards, namely, level 6 cards and above, and a bit from level 5. Everything before, while a bit irritating, should be simple enough. If a complete collection of solutions is requested, I'll try to do it. You won't see anything special, no high score risks or such, but since these cards are hard enough as it is I don't think that'll matter too much.
Meiling's kicking. Some people were stuck on this.
Patchouli's neverending stream of green and yellow bullets that circle her. Quite tricky.
Chen fires cards in 12 directions at high speed, with one direction aimed directly at you. Cards initially move fast, then slow down, so the screen is filled with cards. Slightly tough, as you have to weave your way through cards.
Youmu. Time slows as she flies from one side of the screen to the next, while leaving a fireworks pattern barrage. The barrage becomes larger after every few pictures.
Chen flies across the screen a couple of times while leaving a trail of yellow bullets that stream towards you. You can only take a picture as she's flying.
Youmu flies vertically across the screen for a split second after slowing down time, directly at you, while leaving a trail of bullets that stray horizontally. Quite difficult as you have to take a picture in the split second she's on the screen.
Chen. Much snow falls from both the bottom and top. After a few pictures, they fall from left and right sides as well.
Youmu. A large burst of white bullets directed at you; time slows down for a moment while those bullets are onscreen. All the while, snow is falling.
Chen bounces off the edges in a simple pattern, usually aiming at you, leaving an arc of bullets that get larger with each picture.
Youmu slows down time, then dashes across the screen vertically, leaving bullets that fly everywhere. Gets more fierce as more pictures are taken.
Sakuya. Three part attack. In the first part she fires blue kunai in all direction, and each stream crosses another stream once. In the second part, green knives appear from the left and right sides while she barrages you with blue knives. In the third part, she fires a strange streaming pattern of purple knives that is easily avoided by centering yourself with the pattern. The only tricky part is the second.
Remilia. Fires three thick streams of red kunai that spiral, with one of the streams directed at you. Large red bullets are also slowly fired. A bit nasty, but not too difficult.
Sakuya. A bit difficult to describe this one, so I won't bother.
Remilia. A weaving pattern covering the whole screen. The pattern slowly sweeps off the screen.
Sakuya stops time, a ring of kunai circle you leaving no escape other than taking a picture, and blue knives fill the screen, then time moves again. Quite simple, though.
Remilia fires bats directed at you, and those bats fire knives in random directions. The amount of bats increase after every few photos.
Sakuya fires a flower-shaped pattern. If you try to take a picture, she freezes time and escapes. The only two ways to snap a picture is to direct your camera towards her after she runs resulting in a small junky picture, or to take a picture shortly after she fires her pattern as she moves and the "nice shot" border appears.
Remilia. The same one as in ZUN's demo video. I guess this doesn't really need to be here...
Ran spreads a thick circle of cards, then fires a stream of large yellow bullets directed at you. As you take more photos, the card pattern becomes slightly more difficult requiring you to tap more.
Yuyuko fires a strange weaving pattern that covers the screen, while large red bubbles are shot.
Ran. This one is difficult to describe. You need some very quick hand-eye coordination for this.
Yuyuko fires two lasers at you in succession, leaving a trail of butterflies. As you take more pictures, her pacing increases.
Ran fires a thick arc of purple cards while large red bullets scurry around the screen. The only good way to get around it is to run around it, and it can be quite difficult if you don't position yourself correctly. I positioned myself and formed a pattern as seen in the replay. It was a pretty hard card for me, 266 photos taken.
Yuyuko fires a neverending circle spread of bullets while moving up and down the center of the screen slowly. To get around this, as she moves down, take a picture and move up, as she moves up, take a picture and move down.
Ran flies towards you leaving a trail of bullets for the whole spellcard, and speeds up as you take more photos. Was difficult for me as you can only take a picture while she's flying towards you, and taking a picture is also the only way to make a path. 263 photos taken.
Yuyuko prepares her attack by leaving a circle of many bullets. Yuyuko then fires a few thin streaming line of bullets that stretches out in all directions, and her large clump of bullets suddenly "explode". The only way to get past this is to take a picture a bit after the clump explodes. After this first phase, she prepares another clump while blue bubbles are fired at you (and everywhere else). As she charges her next stream and as it's fired, the clump explodes and blue bubbles are fired at you. You take a picture, and within the moment that the bullets are cleared you move into the gap beside you so the blue bubbles don't hit you.
Eirin fires a never-ending circle clutter of bullets that slow down when the reach a certain distance. The only way to take her picture is from a distance.
Kaguya fires a lot of snow that seems to be random, but is very slightly directed at you. I took advantage of this by running back and forth across the screen. I think it'd be impossible otherwise.
Eirin fires a few thin streaming line of bullets that stretches out in all directions, then some bullets randomly appear from the screen. As you take more photos, more bullets appear. Quite simple. Got it on my second try.
Kaguya fires lasers randomly in every direction, while charging up and firing a laser accompanied by bubbles. A bit difficult as the rest of the lasers are in the way. A tip is to stay where you are and plan out an area you can head to as her main laser is fired. If you move around too much, her main laser won't be fired where you want it to and you'll be trapped.
Eirin fires a neverending stream of bullets while slowly moving up and down the center of the screen. The stream is fired in a rotating motion, and the bullets bounce off the wall. This is a lot more difficult than it sounds because that one stream can bounce and meet a new part of the stream, and you can't escape. Moreover, since the bullets bounce that neverending stream coming out from her creates multiple streams. I had to play many times to devise a pattern to get this spellcard. For the last photo, she fires two streams so the only way you can capture it then is to take her photo while she's at the top while making enough room to run down to the bottom and charging up. 281 photos taken.
Kaguya. This is the most difficult spellcard I've encountered. 693 photos taken. Kaguya fires a line of yellow bars to the side that slowly move down throughout the whole card, meaning you can only go through the random gaps around the center in between those bars. The main attack is the four-directional spiralling stream. It has gaps so you can go through it, but as you take a few more pictures another four-directional spiralling stream is added. And then another. And another. Yes, the screen is then filled with 4 x four-directional spiralling streams by the last photo while the yellow bars permit you only to move around the center. It's as difficult as it sounds.
Eirin. The screen is filled with a weaving laser that stays and never moves for the duration of the spellcard, so your movement is very limited. Green bubbles are fired at you, and they take up about 90% of the space in your tiny gap. More are added as you take more photos. But it's not as difficult as it sounds, on the contrary, it's quite simple. 37 photos taken for me.
Kaguya fires a neverending large weaving circle-shaped stream. It was very difficult for me. What I did was look at where the bullets crossed, then as the intersection stretched out I ran into a tiny gap, moving only in the slow winding mode. As soon as my camera is ready, I take a picture. 283 photos taken.
Komachi. Three part attack. She fires a thick fin-shaped barrage of coins directed at you in intervals of four, with the fin "flipping" each time. After that, she fires a large weaving pattern of coins that gets thicker as you take more pictures. Finally, her last attack is to fill the whole screen with coins. The first two attacks are simple to get around with the tricks shown in my replay, the final attack... well, good luck. 257 photos taken.
Shikieiki. Fires a stream of bullets in all directions creating a circular pattern, which wiggles a bit. It's simple for the first four pictures, but after that it wiggles quite a lot and becomes very difficult. As you can see, I got the last two mostly out of luck...
Komachi. A pure rotation card. Simple.
JadeCicada's replay. Comment:
Shikieiki. A multipart attack consisting of not 3, not 5, but a whole 10 different attack patterns, albeit with a variance between them. Mostly involves lasers and shots aimed both at you and around you, which forces you to move but is consistently opening itself in a strange manner. At the 5th picture, she changes to an entirely different strategy of laser bombardment, and after the 7th photo, the remaining phases are only aimed at the very start of each barrage. Lasers are mixed in every now and then. It helps to never stand still in this one.
Komachi. Heavy rain of bullets while a neverending thin stream is fired at you. After a few photos, she fires a line of coins at you as well. After a few more, she adds another three lines of coins, fired out in a cone shape with the middle directed at you. After a few more photos, another stream directed at you is added. This card is almost as tough as 9-6 because of that.
Shikieiki. Throughout the duration of the card, she charges up a laser and fires it directly at you, limiting your movement to half the screen, meaning you've gotta direct it so you open up more space to yourself. She fires a thick pattern of bubbles that get thicker with each picture. It's quite difficult, I had to play until I got a feel for the bubbles and the way to go about dodging them.
JadeCicada's replay. Comment:
Komachi. After a charge, she'll set two little bits that constantly rotate around you and fire coins at your former position. After two photos, Komachi will start approaching you, throwing coins, and after four photos, the bits will also throw out coins, both in circular but wide bursts.
I've uploaded my replay as well. There are two ways of going about this, and this replay shows you a stupid, dangerous way. What Jade has done is encircled herself in one of the stream of coins. This gives not only more movement space, but also less requirement for consistency and is more tolerant towards error and slowing down. What I did was positioned myself outside a stream of coins, circling it instead, while the other stream kind of "curls" around the loop and that curl heads towards you. Circling around limits moving inwards, and the curl limits moving outwards or slowing down, because if you do, you'll get hit. In any case, the first four photos are a cakewalk with either method. The last two photos are like walking with a cake on your head following a specific path with no error allowed if you take my method. Word of advice: Do not try to circle around the silver rings of coins fired out from the streams to dodge them, you'll get hit by the curl soon. Go through them. As you can see, that evil curl didn't like me and I had to run unfocused a bit. And that large movement I did was to get away from the large area the curl was going to hit. I'm surprised I didn't get hit. It's possible to do it without going unfocused, but you've gotta be able to dodge all those rings of coins while circling properly and consistently no problem.
JadeCicada's replay. Comment:
Shikieiki... to an extent. Shiki summons a mirror image of Aya which duels you in the all-out final battle! Consisting of three parts. The first part, the most complex, consists of a series of kicks which create homing shots, then kicks which end in bullet explosions. After a very wide burst of butterflies, she'll perform kicks with bullets preceding them for a few cycles before repeating. In the second part, she'll continually bound across the screen at random vertical velocities, releasing bullets from her position in a wide and random fan. Extraordinarily dangerous. The final part consists of nothing but aimed kicks and huge bursts of butterflies.
I'd also like to add an extra comment: "<Akuun> 10-8 is cool because it's like you and Aya dance"
I currently only have EX-1 complete, as I'm focusing on level 10 at the moment (It's bloody hard, dammit!) but there are replays of every ex-scene in this thread at the Touhou Image Board. If I get mine up, I'll still link to those; choosing between my junky replays or crazy Japanese replays would then be up to you.
I've bothered to check out those ex-replay though and they only focus on showing how to beat the spell. The player tends to snap his shots from afar receiving few points.