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Shoot the Bullet/Gameplay

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This article covers some gameplay points of Shoot the Bullet.


Arrows - Move

Shift or X - Focus Mode

Shift or X + Z - Focused Charge Mode

Z - Shoot picture (See note below)

As a first in the Touhou series, Aya can move at three different speeds. In order of decreasing speed: normal (not holding either focus or shoot), focus (hold focus), or charge (hold both focus and shoot). People familiar with Phantasmagoria of Flower View may recall that Aya has an above-average normal movement speed; the same is true here, although in this game there is no other PC to readily compare it to.

In order to take a picture, Aya's camera needs to be charged to 100%. You'll be notified of that happening by a sound, as well as the text "100%" and "Enabled" around the crosshairs near her. Every scene begins with Aya's camera at somewhere around 50-70% charge (with the word "Disable" underneath it in grey). The camera charges itself, albeit slowly. You can increase the speed of the charge by holding down the focus and shoot buttons simultaneously, which also has the effect of reducing your movement speed to a crawl. However, note that switching back and forth between charge mode and normal/focus modes slows the camera charging process a bit, making it charge even slower than simply remaining in normal or focus mode if done too frequently. For comparison, it takes roughly 4 1/2 seconds or so to fully charge the camera from 0% when staying in charge mode, almost 10 seconds to do the same when staying in non-charge modes (switching between normal and focus has no effect on charging speed), or as many as 20 seconds when rapidly and continuously switching back and forth between charge and non-charge modes.

Note that you cannot take a picture while focusing, as pressing the shot button while focused simply causes the game to put you in Charge mode.

The crosshairs dictate the center of the (potential) picture. Normally, the crosshairs will stay near to Aya, slightly leading in the direction of the boss. While Aya is focused, the crosshairs will move a little more towards the boss - or, if you're close enough, stick on top of said boss.

You may move the crosshairs by holding down the shoot button and pressing directional buttons (only when fully-charged and ready to shoot) - this enables you to take pictures at other locations, but at the expense of picture size (think of it as a zoom). In this mode, time slows down to about 1/4th speed. Note that time doesn't stop entirely; thus, Aya can still get killed while this is in progress if you're not careful. Furthermore, you can only hold the picture button for so long before Aya is forced to discard the shot (frame becomes too small due to overexposure). This will drain the camera to 50%.

Any picture taken drains the camera entirely, setting it back to 0%/Disable. However, bullets and other things (Alice's dolls, Letty's mist, etc.) caught in the picture not only disappear, but also restore a tiny amount of charge each. A well-taken picture can reduce the amount of charge time towards the next frame significantly. However, a maximum of 30% can be restored for a successful picture or 60% for an unsuccessful picture, regardless of the number of bullets.

If a picture includes the boss, it is deemed a Success, and tacked to the side. You will also regain charge for any bullets caught in it. (Scoring considerations are below.) If a picture does not include the boss, the picture is deemed a Failure, and is discarded - but the amount of charge you gain from bullets is doubled.

Best Shot Controls

L (Scene select only) - locks the best picture for the selected scene. Indicated by an L in the upper-right hand corner. While the lock is active, any pictures in that scene that may have a higher score will not replace the locked best picture. All other statistics still apply.

The best pictures are placed in the "bestshot" folder, which is in the StB folder. A file "bs_**_?.dat" is a best picture of Scene ? of Level **. If you delete a file, the corresponding best picture is discarded. All other statistics still remain. These statistics are stored in "scoreth095.dat".

S (Scene results only) - stores a selected picture as the best picture, when the scene results are shown. The stored picture can be selected with left and right arrows. The best picture is forced to change if locked.

S (Scene select only) - shows the slow rate of the best picture.

Playable Characters

Only Aya Shameimaru is playable.


Currently it has been found that there are ten 'levels' in StB, as well as an Extra (EX) level. The number of scenes in each level varies. Though you can select any scene you wish from levels you've unlocked, the game will only recognize the existence of the next level above your highest open level (eg. if the highest level you have open is 4, then attempting to select level 5 will only show you its unlock requirements, and levels 6-10 will not be selectable at all.)

Any non-EX level may be unlocked by:

  • clearing three scenes in the level before it, or
  • clearing a certain number of total scenes (usually a multiple of five).

A scene is defined as being cleared when a player takes a given number of pictures of the boss sprite within the time limit and without being hit. Cleared scenes may be distinguished by the character 済 next to a scene label in cyan. (Incomplete scenes have no mark next to them.)

Of note is that Aya may complain about the quality of your pictures if your highest score for a scene isn't high enough. Cleared scenes that meet this high-score requirement will have their flavor text (towards the bottom of the screen) in light red, as opposed to the normal blue.

Note that, in case of a failed scene, your total count of photos taken for that scene and best photo are still updated, while your scene high score is not - allowing for oddities such as a single photo score having a higher value than the highest total score for the scene.

Stage Listing

Spoiler alert. Many credits to the MotK discussion thread.

  • Level 1 (Wriggle and Rumia) - No preconditions
  • Level 2 (Cirno and Letty) - 3 cleared scenes in Stage 1
  • Level 3 (Alice and Keine) - 8 cleared scenes total, or 3 cleared from level 2
  • Level 4 (Reisen, Medicine, and Tewi) - 14 cleared scenes total, or 3 from level 3
  • Level 5 (Meiling and Patchouli) - 20 cleared total, or 3 from level 4
  • Level 6 (Chen and Youmu) - 25 cleared total, or 3 from level 5
  • Level 7 (Sakuya and Remilia) - 30 cleared total, or 3 from level 6
  • Level 8 (Ran and Yuyuko) - 35 cleared total, or 3 from level 7
  • Level 9 (Eirin and Kaguya) - 40 cleared total, or 3 from level 8
  • Level 10 (Komachi and Sikieiki) - 45 cleared total, or 3 from level 9
  • Extra (Flandre, Yukari, Mokou, and Suika) - 66 cleared total


Your score depends on a number of factors.


  • Boss Shot. (multiplier, 1.2x - 2.0x) Awarded when the boss is in the picture. The multiplier increases as the boss nears the center of the crosshairs, with a 2.0 given for almost perfect alignment. You need this to get a valid picture, but you get a bonus for it anyway. You won't get this (or a successful picture) if you manage to clip the feet of the boss only - the engine needs to agree that it was a significant portion of the boss sprite. Note that you will still see other bonuses for failed shots, but you receive none of the points/bonuses mentioned. (The picture will still be eligible for your "best shot," though this bonus is usually enough to prevent a failed shot from taking that spot if you've taken any successful ones.)
  • <color> Shot. (300 points) Awarded when there's a significant amount of a particular color of bullets in your shot. Note that, depending on the scene, it's possible to get two or more color bonuses at once.
  • In other circumstances, if the bullet colors are very varied, you'll be awarded a Colorful Shot (900? points) and/or Rainbow Shot (2100 points) bonus.
  • Self Shot. (multiplier, 1.2x) Awarded when Aya herself appears in the picture.
  • Two Shot (multiplier, 1.5x) Awarded when both Aya and the boss are in the picture. Thus, if you get this, you will also get the Self Shot and Boss Shot bonuses.
  • Risk Shot. (300 - 2000 points) Awarded when Aya is close to bullets, akin to a graze bonus of older Touhou titles. The amount varies with respect to the numbers (or the lengths when lasers) and the kinds of the bullets close to Aya.
    • Small bullets: x100 points
    • Middle bullets: x400 points
    • Big bullets: x1000 points
    • Lasers: x200 points
If the total is less than 300 points, this bonus is fully not awarded. If greater than 2000 points, this bonus is rounded to 2000 points.
  • Nice Shot. (multiplier, 1.2x - 1.5x) Awarded when the "spell circle" of a boss is in the picture. The "spell circle" is a red hexagram, encased in two circles, that tends to appear quickly at preset times during a boss' attack pattern. Note that spell circles, while not always implying an immediate wave of bullets, can still be used to predict boss movements - and is not considered an attack, meaning Aya may stand in it without fear of being hit by it.
It generally starts fairly large, centered over the boss, but shrinks in size and disappears quickly. The larger the circle in the picture, the higher the multiplier received.
  • Empty Shot. Appears when nothing is in the picture except lasers. This is just a message. No bonus is awarded.
  • Solo Shot. (100 points) Awarded when only the boss or Aya herself appears in the picture except lasers, i.e. Empty Shot Boss Shot or Self Shot.

Other Notes on Scoring

  • The base score of the picture presumably comes from the number of bullets and other objects in it. Other objects may include Alice's dolls, Letty's mist, Medicine's poison fields, and the like. While they are not bullets in the strict sense of the word, they are treated as such for photos, including removal from the screen.
  • Not all bullets are equal. The game itself provides some hints on this matter - larger bullets score better than smaller ones, but you naturally can pack more smaller bullets into one shot. As well, the velocity of the bullet matters - the game will give more points for faster bullets.
  • In certain cases, a bullet may be worth zero points. (rf: Reisen may, as in Imperishable Night, "phase" bullets around. If you catch a picture of these bullets in transition, it's possible to have a successful picture, full of bullets, worth 00 points.)
  • Common sense suggests a larger picture would be best for getting points - and if one doesn't relocate the center, the Self Shot bonus is automatic. However, there can exist situations where moving the picture center may actually score higher than simply settling for what is immediately in front - though those situations may require exemplary skill and awareness for a noticeable improvement.
  • Understanding the timing of bullet generation is also critical for high scores in some scenes. While such things as lasers are self-evident (where the more of it you catch, the more points you get), there is a difference in optimal timing between something that spits out bullets with a constant velocity, and one with an acceleration on it, for example. Further, things that appear to generate bullets in circular patterns or in a "fog" may be caught right after a moment of bullet generation for maximal impact. Also, keep in mind that, in some cases, all the bullets of a particular pattern are generated at once.
  • There are certainly other strategies and points not mentioned above. See what you can discover yourself!


If you fail to shoot pictures, one of the following tips is shown by rotation.

  • フィルム装填率が100%まで溜まったら、撮影ボタンを押して離せば撮影可能。

In order to take a picture, Aya's camera needs to be charged to 100%.

  • フィルム装填率を高速で回復させる方法は、撮影ボタンと低速ボタンを同時押し。

You can increase the speed of the charge by holding shoot down focus.

  • 撮影中、撮影ボタンを押し続けると、一定時間フォーカスを動かす事が出来る。

You may move the crosshairs by holding down the picture button.

  • ボスが映っていない写真(失敗写真)は評価外。スコアにも加算されない。

If a picture does not include the boss (failed picture), the picture is discarded and it is not scored.

  • 弾幕を消すためだけに写真を撮ることも悪くはない。

You may shoot a picture only to get rid of the bullets.

  • 撮影回数に制限はないが、制限時間を過ぎるとボスが逃げてしまうので急ごう。

You may shoot any number of pictures, but the boss will run away if you pass the time limit.

  • 幻想郷一の足の速さを生かし、ヒットアンドアウェイも悪くはない。

You may hit and run with the fastest speed in Gensoukyou.

  • たまには思い切ってボスに近づいてみたり、裏に回ってみたりすると良いことも。

Sometimes, you should close on the boss or go behind it.

  • 撮影ボタンを押してすぐに離せば、自分の周りの弾幕が消せる。

You can get rid of the bullets around you by pressing shoot for a moment.

  • 基本的に弾幕が激しいときに撮影すると、点数が高い。

Basically, the more bullets there are, the higher the score is.

  • ボスが紅い魔方陣を展開している瞬間がシャッターチャンス!

The moment the boss spreads out a scarlet magic circle, it is time to shoot a nice picture!

  • 小さな弾より大き目の弾の方が点数が高い。また、速度が速いほど高いぞ。

The bigger the bullet is, the higher the score is. Ditto the faster.

  • スコアは成功した写真の評価点の合計。それ以外の行為では一切点数が入らないぞ。

The score of the scene is the total score of the successful pictures. It is not scored by anything else.

  • ボスが弾を出す瞬間を狙って撮影しよう。

Let's shoot pictures when the boss is shooting.

  • 写真に自分が写っていると少し嬉しい。

You'll be glad if Aya herself is in a picture.

  • 写真にボスと自分が両方写っているとさらに幸せ。

You'll be more glad if both the boss and Aya herself are in a picture.

  • 弾を撮影した後の光の粒は、フィルム装填率を少しだけ回復させる。

Light particles which appear after shooting bullets charge the camera slightly.

  • Shotボタンを押して、すぐに離せば自分の周りの弾が消せる。

You can get rid of the bullets around you by pressing shoot for a moment.

  • 隙を見てボスに接近して撮影してみよう。

Let's close on the boss and shoot a picture.

  • 得点は、撮影成功した写真の評価点の合計。それ以外で点数が増えることはない。

The score of the scene is the total score of the successful pictures. It is not scored by anything else.

  • 写真は敵弾が沢山写って華やかな方が評価点が高い。

The more bullets there are, the higher the score is.

  • 様々な条件を満たすと評価点にボーナスが入ることもある。

Bonuses are awarded when some conditions are satisfied.

  • 幻想郷一の足の速さを有効に使おう。

Let's utilize the fastest speed in Gensoukyou.

  • 幻想郷一の足の速さが命取りになる場合は安全運転で。

You may move safely when the too fast speed is fatal.

  • 撮られた写真が何に使われるかは、文しか知らない。

Nobody knows the usage of the pictures, except Aya.

  • 文がショットを撃たないのは優しさではなく写真に自分の弾が入るのが嫌だからです。

The reason why Aya doesn't shoot bullets is not that she is kind, but that she does not want her bullets to appear in the pictures.

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