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Touhou Ningyougeki (東方人形劇, lit. "Touhou Puppet Play"), called in English Touhoumon, is a modification of Pokémon FireRed, replacing most of the 386 Pokémon with as many Touhou Project characters as possible. Several English variants have been released with the same premise, but differ in various ways from the original in terms of locations, levels, obtainable Touhoumon, and other details. This article will cover the various versions that are out for public release.
According to Touhou Puppet Play: Gensokyo Scenario: A long time ago, Patchouli Knowledge grew tired of Marisa Kirisame coming into the library and stealing her books. To stop these repeated thieving attempts, Patchouli made puppets with decent intelligence and power to keep the library safe. (She doesn't believe in Hong Meiling at all) Unfortunately, one of the tomes used to create the puppets had been stolen by Marisa and the thief herself created an army of puppets to overrun the puppets that Patchouli set up. When they came, Patchouli impatiently blew both armies of puppets and a part of the library away, including the remaining tomes. After the incident, puppets started reproducing and spread across the Gensokyo expanse. The inhabitants got used to having them around and, in time, they became like pets to everyone.
There are many variants of Touhou Puppet Play that make significant changes and additions to the game, often making them new games.
The Original Variants
These games are the two core versions of Touhou Puppet Play. They are the ones normally used to make hacks. Both of these games are hacks of the Japanese Pokémon FireRed.
Touhou Puppet Play 1.5x differed little from the original Pokémon game. Types were kept the same, some weaknesses were altered in terms of balance. It features all the Touhou characters up to Touhou 12.8, print works included, and has some additional forms as well (EX, Last Word, Final, Advent, Dark). This generation is the one that is most often hacked due to its familiarity.
Generation 1.5 Japanese Variants
These hacks are based off of the Japanese Touhou Puppet Play 1.5x.
- Touhou Puppet Play: Gensokyo Scenario - A Touhoumon hack of Pokémon FireRed. Takes place in Gensokyo with the player as Renko Usami or Maribel Hearn. It is playable up to around the Forest of Magic.
- Touhou Puppet Play: Lunatic - A "Hard Mode" Touhoumon hack based of Pokémon FireRed.
Generation 1.5 English Variants
These hacks are based off the English Touhou Puppet Play 1.5x.
- Touhoumon Merry's Version (also known as Touhoumon Aqua+Yui) - A Touhoumon hack of Pokémon FireRed. Is playable and is in active development.
- Touhoumon World Link - A Touhoumon hack of Pokémon Emerald. Includes additional Post Game content.
- Touhoumon Another World - A Touhoumon hack of Pokémon FireRed. An English Port of Touhou Puppet Play: Gensokyo Scenario, and is complete.
- Touhoumon: Marisa’s Magic World - A Touhoumon hack of Pokémon Ruby. It was developed to be a supplement in completing the Touhoudex in World Link and Another World.
- Touhou Puppet Play: Insane - A "Hard Mode" Touhoumon hack based off Pokémon FireRed.
- Touhou Puppet Play: Blue - A Touhoumon hack of Pokémon FireRed designed to be casual. HM roadblocks are removed, and gameplay involves very little actual grinding.
1.8 was a radical shift for Touhoumon, introducing a Physical/Special split akin to Diamond/Pearl, a new type chart, and streamlining evolutions. Instead of the old Chibi > Base > EX, almost everything starts at Chibi and evolves once, either by level or by using an evolutionary stone, which shift stat allocation and learnable moves around. Base stat totals are balanced around 470 to 560, and everything is viable in its own way. This is the generation being focused on by most people.
Generation 1.8 English Variants
These hacks are based off the English Touhou Puppet Play 1.8x.
- Touhoumon Purple - A Touhoumon hack of Pokémon Emerald. Fully playable and complete. Includes a fully functional Battle Frontier, as well as a completely finished Contest system.
- Touhou Puppet Play Enhanced - A Touhoumon hack of Pokémon FireRed. Mostly consistent of the original 1.8x version, but includes numerous content from unofficial patches (Johto, obtainable VIVIT).
RPG Maker XP Related Fangames
These are games that are developed on the Touhoumon Essentials Development Kit for RPG Maker XP, based on the Pokémon Essentials kit. The engine is based off of 1.8, but uses expanded Pokémon mechanics.
- Touhoumon: Faith & Prayer Version - A Touhoumon game developed in RPG Maker XP. It runs 1.8 mechanics, with some additional Pokémon mechanics thrown in. Currently in active development.
- Touhoumon Gaiden - A Touhoumon game that attempts to insert Touhoumon 1.8 into the context of Gen V Pokemon mechanics. A wiki exclusive for it can be seen here.
- Touhoumon Underground Version - A Touhoumon game still in development stages. The protagonist is Kaenbyou Rin, and the story is set in the Underworld. DISCLAIMER: Touhoumon Underground will not be seeing beta releases, it is going to be a game that will be released all at once or not at all. The game was a commission project.
These hacks fall into the other category due to changes that differ too extremely from 1.5x or 1.8x's mechanics to fall under either.
- Touhoumon Ordinary Version - A Touhoumon hack of Pokemon Silver. It is based off the 1.5 generation, but due to the limitations of the Generation II games, many things were excluded from the 1.5 Era.
- Touhoumon Diamond - A Touhoumon game that has been developed for Pokemon Diamond version, making it the first released DS Hack for the Touhoumon franchise. The game uses a hybridized 1.5/1.8 mechanic system at present time, taking moves and Puppets from 1.8, but using the vanilla Pokemon/1.5 type chart. In active development, and playable up to Cynthia in the current release build.
There is an active netplay western community for Touhoumon 1.8, namely the one that uses this forum as a base of operations. The program used for netplay itself is called Shoddy 2. More information about Shoddy and the community can be seen here, while an installation guide is available here.
Shoddy, as the name suggests, has a few running bugs and slightly rough handling, but it works very well for competitive matches. The client is simple and intuitive to use; it also doubles as a chatbox to ask gameplay questions and for plain interactions, which is usually more active at night. None of the bugs affect gameplay greatly, though, except perhaps for Rage not burning the user as it should and Snatch not working. As one of the administrators, Agastya, is the creator of Touhoumon Purple, Shoddy is also largely influenced by it, and will disconsider some patch-exclusive mons.
Due to the relatively limited number of active users, the metagame is still in development: as such, there is no actual UU tier, unlike in competitive Pokemon. Touhoumon is also far more balanced than Pokemon in terms of statistics and moves, even if there a few mons which are only capable of doing what other mons do better. Also, even if a mon seems useless at a glance, it can most likely fill in a niche slot, even in OU. The current tiers available are "Standard" (OU), "I AM A JERK" (Ubers), "Little Cup" and "uhhh idk its a test" (9vs9 battles).
Detailed gameplay information can be seen in the English 1.8 THPP wiki, also linked to the Shoddy community.