Oh, yeah, this is kinda old news but two weeks ago I finally got through mail my brand new copy of Touhou 10.5 Scarlet Weather Rhapsody by Tasogare Frontier (a doujin group) and a used copy of Virtual-ON for Sega Saturn in almost perfect condition. Hell, it even had the spine/obi and the Sega Information Guides 7 and 8 plus another insert or something. I have to conclude the japanese can be very careful when it comes to keeping things safe because the game is over 11 years and it still looks in excellent condition although it was listed as “medium” with scratches and such…
Who cares. It costed 3.99usd!!!! And I have a long history with Virtual-ON. Sega used to make so many rocking games, so damn kickass. Panzer Dragoon series, House of the Dead (this one is still alive hopefully), the old Sonic titles for the Genesis, Daytona, Gunblade NY and, of course Radiant Silvergun, that damn jewel only available for arcades or the Saturn.
Anyway, back to Virtual-ON, this game is a vs. mecha fighter with all the kickass value you can ask: a brutally, obnoxiously catchy soundtrack that is in CD format so you can just put the disc in the player and hear it without further issues. These tunes have been in my mind since I first heard them when I got the PC version back in 1997.
The robotic voice that announces stuff, the opening theme (a rocking anthem with just a bass and drumming, both synthed apparently but really good!), Temjin’s theme from Floode City, “She’s lost control” (theme for ViperII at the Airport) or Aphmard’s theme at the Spacedock (freaking catchy rocking tune with a synth organ sound) and many more, they are all damn short but so sweet in a way that only the japanese seem to achieve. It’s pure synth/keyboard madness!
Definitely a game you should play with a friend as it’s still damn fun!
About Scarlet Weather Rhapsody… Another great game. I have already finished story mode in normal with all the characters and unlocked a bunch of crap but two things caught my attention:
The absolutely amazing soundtrack, mix of new tracks and arrangements of old tunes. It has a distinguishable spanish feeling in it (¡OLEEE!), which is mainly notorious for the character Iku, alias, female clone of Travolta.
The song featured for the menu evolved from a simpler tune with less instrumentations to a more complex wall of acoustic greatness with a solo violin and typical japanese percussion and catchiness. It’s freaking amazing. Same can be said of the credits, which have a Yasunori Mitsuda vibe but still respond to ZUN’s crazy musical styles. Power of beer I say.
The beautiful scenery and backgrounds. While not the best work ever, some of the scenarios and stages are gorgeous. By the way, I’m not reviewing the game in any way, just pointing out things. I got a bit bored of reviews unless it’s a music album.
SWR has its flaws, it’s not perfect but still I don’t just look to all the boring technicisms of a fighting game as I know I’ll never be an expert in them. Needlessly to say Story Mode is quite broken with CPU cards that are over the top and turn the game into a vertically scrolling danmaku game instead of a fighter. But it won’t hurt to try the game.
You can purchase it from Himeyashop, White Canvas or Paletweb or, if you are in Japan, from your favourite doujin store. There is also the non-sancto way of getting it, but that’s beyond my scope.
To conclude, here are some videos I made out of SWR, featuring the final spellcard you’ll see in most of the story modes, a fight in Lunatic mode and one special final boss that, ironically, I loved more than the real final boss.
Official Site for Tasogare Frontier: http://www.tasofro.net/
There you’ll find patches and more info about the game.
Official Touhou Project Site (Team Shanghai Alice): http://www16.big.or.jp/~zun/