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A introduction to PC98 Touhou games and how to play them


...Just like Tewi said, you're in luck this time!

Let's see a brief history of Touhou emulation on PC98, shall we?

Without a doubt the sixth game of Touhou series, Embodiment of Scarlet Devil released in 2002, turned the cult classic doujin danmaku game made by a teenager on his free time, into the phenomenal-worldwide-Internet-boundary-breaking-cultural-monster it is today. However, EoSD also marked the beginning of a new era of Touhou games; the Windows era, which by now is considered a sort of "reboot" of the series, leaving some of the legacy characters and story behind and trying out new concepts in a different way, bringing more life to the magical world that is Gensokyo.

In other words, PC98 got overshadowed by the already upcoming games of the Windows era in that time, and by then, not many people knew that Touhou had other games, but thanks to the incredible popularity of Touhou, many people tried to dig up the past and tried different methods of emulating the old games. Many people were intimidated by how complicated setting up a PC98 emulator was. There was a group of people playing and suggesting trying out the Anex86 emulator, which was kinda raw but it worked, because it was kinda easy to set-up, however it not was 100% faithful to a real machine. And also there was Neko-project 21, which is the most faithful PC98 emulator out there, however the process itself of setting up the emulator was not liked by many looking for a 'fast way' to play the games.

With this in mind! Many people over the years uploaded packaged PC98 games, I used to play SoEW and HRtP in a packaged Anex86 emulator given by a fellow friend of mine (shoutouts to my friend TJX!) with the .hdi files and honestly the framerate was a bit subpar and the sound quality is okay, but nevertheless I enjoyed these games and managed to get a 1cc on both games after all!

Thanks to a fellow Anon who managed to package the entire PC98 saga in a one-kick-ass-package with .exes for quick a launch with a separate .exes with the english translation patch, including tools and game covers as .bmp!

¡Wonders of technology!


Touhou98 Experience - The definitive PC98 pack out there

...¿Why I should choose this over other methods of playing the PC98 games?

Well, TH98 Experience brings a really simple way to set-up the games, just unpack it, run the script and it will give you a suitable setting just for you and then double click the executables to play! The main features and benefits of this pack are :

  • Executables with Touhou-styled icons
  • Japanese and English versions included
  • Games with clean saves, no custom settings or other people's scores
  • Two emulators included (with reduced input lag!)
  • And many tools and extras (covers, resolution changers, etc...)

With that being said, the TH98 Experience is a complete collection of the PC98 era of Touhou games, and also is very convenient and straightfoward which is a really nice bonus. Unlike other packages, TH98 Experience has the convenience that it is user-friendly to anyone looking for the classic games especially to new users.

PC98 Experience has been optimized enough so you can have smooth gameplay even on Windows XP with a Pentium 4! Personally I've only had slowdowns where the screen is full of bullets but everything else runs smooth as butter.

Links and downloads (these links are not mine!)

Nyaa.si Link (Torrent)

MEGA Link (7zip)

Touhou98 Experience thread on the Jay

A quick overview of PC98 games for the uninitiated

Highly Responsive to Prayers

The game that started it all, It has a completely unique gameplay and setting (see it for yourself! :D) and also you can choose between Makai and Jigoku routes in which you face different enemies, this game is a fever dream, in a good way, it also has interesting enemies like Elis, Sariel, The vengeful ghost (Mima)...

Definitely a fun game to play around and if you want to do a 1CC, it is kinda simple, just bomb a lot and you'll get high scores and high scores equals extra lifes and extra lifes equals extra bombs... So... Bomb your way through!


Praise the extra points! (Seriously)

Story of Eastern Wonderland

The first actual shmup game of all Touhou! this is *the* game that will define the series in the future, the introduction of the future PC98 cast, the magician apprentice Marisa and her master, Mima! Originally as enemy bosses.

This could be the most barebones and janky game of the PC98 era along with HRtP, hitboxes are weird, no focus shot and other mechanics missing from future games (duh), so modern players might feel a little lackluster playing this. Many people say this is the worst game in the series, but I digress, I think it is very unique on it's own and I appreciate the game as it is, a piece of history. Also the MIDI and arranged soundtrack is AWESOME.

This game is fairly easy to 1CC, the patterns aren't that crazy and they're quite basic for modern Touhou standards. Still holds a good challenge. Oh, also it has a extra stage too!

Phantasmagoria of Dim. Dream

The frist 'Phantasmagoria' type game, where you face off your enemy on a one-on-one danmaku match. This could be my favorite Phantasmagoria game if PoFV didn't had my beloved Reisen on it, because the gameplay itself can be really frenetic and chaotic at times, doing clutches against the cheating AI is absolutely satisfying in a unique way, more so than PoFV.

And also it has a really unique roster with interesting characters like Rikako, Chiyuri, Yumemi and Kaguya's long lost red-haired and undercover-police-officer-sister, Kotohime!!!

This game has a unique aesthetic that I can't describe, it feels like a SNES / Arcade game in a weird way, it has a really innocent feel to it, I love it, I hope im not the only one that feels this way (Tabula rasa is the best theme to describe this feeling... The hard-working witch who dreams of Love...). <-<

Quite difficult to 1CC if you cannot adapt well enough to the chaotic environment that is a V.S danmaku game, using your i-frames is key.

Lotus Land Story and Mystic Square

Now, with these two great games, you have something familiar to play with, introducing new mechanics and expanding the world of Gensokyo.

LLS brought a lot to the table that feels just right for a Touhou player. The most notable new introduction is the 'Graze' mechanic, which can make your points go big if you near-miss the bullets on the screen and also you can hold shift for a focused movement! This is the the frist debut of Yuuka! (and the iconic Bad Apple! song too!)

MS is the division point between PC98 and Windows era. It brings a lot to the table. Including Alice Margatroid and playable Yuuka!

You can appreciate how EoSD borrows some inspiration of Mystic Square and Lotus Land Story, which is kinda cool... Gatekeepers, maidos with blades, lakes and of course, magic.

Both games are challenging on their own right, if you are looking for a simple Touhou shmup like EoSD, you can try these!

Have fun! -Reptid