Undefined Fantastic Object

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Ufologo.png
Undefined Fantastic Object
Ufotitlescreen.png

Title screen

Developer: ZUN (Team Shanghai Alice)
Release date: Demo
0.01: March 8, 2009
0.02a: July 19, 2009

Full Game
1.00a: August 15, 2009
1.00b: August 27, 2009
Steam: June 6, 2020
Previous game: Subterranean Animism
Next game: Double Spoiler (spinoff)
Ten Desires (main series)

Undefined Fantastic Object (Japanese name: 東方星蓮船, Touhou Seirensen) is the 12th main series Touhou Project game, developed and released by the one-person doujin circle Team Shanghai Alice in 2009. UFO is known in the Touhou community for its unique resource system and high degree of difficulty relative to the other Touhou games.

The game was added to Steam along with Mountain of Faith and Subterranean Animism in 2020.

Controls[edit]

UFO uses the standard Touhou control scheme. The controls are designed for keyboards, but the game supports controllers with remappable controls.

  • Z: Shoot
  • X: Bomb
  • Shift: Focus

On keyboard, movement can be done using either the arrow keys or the number pad.

Playable Characters and Shot Types[edit]

Undefined Fantastic Object has 3 playable characters, with 2 shot types each. Each shot type has different shot behavior and a different bomb.

This game is also notable for being the first appearance of Sanae Kochiya, the Mountain of Faith Stage 5 boss, as a playable character.

Reimu Hakurei

Reimu Hakurei A B
UFO Reimu Portrait.png
Shot: Persuasion Needle
Bomb: Dream Sign "Wild Exorcism Dance"
Shot: Homing Amulet
Bomb: Spirit Sign "Fantasy Seal"
Description: Reimu A uses a high damage forward focus shot, which is excellent for bosses. Her bomb is similarly designed, only covering a narrow area of the screen but dealing a lot of damage. Description: Reimu B is a homing shot, which has a relatively low damage output but makes stage portions much easier. Her bomb also has homing properties, and does less damage than Reimu A's bomb as well.
Strengths:
  • High damage output
  • Best shot type for No Bomb play

Weaknesses:

  • Moderate speed reduction while bombing
  • Low scoring potential
Strengths:
  • Great for stage portions
  • Requires less advanced routing

Weaknesses:

  • Low damage output
  • Homing shots can struggle to break UFOs at times
  • Low scoring potential
General Information: Reimu has the smallest hitbox and the slowest movement speed. While the small hitbox is an advantage for survival, it makes Reimu the lowest scoring character in the game, because graze box size is tied to hitbox size.

Marisa Kirisame

Marisa Kirisame A B
UFO Marisa Portrait.png
Shot: Illusion Laser
Bomb: Love Sign "Master Spark"
Shot: Super Shortwave
Bomb: Magic Sign "Ultimate Shortwave"
Description:Marisa A is a forward focus shot like Reimu A. Her lasers are piercing, which allows for damaging enemies when they're behind other enemies. Her bomb covers a large area of the screen and does a lot of damage, but she moves at 25% speed while bombing. Description: Marisa B is quite an unusual shot type. She's a spread shot, and her back options, while unfocused at 3 or 4 power, shoot behind her. Marisa B is hindered by her low damage output, especially at the bottom of the screen where you can't take advantage of most of her spread hitting one enemy. Her bomb prioritizes clearing the screen over dealing damage.
Strengths:
  • Highest damage output at the bottom of the screen
  • Highest theoretical scoring potential
  • Piercing


Weaknesses:

  • Massive speed reduction while bombing
  • Large hitbox makes her hard to use
  • Glowing options worsen visibility
Strengths:
  • Great scoring potential

-Bomb is excellent for UFO scoring and useful for gaining resources
Weaknesses:

  • Low damage output
  • Bomb does very little damage and has very few i-frames
  • Very difficult to utilize for survival
General Information: Marisa has the largest hitbox and the fastest movement speed. This means she gets the most graze naturally, increasing her scoring potential. However, the larger hitbox also makes her harder to use for survival.

Sanae Kochiya

Sanae Kochiya A B
UFO Sanae Portrait.png
Shot: Sky Serpent
Bomb: Snake Sign "Orochi of Ancient Times"
Shot: Cobalt Spread
Bomb: Frog Sign "Wily Toad"
Description: Sanae A is a homing shot. She shoots snakes, which will turn to hit an enemy when it reaches said enemy's horizontal position. This shot type has a similar damage output to Reimu B. She has a very similar bomb to Marisa B, although it does significantly more damage while clearing the screen. Description: Sanae B is a spread shot, but with a high damage output as well. Her options deal splash damage, with the explosions dealing 4 points of damage per frame of contact. Her bomb starts off in a small area before exploding to clear the whole screen. During the entire time the bomb is active, the player is invincible. This bomb can deal a ton of damage, especially when placed on top of a boss right at the start.
Strengths:
  • Her homing snakes are great for patterns where bosses move around often


Weaknesses:

  • Low damage output
  • Homing snakes can miss if you're very close to a boss
Strengths:
  • Very versatile bomb for both survival and scoring usage, such as being able to shotgun a boss and grazing patterns freely while the bomb detonates
  • Excellent shot for first timers
  • Highest damage potential utilizing the 3p shotgun (advanced technique)
  • Amazing scoring potential


Weaknesses:

  • Power loss is especially impacting (3p from a distance is quite weak compared to 4p)
General Information: Sanae is in the middle in both hitbox size and speed.

Difficulty Modes[edit]

Undefined Fantastic Object has 4 difficulty modes. The higher difficulties are, of course, harder, and also have higher scoring potential. The difficulty modes are:

  • Easy
  • Normal
  • Hard
  • Lunatic

The game also has an Extra stage, which is treated as its own difficulty. Extra must be unlocked by getting a 1cc on Normal Mode or higher. This is one long stage with one long boss fight, and the difficulty of clearing it is somewhere between a Normal and Hard 1cc.

Basic Mechanics[edit]

Power[edit]

Undefined Fantastic Object has a power up system. The game starts you at power level 1.00, and power can not drop below this value. You gain power by collecting the red power items. Each new integer is a new power level, ie. 1.99 is the same as 1.00, 2.00 is a new power level. Power maxes out at 4.00, and you lose 1 power level when you die.

Lives and Bombs[edit]

UFO starts you out with 2 lives and 2 bombs. More lives/bombs can be gained by collecting life or bomb pieces, which are mainly gained through summoning red and green UFOs, explained in "The UFO System" section of this article. To get an extra life or bomb, you need to collect 4 life or bomb pieces. You also get a life piece after each boss/midboss, except for the Stage 4 and 6 midbosses, and the final boss. Without summons, you can get 3 extends.

Point of Collection[edit]

When moving above a certain height on the screen, all items will automatically be collected, with the exception of UFO tokens. All point items collected via this method will also be worth their max value.

Items[edit]

Undefined Fantastic Object has several items that serve different purposes, such as gaining power, score, or lives and bombs.

Power Items[edit]

Item Name Value
Touhousmallp.png
Small Power Item 0.01 Power
Touhoubigp.png
Big Power Item 1.00 Power
Touhoufullpoweritem.png
Full Power Item 4.00 Power

Point Items[edit]

Item Name Value
Touhoupointitem.png
Point Item Current point item value

Resource Items[edit]

Item Name Value
Touhoulifepiece.png
Life Piece 1 life piece
Touhoubombpiece.png
Bomb Piece 1 bomb piece
Touhou1upoldstar.png
1-Up 4 life pieces (1 extend)
Touhoubombitemstar.png
Bomb Item 4 bomb piece (1 full bomb)

The UFO System[edit]

The UFO system is the main gimmick of Undefined Fantastic Object, and understanding it is essential for effective gameplay. This is the system used to get extra lives and bombs, as well as the main scoring mechanic.

UFO Tokens[edit]

Throughout the game, several enemies drop UFO tokens. Which enemies drop which tokens is completely static, even which color the color changing tokens start as are unchanged between credits. Enemies which drop UFO tokens are colored differently from enemies that don't. For example, the big fairy on the left in the image below won't drop a token, but the big fairy on the right, colored purple, will.

Ufoenemycolors.png

There are two types of tokens, static tokens, which always stay the same color, and color changing tokens. Static tokens are further divided into 3 colors, red, green and blue.

Sprite Name
Redufotoken.png
Red token
Greenufotoken.png
Green token
Blueufotoken.png
Blue token
Color changing token

Color changing tokens always cycle between red, blue, and green, in that order. These tokens can also be held by standing near one but not collecting it. While you're in the range for holding a token, it will stop changing colors, and won't go off screen. This doesn't work with static tokens. When 3 of the same color token in a row are collected, or one of each of the three different colors, a UFO will be summoned. Each of these UFOs have different functions. When 2 tokens are collected, whichever token you need to summon will be highlighted with a pentagon of the UFO color that would be summoned.

Shown below: 2 red tokens have been collected, and a 3rd red token is on screen. The pentagon indicates that a red UFO can be summoned.

2redtokens.png

Now for an explanation of what each of the UFOs do.

Summoning UFOs[edit]

When a UFO is summoned, it will show up as an enemy, with a timer and health bar. When the timer reaches 0, the UFO will go off screen. This process actually starts a few seconds before the timer runs out, at around 3 seconds left. Another property of this timer, when it reaches 7 seconds, the UFO will move to match your horizontal position. When the UFO's health bar reaches 0, the UFO will break. If the UFO is broken before it goes off screen, it will drop another UFO token and an item, which is different for each UFO. Red UFOs drop life pieces, and green UFOs drop bomb pieces. Rainbow and blue UFOs just drop the token, and give score at a higher value than simply collecting the items. The token the UFO drops when broken is color changing and starts out as the same color as the UFO that was summoned. For rainbow UFOs, the starting color is determined by the last token collected to summon. For example, a rainbow UFO summoned with red first, then green, then blue, will drop a token that starts blue. While the UFO is summoned, it will collect all power and point items on screen. As it collects the items, a ring around the UFO starts to fill up, and when it's completely full, it gives a bonus item. Red UFOs give an extra life piece, and rainbow UFOs give an extra token. Green UFOs drop a full bomb for their extra item instead of another bomb piece. The UFOs don't need to be broken to get these bonus items. For blue UFOs, filling the UFO simply increases the score multiplier.

Sprite Name Primary Function
Redufo.png
Red UFO Gaining lives
Greenufo.png
Green UFO Gaining bombs
Blueufo.png
Blue UFO Scoring
Rainbowufo.gif
Rainbow UFO Scoring, recovery

Unique properties of rainbow UFOs[edit]

Rainbow UFOs have two unique properties not present with the other UFO colors. The first was mentioned earlier, that being how the starting color of the bonus tokens is determined. With other colored UFOs, this token's starting color matches the color of the UFO summoned. Rainbow UFOs aren't any specific color, so the starting color of these tokens matches the color of the last token used to summon. The other unique property of rainbow UFOs is that they reverse the point and power items they collect. This means point items collected by a rainbow UFO count as power items, and power items count as point items. This makes rainbow UFOs better than blue UFOs for scoring on sections with a lot of power items, and also makes them good for recovering power on sections with a lot of point items.

Scoring[edit]

Undefined Fantastic Object has several elements to its scoring system.

Using UFOs for scoring[edit]

The main source of score is from summoning UFOs. Point items collected by UFOs are worth more than being collected normally because UFOs have score multipliers, which are factored in to the score bonus after the UFO is broken. Each UFO has a low multiplier and a high multiplier. The low multiplier is awarded when the UFO is broken without being filled, and the high multiplier is awarded when it was filled. For red UFOs, the high multiplier also requires the player to be at full power.

UFO Color Low Multiplier High Multiplier
Red 1.0 2.0
Green 1.0 2.0
Rainbow 3.0 4.0
Blue 6.0 8.0

The score from a UFO is calculated by the following formula:

[Number of point items collected ] x [Point item value] x [Score multiplier]

Of course, to get the most out of a UFO summon, you want it to collect as many point items as possible before breaking it. For example, a UFO that's broken with 100 point items, a point item value of 50,000, and score multiplier of x8.0 will be worth 40,000,000 points. (100 x 50,000 x 8.0 = 40,000,000.) Basically, you want as many point items as possible collected by UFOs, and as few point items as possible collected normally. Score isn't automatically granted upon breaking a UFO, there is a physical orb the UFOs drop. This item isn't very well known, because it's usually autocollected, and you can only drop it if you die before it's autocollected (which cancels the autocollect) and don't collect it manually. As mentioned earlier, rainbow UFOs reverse power and point items, which makes them better than blue UFOs on sections with a lot of power items. In order for the score from a rainbow UFO to be worth more than a blue UFO, there must be at least twice as many power items than point items, due to the score multipliers. Not mentioned earlier, red UFOs also have a unique property in how they count items. For the score calculation from red UFOs, power items are counted in addition to point items.

Because blue and, on some sections, rainbow UFOs are optimal for scoring, you want to summon as few red and green UFOs as you can. Optimally, you'll want to clear with no extra lives or bombs. This makes UFO a notoriously difficult game to clear score runs of, getting lives is essentially bad for score. You'll want to summon an even number of red UFOs, because with no summons at all you'll get 5 lives and 1 extra life piece. With an odd number of red UFO summons, you'd end with 3 life pieces, so one of those summons would be wasted. Most UFO scorers choose to summon either 4 or 6 red UFOs. Any red and green UFOs should also be summoned as early as possible, while the point item value is too low and these sub-optimal summons lose the fewest points. World record level score runs won't summon a single red or green UFO.

Point Item Value[edit]

In UFO, point item value, usually referred to simply as PIV, is an even more important value than score in the early game. This value is marked as 最大得点 in blue text on the HUD, and is the maximum value the point items can be collected at. This value is also accounted for in the UFO score bonus. It has a different starting point and limit on each difficulty. It's worth noting, however, that the PIV limit hasn't been reached by a human and is likely impossible on any difficulty besides Easy. Here's a chart:

Difficulty Starting PIV PIV cap
Easy 5,000 100,000
Normal 10,000 200,000
Hard 15,000 300,000
Lunatic 20,000 400,000
Extra 20,000 500,000

Point item value also can only increase by multiples of 10, because the last digit of the score tracks the number of continues used.

There are 2 main ways to increase point item value:

Grazing[edit]

Grazing is when a bullet gets close to you but doesn't hit you. In UFO, graze box size is tied to hitbox size, so Reimu, who has the smallest hitbox, also has the smallest graze box, and Marisa, who has the largest hitbox, also has the largest graze box. Graze increases PIV at a 1:1 ratio, in multiples of 10 as mentioned earlier. For example, grazing 48 bullets increase PIV by 40, and grazing 50 bullets increases PIV by 50. An easy way to get graze is by timing down non-spells. This has no score penalty and gives about 2,000 extra graze throughout a run. Some individual patterns have strategies that give thousands of graze on that one pattern, these are known as supergrazes. Perhaps UFO's most famous supergrazes are the Ichirin Midnon Graze and Eye Graze, on the Stage 3 midboss non-spell first pattern of the Stage 3 boss respectively. A No Miss No Bomb of the midnon graze is a gain of 9,000-10,000 graze with Sanae, which is also an increase of 9,000-10,000 PIV. This pattern is extremely difficult to NMNB while using this graze, however, so most players choose to die once and bomb twice (utilizing Sanae B's bomb for free graze), which usually is a gain of 5.000 to 8,000 grze. The Ichirin Eye Graze is much easier to NMNB and gives around 12,000-13,000 graze with Sanae, which, of course, increases PIV by 12,000-13,000 as well. This one strategy is worth over 200,000,000 points factoring in the score gained from the PIV increase throughout the rest of the run. Two examples of easy valuable grazes are the safespot on Kogasa's first non and spinning Shou's 3rd non, both of which are easier than doing the pattern the intended way.

Collecting tokens during summons[edit]

One thing about UFO score runs that may confuse people watching them for the first time is collecting tokens while UFOs are active, essentially throwing them away. There's a very good reason for this, every token collected during a summon gives 1,000 PIV. Simply doing this once in Stage 1 is a gain of about 25,000,000 points. There's also enough extra tokens that most point items will be collected by a UFO anyway even with discarding these tokens, making this one of the largest score gains in the game. This PIV gain also makes rainbow UFOs more valuable than blue UFOs in the early game, even on sections with more point items than power items. Most score runs, even at a world record level, don't summon any blue UFOs until Stage 3.

Spell cards[edit]

Spell cards are certain boss patterns which give a score bonus if you No Miss No Bomb them without timing them out (except for some spell cards which must be timed out, such as Murasa's final). These are a surprisingly significant source of points, on Lunatic these add up to about 200,000,000 points. This point bonus is called spell capture bonus, shortened to SCB. The SCB decreases over time, so to maximize your spell capture bonus, just kill the spell as fast as possible. On timeout spells, the SCB never decreases and they will always be worth their maximum value unless you die or bomb. Spells are worth more in later stages and on higher difficulties. The starting value of a spell capture bonus is:

[2,000,000 * (Stage number + Difficulty value)] 

with the difficulty value for Easy being 0, Normal being 1, Hard being 2, Lunatic being 3, and Extra being 4. Byakuren's spells on Lunatic start out at 18,000,000, or [2,000,000 * (6+3)]. All spells in the Extra stage are worth 22,000,000, because Extra gets counted as Stage 7.

Clear bonuses[edit]

Clear bonus is awarded to you at the end of every stage. The way most clear bonuses work is simple, it's the number of the stage multiplied by 1,000,000. So for example, clearing Stage 4 awards a Clear Bonus of 4,000,000. Stage 6 and the Extra stage work differently, because those bonuses are for clearing the game. The clear bonus awarded in Stage 6 changes depending on difficulty, but all of them factor in the amount of lives and bombs in stock, your power, and your point item value. Here's a chart for how each difficulty's clear bonus is calculated:

Difficulty Formula
Easy (Lives in stock * 500,000) + (Bombs in stock * 250,000) + (Power * 1,000,000) + (PIV * 100) + 6,000,000
Normal (Lives in stock * 1,000,000) + (Bombs in stock * 500,000) + (Power * 1,000,000) + (PIV * 100) + 6,000,000
Hard (Lives in stock * 2,000,000) + (Bombs in stock * 1,000,000) + (Power * 1,000,000) + (PIV * 100) + 6,000,000
Lunatic (Lives in stock * 3,000,000) + (Bombs in stock * 1,500,000) + (Power * 1,000,000) + (PIV * 100) + 6,000,000
Extra (Lives in stock * 3,000,000) + (Bombs in stock * 1,500,000) + (Power * 1,000,000) + (PIV * 100) + 7,000,000

Minor score gains[edit]

That's it for the main scoring system, but there's still a few ways to increase score that are barely worth anything. These include tick points for damage and collecting items outside of UFO summons, which is done best via the Point of Collection. Bullet cancels, from ending boss patterns and summoning and breaking UFOs, also give a negligible PIV increase.

Secrets[edit]

Stage 2 Secret Token[edit]

In Stage 2, during the section with small fairies shooting aimed bubbles, an extra token can be collected from a fairy that spawns off screen to the right. This can only be obtained by bombing (except with Reimu A) or dying on this section. This token is only used for score runs, as it's not worth getting for survival due to the bombing or dying requirement. This token is most likely unintended and the result of a programming error.

Stage 4 Secret Extend[edit]

Undefined Fantastic Object is one of the few Touhou games with a secret extend. This extend can be obtained after the Stage 4 midboss. This extend has a simple requirement, just No Miss No Bomb the Stage 4 midboss. It will drop a 1-up item when leaving the screen. If you die or bomb during the midboss, a full bomb will drop instead.

Glitches[edit]

Scorebug[edit]

The value used to display the score is a signed 32 bit integer. This causes the score display to glitch when the score exceeds 2,147,483,647, instead displaying a negative number. However, score is tracked internally using a separate value which has the last digit cut off since it is only used to track continues. The game continues to track score normally, which can be seen on the local leaderboard or in the replay menu. This glitch is purely graphical and has no effect on gameplay.

Marisa A Damage Glitch[edit]

At full power, Marisa A's lasers have a higher damage value when unfocused than when focused, because the lasers are too far apart for them all to hit the same enemy. The damage only updates when you start shooting, though, so by shooting unfocused and then focusing, you'll have the higher unfocused damage while focused. At the bottom of the screen, this is what deals the most damage except bombing. This glitch also works in reverse, by shooting focused and then unfocusing you'll have the lower focused damage while unfocused.

1 Billion Points Crash[edit]

In Version 1.00a, the game crashed when the score reached 1,000,000,000 points. This was quickly fixed in the 1.00b patch. An alternate version of this glitch still exists in Version 1.00b, but instead it requires 1,000,000,000 points to be gained from a single summon instead of throughout the whole game. With current game knowledge, this is impossible for humans, with the highest possible summon values being around 600,000,000.

Trivia[edit]

Undefined Fantastic Object has several references to other shmups. A few examples:

  • Sanae A's shot behavior is almost identical to Bornnam's homing shot in Mahou Daisakusen
  • The name of Shou's first spell card, Jeweled Pagoda "Radiant Treasure Gun," is a reference to Treasure's 1998 game Radiant Silvergun
  • The small fairy section in Stage 6 is a reference to Space Invaders
  • The Stage 4 and 6 midboss is a reference to the Extra stage midboss in Lotus Land Story
  • Byakuren's 4th spell card, Great Magic "Devil's Recitation," is a reference to a pattern used by the final boss of Mystic Square

Despite requiring 4 life pieces for an extend, UFO reuses the life counter sprites from Subterranean Animism, which requires 5 pieces for an extend. This has caused many players to erroneously believe UFO requires 5 for an extend as well.

The game gained notoriety in April 2017 due to the Rensenware computer virus, which was a parody of ransomware viruses. Instead of encrypting your files and demanding payment to decrypt them like normal ransomware, Rensenware instead required scoring 200,000,000 points in UFO on Lunatic to decrypt your files. This score is slightly less than what most people would get on their first 1cc, and with proper scoring routes it can be done by the end of Stage 3.

External Links[edit]

Undefined Fantastic Object section on ZUN's website

UFO leaderboards on Royalflare

Resources for learning the game[edit]

Commentary on a former world record (3.357b by KG) by Mino, ZM, and Zengeku