Castle of Shikigami III (Shikigami no Shiro episode-3 or 式神の城 III in Japan) is a manic shooter released in Japan in video arcades in 2005, the Windows platform in 2006 and for the Xbox 360 and Wii in 2007. It is the fourth game in the Shikigami no Shiro series, following two shooters and a spin-off adventure game.
The official Japanese site features online leaderboards for the Arcade and Windows version.
The game plays much like its shooter predecessors. As before, there are five levels each in two parts, with a boss at the end of each part. Before major bosses and between levels there are cutscenes with dialogue featuring the character(s) in play. The dialogue is unique for each different pair of characters selected, resulting in, according to the publisher, 55 different scenarios.
Each character has a primary standard attack, which is generally forward-shooting bullets. This is activated by tapping the fire button or by pressing auto-fire button. The secondary attack is known as a shikigami, activated by holding the fire button, or pressing a dedicated button on consoles. This attack is often more powerful, but slows or stops the character completely. Each character's shikigami is unique and also comes in two variants that are chosen at the start of the game. Finally, characters have a limited supply of bombs, their effects also unique to each character.
Coins are released by enemies destroyed using normal or shikigami attacks, but not by bomb attacks. Coins are now collected automatically, regardless of whether the primary or shikigami attack was used. When an enemy is destroyed using the players shikigami attack, the coin bonus increases by 10 points for every coin collected (up to 10000 points).
The Tension Bonus System returns, whereby the player's weapons are strengthened and the score is multiplied by up to 8 when the player grazes enemy bullets. Also, the player can expend a bomb to allow for an automatic TBS for a short period of time. When Tension Bonus reaches x8, player's normal shots are fired at increased rate and inflict stronger damage. At the end of the stage, coin bonus collected when defeating an enemy with maximum Tension Bonus is added to player's score.
Hi-Tension Max is introduced in this game, which causes multiplier to stay at 8x, and causes enemy to drop 1.5 times amount of coins when destroyed. High Tension Max is activated using 1 bomb stock.
When the player collides with an enemy bullet or object, the player loses a life unit. If the player's life bar reaches zero, the game ends. Up to 3 lives can be stored at once.
When player is hit, player gains 1 extra bomb. Bomb stock is replenished by accumulating game score. Players can hold up to 5 bombs.
If the boss is not destroyed when the timer reaches 0, an invulnerable 'ghost' will enter stage to chase the player(s). After the ghost appears for a certain time period, the boss is killed.
Easy mode: Bombs are automatically used when the player is hit, but the bomb gauge does not regenerate, and the game ends after defeating Freedom Wind, the boss of stage 3-2.
S3MIX mode: Rearranged Castle Shikigami 2 BGM is used in place of the main soundtrack.
Extreme mode: If the game is played in this mode, enemies and bosses fire faster bullets, and fires additional bullets when destroyed. In the Xbox and Wii versions, two additional Extreme modes are added, which changes the speed of counterattack bullets.
Practice mode: Allows the player(s) to re-play a selected stage.
Director's mode: Uses readjusted settings.
The Wii and Xbox 360 versions added the Boss Attack mode and the Dramatic Change Mode. Dramatic change mode allows one player to select two characters and switch between them at any time. Story events will change depending on the combination of characters used. An art gallery, music player, and replays of the dialogue cutscenes are unlocked as the player progresses in the game.
The Xbox 360 version also includes online ranking (via Xbox Live) and achievement point features.
The Windows version can be played in higher resolutions (up to 1024x768).
The player(s) receive a ranking of SS to F and a title whenever completing a stage, based on his or her performance.
Returning characters from Castle Shikigami 2 are:
- Kohtaro Kuga, the hero of the series, a freelance detective.
- Fumiko Odette Van Stein, a half-German/half-Japanese witch who is particularly infatuated with Kohtarou.
- Roger Sasuke, a self-proclaimed "international ninja."
- Gennojo Hyuga a psychic private investigator.
New characters include:
- Reika Kirishima, a time-traveler originally from the game Time Gal.
- Emilio Stanburke, a young noble from Alcaland, where the game takes place.
- Nagino Ise, a young schoolgirl with a backpack and "Strider", a pet rabbit.
- Mihee Kim, a South Korean doctor, related to Kim Dae-jeong from Castle Shikigami 2.
- Batu Harai, a priest/exorcist hired by Emilio.
- Munchausen, Fumiko's butler.
Sayo Yuuki also returns, but this time as Kohtaro's new shikigami, replacing Sazae.
- Yukari Horiguchi, the fourth stage boss from Castle Shikigami 2, revised for the first stage in Shikigami 3.
- Shikou Mibuya, second stage, a priest with ties to Sayo Yuuki.
- Freedom Wind, third stage, a specter of Fumiko's stepmother.
- Kagachi, fourth stage, a violent werewolf whose fighting style resembles Gennojo's.
- Tsukiko Johjima, final boss, a specter of Kohtaro's childhood friend.
Notes and references
- Scalzo, John (2007-12-15). Castle of Shikigami III shoots up Wii in Spring 08. Gaming Target. Retrieved on 2008-01-28
- Aksys Games site
- Alfa arcade site
- Alfa Xbox/Wii site
- Cyberfront site
- Xbox 360 page
- Castle of Shikigami III at Museum of the Game
- Shikigami no Shiro Wiki