Base system / Power ups
The player starts at (fire) power 0. Red enemies will drop Power Up items when shot. Collecting power up items raises the power by 1, gradually increasing the damage that the shots do.
The max fire power is 128. If the player has max power, Power Up items will yield points instead of Power. Also, at Max Power, players will start auto-collect all items on screen if flying above a certain height on the screen.
Base system / Extra lives
Extra lives are earned when the player reaches a certain score.
Base system / Boss attack patterns and "Spell Cards"
Bosses in Project Shrine Maiden usually have several "attack patterns", following each other. The boss starts with the first, and if the player reduces the boss's health bar by a certain amount, the boss switches to the next attack pattern. A typical early stage boss can have about 6 attack patterns, with the final bosses closer to 20.
Some attack patterns are called "Spell cards". These attack patterns are usually identified by a graphic effect upon starting, and they also have a name appearing on screen. Spell Card attacks will usually yield a special point bonus if defeated without dying or bombing.
High score systems in project Shrine Maiden
The games in project Shrine Maiden all have unique mechanisms for aiming at a high score. The common denominator is that all of them concern the Point Items that yields points when collected; usually more points the higher up on the screen they are collected, up to a certain maximum. Most games in the series have a unique system on how to increase this maximum, how actually gain the maximum when collecting the items, and how the player is point-wise penalized for dying and/or bombing.
High score system in Scarlet Devil
Compared to later games in the series, the high score system in Scarlet Devil is very straightforward.
Like in earlier games, point items yield more points the higher up on the screen they are collected, up to a certain height (the invisible "Item Max Point Line", which is about 1/3rd from the top of the screen), where they yield max – 50,000 points. Being on half this height yields half half that – 25,000 points.
Once the player has reached Max Power (128), two things radically increase the ability to earn points. Firstly and most visibly, going above the Item Max Point line will cause the player to automatically suck in all items on screen. Secondly, the Power items will start increasing the points they give, doubling for each Power item collected, up to a max of 12,800 points.
Unlike later games, there is no way to increase the maximum (50,000) for Point Items.
Penalties for dying
Dying during a Spell Card attack will miss you the Spell card bonus.
Also, dying will cause you to revert to lower Power (although you can collect a fair amount from your corpse), which will disable the ability to attract items, and will reset the points the Power Up items give to 10 points.
The result is a temporary halt in your Score income, but unlike later games (where, for example, the Point Max is reset to 50,000), dying late or dying early is completely equal.
Penalties for bombing
High score aiming summary:
Bombing during a Spell Card attack will miss you the Spell Card bonus.
There are no other penalties whatsoever for bombing, except, of course, that any bombs remaining if you beat the game will yield you a bonus.
Apart from the obvious of collecting point items, aiming for high score in Scarlet Devil roughly consists of:
- Reach max Power as soon as you can, so you can go above Item Max Point Line to attract items and so that the Power items start yielding points.
- Don't be afraid of bombing (do avoid it during Spell Cards if you can). They don't penalize you at all.
- Don't die (of course), but it's not as big a penalty as in other games.