Drillimation Systems today released the demo for the new Chuhou Joutai game, titled Chuhou Joutai 3: Three Nights of Scarlet Abscess on Steam.
The game was first teased in February, and the teaser trailer showed only a basic animation that would set the game’s overall tone and theme, but no gameplay. The director has confirmed the game will have a darker and edgier tone, but not as intense in order to keep their target audience of beginners.
Chuhou Joutai 3: Three Nights of Scarlet Abscess is the third installment of the Chuhou Joutai series of retro-inspired danmaku shooter games developed and published by Drillimation Systems. The games play similar to Touhou Project but are targeted primarily at beginners. The series is also known for its humorous dialogue and colorful cast of characters.
The series began with the release of the first game on May 22nd, 2020, which incidentally was on the same day Pac-Man celebrated his 40th anniversary. Chuhou Joutai 1 was praised by critics for its player-friendly approach, despite its crude art direction. This led to a sequel, Chuhou Joutai 2: Paraided!, being developed and released the following year on July 2nd, 2021. While that game’s reception remained positive among players, critics were divided at release. Paraided! was an extremely difficult game, and the graphics largely resembled the first game with the exception of the cutscenes.
Drillimation hoped to learn from the mistakes they made in the first two games and make Chuhou Joutai 3: Three Nights of Scarlet Abscess the ultimate Chuhou Joutai experience. The game features four playable characters. While Susumu Takajima and Kagami Ochiai return, Ryuta Shigematsu and Kumiko Uchida, both of whom were NPCs from the first two games, join the roster.
Unlike the first two games, which had their demos released on itch.io, Chuhou Joutai 3: Three Nights of Scarlet Abscess is a Steam exclusive. This is due to the fact that GameMaker, the engine that all three Chuhou Joutai games use, now requires an extension in order to use the Steam SDK functionality. This extension also includes some new features.
Chuhou Joutai 3: Three Nights of Scarlet Abscess will also be the first Drillimation game to have a built-in anti-piracy check to ensure the player is subscribed to the Steam server, even if they were playing in Offline Mode. They would be redirected to a cutscene featuring Susumu Takajima warning the player about software piracy if the check fails. These measures had to be implemented in order to prevent piracy from happening to the third game as notorious warez group Skidrow cracked the DRM for Chuhou Joutai 1 and 2 in less than a week after they released.
Chuhou Joutai 3: Three Nights of Scarlet Abscess received a complete overhaul in the art direction. While it does use the same pre-rendered graphics as the previous game, it is much cleaner and gives the player the feeling that they were playing a visual novel.
All sprites got a complete makeover and feature black outlines on all enemies, bullets, and player characters. The color black isn’t used in any of the stage backgrounds. This was to prevent bullets from blending into the background, which was a major source of criticism from the first two games.
The game’s musical score was composed by Susumu Takajima. Several songs for the game existed before Chuhou Joutai 3: Three Nights of Scarlet Abscess was even announced. Many tracks were originally composed for a canceled Touhou Project fangame titled Touhou Tenkijou which was being developed by Vietnamese indie studio Studio Emiko. After its cancellation, Drillimation in the end repurposed them for Chuhou Joutai 3.
As the name might suggest, it has no relation to the medical condition of the same name. Rather, it refers to the game’s opening where a woman had destroyed a prison that was housing militants of the game’s villainous group SPASDOT (referred to as Crimsonites), freeing them in the process. Three of them had escaped alive after a battle to exterminate the escapees ensued. The player’s main objective is to find and defeat the remaining three prisoners.