The final challenge of the "main postgame" is the Gensokyo League, a dull sequence of ten level 100 trainers battled Elite Four-styled, in that you can't use a Healing Center or the PC storage between battles. The first seven can be battled in any order, and then the final three are battled all in a row.
The only thing actually stopping us from getting there early is harsh currents surrounding Border Island, which push you away and leave the island as forever a mystery.
Border Island is a renamed whatever Mew's island was, and instead of Mew we get Angel Vivit.
I have seven of the damned things, it'd be a shame if I went this entire playthrough without wasting one. You even get a dex shot so you can have some engrish to.. do something with. Honestly, I'm running out of things to say here.
Really, I'm not sure if there's actually anything else to say for a little while. I may as well just rant on about my feelings on how to improve this game, since there's a lot of wasted potential here.
Zero Rumia - Dark/Steel - Shadow Tag - 150HP, 200ATK, 140DEF, 140SATK, 200SDEF, 160SPD
Remove Zero forms
I understand that it's hard to keep things challenging when the player has EVs and the best you can do for the AI is give them perfect IVs, but enforcing difficulty through ridiculous stats isn't the way to go. 1.5 and 1.8 JP official were challenging, but in a realistic way - they gave enemy plot trainers good movesets that worked to the strengths of the puppets using them, instead of just bloating everything to 750+ BST and calling it a day. They did mess around with illegal movesets a time or two (Swords Dance ASuwako, Dynamicpunch AYuugi...) but statistically, you were on even ground with your foes. The only things Zeros enforce are a massive power creep and having something sturdy that can use Toxic, and a huge limit on teambuilding in that if your favorite characters weren't blessed with a Last Word evolution for some arbitrary reason then they simply cannot compete without gratuitous item abuse. They don't even make sense in their distribution aside from favorites or whatever; Cirno is just a fairy, Elly is completely irrelevant, Shinki makes a slight amount of sense but she doesn't even have EX or LW forms.. it goes on, which brings me to the next point.
Zero Cirno - Ice - Pure Power - 120HP, 180ATK, 150DEF, 200SATK, 200SDEF, 140SPD
Remove player obtainable Last Word forms; cut back on their distribution
In official 1.53, the LW forms only appeared in the postgame on the Elite Four rematch. They served to challenge the player by throwing 680 BST ubers at them with killer movesets in an attempt to see if you can overcome the odds, and they were limited to the player characters of TH08. You know, that game where Last Words actually existed? Unofficial patches started letting the player obtain LW forms, and with this addition came a gigantic power creep that ended with things such as SFlandre (1000 BST) being brought into this world. It's adorable and all to be able to use your favorite characters with stats that would make ubers cry, but as I already said before if your favorite character can't evolve to LW then they're going to have trouble keeping up without a little outside help. It's mostly fine - 545 BST can handle 680 much better than 545 can handle 990, and that was something akin to their intentions when they made the LW forms in the first place. Still, why can characters such as Koishi, Yamame, Satori, or Momiji evolve to LW? Did we really need these extra forms? All that it does is cause you to say "meh" when you see something with 140 in an attacking stat, instead of going "wow that 140 attack is amazing!" My first playthrough there were times I was appreciating the challenge being given to me, but if I wasn't using stupidly powerful stuff, would I really have been enjoying it as much as I was?
Zero Reisen - Poison - Serene Grace - 130HP, 130ATK, 225DEF, 150SATK, 225SDEF, 130SPD
Gensokyo Scenario and Fire Red's relationship
Fire Red should be taking a backseat to the Gensokyo scenario content, not the other way around. I understand that making an entirely new region takes a lot of time and effort, but cheaping out by just giving you 1.53 +20 levels really removes from the experience. He didn't have to do the entire thing by himself and he has a bunch of other people listed in the credits (many of which are likely friends he has known for years) so it's not too impossible to think he could have had some help having a few plotlines/maps designed to flesh out the experience a bit more and make it less of a boring, repetitive slog. Notable examples are Tenshi's event which serves literally zero purpose other than to show off that there's a Zero Tenshi form, the Reimu battle you're forced to brute through to get to Fire Red again, and every sequence involving Sanae. The Sanae sequences are especially painful, and any Sanae content in the game would most likely need to be removed and re-written by somebody other than Aichiya, preferably an unbiased person who wouldn't drop good girl/slut jokes every other line.
Work with a native English speaker and rewrite the script
I'm not knocking the man's English skills here, don't get me wrong - I respect his dedication to providing translated scripts for us, but fact is English is not his first language and it shows. Working online is a huge hassle when you're dealing with people you don't personally know, but he's friends with a few native speakers that he could have asked for help with proofreading the script so that the presentation is much smoother. Take the descriptions of the moves IN End and EX Onbashira as examples:
"End the Imperishable. NEET is strong as dead!" / "Her faith to keep fighting gets only stronger."
The NEET joke isn't required, and how are we supposed to infer from the descriptions that these are Reversal moves? He could have hijacked the actual Reversal description for them instead of this nonsense. Speaking of moves..
Remove Destroy; other move-related things
Destroy is a 100% accurate Normal-type OHKO move with 1 PP. He doesn't use it frequently, but the moment you hit the Gensokyo League it's absolutely everywhere and each user of it has a Quick Claw. Does this move really need to exist? Was he really out of ideas for adding difficulty that he had to default to accurate OHKOs? While you can avoid it by having a Ghost or using Detect, most users of Destroy are also Dark types meaning that Ghosts will be taking SE attacks off powerful Special scores, and the AI is psychic with your Detect usage so they'll just wait until the turn your Detect fails to use it. Sturdy doesn't count since there's nothing viable in lategame that also has Sturdy for an ability. As for other moves, is there a good reason that Leaf Blade only has 70 BP? I know that it only has 70 in vanilla gen 3, but starting from Gen 4 (and in every other version of THMN from 1.5 onwards) the move has had 90 BP. The amount of puppets that can actually learn the move is staggeringly low for how mediocre it is, and everything that can (and more!) can just TM Energy Light anyway for a 80 BP Grass attack instead of a 70 BP one. Additionally, why does Kana get a personal Lovely Kiss clone in Lost Dreams? Hypnosis was sacrificed in order to add this move, and anything that used to use it has to deal with Sing now, a huge nerf since it's a sound-based move.
Now normally, all of this wouldn't bother me. I'd be able to write all of this off as just yet another subpar hack and that would be the end of it. What bothers me is that Another World, World Link, Scarlet Emerald, and Touhoumon Insane have become the "standard" of what Touhou hacks are - broken translations, dull fetch quests, and frustrating difficulty spikes. Fans have come to accept this and think of it as normal simply because they "get to capture and battle with lolis xD" or what have you and they get all giddy and happy that they're playing something. I'm honestly fine with that, people are free to enjoy what they want to, but the problem is that other people who know next to nothing about these hacks/Touhou apart from what they've heard about in the aforementioned popular hacks will simply write it off as a bunch of complete bullshit and never give it a try, even though the official hacks are reasonably fair.
Zero Marisa - Water - Drizzle - 130HP, 150ATK, 160DEF, 190SATK, 150SDEF, 210SPD
Scarlet Emerald's readme actually tries to justify its difficulty curve by saying "have you ever played a Touhou game before?" and "Chiyuri is BS in PoDD as well" and that does not fly well with me at all. Something doesn't need to be stupidly hard just because it's a Touhou fangame. There's a fine line between challenging and hard, and often times these hacks use that line as a marker to know where to begin pole vaulting. Even the official Gensokyo scenario content is guilty of this, and it would need to be re-balanced as well so the earlygame isn't an endless mess of grinding 6 levels above the next plot trainer off of level 8 wilds.
I think that's everything I've been wanting to say. I'm sorry that this is so text-heavy, but there's not really much of a way I can make a level 100 trainer gauntlet interesting when I'm 1~3HKOing everything with Blizzard and walling the lack of Grass moves with Toyohime.
After defeating all seven of the trainers present, you're allowed to open the door at the top of the room. Doing so prompts Byakuren to battle you, but her team is once again just EX UFO characters, so the only threat it poses to you is the fact you can't heal after this battle ends, meaning you can potentially enter the next battle with an injured lead.
Unsurprisingly, the person awaiting us in the next room is the player we didn't choose. Seeing her does more for the player's memory than running around aimlessly grinding for about a hundred hours did, so this is an improvement as something is actually goddamned happening.
Of course, we have to get another screen fade for the road.
Remember way back in the first update where I mentioned trying to capture the forced shiny Chibi Remilia would crash the ROM, as it was plot important?
Here's the plot point in action, a shiny LwRemilia. I find this cute, so it doesn't bother me at all.
More Quick Claw Destroy. What's with unofficial hacks putting OHKO moves on the Sketch versions of the Watatsukis? I understand that their stats are generally low and the OHKO moves are the only way they'll kill something, but if they're so weak do you have to actually put them on the team when you could just stick an all-purpose puppet there instead?
And this thing that I guess is important because it has 180 SATK with Fire/Dragon STABs.
Zero Reimu stopped being a threat a long time ago.
The pinnacle of game design.
Zero Yukari - Dark/Psychic - Advent - 140HP, 130ATK, 245DEF, 220SATK, 245SDEF, 10SPD
This thing effectively has far higher than 990 BST due to the Speed dump, and is enough to justify using something with Taunt or Destroy on your team because if you're not using a Last Word Youmu or X Items you're not going to do enough damage to it to KO it in a reasonable timeframe.
You can't even Toxic stall it because it has RestTalk, which can pull Gap, and Gap can further pull Destroy which has two instances to be pulled from in this team, so you can't even safely sit in front of it burning Sleep Talk PP unless you're using a Ghost type.
I had to PP stall it myself due to my lack of sheer firepower. Ah well, I guess it's my own fault for not using a LwYoumu or Taunt.
Are we done yet?
What follows is a ridiculous cliche RPG scene where it shows all the characters you interacted with saying not to give up that I'm not even going to give the honor of screenshots to because its disgustingly cheesy.
Thank you, Sanae. Why are you here talking again?
For the sake of more screenshots I don't have to post, it's a giant space flea from out of nowhere that is apparently an evil spirit caused from Marisa being a complete screwup and trying to create puppets using only one tome instead of just going off to some breeding island and creating more that way. If it isn't destroyed it'll infect all the other puppets that exist and they'll start turning on everybody and CRISIS!
No, really. I couldn't make this up. Oh yeah, and you can't heal between the Champion battle and this battle, so you should probably use that time Yukari is Struggling to death to get your team back in fighting shape.
Zero Flandre - Fire/Dark - Intimidate - 100HP, 245K ATK, 110DEF, 245SATK, 110SDEF, 180SPD
The Flandre has a Quick Claw and why are these offensive stats a thing when it still has 100/110/110 bulk?
Since I'm not doing any of the other stupid level 100 post postgame battles, there's only one thing left to do now.
After clearing all the nonsense in the game, Patchouli gives you a randomly generated Zero form. The Zero she gives you is a forced shiny to prove "legitimacy" and comes at level 1. What did I get, you may not care enough to ask?
This. It'd almost be a waste to see it rot away, so I guess I should do something with it. Maybe somebody out there reading this would want it?