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 Post subject: Varth - IMO the best vertical shmup on the CPS
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:49 pm 



Joined: 22 Sep 2009
Posts: 564
https://youtu.be/0xdKsL5BJVg

I remember the first time I played Varth in arcades. I was hooked. The graphics, the art style, the soundtrack and gameplay...all solid 10/10's in my opinion. Yet I def don't hear it talked about as much as some of the other games on the CPS.

Any love for Varth here?


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 Post subject: Re: Varth - IMO the best vertical shmup on the CPS
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2021 2:58 pm 


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I think it's great, but it's a bigger asshole than most once you're powered down, and I believe it has an insane number of levels.
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 Post subject: Re: Varth - IMO the best vertical shmup on the CPS
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2021 7:33 pm 



Joined: 22 Sep 2009
Posts: 564
Marc wrote:
I think it's great, but it's a bigger asshole than most once you're powered down, and I believe it has an insane number of levels.


yeah it can be brutal and long. I def wont 1CC it this lifetime but all in all I still enjoy the hell out of it


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 Post subject: Re: Varth - IMO the best vertical shmup on the CPS
PostPosted: Wed Sep 22, 2021 7:52 pm 



Joined: 05 May 2021
Posts: 73
It is fun to play around with, but at 30 levels no way would I get seriously invested into it. That would be a major exercise in frustration.


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 Post subject: Re: Varth - IMO the best vertical shmup on the CPS
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 11:13 am 


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I agree that 30 levels is maybe a bit excessive, but the game is "only" an hour long despite that. Not all levels even have bosses. Maybe cut a few of the more boring levels, but overall I don't think this game feels like it's too long.

My biggest complaint with the game is the stick wiggling to recharge your bombs. It get can kinda tiresome after playing for a while. It's not clever at all and I wish the bomb recharge system had been reworked a bit.

But overall, I fully agree. Great visuals, music, levels. Definitely one of my favorite Capcom shmups.
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 Post subject: Re: Varth - IMO the best vertical shmup on the CPS
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 12:53 pm 



Joined: 21 Sep 2021
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"Only" an hour long for one run? Ugh. Funny how my attitude has completely flipped regarding game length... But only for shmups. I don't have the time or energy to play a single run of a shmup for an hour.


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 Post subject: Re: Varth - IMO the best vertical shmup on the CPS
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:50 pm 


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Varth is one of my favorite shooters ever. The length and stage count might seem daunting at first, but when you get invested in a run it just flies by like nothing. It's an end to end heavy hitter. Absolute killer soundtrack, top notch Capcom quality graphics, and an incredibly fun secret-based scoring system pushes all the right buttons for me. I even like the bomb generation wiggling :)
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 Post subject: Re: Varth - IMO the best vertical shmup on the CPS
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 2:37 pm 



Joined: 12 Mar 2019
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Almost sounds like a description for Magic Sword.


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 Post subject: Re: Varth - IMO the best vertical shmup on the CPS
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 3:09 pm 


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Is it true that bullet speeds are faster when playing with fixed pod formation rather than the automatically rotating pods?
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 Post subject: Re: Varth - IMO the best vertical shmup on the CPS
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:41 pm 


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Never heard of the game until Rob's famous 90s arcade shooter thread, which praised Varth to no end. Bought the PCB on a whim since it was cheap at the time, but never actually put much time into it until a relatively few years ago ('14 or '15 or so?).
I love the game's style and look, and it feels like a nice companion to 1941, but like that game I just couldn't click with it. It doesn't feel particularly difficult, but it is. Or at least I kept dying and I never really figured out what I could do to mitigate my mistakes, like they'd just happen anywhere eventually. I ended up only spending a few days really grinding at it, and I'd lie if I claimed the massive level count didn't feel consistently daunting as I was only making meager progress.

It's one of my dream 1CCs for some time in the future, but as time moves on it seems less and less likely that it will ever happen.


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 Post subject: Re: Varth - IMO the best vertical shmup on the CPS
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 6:35 pm 



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
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Back in 1992-1994, the local Funworks arcade joint had a Dynamo upright running the CPS-1 powered Varth stg. So yes, I was well acquainted with it back in the early 1990s indeed. It did get a proper American arcade release courtesy of Capcom USA arcade subsidiary. It wasn't until I spotted another Dynamo upright cab with Varth installed at the Circus-Circus casino (located in Reno, NV) back in 1995 and proceed to check it on a more through basis. I managed to get to stage 24 but couldn't clear/pass it due it's overall difficulty factor (sure, I credit-fed it using real arcade tokens as that was how the arcade games/pinball machines were setup to be coined-up there). Great arcade stg in it's own right and commands a high price in the secondary arcade pcb collector's market nowadays.

PC Engine Fan X! ^_~


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 Post subject: Re: Varth - IMO the best vertical shmup on the CPS
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 8:53 pm 



Joined: 21 Sep 2021
Posts: 68
Sumez wrote:
Never heard of the game until Rob's famous 90s arcade shooter thread, which praised Varth to no end. Bought the PCB on a whim since it was cheap at the time, but never actually put much time into it until a relatively few years ago ('14 or '15 or so?).
I love the game's style and look, and it feels like a nice companion to 1941, but like that game I just couldn't click with it. It doesn't feel particularly difficult, but it is. Or at least I kept dying and I never really figured out what I could do to mitigate my mistakes, like they'd just happen anywhere eventually. I ended up only spending a few days really grinding at it, and I'd lie if I claimed the massive level count didn't feel consistently daunting as I was only making meager progress.

It's one of my dream 1CCs for some time in the future, but as time moves on it seems less and less likely that it will ever happen.

I don't know if Varth is this way, but I've played a fair bit of 1944 Loop Master, 19xx and the other 19whatever games, and part of what makes them so hard is the combination of a really massive hitbox with enemies who snipe the hell out of you. Bullets are too fast to dodge on reaction and some patterns are too dense to slip between. So you either bomb or macro or know what's coming.


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 Post subject: Re: Varth - IMO the best vertical shmup on the CPS
PostPosted: Thu Sep 23, 2021 9:53 pm 


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PC Engine Fan X! wrote:
Back in 1992-1994, the local Funworks arcade joint had a Dynamo upright running the CPS-1 powered Varth stg. So yes, I was well acquainted with it back in the early 1990s indeed. It did get a proper American arcade release courtesy of Capcom USA arcade subsidiary. It wasn't until I spotted another Dynamo upright cab with Varth installed at the Circus-Circus casino (located in Reno, NV) back in 1995 and proceed to check it on a more through basis. I managed to get to stage 24 but couldn't clear/pass it due it's overall difficulty factor (sure, I credit-fed it using real arcade tokens as that was how the arcade games/pinball machines were setup to be coined-up there). Great arcade stg in it's own right and commands a high price in the secondary arcade pcb collector's market nowadays.

PC Engine Fan X! ^_~
Now this is the kind of action I ask from these forums.
Did not played Varth an awful lot, personally, as I did not like input delay, back when in MAME. I did always like the seriousness if it, as if you were at the serious business all the time. No "tunnel of love" politics, you need to be right there.
In other words, Varth (and very few other shmups, really), gave me am impression of being somewhere outside of the usual "tunnel of love" course.
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 Post subject: Re: Varth - IMO the best vertical shmup on the CPS
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2021 12:49 am 


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BareKnuckleRoo wrote:
Is it true that bullet speeds are faster when playing with fixed pod formation rather than the automatically rotating pods?

The game has survival rank which increases at different rates based on pods. No pods increases rather slowly, fixed pods increases at a reasonable rate, and automatic pods increases much faster. Personally I find the automatic pods very unreliable anyways, so I'd always suggest using the fixed pods even aside from the lower rank.

IMO, with fixed pods, a good wiggling arm, and some good planning, it's not an exceptionally hard game. There's a number of points you need to know what to do on, but good instincts and good use of item-collection invulnerability can go a very long way in this game. The ability to generate bombs at will definitely lets you get away with some scandalous over-use of bombing-when-scared, so don't be afraid to let 'em rip.
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 Post subject: Re: Varth - IMO the best vertical shmup on the CPS
PostPosted: Fri Sep 24, 2021 9:13 am 


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Oh damn, I somehow forgot completely about the wiggling. Poor joysticks :O


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 Post subject: Re: Varth - IMO the best vertical shmup on the CPS
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2021 4:43 pm 



Joined: 25 Jan 2005
Posts: 3222
I deeply love Varth for a long list of reasons, to the point that I periodically get back to the game after 3 decades or so, and own the OST on CD. Case in point, I returned to the game in 2018 to nail the 1-LC I was missing after 26 years or so.

My thoughts in no particular order:

- Great retro-futuristic design in general. Dieselpunk themes were emerging during the late 80's/early 90's (see Gun Frontier, Thunder Dragon 1 & 2), but Varth added a few "art deco" themes to the mix (see stages 6 and 7 and their stunning backgrounds). The "floating island" boss (stage 4) is also a great design idea, and the ass-huge bosses a pleasure to tear down. In general, it mixes a lot of SF ideas from different sub-genres into a sometimes chaotic but overall nice blend (the ending being a great example);

- OST is an acquired taste, but I adore it. Stage 14 is one of those early VGM songs that I will forever associate with the period of my life during which I played the game (summer of 1992, in particular). As embarassing as it might sound, the teenager me would mentally associate this song with those bright sunsets in the hills and that feeling of transience that only teenage summers spent playing videogames can give you;

- Rank, aggressive use of weapons, loads of secret bonuses, primary and secondary weapons...such a shame that the game did not feature multiple extends and suicide techniques! I wonder if Yagawa S. ever acknowledged this title as a source of inspiration. If he had done so, I must have overlooked it.

Some thoughts about rank and the game system in general:

- trap15's summary is spot-on. My experience is that keeping the primary weapon (the "main shot") at level 4 also makes the rank increase at a slow pace, and possibly max out before bullets become really fast;

- Machine gun is the best weapon at lower power levels, especially if combined with homing missiles. The game uses the "wobbly screen" mechanic (I forgot the name, sorry), and it features tons of enemies spawning from the bottom or from the (hidden) sides. Getting sniped, even with fixed pods, is easy if you are not careful;

- Using the hidden bonuses to gain 1-2 seconds of invisibility is also a necessary technique from roughly level 9 onwards. In latter stages (e.g. 18 and 27-28), bonuses' placement also gives hints as to which enemies should be destroyed first;

- The wiggle recharge works faster when your bomb stock is empty. It should take 15 seconds or less (10? 12?) to recharge the first bomb, if you wiggle. It is useful to abuse this fact to strategically spam-bomb stages, while also using bonuses to gain momentary invicibility/invisibility breaks. The final part of stage 26 is one passage that seems designed to force you to use 2-3 bombs in rapid succession.
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