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 Post subject: Varth: Operation Thunderstorm (Arcade - PS2 - XBOX - PSP)
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 9:55 pm 


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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 286
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
┬┐Does you and your friend have a few hours to spare on the arcade?, then you're gonna like Varth: Operation Thunderstorm.



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*In Pod 042's voice*
Analysis: Saber & Scimitar are capable of picking different Pod types.
Proposal: Selecting the "SMART" type will be more effective.


Once you start the game, you can choose between two Pod options: Smart or Fixed. Sounds basic, but sometimes, two options are all what you need in your mission.
SMART: The Pods will rotate towards the incoming bullet, protecting the ship in any direction.
FIXED: The Pods will be locked in front of your ship, like the Shield from the first Gradius games.



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If I pick that multi-cannon, someone will suffer. Big time.

Like in Raiden, You can pick different weapons for Saber and Scimitar. Weapons don't just change what you're firing, they also have their own bomb attacks.

V61K 30mm VULCAN: Your default weapon. The game's voice sample calls it "Machine Gun". Fires a frontal 3-row bullets fire making it a basic weapon with a slight width and strong firepower. Its bomb unleashes 5 homing fireballs.
WR-7 A.A. ROCKET MISSILE: Called "Long Shot", this is the Spread Shot of the game. Fires bullets in a 5-way 3-row of bullets, which is quite weak compared with the Vulcan. Its bomb releases a large fireball as its frontal attack, backed up by small flames on the four diagonal directions.
HLC-5 ZOOM-LASER GUN: The full frontal laser beam that fires small lasers that will gradually merge into a large one once its fully powered up, inflicting considerable damages. You can also control how long the beam is by holding the button like the Cyclone Laser in Gradius III. It's bomb unleashes a net of lighting bolts.

Also, your Pod can be equipped with three different weapons too.

HOMING (H): Fires missiles that lock on targets. Fast, but weak.
MISSILE (M): Fires a 3 way diagonal missile fire that provides frontal-diagonal support. They're stronger than the Homing.
NAPALM (N): The bomb-like weapon. Drops a bomb that generates a large explosion upon impact. They're powerful than the Missile but here's the catch: They're short ranged and are diagonal like the Napalm in Gekirindan.


Unlike the 194X series, Varth: Operation Thunderstorm takes a turn from being a basic Capcom shooter to make an approach to the genre known as "Raiden Clone", as the gameplay is more, much more similar to Seibu Kaihatsu's classic shooter and its clones, I can compare Varth's power ups with the Pulsators from Final Star Force since we have a 3 weapon option, but unlike Raiden's 2 missile variety, Varth adds one more to the "Missile or Homing" selection by including the Napalm.
But the strength on Varth's gameplay is the Pods which can be used in different configurations to protect the ship from either multidirectional or concentrate it on frontal attacks. One of the best features of the game is the bomb reloading, which means technically you have unlimited bombs, but you have to wait until a bar fills to recover the bomb you used. You can wiggle the control stick to accelerate the reloading time and get the bomb quicker. This bar refilling only applies to three bombs. You can get two more by picking "B" items until you get a maximum of 5. Clearing a stage with 5 bombs will grant you a 30,000 point bonus. Despite the Raiden-like mechanics, some Capcom aspects are retained like the ship formations that drop an item when the group is destroyed and the Yasichi item that randomly appears which acts as the full power item just like the "P" from Raiden, and like said item, you will need to have a pod to fully upgrade both weapon and sub-weapon or else you'll have some difficult moments struggling to fully power your Pod.

The Pods are a vital item in the game, since the structure of the gameplay is heavily focused on them mostly as protection for your ship rather than its purpose as a sub-weapon. Ironically, completing a stage without grabbing a Pod item will give you a 50,000 "Podless Clear Bonus" which will be a great challenge for hardcore gamers since the game will rely on bullet hell elements to give the Pods the functionality they're created for.



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Looks like there's no time to relax on the city at night.

With 30 stages long, there's one single thing to expect: A Boss-fest. Fortunately, Capcom thought that wasn't very necessary, since only 14 stages have boss fights or are just the boss battle only. In the "Direct Boss Fight Stage", the game tosses you small enemies like the battle with Dragon Fly, which might result in a slight lack of balance in the difficulty since there's many things on screen.



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One Point Advice: This is a PSA (Pilot Service Announcement) from Varth's base #45.

Like in most arcade games from Capcom, you're given a hint to improve your gameplay, also you are given the option of continuing or not the game without dealing with dropping the countdown by button mashing. Continuing also adds a point to your score as a "Mark of Shame", but there's a trick to dodge that: Pressing start as Player 2. You'll only need a friend to input your initials.



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Those submarines are Type-E: MAGMA DIVER.

One of the main aspects of Varth's graphics is the use of multiple screens "a la Thunder Force IV" in some stages, making the game look bigger that what you're looking at first sight. As for the color palette, it has evolved since the early shmups like U.N. Squadron and Forgotten Worlds as the graphic engine is pushed to its limits bringing a rich, bright and colorful environment, with a diverse variety of landscapes from post-apocalyptic cities to thrilling sea battles and even a life or death combat in a magmatic area with submarines capable of navigate under the lava, but my favorite one is the battle with Dragon Fly as it takes place on a city at night. Most of the times, the game makes the stage transitions after passing a layer of clouds like in Vapor Trail, breaking with the also used "stitched stages" like in Stages 1 to 3.


The music on the other side is a diverse fast paced combination of styles, for example, the rapid rocking style music that plays during Steel Golem's battle that suits well on the fast running stage as you fight the gigantic armed train, but most of the time keeps that Megaman-esque adventurous pace rather than following a specific style like let's say Thunder Force or Raiden, but its still an enjoyable soundtrack. There's a few instances where the soundcard sounds outdated compared with others of the early-mid 90's and that's on a few notes that sound like "Pyiiuuum"s for instance in the final stages of the game (DUO's battle), a testimony that Capcom needed to upgrade their arcade system if they didn't wanted to stay behind the competition, something that they did later on the CPS2 with Eco Fighters.


VARTH: OPERATION TRIVIASTORM
- Varth is the name of the Earth-like planet where the game takes place.
- Varth is pronounced "Vars"
- Casber Rublan is the pilot of the F7W Saber.
- Casber is 29 years old.
- He breaks with the stereotypical soldier mold due to his comedian attitude.
- The M-2451 Scimitar's pilot is Felry Carnihum.
- Felry is a 22 years old.
- DUO's form in Stage 29 is known as Cartbridge Gunner.
- DUO means "Dimension Unbody Offender".
- Unlike most American releases done by Capcom USA, Varth was distributed by Romstar.
- Varth was the last shmup released on the CP System arcade hardware.
- The character from Side Arms Hyper Dyne appears as an item that will destroy all on-screen enemies when collected.
- Ryu from the Street Fighter series makes a cameo in stage 4 as a hidden item. He will appear doing a Shoryuken. Continuing to fire on Ryu until he disappears will yield a large amount of power ups.
- Clearing the game in 1-credit will reveal a formation of Ryu's making a synchronized Shoryuken right after the Saber and Scimitar leaves when the Capcom logo appears.
- Ryu's cameo is the most known among players.
- The Yasichi, a former enemy from Vulgus, becomes a full Power-up item for your ship, like the "P" in Raiden.
- The F7W Saber will appear in Dariusburst CS: Chronicle Saviours as a DLC.


Varth: Operation Thunderstorm is not just Capcom's Raiden Clone, it is THE RAIDEN CLONE that makes Raiden meet its match and dethrones Thunder Dragon 2 as the Raiden Clone to end all Raiden Clones.
_________________
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Bringing you shmup reviews with humorous criticism.

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