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Varth: Operation Thunderstorm - October 19, '99 by Dorsola
Game:Varth: Operation ThunderstormCompany:Capcom
Type:ShooterPlayers:1/2

Are you into high-action scrolling plane shooters? If so, this is the game for you! "Varth: Operation Thunderstorm" has gotta be THE most impressive game overall that I have ever played! Definitely one of Capcom's finest - and Capcom has a considerable reputation for making some of the best arcade games in the world. :)
The game takes place on Varth, a planet governed by a supercomputer which has been taken over by an evil spirit, forcing the planet's population into war. Two lone planes, Saber and Scimitar, are the only means by which the Varthians (sp?) can regain control of their world. Thus begins your adventure, so strap yourself in and get ready for non-stop hyper-powered action!
One of the things that makes this game so absolutely great is the high attention to detail in the graphics. There is just so much to look at! Backgrounds, objects... even enemy shots. This game deserves every point in its graphic rating that it got from me - the screenshots provided with this review don't even do it justice. Sound, too, is excellent: A jammin' soundtrack for every level, and reasonably convincing sound effects that for the most part stay out of the way. The only thing I would have improved would be the quality and depth of the various sound effects. But the driving music and the rest of the gameplay more than make up for this fact.
There are a few nice features in typical vertical-scroller fashion that keep this game's difficulty level just below the impossible mark. (Even at the easiest setting, this game is incredibly challenging - can I beat it on a single credit? Are you crazy??) There are three different weapons available to you as powerups: A machine-gun, spreadfire cannon, and laser cannon. You have unlimited ammo, and as you upgrade the power of your weapons, it becomes obvious that realism is not this game's strong point. (Was it meant to be? ;-) You also have a self-recharging supply of super-bombs (different for each main weapon) and (again as powerups) several different sets of defense pods. These pods are indestructable and can be set as either absolute frontal or variable all-around defense, absorbing enemy shots and protecting your ship.
Okay, so with that much power at your disposal, you're pretty much invincible, right? WRONG! There are literally thousands of enemies in this game to shoot at. You're taken through a whopping 30 stages, some of which have end bosses, some whose point is simply to stay alive. There are plenty of times where there are literally so many things happening on the screen at once that the game itself slows down, the relatively powerful hardware nearly buckling under the strain of its programming. This (and the fact that a P2-300 or higher is required to play this game at full speed in MAME) is the reason why Varth doesn't get a 9 or 10 in Performance. This is also what makes the game such a challenge - it is literally impossible to dodge all the shots, no matter how powerful you are, what type of defense pods you use, and how good you are with the joystick. (One stage took me a whole eight quarters to beat!)
This game will definitely keep you coming back for more. Like I said, at the easiest setting, it is a VERY difficult game. Two-player cooperative play gives it an even higher replay-value rating. Overall, one of the finest super-plane shooters ever made - a formidable example by which other, even newer games pale in comparison.
Graphics
10
10
Sound
Play Control
9
9
Challenge
Replay Value
10
7
Performance

Screen Shots

Screen Shot 1
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Screen Shot 3
1999 EmuViews