A quick look back at a classic - Varth: Operation Thunderstorm
As time goes by the classic video game titles that we remember playing as kids slowly but surely vanish from sight and are forgotten, but among them are a handful of favorites that seem to survive the test of time and are still played by gamers today even with the huge range of complex 3-D games available. One of those games that you may remember was a fast paced shoot-em-up styled title called Varth – Operation Thunderstorm; a space ship vertical scrolling shooter released by Capcom in 1992 specifically for the arcade game centers. In fact, even with the rise in popularity of home gaming consoles in the 80’s, Varth stayed true to its roots and remained on the arcade machine screens until its relatively recent revival.
Remembering Varth: Operation Thunderstorm
If you’re struggling to remember Varth, it had a similar look and feel to Capcom’s other hit shoot-em-up title ‘1942’, except that you fly in high-tech fighter jets rather than older styled planes from the Second World War. Players move vertically up the screen fending off attacking enemies from all sides and dodging oncoming fire whilst collecting special sets of power-up orbs which help to build your jets strength and fire power for a final battle with a challenging end of level boss. The game is set on a mystery planet where a colony of humans is overrun by an evil entity called ‘Duo’ who has infected the colony’s machinery and is trying to destroy every living thing in its path. Players must shoot their way through several face paced levels in order to beat Duo and win back control of their new home.
To keep things interesting and separate Varth from the similar 1942 game, Capcom added an interesting set of weapons which could be interchanged during live game-play. There was also a choice of two characters (a boy or girl) each offering a distinct set of weapons, speeds, maneuverability and bomb capabilities; so it was possible to get a unique experience each time depending on the character that you chose. A player could also decide the positioning of their guns in a similar way to the R-Type game, these could be placed either on the front or back of the plane giving them protection in almost every direction. As you flew through each level you would occasional come across weapon orbs which had 3 colors representing a specific type; lasers, homing missiles and spread fire. You could either keep collecting one color and gradually build-up the strength of your fire power or change between the gun types until you found one that suited you.
Varth – Operation Thunderstorm remained in the dimly lit confines of the arcade centers before disappearing and reemerging in 2006, sporting slightly upgraded color, in the ‘Capcom Classics Collection’ game set which was released on Sony’s Playstation Portable and later created for the Playstation 2 and X-Box consoles.
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