Varth: Operation Thunderstorm

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Varth logo.png

Varth: Operation Thunderstorm
Varth title screen.png

Title screen

Developer: Capcom
Director: Yoshiki Okamoto
Noritaka Funamizu
Akira Nishitani
Music: Masaki Izutani
Yoko Shimomura
Toshio Kajino
Program: Atsushi Ohuchi
Akiyoshi Eshiro
Komorichie Darkside
Art: Eiji Kuratani
Sayuri Shintani
Release date: Arcade: June 12, 1992
Previous game: Chariot
Next game: Ultimate Ecology

Varth: Operation Thunderstorm (JP: "バース オペレーション サンダー ストーム") is a vertical scrolling shoot em' up developed by Capcom in 1992.

The game has been ported through Capcom Classics Collection (Remixed/Vol 2) on PSP, PS2, and Xbox.

For replay videos, visit the Video Index.

Gameplay Overview

Varth is a 2-button game with 30 stages.


  • A button (Press/Hold): Fires the player's main shot/pods.
  • B button (Press): Activates the player's bomb.


Bomb stock has a gauge that fills up over time, type of bomb varies between shot types. Homing, Missile, and Napalm are fired by the player's pods.

Icon Description
Varth pow.png
Adds 1 power level, maxes out at level 8 for shots and level 4 for sub-weapons.
Varth machinegun.png
Machine Gun
Good balance of range and power; bomb is 5 homing bullets.
Varth wide.png
Wide Shot
Spread shot, bomb is a large frontal fireball.
Varth laser.png
Pierces small enemies; bomb is a screen clearing strike of lightning.
Varth homing.png
Fires homing missiles; number of missiles increases with power level.
Varth missile.png
Forward firing missiles; spread increases with power level.
Varth napalm.png
Fires small bullets that explode on impact; range increases with power level.
Varth bomb.png
Adds a bomb to the player's stock.
Varth flag.png
Score item, gives a 5,000 point bonus on pickup.


This is the main feature of Varth. When a homing, missile or napalm item is first collected a set of two pods are attached to the player's ship. The pods are indestructible and block bullets, but other projectiles such as lasers can bypass this. There are 2 types of pods the player can select.

Varth JP pods.png

  • Fuzzy: The pods react to bullets and move around the player in a circular motion.
  • Front: Both pods are attached in front of the player. These do not move.

Bomb refilling

When bombs aren't full, 0xFF83BA normally decreases once per frame. This will decrease four times per frame when pressing down every other frame (or alternate diagonals every frame, change directions every frame, etc). The only time this doesn't decrease four times per frame is when 0xFF83BA is 3, 2, or 1. Whether it's at 4, 3, 2, 1, when it's supposed to decrease by 4, the next number will be whatever the starting value is for a given bomb that's charging.

Starting values for 0xFF83BA:

  • Bomb 1: 0x3C
  • Bomb 2: 0x5A
  • Bomb 3: 0x80

This is how long it takes to charge each bomb (minimum and maximum length of time):

  • Bomb 1
    • Min: 225 frames, 3.77 seconds.
    • Max: 900 frames, 15.09 seconds.
  • Bomb 2
    • Min: 345 frames, 5.78 seconds.
    • Max: 1350 frames, 22.64 seconds.
  • Bomb 3
    • Min: 480 frames, 8.05 seconds.
    • Max: 1920 frames, 32.19 seconds.

Note that the maximum bomb stock possible is 5. However, the 4th and 5th bomb do not follow this rule, once used up their slot will disappear.

Extra Lives

On default settings, extra lives are granted at 600,000 points, 2,000,000 points, and 4,500,000 points.


Stage clear bonus

The stage clear bonus is comprised of the following factors: Boss destroyed (if there is any), bomber stock, podless clear and remaining stock.

Bomber stock bonus

Different amount of points are awarded depending on the number of bombs the player has.

Bomb stock Points
1 1,000 points
2 3,000 points
3 10,000 points
4 20,000 points
5 50,000 points

Podless bonus

50,000 points are granted every time a stage is cleared without having pods equipped.

Remaining stock bonus

300,000 points for every life stock remaining after clearing stage 30.



Version Differences

US version

This is the international release. This version has instant respawns after dying instead of a checkpoint system and other differences.


The pods have been renamed from Fuzzy and Front to Smart and Fixed respectively, their description was also translated to English.

Japan US
Varth JP pods.png Varth US pods.png

Bomb refilling

The bomb refilling is slightly faster compared to the Japanese version.

Starting values for 0xFF83BA:

  • Bomb 1: 0x32
  • Bomb 2: 0x50
  • Bomb 3: 0x6E

How long it takes to charge each bomb (minimum and maximum length of time):

  • Bomb 1
    • Min: 195 frames, 3.27 seconds
    • Max: 750 frames, 12.58 seconds
  • Bomb 2
    • Min: 300 frames, 5.03 seconds
    • Max: 1200 frames, 20.12 seconds
  • Bomb 3
    • Min: 420 frames, 7.04 seconds
    • Max: 1650 frames, 27.67 seconds

References & Contributors

  • Bomb refill research by sikraiken.