Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It has to be good...it has Beethoven.

I am not sure about the rest of you, dear readers, but I've played Phoenix mostly at a skating rink and at convenient stores. It seems that perhaps a deal was made and arcades would only want Galaga and the poor Phoenix was shunted off to the seedier locations.

Phoenix was released in 1980 by the Amstar Electronic corp. for Centuri games in 1980, Amstar was located in...Phoenix, Arizona. Perhaps this game is the true history of the state?

The gameplay itself is similar to that of Galaxian in the first two rounds, waves of bird/ships assemble at the top of the screen and then three at time descend to try to bomb you or crash into your ship. Phoenix allowed the player's ship to shield itself though you couldn't move while doing so and you needed five seconds to recharge your shielding.

Starting on the third wave you found yourself trying to shoot floating eggs before they hatched, if they did hatch you found yourself facing larger birds and had to shoot them in the belly to vanquish them. You could strike a hit on a wing but it would grow back. This wave would last for two rounds.

On round five you faced the mothership. Phoenix is the first game to include a 'Boss' level. You had to fire up into the mothership, wearing away it's shielding until a clear shot was available and you could hit the alien in the middle of the vessel.

Gameplay would start back at the first wave but obviously at a higher degree of difficulty. There are two pieces of music throughout the game:

1) Romance de Amor
2) Fur Elise

It is unknown who composed Romance de Amor but Fur Elise was by Beethoven. I'm not sure he would like that his music was in a video game.

According to Twin Galaxies, Mark Gotfraind holds the official record for this game with 987,620 points recorded on the 17th of March 1983

Also of interest is when the Atari company purchased the rights to create a port of Phoenix it ended up suing Imagic for their game Demon Attack, the case was settled out of court and it is not know how much Imagic ended up paying Atari.


Dax said...

Wow...never even heard of this game before now.

Stewed Hamm said...

I stupidly traded my 2600 Keystone Kapers game for Phoenix & Mrs. Pac Man. After about 20 seconds of playing Phoenix, I figured it was a cheap-ass ripoff of a "real" arcade game - in the vein of the PacMan port for 2600.
It wasn't until I was in my early 20s that I discovered people actually paid good quarters to play that game. Sad.

On the other hand, I got countless hours of play out of that Mrs. PacMan cart. I can't even begin to count how many times I was late to school because I got to the first key level and wasn't going to tank my game for ANYTHING!

Vic Sage said...

To this day I believe that Mrs. Pac-Man was so good on the Atari 2600 because the company felt ashamed of their Pac-Man entry. I don't know how much money they put into it but it was for it's time a much better cartridge than we had previously seen.

Stewed Hamm said...

Amen to that, Vic