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.