Review by eolsen

Reviewed: 02/21/06

One of the better Space Invaders clones

Space Invaders is probably one of the widest known games for the Atari 2600 and was probably the most popular. The Atari 2600 has seen its fair share of Space Invaders knock-offs, including this game, Phoenix. Of the Space Invaders knock-offs I have played, Phoenix is one of the few that has solid game play and is fun to play.

Phoenix is not only based on Space Invaders, but also has a storyline that follows an ancient legend about the phoenix. The phoenix was a fabulous creature that lived over five hundred years. At the end of its life, the phoenix built a nest of aromatic spices and set it on fire to die amidst the flames. From the ashes arose a young phoenix. However, something awful has happened to tarnish the image of the phoenix. Due to radioactive effects on the birds, they have mutated into a bird of pray and now have allegiances with aliens out to eliminate the human race, and it is up to you to save the human race from this powerful duo.

In this game, there are four waves of phoenixes and then an alien ship. In the first two waves, the phoenixes are small and are easy to hit, however in the third and fourth waves of phoenixes, they are much faster and more aggressive. The final battle against the alien ship requires you to shoot through the hull of the ship and shoot the alien pilot without getting destroyed by the ship’s fire or letting the ship land. After you encounter the space ship, the game will repeat itself. You have five lives to survive the attacks as long as possible. You also are equipped with a shield that will activate itself for a few seconds and attack you from any enemy fire.

Graphics
The graphics were a little above average when compared to other Atari 2600 games. There were small amounts of detail scattered throughout the game, but it really wasn’t the best that the Atari 2600 can put out. Your ship was a very simplistic design and enemy designs were very pixilated and not very detailed.

Audio
The problem that I have with most Atari 2600 games in the audio department is the fact that the game does not utilize the Atari’s audio capabilities. Most games have a few sound effects and hardly any music at all. However, Phoenix was a little different. Phoenix had background music that changed from stage to stage and really made the game a little bit better. The sound effects, though they were pretty much the standard effects found on other Atari 2600 shooters, they were well done.

Game Play/Replay Value
This game really breaks up the monotony that appears when you play Space Invaders. The good thing about how this game was designed is that it was based on Space Invaders, but has a unique storyline and some unique parts of the game play so that the game still resembles its older brother, yet still has enough uniqueness to it. The game play is pretty challenging and fast-paced. Each wave of attacks takes no more than two minutes to destroy completely, usually much less. The controls are also pretty good, though I felt that in tight situations I often accidentally would activate my shield, but there really wasn’t any way to avoid this problem. While this game has pretty good game play, I don’t find it occupying the cartridge slot of my Atari 7800 too often. I would still rather play this game’s big brother, Space Invaders.

Final Words
If you like the simplistic game play of games like Centipede or Space Invaders, then I would definitely say that this game is for you. If you are a fan of Atari 2600 style game play, than this game would definitely be worth trying out. This game is enjoyable and definitely worth the few dollars that it is worth.

Rating: 7

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