Phoenix (arcade game)

Phoenix (arcade game)

Infobox VG
title = Phoenix

developer = Amstar
publisher = Centuri, Taito
designer =
platforms = Arcade, Atari 2600
release = 1980
genre = Shoot 'em up
modes = Up to 2 players, alternating turns
cabinet = Upright, cocktail,
arcade system =
display = Vertical raster, standard resolution
input = Either joystick (2-way) with 2 buttons, or 4 buttons (depends on cabinet)

"Phoenix" is a popular shoot 'em up arcade game created and manufactured by Amstar Electronics (which was located in Phoenix, Arizona) in 1980, and licensed to Centuri for US distribution, and to Taito for Japanese distribution.


Like many arcade games of that era, "Phoenix" is an outer space-themed fix shooter. Gameplay is somewhat predictable: each level has two types of alien birds that fire at your ship, and a mothership that is guarded by many of the same alien birds.

The spaceship moves horizontally at the bottom of the screen. In addition to the missiles, the ship is equipped with a shield that can be used to zap any of the alien creatures that attempt to crash into the spaceship. However, the player cannot move while the shield is active, and must wait for a short period (approximately five seconds) before using it again.

"Phoenix" was one of the first full color arcade games, along with "Galaxian", so at the time it stood out. Also, it has distinctive shooting sounds that have become very familiar to fans of the genre. Most importantly, the "Phoenix" mothership was the first video arcade game boss where the boss was presented as a separate challenge.


Each level has five separate rounds. The player must successfully complete a round before advancing to the next one.

* Rounds 1 and 2 – The player must destroy a formation of alien birds. While in formation, some of the birds fly down kamikaze style, in an attempt to destroy the player's spaceship by crashing into it. The birds are yellow in round 1, pink in round 2. The player's spaceship is given rapid fire for round 2, where the birds fly somewhat more unpredictably.

* Rounds 3 and 4 – Flying eggs float on the screen and seconds later hatch, revealing larger alien birds, resembling phoenices, which swoop down at the player's spaceship. The only way to fully destroy one of these birds is by hitting it in its belly; shooting one of its wings merely destroys that wing, and if both wings are destroyed, they will regenerate. From time to time the birds could also revert to the egg form for a brief period of time. The birds are blue in round 3, pink in round 4.

* Round 5 – The player is pitted against the mothership, which is controlled by an alien-like creature sitting in its center. To successfully complete this round, the player must first fire away at the hull and a conveyor belt-type shield to get a clear shot at the alien. Destroying the alien – only one shot is required – ends the level. The mothership fires missiles at the player, moves slowly down towards him and has the alien birds (from rounds 1 and 2) protecting the ship. Defeating all of the birds will produce a new wave.

The game continues, with the difficulty increasing per level.


There are two pieces of music featured in the game:
* "Romance de Amor" also known as "Spanish Romance" by an unknown composer.
* "Für Elise" by Beethoven.


*"Griffon" was released by Videotron in 1980.
*"Falcon" was released by BGV. in 1980.
*"Vautour" was released by Jeutel in 1980 in France.
*"Condor" was released by Sidam in 1981.
*Various games titled "Phoenix" are available for many graphing calculators.


*"Phoenix" was released by T.P.N in 1980
*"Phoenix" was released by IRECSA, G.G.I Corp in 1980


The official sequel to "Phoenix" was called "Pleiads" (onscreen) or "Pleiades" (on the Centuri manufactured marquee) and was developed by Tehkan in 1981, and licensed to Centuri for US distribution. Pleiades featured more enemies attacking at once, balanced by the fact that the player could now have an unlimited number of shots on the screen at one time.

The Flagship level in the Midway game "Gorf" has been compared to the boss stage in "Phoenix".


Most Phoenix games will be in a standard Centuri woodgrain cabinet, but several other cabinets exist, due to this game being sold by multiple companies at the same time. These use sticker sideart (which covers the upper half of the machine), and glass marquees. The control panel is made up entirely of buttons, no joysticks are present. The monitor in this machine is mounted vertically, and the monitor bezel is relatively unadorned. Phoenix uses a unique wiring harness, which isn't known to be compatible with any other games.

cpu 8085A @ 2.75MHz
audio TMS36XX @ 0.000372MHz
audio Custom
audio Discrete @ 0.12MHz


Mark Gotfraind holds the official record for this game with 987,620 points recorded on the 17th of March 1983 at Cloverleaf Golf N Game / N. Miami Beach, FL Fact|date=February 2007 Reference: Originally published in the 1987 Twin Galaxies Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records by Walter Day and maintained on-line at [] and []


Atari later bought the home video game console rights to "Phoenix". The Imagic game "Demon Attack" closely resembled "Phoenix", so Atari sued Imagic, who settled out of court. The home version of "Phoenix" is one of the better arcade ports of the time.

Taito appears to currently hold the worldwide rights to the game - in 2005, "Phoenix" was released on the Xbox, PlayStation 2, PSP and the PC as part of "Taito Legends" in the US and Europe, and "Taito Memories" in Japan.

External links

*KLOV game|id=9004
* [ Arcade History Database entry]
* ["Phoenix"] entry at the Arcade Database
* [ Java Version (pseudo SFX and too-fast gameplay)] (broken applet)

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