One of the early definitive multi-stage space shooter games with an end of level boss to kill, Phoenix sees you take charge of a ship armed with bullets and a defensive shield.
You must destroy the waves of attacking space birds to reach to boss ship and destroy it. Wave one sees you facing attacking yellow birds , which start in a Galaxians/Galaga type formation moving back and forth, and breaking formation to swoop down on you attempting to ram your ship. You may only fire one shot on screen at a time. Destroy them all and move on to wave two.
Screen two sees enemy birds of a similar style, this time purple in colour , and on this screen you may fire two shots at once onscreen. The birds in this wave attack in the same manner, though they swoop down and shoot more regularly than those on screen one. Destroy them all and progress to wave three.
Wave three sees large blue bird eggs moving back and forth on screen. If you don't manage to shoot the eggs in time they hatch into large winged blue birds which must be shot dead centre to be killed. Winging them is not enough as the damaged limb soon regrows. The large birds move across the screen swooping down on you and firing bullets more frequently than in the previous two waves. If they move down past you they will reappear at the top of the screen once more. Destroy all the birds or eggs to move on to wave four.
Wave four is the same as wave three, except this time with purple bird eggs hatching into large winged purple birds which must be shot the in the same way as wave three. Kill them all and advance to the final stage.
Wave five is the final stage in the game, and sees the enemy boss in its huge spaceship moving slowly down the screen towards you, flanked by a formation of purple birds (the same as in wave two). The ship is protected by a thick layer of shielding, and you must shoot through this shielding to break it down to penetrate it. Behind the yellow shielding is a layer of purple shielding which moves from left to right and you must shoot this to create a hole in the shield through which you must fire and score a hit on the enemy boss to kill it. All the while the boss fires waves of bullets at you, and the purple birds swoop down as in wave two attempting to cause your mission to fail by killing you. Once you shoot the enemy boss, you are awarded bonus points and the game reverts to wave one and continues.
On waves one, two and five once the birds reach your level they will fly upwards to returns to their orignal formation place. If you shoot them in flight you will score extra points.
Your defensive shield, while it is by no means impenetrable provides an effective means of safety on occasions to protect you from bullets and direct contact with birds on a collision course. Your shield also takes several seconds to recharge before it can be used again.
One extra life is awarded when your score reaches 3,000 points.
Shooting a yellow or purple bird: 20, 40 or 80 points.
Shooting a yellow or purple bird in flight: 200 points.
Shooting a blue or purple egg: 50 or 100 points.
Shooting a large blue or purple bird: 100 to 800 points (random).
Shooting the boss: 1,000 to 9,000 points (depending on height).
Two identical versions, one with Taito Corp. copyright and one with T.P.N. copyright.
Starting lives can be set to 3, 4, 5 or 6 (default is 3).
Points required for the extra life can be set to 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 or 6,000 (default is 3,000).
Use your shield carefully. If you are moving when you activate it, their is a greater danger it will fail to save you.
Birds will sometimes stop directly above you as if in a starting formation. Shoot them before they fly back up.
Birds which stop below you can be killed with your shield.
Remember you are unable to move when your shield is activated. Therefore try to avoid using it at the left or right edge of the screen on wave three or four, as you may be hit by bullets as soon as your shield runs out.
On waves two or five, there will be an occasion when three birds will attack in formation. If you can shoot them when they are moving back up (when you would normally get the two hundred point bonus) a bug occurs which takes your score up to the 200,000 point mark! However, if you repeat this on a later stage your score reverts to its original level.