Crash Guide Game of the Month

One of the classics


by Megadodo


Eggs and bombs away in one of the best arcade original copies for the Spectrum — Megadodo’s PHEENIX

Pheenix is 99% accurate as a copy of the arcade original, and includes 5 screens with 5 skill levels. The entry skill level can be chosen by the player (level 1 is slowish, level 5 is very, very fast). A demo mode will run if the keyboard is left alone for a short time. There are no instructions on playing the game, so watch this demo very carefully.

Once the various options have been chosen the game begins with a tuneful melody — just like the arcade original; even the scrolling stars have not been forgotten. In screen 1 (your craft appears at the bottom of course) very colourful birds form up on the screen, one or two breaking formation to attack you. For defence a laser cannon is supplied and an electro force field comes as standard.

Screen 2 is very much like the first but the birds are a different colour (flapping wings as well) and they attack you more frequently, but you can shoot more quickly now. On screen 3 you will get a surprise when you start to shoot the weaving eggs — they split open with the points awarded inside, the two halves of the egg shooting off to either side of the screen just as in the original. After three passes of the eggs over the screen, the birds inside hatch out, flapping creatures, each with a mind of its own. Now the force field comes into its own, saving you from the deadly bombs and their kamikaze attacks. One thing though, the barrier can only be active for a certain length of time before it needs recharging. These birds certainly don’t like you, and will sacrifice their lives for yours if necessary.

Screen 4 is a copy of the third screen except for the colour difference. There are the eggs again, but the resulting birds are even more lethal for it. On both this screen and screen 3, giving a bird an indirect hit causes it to yelp — great!!

Screen 5, and on to the Mothership. The object is to shoot away the protection barrier beneath the ship and kill the mother bird inside. Of course, she isn’t going to let you get away with this, so she throws loads of cluster bombs at you. The Mothership is also protected by highly dangerous birds, which not only swoop at you, dropping as many as twelve bombs at a time but they’ll also kamikaze you if the bombs don’t kill you off. Screen 5 is very difficult to complete, but if you do, then a tuneful and visual display congratulates you and you return to screen 1 with the game speeded up.

All the details of the original have been included and I was very impressed with the way the birds flapped their wings and with the explosions. The sound appears to have been faithfully reproduced, and the Spectrum has been pushed a long way with this game — and what’s so appealing is that it has all been fitted into 16K. If you haven’t got it, definitely a game to add to your collection.

Matthew Uffindell

Pheenix is produced by Megadodo for the 16K Spectrum, priced £5.50. It may be played with a Kempston or AGF joystick.

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