Phoenix is another great vertical shoot ’em up from the golden age of video gaming. It was developed by Amstar Electronics of Arizona and manufactured by Centuri in 1980, and featured even more progressive gameplay than Space Invaders and Galaxian.
Space Invaders had a single, relentless wave; Galaxian had its dive-bombing waves, and this had different types of enemies, distinctly different waves, and even a mother ship boss battle at the end (possibly the first video-gaming ‘boss battle’ of all time). Phoenix really did ‘up the ante’ when it came to the early days of “bullet hell” shooters.
It might not be as smooth as Galaxian, or as pure as Space Invaders, but it does bring some “Hollywood” set-pieces to the party. It also brings enemies that land on the ground and crawl up to you, killing you, which is a new one for the genre too…
Phoenix was a very influential arcade game. It may not be as well-remembered as some of its peers, but it did bring some new ideas to the genre and they were diligently copied by everyone else. I certainly have very fond memories of playing it in arcades (and chippies – Phoenix always seemed to appear in fish and chips shops in and around the UK) in the early 1980s.
More: Phoenix on Wikipedia