The Game: In a heavily armed space fighter, your job is pretty simple – ward off wave after wave of bird-like advance fighters and Phoenix creatures until you get to the mothership, and then try to blow that to smithereens. All of which would be simple if not for the aliens’ unpredictable kamikaze dive-bombing patterns. The Phoenix creatures themselves are notoriously difficult to kill, requiring a direct hit in the center to destroy them – otherwise they’ll grow back whatever wings you managed to pick off of them and come back even stronger. (Atari, 1982)
Memories: A very good translation, this. Atari’s edition of Phoenix opted to skimp a little on the graphics of the arcade original (which, truthfully, weren’t that elaborate to begin with) and concentrated more on duplicating the maddeningly random attacks of the enemy birds from its coin-op forebear. The result is an extremely playable, addictive slice of the arcade right in your living room.
Opinions might, however, run the opposite direction among Imagic alumni; Atari used the Phoenix license as a legal weapon to force Imagic’s hand on the 2600 edition of Demon Attack. The game, as originally designed (and as seen on such platforms as the Intellivision) would’ve included a “mothership” stage. Threatening legal action over similarity to Phoenix, Atari forced Imagic to drop the “mothership” from the 2600 edition, which arguably weakened Demon Attack and made Phoenix more attractive.