For: Arcade, Atari 2600


Main Genre:
Sci-Fi / Futuristic
Visual Presentation:
Fixed / Flip Screen
Gameplay Style:


Arcade version of Phoenix
Arcade version of Phoenix

Phoenix is an outer-space shooter first released in arcades in 1980 and later ported to the Atari 2600 in 1982. Similar to games such as Space Invaders and Galaxian, players control a spaceship with the goal of shooting the various attacking enemies to earn points. Phoenix expands on the concept by having 5 distinct rounds of play which ends with the Phoenix mothership.


In Phoenix players control a spaceship which can move horizontally along the bottom of the screen; The goal is to shoot the varied bird-like enemies to earn as many points as possible. Enemies appear in formation along the top part of the screen and will fire missiles at the player and also dive down and attempt to crash into the player. To destroy opponents the player's ship is equipped with the ability to fire shots upwards. For protection, a shield is also available which will block enemy fire and destroy any opponents that crash into it. The shield has a limitation, however; While active, players are unable to move or fire. Each time it's activated, the shield will remain for about 5 seconds.

Phoenix features 5 rounds of gameplay as follows:

  • Round 1 and 2: A formation of alien birds attacks the player. The birds fly back and forth along the top half of the screen and fire shots which need to be avoided. At times a small formation of the birds will also fly down kamikaze style and attempt to crash into the player's ship. Players can earn bonus points if any of the birds are shot when they are flying diagonally. For round 2, the birds fly in a more unpredictable pattern and players are awarded rapid fire.
  • Round 3 and 4: These rounds begin with numerous eggs flying around the screen; the eggs soon hatch into giant phoenices. To destroy a phoenix, the player must shoot it in the middle section; shooting the left or right wing will only eliminate the wing and when both wings are destroyed they regenerate. From time to time, a phoenix may also revert into the egg form.
  • Round 5: The Phoenix mothership appears with an alien in the middle sitting behind a shield. To destroy the ship, players must shoot through the shield and hit the alien. The shield moves horizontally so any holes that are formed don't remain stationary. The mothership moves slowly downwards from its initial position and also fires missiles. Additionally, a formation of alien birds similar to those found in rounds 1 and 2 are protecting the ship. Destroying this formation isn't necessary to complete the level, only the mothership needs to be destroyed (if the formation is destroyed, another one will appear).
After all 5 rounds are completed, the pattern repeats with an increased level of difficulty. Players begin the game with a limited number of ships (the exact number may vary depending on the difficulty setting selected) and the game ends when all reserve ships have been lost.


Platform: Atari 2600
Game Credits
Programmed by: Mike Feinstein, John Mracek
Cover Artwork by: Randy Barrett
Comic Book Credits
Created and Written by: Gerry Conway, Roy Thomas
Visual Concepts and Art: Ross Andru, Dick Giordano
Design: Neal Pozner
Lettering: John Costanza
Coloring: Adrienne Roy
Editor: Dick Giordano
President and Publisher: Jenette Kahn
Vice President, Editorial Director: Joe Orlando
Editorial Coordinator: Karen Berger
Production Manager: Bob Rozakis
Vice President, Operations: Paul Levitz
Treasurer: Arthur Gutowitz


Click on a picture below to view a larger version.
Arcade Version
Upright Cabinet
Arcade Version
Mini Cabinet


Instruction Manual
Atari 2600
1982 North American Release
Instruction Manual
Atari 2600
1982 European Release
Instruction Manual
Atari 2600
1988 European Release
Atari Force #4
Atari 2600


Product catalogs, magazines, flyers, or other documentation Phoenix has appeared in.
*Note: If you are unable to see any images in this section, you may have an ad blocker installed that is blocking the thumbnails and/or images.
Arcade Flyers
Phoenix flyer - Front Phoenix flyer - Back
Magazine Advertisements
July 1983 magazine ad

Packaging/Label Styles

This game has releases with the following standardized packaging styles: