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Postern Ltd
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 16K

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Chris Bourne

Fire hawks is literally a Phoenix game but practically speaking it's an Invader mutation. Your mission is to defend your planet from the deadly fire hawks of the title. They come in search of energy and if one lands it turns into a Phoenix and the game ends.

The birds all line up at the top of the screen and you fire up at them with your laser. In the way are Plasma Screens' forming barriers. The birds cannot descend until the screens are removed by your shooting, although there is usually a gap or two for them to use, and you can ' t get at them until you do shoot some holes in the screen.


'The graphics are quite well drawn, but there is little animation. It's possible to let the game stand still for ages by not shooting at any of the screens. If a bird lands the game ends with an impressive and very large graphic of the firehawk turning into a phoenix. It's impressive first time round, but as it takes quite a while to do this, it quickly becomes an irritation.'

The laser blasts are nice, but the so called plasma screens resemble those decorative breeze blocks used to build walls - it looks a bit old fashioned. Despite the large selection of speeds and skill levels the game remains very average. It isn't exciting to play and at almost £7 it's overpriced.'

'The title promises excitement, but the game simply does not live up to it. When you come down to it, very little happens and speeding very little up just makes a very fast very little. It's also very expensive for what you get.'

Keyboard positions: sensible
Joystick option: none
Keyboard play: poor responses and difficult to line up ship
Use of colour: average
Graphics: average, but good laser
Sound: very good
Skill levels: 15 plus 15 speeds
Lives: 1

General Rating: Fair.


Screenshot Text

A gathering of proto-phoenixes sit on the decorative brick walls.