ZX Spectrum Star Firebirds
Another conversion of a classic arcade game on the ZX Spectrum. Star Firebirds was released in October of 1985 - and by this point was already a 'retro arcade game'.
We're going old-old school!
No real story to the game - it was a standard shoot em up set against the backdrop of space. You basically had to fly across the vertically scrolling space-scape avoiding and destroying aggressive bird like creatures (not Stargliders!).
You could move your craft left and right as well as firing your lazers (no up and down movement). There was a move you could make if things got a bit too hairy - you could hit the warp button and 'warp out' at the top of the screen to re-appear at the bottom. This could only be used once per attack wave though!
Each attack wave contained 50 enemies. This was displayed by a counter which dwindled down as you took out more and more bad guys.
As usual for this type of arcade game the speed of each wave was faster than the last (both the scolling and the enemy ships).
Another quirky feature of the game was the large bomb (a large bomb floating around in space?) that slowy descended the screen every now and again.
You could shoot this bomb which would then spray shrapnel across the playing area - taking out a host of enemies if you were lucky. If you were caught in the blast then you would lose a life - so it was better to take the wimpy way out and shoot it whilst it was still near the top of the screen (giving you less points).
At the end of the first wave you were given the chance to destroy the super firebird. This large creature would make it's way downwards and you had to hit it multiple times to blow that critter to kingdom come.
There was no real way to win the game - it was all about beating that high score (which loads of computer games were back then).
Star Firebirds had a funny high score table and nicely presented menu screen (with a cool roll-inside effect when changing menu screens). You could have a little fun cracking the high score 'names' which were all famous quotes from a rather famous movie! - I'm sure you can work out which one ;-)
Oh - cool music too!
The menu and humorous high score table:
Well this game was already quite 'old hat' when it made it's way onto the ZX Spectrum - and it suffered a little because of this. By late 1985 people were into the likes of more advanced offerings such as Space Harrier or even Commando. Still, for fans of this type of game Star Firebirds was a good choice.
The test of time:
Well as far as Spectrum games go in the shoot em up genre this one isn't too bad. It's a good rendition of the arcade original and is worth playing. The controls are responsive and the game plays nicely. Love the menu and funky music too!
This classic ZX Spectrum game is definately worth playing after all these years.
We recommend getting hold of the real Sinclair hardware - but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download Star Firebirds for the ZX Spectrum. Alternatively you could try and play it online.
GENRE: Scrolling Arcade Game
RELEASE DATE: October of 1985
RELEASED BY: Firebird
DEVELOPER(S): Mike Follin, Tim Follin, Mark Wilson, Peter Gough
PRICE: £7.95 - UK
Kicking alien firebird ass in Star Firebirds - a fine conversion of a classic arcade game:
Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games
7 Nov 2009
ZX Spectrum Star Firebirds
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