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The Bird of Fire... I never knew if there were an official translation to this, but I really want to avoid using the term "Firebird", like one of those flashy, colorful racecars. Instead I wished to give it a more ancient and fantasy-like feel, so there you go. The original name is more or less in that vein as well; the subtitle (in pink) reads "The Chapter of Phoenix".


If it's Phoenix, then why confuse us by putting 'Bird of Fire' in main title!? So is it Bird of Fire or Phoenix!? Are they even related!?

Heh, I've started it off with a rant. :P

Feel the pain...This is one of the few games that I 'completed' during the early days. Back then, I had plenty of time in a day to play games, but I wasn't all that good. :) So it's usually my big cousins that finish games for me and let me watch the ending. If that's not the case, usually my sister muddles in and then I have to play with her 2 players. It usually went like this. And then along came this game.

It's one of the few games that didn't allow 2 players - it was so special in this way, I remembered it clearly. Back then it seemed every game had to be a two player game. Granted, Nintendo came with two controllers that can't be separated. But with this game, there's nothing that can be done for the second controller. Then, my big cousin wasn't there for some reason. This game was therefore one of my very few solo games - one that I play by myself, getting through things on my own, etc. But, it was also a 'buddy' game - I talked about it with my classmates, and then I even had one of them (a neighbor also) coming over to my place to play it regularly. It was so much fun when there's someone also enjoying a game that you do. :)

Back to the Game Review (am I still doing it?)
The PuzzleThe game itself is full of fresh elements. Your objective is to gather all pieces of a puzzle of a Phoenix (Bird of Fire), in order to do something which was never explained ^^;. And to do so, you need to venture into badass infested stages, which are yet divided into 3 'ages' - the ancient Japanese age (Yamato), the Future, and the Primitive age, where there's Dinosaurs. ^^

Each 'age' had about 5~7 stages, with bosses that guard the puzzle piece in each stage... But to go from one age to another, you need to find the secret 'hidden doors' that are revealed by destroying some of the background. So yes, this was part of the spoiler - it wasn't until I played it for a long time, when I realized I was just repeating the stages in Yamato, whereas I should've found a hidden door to go to Future for the next few pieces...

But those are really secondary stuff, compared to
This curious little brick-like thing with an angry face, is the magic of the game. :)
You as the hero usually fires a knife like thingy to kill the enemies, which range from snakes, retro-dressed men, blowfish-piranha, slimes, dinosaurs, mecha bots, meteors... etc, but every time you kill an enemy, it turns into one of these bricks, and they fall to ground, and slide to one direction. They're useful items you can collect while they're still moving, but once they hit a wall or something and stops, they become permanent bricks (like they're cemented) and cannot be collected, but only destroyed. But once they're collected, the hero can use it to his advantage - build floors, walls, stairs, with the bricks, to help get through tough terrains and even fight the boss. :) This greatly expands the possibilities of the way we play games (how grandios).


A boss of the FutureA picture is worth a thousand words; you just witnessed one of the ultimate boss strategies in this game... :) At the center, was where the boss was before it was vaporized by my menacing blades. The music and SFX sets the mood terrifically, and you really feel cool, really.

And even the shamelessly displayed Konami logo right where this boss was (CPU?) starts to look cool in it.

Obviously, this is a scene in the Future age. This boss is fairly easy, no tricks, but then again... all bosses are easy. ^_^ Provided that you know the strategy, it's nothing you can't handle after a few day's training. In fact, all the stages are fairly easy as well, but not too easy - need to watch out for the bottomless pits (which are MANY). And there are lots of tricky set-ups, and the movement and the keys (especially the brick-building combinations) needs a little getting used to.

A great scene of wildlifeBut a game that is not too difficult has a special meaning in the Nintendo days - where most games were too difficult for the mere mortals to enjoy. :) The Bird of Fire provides an alternative that is fast paced, refreshing, not too hard, but just a little bit longer to let a gamer enjoy it more. It was really entertaining. Of course, I may be saying this because I memorized most of the enemy locations and most of the moves, after long, long hours of practices. Heh, I don't remember any of those boring times. Isn't it amazing what we remember?

Oh yeah, I think I did see the ending back then, which I remembered as well - it was SPECTACULAR for a Nintendo's game Ending; I cried. That much can be said... The rest, as they say, is spoiler. I remembered that it took us a long time to find the last stage; I think it was only accessed through a hidden door in one of the ice age levels (part of the Primitive age). And that was because we were tipped off by one of the cool, smart classmates.

(This is not where it is)Bah.


And guess what this pic to the right is about. It's a BOSS area. It's one of those bosses that come in herds, destroying the land that you stand on, meanwhile making way for you to the puzzle piece. The vertical ones are more devastating, though - they create holes.


Well, I hope you have enjoyed this one. :)

Ray Chien, Sep. 2002

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