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
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?)
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
But those are really secondary stuff,
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).
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
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 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.
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