Phalanx is first of all a cookie-cutter type of space shooter. In 1991, another space shooter was made famous because of something that was nonsensical (and the All Your Base phenomenon was born). The most interesting part of this game is the box. It's just an old man and a banjo in the night. What that has to do with the game is still a mystery to many. I can tell you there are no old men, and especially no banjos. When the game is most remembered for an old man on the cover, you know it can't be all that great.
The premise is you're taking back a planet from some evil space alien dude who won't get you tickets to Pearl Jam. The graphics aren't bad for SNES's early days, but nothing about the gameplay impressed me. The enemies were somewhat unimaginative compared to other popular games of this genre. The levels had the usual obstacles. The challenge was hard, but take that with a grain of salt since I am a predominantly RPG player. Everything about this game was well...typical. One good point about the game is that it does have good play control.
Unfortunately, the banjo guy on the cover is the most spectacular feature of this game. A few bad translations could have made this the same kind of cult classic as Zero Wing, but alas, it is not so. Good graphics, nice calm old man on the cover, but unspectacular gameplay make this game a middle-of-the-ratings kind of game unable to rise to the level of the best space shooters. 5/10