Monday, June 20, 2016

Moon Patrol

Apparently, the moon is under attack from a legion of aliens and it's my job to stop them in my Space 1999 buggy! Unfortunately, the wheels aren't too great at going over potholes so the slightest gap causes my buggy to violently explode... There are two difficulty modes, beginners and champions. The latter is great fun and certainly more interesting to play with many extra features, obstacles and enemies. Once you have jumped inside your buggy, the landscape begins to scroll by and you shall note that it is sectioned off into alphabetical segments, which make for handy checkpoints. So let's dust off our spacesuit in anticipation of the Atari ST version of an arcade classic.

With your foot always on the gas, you have control over the level of acceleration as you travel the terrain trying to avoid potholes and any obstacles which are in your way. Pushing up on the joystick allows you to leap over these but be careful because it will require precise timing. Aliens will frequently appear but can be defeated by hitting the fire button which simultaneously releases two weapons! On the top, is a machine gun and the other is a front-mounted rocket launcher. Keep one eye on the road ahead and another on those aliens above, if there was ever an unforgiving game this is it - the slightest mistimed jump over a pothole and KABOOM - your vehicle explodes into moon junk!

Graphics and sound effects are heavily dated and exactly what you would expect for the early 80s. Scrolling is silky smooth, supporting a three-layer parallax effect which is pretty amazing for such an early ST game. I love the little details, like you buggy's animation as it travels over the bumpy terrain, so cool. Also, Moon Patrol works in ST High (640x400) and looks crisp and so gorgeous so try this if you can. A funky chiptune bops away in the background, accompanied by vintage bleeping sound effects. This is as retro as it gets!!

Okay, we know that the Atari ST is technically capable of producing far better so ignore what you see and remember that this was released back in 1982. Simple, but has rock solid gameplay and that is what matters and this is an extremely authentic conversion. Moon Patrol is excellent and such a groovy step back in time!


 - Here is my video recording for you to drool over!
 - Old Games Finder for all the floppy disks and 8BitChip has created a version for hard drive installation!
 - Strategy Wiki lists the many versions of Moon Patrol (go on, guess which is the beST)
 - Here is their walkthrough which I thought was pretty funny.
 - Finally, I have impressed myself with this score lol