Monday, June 20, 2016

Moon Patrol

Get ready to play a legend

The moon is under attack from a legion of aliens and it's our job to stop them! We've managed to find ourselves a cute Space 1999 buggy which appears to mostly drive itself and even follows handy checkpoints to stop you from getting lost. Dust off your spacesuit in anticipation of the Atari ST version of an arcade classic...

With your foot always on the gas, you can only control 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. Unfortunately, the wheels aren't too great at going over potholes so the slightest gap causes my buggy to violently explode like something from a cartoon!!

It sounds silly, and it is, but isn't that what makes a lot of older games intriguing? Let's crack on...

Don't let the graphics put you, youngsters, off playing what is nothing less than a beast!!

Simple mechanics and still tough!

There are two difficulty modes, beginners and champions. As you can imagine, if you're new to Moon Patrol and wanna break yourself in gently, then choose beginners. This gradually introduces the game's twisted mechanics and alien monsters at a steady rate. Use this mode to learn joystick controls and the general feel of this shooter.

However, the latter difficulty is much better and certainly offers a far more interesting alternative with many extra features, obstacles and enemies. Here, the landscape is terribly hostile and made worse by invading aliens who frequently appear from all corners of your screen. Wait, don't run away, there are weapons we can use!!

Yep, banging on that fire button will simultaneously shoot two weapons: at the top, is a machine gun firing upwards plus there is a front-mounted rocket launcher for the approaching enemies. So keep one eye on the road ahead and another on those pesky aliens. It's a lot harder than you might think so keep on firing and hope for the best!

Hang on, there are mountains in the background and with snow too... ;-)


Graphics appear dated, because they are. And that's exactly what you would expect from an 80s game. The decor is authentic with silky smooth scrolling supporting a three-layer parallax effect plus the buggy's animation is superb as it travels over the bumpy terrain. Moon Patrol also works in ST High (640x400) and looks gorgeous.

A funky chiptune bops away in the background which is oddly, very much excellent. It's foot-tappingly excellent in fact! This is accompanied by vintage bleeps for the sound effects to suit this classic game perfectly.

The checkpoint idea is great for a number of reasons plus it's fun breaking a record.

The CryptO'pinion?

Moon Patrol is an excellent conversion that offers a groovy step back in time to 1982. This is instantaneous fun and I love how its troublesome landscape combines the pothole hopping whilst frantically trying to shoot down the aliens. It's tough but very addictive so keep your eyes on the road otherwise - KABOOM! Instant moon junk!!

A faithful conversion of an arcade classic with rock-solid playability. It's #retrogaming gold and I love it.


Old Games Finder has access to all the floppy disks
8BitChip has 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.

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