Monday, June 20, 2016

Moon Patrol

Luna road-tripping

Oh no, the moon is under attack from a legion of nasty 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. It even follows handy checkpoints to stop you from getting lost so dust off your spacesuit in anticipation of the Atari ST version of this amazing 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. Moving the joystick left/right changes that acceleration and pushing up allows you to leap over the potholes. However, be careful because that requires precise timing because the wheels aren't too great at going over potholes. So the slightest missed jump causes the 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 off from playing what is nothing less than a beast!!

Simple mechanics yet 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 the game. It's cool.

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

Yep, banging on that fire button will simultaneously shoot two weapons: one 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!

Okay, it's screenshot time but why not use a different monitor? Check this out...

Hang on, there are mountains in the background with snow. Hmm, very odd... ;-)


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 rumbles over the bumpy terrain. Don't forget, 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 and I love it. This is accompanied by vintage bleeps for the sound effects to suit this classic game perfectly.

I love it when a game transports me back in time rather than trying to improve (ruin) it...

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. Trust me, this is #retrogaming gold!!

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
Here is their walkthrough which I thought was pretty funny.

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