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. Me and my cool Space 1999 buggy that is! Unfortunately, the wheels aren't too great at going over potholes and the slightest gap causes my buggy to violently explode! So dust off your spacesuit in anticipation of the Atari ST version of an olde arcade classic, Moon Patrol.

There are two difficult modes, beginners and champions. The latter is great fun and certainly more interesting to play with its extra enemies. Once you have jump inside your buggy, the landscape begins to scroll by and is sectioned off into alphabetical segments that turn out to be handy checkpoints. With your foot always on the gas, you have control over the level of acceleration as potholes and obstacles appear to get in your way. Pushing up on the joystick allows you to leap over any potholes but this often requires precise timing. Aliens will appear frequently and can be defeated by hitting the fire button which simultaneously releases two weapons - on top is a machine gun blasting upwards 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 of 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, such as how your buggy moves over the bumpy terrain, a neat animation. Moon Patrol will work in ST High (640x400) to produce a gorgeous and crisp display! A funky chiptune bops away in the background, accompanied by vintage bleep and blop sound effects.

This is as retro as retro gaming gets. We know that the Atari ST is technically capable of far better so please ignore what you see and remember it comes from 1982 and is extremely authentic conversion. Simple, but has rock solid gameplay and that is what matters. Moon Patrol is a groovy step back in time!

LINKS

 - Here is my YouTube video recording to drool over!
 - AtariMania obviously has Moon Patrol within their ST database
 - Old Games Finder for all the floppy disk downloads
 - 8BitChip has an adapted version for hard drives (which I use)
 - 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