Monday, June 20, 2016

Moon Patrol

Apparently, the moon is under attack from a legion of aliens and it's our job to stop them in my Space 1999 buggy. 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 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!!

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. 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 - moon junk!


Graphics appear dated, so exactly what you would expect from 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 details, like the buggy's animation travelling over the bumpy terrain. Also, Moon Patrol works in ST High (640x400) and look gorgeous. A funky chiptune bops away in the background, accompanied by vintage bleeping sound effects.

Okay, we know that the Atari ST is technically capable of producing far better. Moon Patrol is excellent and offers us a groovy step back in time, so ignore what you see and remember that this was originally released back in 1982 and it's an authentic conversion of that arcade classic with rock-solid playability. This is as retro as it gets and I love it!!


 - 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.

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