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Moon Patrol

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Released: 1982

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Arcade

Publisher: Irem

Submitted by: Ian Marks

The lunar landings of the 60’s seemed to be simple affairs. Up into space, land on the moon, give a speech, play a bit of golf, plant a flag and pose for photographs. Unfortunately in the near future it isn’t quite that simple….

Moon Patrol the game gives us a vision of Lunar Landings that are far more complicated and frightening.

To begin with it all seems very jolly, with your moon buggy bouncing along to a very jaunty tune, what could possibly go wrong. Lot’s to be exact. A big problem seems to be that NASA have not managed to build a vehicle that can go over the slightest bump or crack without exploding. That would obviously be too simple. No, they’ve built a vehicle that can jump, so any obstacle means you have to leap across it (like Knight Rider’s Turbo Boost button).

Oh well you think, I can cope with that, but then the hostile aliens appear. We’re never told who they are, but they clearly don’t like you. Not one bit. They shoot at you, dive bomb you and make new holes in the ground for you to fall into. Luckily your moon buggy can fire upwards and frontwards, a feature I don’t remember on NASA’s Lunar Rover… maybe they covered that up.

At times it is quite overwhelming, what with having to watch for when to jump, whilst trying to target the flying saucers, and avoiding whatever they decide to throw at you. At least the jaunty music continues, still trying to convince you it’s just a pleasure trip across the moon’s surface.

It all looked wonderful with parallax scrolling (was it a first, or at least a near first) and gaudy colours. Great sound and addictive gameplay. Our local chip shop had this game and I would always try to encourage my family to eat more chip’s so I could have one more attempt at lunar exploration.

I never got to the end of the moon buggy’s journey, the aliens always got the better of me, foiling my attempts to peacefully explore the moon’s panorama… no wonder NASA abandoned moon landings in the 70’s, it was just too damn dangerous.

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