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Moon Patrol

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Released: 1983

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Atari 2600

Publisher: Atari

Developer: Atari

Submitted by: Alex Reeves

A classic 2600 conversion of the arcade game of the same name by Irem, this side scrolling driving game was the first of its kind.

Your mission, as pilot of the moon patrol vehicle, was to traverse the surface of the moon, avoiding potholes and enemies along the way.

The joystick allowed you to speed up or slow down by pushing left or right, and pushing up would jump – handy for getting over the craters and also for jumping missiles or other enemy characters, rocks and landmines.

Tanks would attack you from the front, firing missiles, and enemy cars would attack from the rear – a timely jump to get them in front of you and then you can laser them with the orange button. There were also UFO's that drop missiles and create new craters. The game required careful thought as to when to shoot and when to jump, and whether a long jump could clear several obstacles at once, requiring a lot of strategy for a simple 2600 game.

It was this kind of simple gameplay mechanic that translated well on this console, and this was a great example, and still playable today.