Moon Patrol

-Williams Electronics, Inc. (1982)


The Story

The Earth has recently established a colony on the moon, but unknown alien invaders have been attacking the colony on a daily basis. The colonyís defenses are limited to a few armed moon units with limited capabilities. They are taken out to patrol the lunar surface a few times a day to eliminate the alien threats. However, the moon patrol pilots have created a competition out of saving the colony. The pilots have sectioned off the colony in areas A-Z and attempt to beat one anotherís time through the course. Itís risky and many pilots have met death at the bottom of a crater attempting to beat the course, but the glory of being the best moon patroller is worth the risk.   

My Thoughts

The classic game Moon Patrol is fairly unique among shooters as it is almost as much of a platformer as it is a shooter. Its success paved the way for other shooters such as Break Thru and Silk Worm to apply ground-based side-scrolling shooting action. While Moon Patrol was classic back in the day and is still some fun today, the nostalgia feeling can wear off rather quickly due to its simple nature and sometimes high difficulty.

In Moon Patrol you need to guide your moon unit from area A to area Z while avoiding and destroying alien foes that launch bombs at your pink lunar rover. But, thatís not the only problem as the surface of the moon is full of holes, craters, mines, and moon rocks so navigating and contending with the aliens can sometimes become overwhelming.

With the surface of the moon being so dangerous, Moon Patrol not only requires good shooting, but also good jumping. Your timing must be very precise for most of the course. Hitting the jump button a split second too late or too early can result in crashing into a hole or a rock. The same applies to the shooting as the forward gun can only fire one shot at a time and has a limited range. The upward firing gun fires rapid shots to contend with the alien saucers buzzing above your head.

The alien crafts are nothing too original. There are various saucers, some tri-balled thingys, moon tanks, a black fighter that likes to come up from behind, and giant space plants that seem to be a combination of a sarlaac pit and a Venus fly trap. The most dangerous of these enemies are the tri-ballers because their shots create new holes in the ground. Once in awhile their shots create craters right next to each other, literally making a successful jump impossible.

Iíve always thought it was strange that your moon unit was pink. Why would NASA make a lunar rover pink? At least when or if you reach the championship course youíll be patrolling the moon in a red rover. That leads me to another question; why is it called a championship course? Youíre not racing or competing against anyone. Arenít you just trying to defend the moon from alien invaders, or is this a game to the moon patrollers and the aliens that are trying to kill you a part of it? The name of the game is Moon Patrol, not Deadly Super Space Moon Race 5000

The best part of the game though? The music. The music is one of the simplest, but catchiest tunes to be found in a game. Youíll be humming it for days after just a few minutes with the game.

In all Moon Patrol is a classic game, but itís the same thing over and over. There are really only two courses because the championship course just repeats itself. It may be fun for a short while until you keep dying in the same locations. Unless youíre a hardcore moon patroller you may get bored with the game and move on to more fruitful space games.

Score: 6.5       






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