Moon Patrol EX

-Irem / Bandai (2005)

-played on a Sanyo 8300


The Story

Twenty three years ago our best moon patroller eliminated the alien threat terrorizing the moon colony. Well, the aliens have returned to get revenge. Their non-stop assaults on the moon have claimed many innocent scientists and vacationers. Luckily for us, moon patrolling technology has advanced quite a bit in the last two decades. We now have three types of moon rovers instead of one and have slightly more advanced weaponry. It's time to jump little craters and shoot tri-balled invaders once again.

My Thoughts

In the stream of classic games that are released on a cell phone, few of them are ever enhanced. Moon Patrol EX bumps that simple port over trend and is actually two games in one. The original Moon Patrol is here in all its glory along with a brand new revamped version. If you were addicted to Moon Patrol back in the 80s you may be even more so now.

Upon starting the game you choose between playing the original or the arrange version of the game. The original Moon Patrol is pretty much the same as it was in the arcade years ago. The game seems just a little bit easier though because of unlimited continues. For some reason it just seems more fun playing it one a phone than I ever did playing it in the arcade. The visuals seem a bit better on the smaller screen. If youíve already played the game to death then arrange is where youíll want to go.

Arrange mode completely redoes the classic Moon Patrol experience. Right away youíll notice that the graphics are better and more detailed than the originalís, but new graphics are merely the dust on the moon rock. Three moon units are now available right from the start, each with its own handling and characteristics. There is the average red buggy that is just like the first Moon Patrol. The only difference is color which is now red and no longer a magenta eye sore that can be seen from four planets away. The second unit is a blue buggy that resembles a hot rod which is faster and can jump further than the others. Unit 3 is an orange monstrosity that is very slow at accelerating, but can withstand one attack before bursting into a flash of smoke and tires. The three moon units are different enough where youíll want to replay the game with each one. Thatís not all that adds replay value, though.

Along with the new units come new types of guns. After the unit is selected you choose the type of weapon to use. Type 1 is the original rapid fire on top and slow on forward set-up. Type 2 changes thing up with a rapid on the forward guns and slow on the top. Type 3 adds a diagonal between the other two guns, but it divides the power of the shots so that they all fire slowly. Type 3 is the weapon of choice if youíre looking to make the game more difficult.

If all that wasnít enough, there are now also power-ups. The original lacked any sort of power-ups so you had to rely solely on your mad jumping and shooting skills to clear the moon. The five power-ups are: Boosters let the moon unit double jump over extra dangerous holes or rocks. Jets make the unit faster. The shield gives you one extra hit against any attack or collision. The force field grants invincibility and the obliterator is a screen-clearing bomb. Of course, none of these power-ups will work if you fall in a hole. The powers make the game a bit different, but I do find it somehow convenient that a power-up will show up right before a place you absolutely need it.

All of the enemies have been given a slight face lift. There are also a couple brand new enemies with walkers that like to jump and space shuttles that do nothing but fly overhead. Arenít space shuttles the only way your moon patroller is going to get back to Earth when the mission is accomplished?  

There are a few things that apply to both modes of Moon Patrol EX. The game will save the area youíre at if you leave the game. This way you can go back in and play without having to start all the way over from the beginning. Secondly, the same music and sound effects play in both versions, but you can only choose one or the other. The music is somewhat of a remix of the originalís catchy tune. The sound effects are better than many bland effects on other cell phone games. The game also controls very well on a phone. They are tight enough to pull off the precise jumping and shooting needed to complete the moon courses unscathed.  

Much to my surprise I became addicted to Moon Patrol, something that never happened when I played the original. The only drawback to the game is the same as the original; you may just get tired of jumping the same craters over and over. Overall though itís nice to see a classic game made even better on a cell phone.

Score: 7.5       

- Shawn


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