Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39516)
Written on  :  Nov 15, 2004
Platform  :  Commodore 64

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The first coin-op game to feature parallax scrolling

The Good

I first played Moon Patrol on CCS64, possibly the best C64 emulator on the internet. It is just another one of those games that you couldn't stop playing, and once you ran out of lives, you just had to play it again and again. But then again, you'd expect this when anyone played a game from the early 80s. Like other early 80s games, there is no real plot involved.

Gameplay: You control a little buggy who moves along the surface of the moon, and must pass through checkpoints that are labeled A-Z in that order. You must also watch out for UFOs and aliens above you who will shoot at you. As well as these, you need to keep a close eye on what is ahead of you, since other dangers such as robots, rocks, land mines, and other vehicles lie along the path. There are holes in the ground, which you must jump over.

Rather than just going along the track horizontally, there are times that you find yourself traveling either up-hill or down-hill, shooting tumbling boulders that approach you, and you can even shoot these. If you don't shoot the dangers above, they will also come toward you and shoot more holes in the ground. Falling down those holes or getting killed by the aliens will result in you losing a life. If you manage to pass every fifth checkpoint (located at the top of the screen) without losing a life, you will receive a bonus if you beat the game's average time.

There are two game modes that you can play on. Normally, people who are playing the game for the first time select the "Beginner" mode. If they previously played the game and want more of a challenge, then they select the "Champion" mode. Both these modes can be selected from the game's menu.

Moon Patrol is one of the first games to introduce a continue option, meaning that once you lose all of your lives, the game gives you ten seconds to feed it quarters or the game ends. Fortunately for all you players at home, all you need to do is push a button on your keyboard. There is no limit on how much times you can continue.

Graphics: The graphics are good. The foreground consists of your buggy and the pink track that you are driving along, as well as the different types of dangers. The background mainly consist of both green and gray mountains with white caps on them. Moon Patrol is the first game ever to feature parallax scrolling, meaning that the background moved at a different rate than the foreground.

Music & Sound: While you are playing the game, the original Moon Patrol theme can be heard. A different music piece can also be heard once you pass one of the checkpoints listed at the top of the screen. There are explosion sounds when your vehicle has crashed, and you hear a nice little beep whenever you pass one of those checkpoints.

The Bad

Repetitive, just like the way that every 80s games are.

The Bottom Line

Post-1996, we have seen so many classics being updated with gorgeous 3D graphics and advanced features that are released from the very same companies. But I question why there hasn't there been an update of Moon Patrol.

Rating: ****