Moon Patrol

aka: Arcade Archives: Moon Patrol, Patrulha Lunar
Moby ID: 575
Buy on Atari 5200
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Description official descriptions

Moon Patrol is a side-scrolling game where the player must drive a moon buggy from one station on the Moon to another, all while avoiding crashing or getting destroyed by alien ships. The vehicle is constantly moving right and the player can speed up or slow down, jump, and shoot (simultaneously firing upwards and forwards.) There are 25 checkpoints along the way, each symbolized with a letter from A to Z and serving as a respawn point. Every five checkpoints mark a separate "stage" within the entire course; reaching the end of a stage under the par time grants a large score bonus.

Dangers on the Moon include rocks (small and big ones) which can be shot to pieces or jumped over, pits which must be jumped, and UFOs which fire at the player or bombard the ground (creating pits). Later the player also comes upon stationary tanks which fire missiles (which can be destroyed with the player's own shots), landmines, carnivorous plants that pop up out of pits, and rocket cars which stalk the buggy from behind before rushing forward in an attempt to ram it down.

After completing the first course (the "Beginner Course") the player can try his skill on the harder Champion Course.


  • アーケードアーカイブス ムーンパトロール - Japanese PS4 / Switch spelling
  • ムーンパトロール - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Arcade version)

Lead Designer (uncredited)
Music and Sound Effects (uncredited)



Average score: 76% (based on 20 ratings)


Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 88 ratings with 5 reviews)

Arcade Perfection!

The Good
How old was I when I played this game...just a kid and totally trigger happy. Played this ol'game on my 1.7 Mhz PC XT.

Moon Patrol was "The Action" game. You had a lot of shooters back then, but this particular one was a whole lot better from a "boyish" point of view. Your in space, you got yourself some totally neat wheels, and your blasting everything that comes in your way. Did I mention neat wheels?

Another thing that was kind of surprising is that you can shoot forward as well as up. In addition to dodging holes and rocks, of which you have to jump your moon buggy...things can get pretty messy out there when its crowded.

The Bad
Somethings things can get a little TOO messy. The fact that when your jumping around, you can't dodge bullets means restart game. And sometimes there is a minimal margin of error when your jumping those holes and rocks (of which your doing while also dodging bullets from front and above). Sometimes it can be frustrating when your a kid...then again I'm surprised that I had a lot of patience back then.

Other minor power ups (did they have power ups back then?) so the game is practically the same from the beginning to the end (if there is an end), just more shooting and jumping. No bosses, no unique enemies, no much else come to think of it. Oh well, it was good enough for me back then.

Oh, what was the plot about again?

The Bottom Line
I gotta get me one of these!

PC Booter · by Indra was here (20768) · 2004

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: ****

Commodore 64 · by Katakis | カタキス (43092) · 2004

Quite a looker back in the day

The Good
Moon Patrol was released in the arcades back in 1982. It was created by Takashi Nishiyama, who also did Kung-Fu Master. It is just another one of those games that you couldn't stop playing. Like other games that were released around the same time, there is no real plot involved.

As a Lunar City police officer assigned to Sector Nine, your job is to guide a buggy across the moon’s surface, shooting UFOs and aliens above you while avoiding any obstacles that are on your path. The buggy has the ability to shoot at objects, jump, reverse, speed up, and slow down. In the “Beginner Course”, there are 26 checkpoints you pass through, and each stage introduces new obstacles and alternating backgrounds. Once you have passed all checkpoints, you proceed to the “Champion Course” in which things will be a little bit harder.

The interface is laid out nicely, especially the progress bar on the right representing what checkpoint you are approaching. The traffic lights on the right warn you what type of enemy is approaching you. Moon Patrol was one of the first games to feature parallax scrolling, where the backgrounds move with the player. Of these backgrounds, the Lunar City looks good. The animations are excellent, and when you get killed by aliens or when you fall into a hole, the explosion of the buggy is brilliant.

Moon Patrol plays a memorable tune while you play, but there are different pieces of music, with the most heard one played when you manage to pass five checkpoints. Sound-wise, a wavy pattern can be heard when enemies hover above you. I like the sound effect when you kill these enemies.

The Bad
Nothing is bad about this game

The Bottom Line
Moon Patrol was not only one of the first arcade game to feature gorgeous graphics and parallax scrolling, but it was also the first to offer a continue option, making it an incentive for players to have that "just one more go" attitude. The object of the game is simple: drive a buggy along the moon's surface to get to all 26 checkpoints, blasting aliens in the process. Classic stuff.

Arcade · by Katakis | カタキス (43092) · 2019

[ View all 5 player reviews ]


1001 Video Games

The Arcade version of Moon Patrol appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Cancelled Spectrum version

In one of the stranger moments in Sinclair Spectrum history, a version of this game was completed but never released, despite a great review from Crash! magazine. A handful of copies exist, but never reached a shop floor.


According to the 2007 documentary Chasing Ghosts: Beyond the Arcade, Irem's 1982 arcade version of Moon Patrol (distributed in North America by Williams) was the first arcade game to allow gameplay continuation with score retention by inserting another coin. Thus, for the first time, one's high score wasn't solely a matter of how far a player could get on a single coin, but rather a function of how many quarters they wanted to sink into the machine.Furthermore, the game is credited with introducing parallax background scrolling to video games to imply depth.


  • TeleMatch
    • Issue 04/1984 – #3 Arcade Game of the Year 1983 (Readers' Vote)


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Trixter.

TI-99/4A added by Corn Popper. Commodore 64, Atari 2600 added by PCGamer77. PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch added by Rik Hideto. BREW added by Kabushi. Atari 8-bit added by Martin Smith. Atari 5200, VIC-20, Apple II added by Servo. Sord M5 added by Игги Друге. MSX added by koffiepad. Atari ST added by Belboz. Arcade added by rcoltrane.

Additional contributors: Martin Smith, Pseudo_Intellectual, Игги Друге, Patrick Bregger, Rik Hideto, FatherJack, ZeTomes.

Game added December 15, 1999. Last modified January 20, 2024.