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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 UFO's which fire at the player or bombard the ground (creating pits). Later the player also comes upon stationary tanks which fire missiles (that 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.


Moon Patrol Atari 2600 Craters and rocks to jump over
Moon Patrol Atari 2600 Aliens attacking!
Moon Patrol Atari 2600 Crash!
Moon Patrol Atari 2600 Title screen

Promo Images

Moon Patrol Screenshot
Moon Patrol Screenshot
Moon Patrol Screenshot
Moon Patrol Screenshot

Alternate Titles

  • "Patrulha Lunar" -- Brazilian title
  • "ムーンパトロール" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

There are no reviews for the Atari 2600 release of this game. You can use the links below to write your own review or read reviews for the other platforms of this game.

Critic Reviews

The Atari Times Feb 03, 2002 95 out of 100 95
Electronic Fun with Computers & Games Jan, 1984 3.5 out of 4 88
Tilt Jan, 1984 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 83
The Video Game Critic Jun 27, 1999 B+ 83
neXGam Jun 27, 2013 8.2 out of 10 82
VideoGame May, 1991 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars 80
Oldies Rising Jun 29, 2012 16 out of 20 80
Digital Press - Classic Video Games Sep 25, 2004 8 out of 10 80
TeleMatch Nov, 1983 2 out of 6 80
Woodgrain Wonderland Jul 09, 2017 B 75


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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)

Related Web Sites

PCGamer77 (3234) added Moon Patrol (Atari 2600) on Apr 05, 2003
Other platforms contributed by Corn Popper (69379), Trixter (9125), PCGamer77 (3234), リカルド・フィリペ (152032), Martin Smith (66852), Servo (57398), Игги Друге (46428), koffiepad (10535), Belboz (6576) and rcoltrane (1468)