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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 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.


Moon Patrol Sord M5 New aliens, and a UFO dropping bombs
Moon Patrol Apple II Game Over
Moon Patrol Arcade Destroyed by tank
Moon Patrol Sord M5 Title screen

Promo Images

Moon Patrol Screenshot
Moon Patrol Screenshot
Moon Patrol Magazine Advertisement
Moon Patrol Screenshot


Alternate Titles

  • "Patrulha Lunar" -- Brazilian title
  • "Arcade Archives: Moon Patrol" -- PS4 / Switch title
  • "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

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Moon Patrolling Fracas! Apple II steve Lit (3)
Arcade Perfection! PC Booter Indra was here (20853)
A great classic I play to this day. PC Booter Tomer Gabel (4634)
The first coin-op game to feature parallax scrolling Commodore 64 Katakis | カタキス (42836)
Quite a looker back in the day Arcade Katakis | カタキス (42836)

Critic Reviews

The Atari Times Atari 2600 Feb 03, 2002 95 out of 100 95
8-bit Central Retro Gaming Atari 5200 2011 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars 90
The Video Game Critic Atari 2600 Jun 27, 1999 B+ 83
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Atari 8-bit Apr, 1985 33 out of 40 82
TeleMatch Atari 2600 Nov, 1983 2 out of 6 80
Oldies Rising Atari 2600 Jun 29, 2012 16 out of 20 80
Atari Gamer - XL-XE Game Review Edition Atari 8-bit Dec, 2013 8 out of 10 80
Nintendo Life Nintendo Switch Apr 17, 2018 7 Stars7 Stars7 Stars7 Stars7 Stars7 Stars7 Stars7 Stars7 Stars7 Stars 70
ASM (Aktueller Software Markt) PC Booter Jul, 1991 7.75 out of 12 65
Tilt Atari ST Jul, 1988 8 out of 20 40


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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

Contributed to by Corn Popper (68945), Trixter (9115), PCGamer77 (3225), Rik Hideto (461316), Kabushi (257603), Martin Smith (78737), Servo (57355), Игги Друге (46314), koffiepad (10503), Belboz (6576) and rcoltrane (1803)
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