The Game: Driving an agile, armed moon buggy across the lunar surface, you must jump over craters and land mines, shoot large boulders (some occasionally mobile) out of your way, and try not to be on the receiving end of hostile fire from alien ships that try to strafe you. Some of the ships, which look very suspiciously like the triangle-of-spheres enemy ships from Gyruss, can even bomb the moon and make new craters for you to jump over – which may put you right into their line of fire. Later on, you also get to blast away tanks and dodge pesky jet cars which “tailgate” and then try to ram you. (Williams Electronics [under license from IREM], 1982)
Memories: Moon Patrol is a cool game with an actual goal, and with that in mind, it shares a common trait with SNK’s Fantasy – a “continue game” feature which allows you to continue from your last position for just 25 cents more.
That said, Moon Patrol is a very pattern-oriented game, and with a little bit of practice you can get through it fairly easily. The only element of the game that throws you off your pattern is the fleet of Gyruss-like ships which can blast your driving surface into smithereens.
Atari produced a reasonably playable Atari 2600 Moon Patrol cartridge which included many of the basic nuances of the arcade game, but skipped a few others. And out of necessity, the graphics – though already simple – were stripped down to their bare bones. The Atari 2600’s minimal sound capabilities also butchered the arcade game’s catchy (but admittedly repetitive) little musical accompaniment. Still, having seen the Atari 2600 butcher such relatively simple games as Pac-Man and Defender, this version of Moon Patrol wasn’t that bad!