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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Moon Patrol - Patrol Sector Nine of Luna City

Moon Patrol is the classic arcade game distributed in the early 1980’s by Williams in the United States. Originally developed by Irem in 1982, the game allows users to take the role of a Luna City police officer assigned to Sector Nine – home of the “toughest thugs in the galaxy.”

The player controls the moon buggy (viewing it from the side) as it travels over the Moon’s surface. While driving, obstacles such as craters and mines must be avoided. The buggy is also attacked by UFO’s from above and tanks on the ground. Moon Patrol is one of the first linear side-scrolling shoot’em games and the first game to feature parallax scrolling.

Game play was straightforward for the day; the top portion of the screen shows a timeline-style map of the current course, and three indicator lights. The top light indicates upcoming enemy aerial attacks, the middle one indicates an upcoming minefield, and the bottom one indicates enemies approaching from behind.
The map shows five different checkpoints labeled E, J, O, T and Z. Similar to racing games, the time spent during between each checkpoint is compared to the average which determines the amount of bonus points allocated to the player.

Moon Patrol was so popular that the game has been ported to several platforms of home computers and game consoles including: Atari 800, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Apple II, Commodore 64, TRS-80, ColecoVision, Nintendo Game Boy, Sega Dreamcast, Sony PlayStation, TI-99/4A, ZX Spectrum, and Mobile OS.

There is a bootleg version of this game called Moon Ranger that made its way to the arcade. This is not related to the unlicensed NES game by the same name developed by Bunch Games.


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