Moon Patrol (Atari 2600) Retro Review
Updated: Mar 26
Game Name: Moon Patrol
Publishers: Irem, Williams Electronics, Atari, Inc and Atarisoft
Platforms: Arcade, (original) Apple II, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, C64, VIC-20, MSX, IBM PC, TI-99/4A, TRS-80 Color Computer
Release Date: 1982
This is an old game that I always reference very often. For example, Heavy Weapon was an example where I referenced this game. It is a traditional space platformer. I played this a lot when I was a kid. Prior to the NES, I had a ColecoVison with Atari Adapter or module. I believe I said this before, but my uncle would come with a garbage bag full of games and he, my brother and I would play games all evening. I guess this is where I developed my love for games. So does this game hold up after all these years?
This game like many others of its time has a very simple premise, you control a vehicle called Moon Buggy. There are 26 checkpoints or sections with 5 main levels.
While traversing the moon's surface, you are met with various obstacles. What made this game unique to me at the time, was the fact that you did not just have flying saucers, you had to make sure that craters or mines did not hit you on the ground. For me as a kid, it added an extra layer of difficulty which I liked.
The controls are very simple. You shoot and jump. You can move slightly faster and glide on the screen. That is it in terms of controls. it is amazing to think that you did not need more to be entertained at the time. There was no special powers and you did not have portals. I guess it was a simpler time. :)
While researching the game for this article, I did not realize that this was released as an arcade game first. Then it was ported to a bunch of different systems, including the Atari 2600 and Atari 5200.
Atari 2600 Gameplay
Arcade Gameplay (Arcade)
Does this game hold up after all these years? It holds its own pretty well. Yes the graphics do not really hold up and they are not state of the art but I love the challenge of it. There have been similar games that came out after this one but I think this one captures the spirit of the genre.
Many of the same points that I have made for other Atari games are still valid here. Graphics look dated and there is not much of a soundtrack, other than the in game sounds. So there is nothing memorable there.
Is there replay value? This is where I think that most people would say is the negative. Yes it is fun to pick ever so often to see how well that you can do, but I do not think it is a game that people will be addicted to. It is fun and it has its challenges but I think that after you have your fill, you will no touch the game for a long time. So it does have replay value but not as much as some of the more modern games would have.
I think that this game is a good one to have in your Atari collection. Although it may lack in polish, it makes up for it in gameplay.
Rating: 7.5 Moon Buggy's out of 10
Have you every played Moon Patrol? How did you like it? Let me know below.