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Moon Patrol - MAME

Moon Patrol
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Description of Moon Patrol ROM - MAME

There are games that look sweet, but play like shit. And there are games that look like shit and play like shit. But there are also games that look like shit, but play like fricking gold. And the Moon Patrol is definitely one of those! Now, let’s face it: when you’re booting up a 1982 game, you don’t quite expect it to look good anyway, it’s merely a question of whether it is still going to be fun or not. And fun, fun Moon Patrol is. You see, I’ve spent hours with the linux reincarnation of Moon Patrol, called Moon Buggy, thinking it was good and fun. But hands down, nothing truly lives up to the addictive nature of the good old original. Moon Patrol is a sidescrolling shooter/platformer/logic-game in which you take the role of a futuristic, spaceborne APC pilot, working for the eponymous Moon Patrol organization. The Moon is under attack and the aliens are invading. Your job is to stop them. The game is split into two ’courses’, each consisting of several points (labeled A-Z), which further split each course into five stages. At the end of each stage, your time is checked against the preprogrammed high-score (remember ‘par-times’ in the Duke Nukem universe?), and should you beat it, you’re given a certain score bonus. That might seem easy at first, but quite the opposite is true; because in Moon Buggy, everything plays against you: the aliens, human-laid minefields, tanks—and even the Moon itself—everything wants to kill you, all at the same time. And so you have no option but to fire your cannon, jump, speed-up and brake, and most importantly: watch the damn road, or else you’re going to end up toasted in no time. That’s the platformer/shooter part of Moon Patrol. But there’s more. Planning ahead, and working out the correct sequence of moves to get past a difficult set of obstacles, that’s where the logic comes into play. And boy, is it fun! And (at the time) still rather unique inertia model featured in the game, only reinforces that kind of approach to it. Speed up to jump further, slown-down to jump closer. Now, Moon Patrol is out-and-out innovative game. Not only it once again brings up the idea of using actual physics in a videogame (the original Asteroids, anyone?), but it’s also the first game in the video game history to introduce the concept of ‘asymmetrical scrolling’. What’s that, you ask? Well, simply put, ‘asymmetrical scrolling’ means, that the foreground imagery moves faster than the images in the background, so that a simple 2D scene gains some kind of a false sense of depth. And although the resulting visuals are still nothing more than your ordinary 8-bit garbage storm (#triggered), the soundtrack (which consists of only two tracks, in fact) is far beyond anything that came in... like ten fricking years after the its release. And it might—in my opinion—quite well be one of the best 8-bit soundtracks ever. Cause let’s face it, nothing quite sets the mood for blasting aliens and leaping across impact craters in a pink-colored space-buggy, like a proper piece of pop-rock background music. All and all, Moon Patrol is a piece of videogaming history, and even if it might not look like much, it’s definitely worth trying out even thirty five years after it’s original release, and it still carries a great deal of fun and addictive gameplay. Just… just make sure to avoid the Atari 2600 version, because that’s just plain awful. Well, like everything for Atari 2600 (#triggered #onceagain).

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