ZX Spectrum Moon Patrol
Another classic arcade game here from waaay back.
Atari's Moon Patrol was popular in the amusement arcades and was eventually converted to the ZX Spectrum by Atarisoft. Despite the game being completed it was never commercially released.
Why it was never released is a mystery to me (if anyone knows can you please tell me?!!), but it's fair to say that this version never managed to capture the playability of the original classic arcade game.
Moon Patrol (the arcade game) was released in 1982. The game is a shmup of the side view, side scrolling variety.
The player controls a moon buggy, viewed from the side, that travels across the rocky surface of the moon. The player 'drives' it, all the while avoiding obstacles such as craters and land mines. You could also fire missiles upwards and forwards to take out any nasties that would get in your way.
You also find yourself being attacked by UFOs from above and tanks on the ground. This game was one of the earliest linear side-scrolling shoot'em ups and the first arcade game to feature parallax scrolling. How's that for a slice of gaming history?
The top portion of the screen displays a timeline-style map of the current sector, and it also displays incoming ariel threats, upcoming minefields and any attacks from the rear.
The map shows five different checkpoints labeled E, J, P, U and Z. In a similar fashion to racing games, the time spent between each checkpoint determines the amount of bonus points you can score.
The problem with this conversion is that it moves along far too slowly. The jumping action is okay as it feels almost like lesser gravity, but the scrolling, buggy and nasties move around the screen far too slowly. The Speccy was easily capable of running a good version of this classic game, it really should have been great.
For me I think it is a real pity that later in the Speccy's life, (when programming techniques had improved), someone did not revisit older arcade games like this one. Can you imagine this game implemented with Jonathan Smith's parallax scrolling as seen in Cobra? Awesome it would have been.
All in all this is a below par version of one of my favourite arcade games.
In the meantime here is a nice and playable version for you to enjoy (Thanks to classicgamesarcade.com):
It could have been some classic arcade action:
Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games