Moon Patrol

Original System: Atari 5200

Port of the 1982 Williams Coin-op, Moon Patrol was a surprise hit for the company and was quickly ported to all Atari systems.  According to programmer Scott Smith, the 5200 version came first at the marketing departments request due to the 5200 market being larger than the 400/800 market at the time.  However between the time the 5200 version was released and the 400/800 port was finished the game was pirated by unknown persons and 'ported' to the 400/800.  Scott says he could tell the pirate program was based off the 5200 version and not his then unreleased 400/800 port due to some bugs that were still present that he had fixed in the 400/800 port.

The two versions may look similar on the surface, but have some coding changes behind the scenes to fix some bugs that were present in the original 5200 version.  The most obvious difference between the two is the inclusion of an Atari copyright at the bottom of the title screen (similar to Jungle Hunt).  Interestingly the * and # text for selecting the number of players and level weren't changed when it was ported to the 400/800 even though the button mappings were (* and # do nothing, the player must press Select and Option).  The Atari 5200 version also takes advantage of the 5200's second fire button to jump while the player must push up on the 400/800 version.

As for the bugs that were fixed between the versions, there are two.  First, in the 5200 version if you jump into the exact middle of a large crater you can jump out of it without dying.  This was due to a bug in the collision detection which was fixed in the 400/800 version.  The second bug involves the scoring in one of the areas which was also fixed in the 400/800 version.


Atari 400/800

Atari 5200


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