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.