Moon Patrol
We quit! We're joining the Moon Patrol!

When I hear the words "Apple Two," a handful of games come to mind, but most prominently the one that I heard beeping away in every school computer lab I ever visited: Moon Patrol!

"The Glitch" and "Apple Bandit" did not create the game--they just figured out how to copy it. It's worth pointing out that I've never seen the officially released version of Moon Patrol's title screen--only this slightly modified pirated version. This includes all the aforementioned computer labs, in schools that were supposedly a safe haven from piracy. Given the budgets they worked with, though, they probably had no choice.

Your new job as a Moon Patrolsman, should you choose to be all you can be, is to do two things: shoot UFOs, and jump over craters. Your space bar shoots and your A button makes the moon buggy jump. You may also have to shoot dirt mounds, small brown mountains, and haystacks--they all look the same. Get rid of the UFOs as quickly as possible by mashing the space bar as soon as you see 'em, as they can drop things back at you. The spacecrafts that look like three circles glued together can create new craters with the things they drop; they are the worst.

Unfortunately for you, they start getting creative with the simplistic tasks past the first checkpoint. You'll run into this haystack on level F many times before you figure out how to leap over that crater early enough to give yourself just enough firing room to obliterate the brown thing.

The problems will just get hairier. Check out THIS abomination from level I. You're supposed to leap over that crater, blast that dirt/hay mound in the next nanosecond, then quickly hit Jump on the NEXT nanosecond to clear the second crater. And then there's another tiny haystack right after this! With so many easier games out there, Moon Patrol newbies may be tempted to give up. Don't. This can be done--I've beaten Moon Patrol many times.

Around every five letters you'll reach a checkpoint. They serve no purpose other than to measure your time against the game's standard. Beat it, and you'll get bonus points. Points were once very important in Videogameland....

There is one more button in Moon Patrol, but annoyingly, I couldn't remember it and mashing the keys revealed nothing. I don't know if it got disabled or not, but you kind of need it to get past level J. It's the button that slows the buggy down. Levels J and K are nothing but land mines, and they're too low to shoot. They're also positioned in such a way as to make jumping over them rather tricky. Of course this is the only other thing you can do, and it gets much easier if you can slow the buggy down.

Without knowledge of that button, level J is just barely doable--take it from someone who spent several computer lab sessions trying to break past this portion at full speed. I eventually managed to do that, but it required precise memorization of exactly WHEN to jump and where. You're probably not interested in this kind of time-wasting. (Then again, if you're poking around Applepalooza...)