Moon Patrol, developed and released by Irem in 1982, is an arcade video game where the player takes on the role of a Luna City police officer assigned to Sector Nine. Players control a Moon buggy that travels over the Moon’s surface, viewed from the side as it moves toward the right. The objective is to navigate craters, mines, and other obstacles on the ground by shooting or jumping over them while also shooting down two types of flying UFOs that attack from above.
The game features several courses, each divided into 26 checkpoints, named after the letters of the English alphabet. Major checkpoints—E, J, O, T, and Z—denote a new stage with a new background and theme. The screen’s top portion displays a timeline-style map of the course, with the five major checkpoints clearly marked, and an indicator of the current checkpoint, the time spent in the stage, and three indicator lights for upcoming threats.
Players earn bonus points at the end of each stage based on the time spent compared to the average. There are two unique courses: the “Beginner Course” and the “Champion Course.” The Champion Course “loops” forever, with each loop numbered for convenience. Extra lives are awarded at specific point milestones, and the game ends when the last patrol car is destroyed. The game can be continued, but points from one game do not carry over, and the maximum high score achievable is 999,990 points.