AGH Atari 2600 Review:

by Spectravision

Planet Patrol
Trying to capitalize on Defender, Planet Patrol was one of the second wave of clones (along with Chopper Command, Space Jockey and others) that tried to one-up Atari's cartridge version of the coin-op classic. In this game, Planet Spectra has apparently been invaded by enemy forces and your mission is to destroy their missile bases. The enemy's arsenal contains heat seeking torpedos and drone missiles. If either hit your patrol vessel, you'll lose a life. The drone missiles can be knocked out by your laser fire, but the torpedos are indestructible and needs to be avoided.

Like in Defender, there are humans (stranded pilots here) who show up periodically. Rescuing them will net you a fair number of points, but unlike Defender, you CAN shoot them if you feel evil enough to do so. Missile bases appear immediately after you rescue a pilot and they're pretty easy to eliminate. But after the third one is destroyed the screen becomes scattered with debris which stands still for a moment and then moves quickly into the path of your ship. The bits and pieces need to be avoided for a while, then a black landing strip appears. This is where you dock to refuel. Once refueling is complete, you start over again but now you're up against faster enemy weapons and more objects to avoid.

Judging the game on its own merits, Planet Patrol is a serviceable -- if not thrilling -- shooter. The problem is, there's nothing in this game that hasn't been done before, and there are other games on the 2600 that do it better. The graphics approach Activision quality in terms of sharpness and vividness, but you'll notice some flickering going on (a-la 2600 Defender). Overall, Planet Patrol is a simpler (although not necessarily easier) version of Atari's Defender.

Title Planet Patrol
Publisher Spectravision
System Atari 2600 (VCS)
Graphics 6
Sound 5
Gameplay 6
Overall 6
Reviewer Keita Iida

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