Classic Retro Video Game Reviews

Spectravision's Planet Patrol -Atari 2600
Retro Gaming Review

Atari 2600 VCS console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game ReviewSpectravision's Planet Patrol for Atari 2600 Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Title: Planet Patrol
Manufacturer: Spectravision
Platform: Atari 2600
Release Date: 1983
Part #: SA-202
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
ESRB Rating: N/A

Rating: Spectravision's Planet Patrol Classic Retro Video Game Review Rating
Spectravision's Planet Patrol Screenshot:
Spectravision's Planet Patrol for Atari 2600 screenshot Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review

Side scrolling space shooters were not uncommon in this era, so it seems likely that Planet Patrol was seeking to capitalize on this genre and include a few extras. Defender was a leader in this genre, but the 1981 Atari 2600 version had a lot flicker issues.

It wasn't until 1985 that Defender II came out for the 2600 with a vastly better experience. In between, Planet Patrol tried to enhance the experience with a refueling scenario and day/night scenes.

Planet Patrol Story Arc

You have been tasked to patrol your planet around the clock by day and night. As you navigate your ship you have to dodge enemy fire and destroy their spaceships. It is necessary to refuel occasionally or your mission may be cut short. As the sun sets and the night creeps in, your mission becomes much more difficult.

Planet Patrol Game Play

Holy shit! Check this out...
Originally founded in 1981 as SpectraVision, a name change to Spectravideo was in order to avoid legal issues with OnCommand's Hotel TV system, also called SpectraVision.
They began as a video game company that predominantly made Atari 2600 games as they moved into making computers.

This is a 1 or 2 player game with "fast" and "slow" game variations available via the Game Select Switch.

It begins quite innocently and seems simple enough, but the action will increase. Enemies shoot heat seeking missiles and torpedoes at you. Most targets can be shot down, but the smaller torpedoes must be dodged, as they are indestructible.

To gain additional points you can rescue downed-pilots, but be careful as you can accidentally shoot them. Large missile bases appear and must be destroyed. The final one explodes and fills the screen with debris that must be avoided - no shooting your way out of this mess.

Spectravision's Planet Patrol for Atari 2600 ad

When you see the long black landing strip, you know you're in the home stretch if you can line up with it and land. With a successful landing comes a needed refueling and you're off to the next level where you'll encounter a similar adventure with a bit more speed and enemy presence.

While this isn't a bad game, others in the genre have done it better. At the same time, we like the action and the day/night shift that alters your ability to see enemies approaching. Planet Patrol tries to differentiate itself from the others... we simply wish they'd amped it up a bit more. Fun game, but make sure you have Defender nearby... you'll want to save a few humanoids when you're done patrolling the planet ;)

Atari 2600 VCS console Classic Retro Gaming Video Game Review
Final Judgement:

Spectravision's Planet Patrol

Is a side scrolling shooter in which you destroy enemy ships, rescue downed pilots and destroy missile bases. Oh yeah, don't run out of fuel. It's not an outstanding game, but it offers some action and a few diversions to make it a bit different from others.

We'd still rather play Defender, but this is a fun enough romp.

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