When people hear the name Irem, they think of one game and one game only. But 5 years before they were to create the seminal R-Type, Irem coders were cutting their teeth on a very different battle to destroy the alien invaders.
Moon Patrol takes place, unsurprisingly, on the moon and has you patrolling Sector Nine in your 6 wheel armoured buggy. Using your front and top mounted cannons you must shoot down the invading forces before they can drop a bomb on your head or blow a hole in the moon's surface for you to fall into.
On initial viewing it would be easy to miss some of the subtleties that make Moon Patrol stand out and I could spend the next few paragraphs extolling the virtues of its parallax scrolling, in-game music and suspension mechanics. But that would do an injustice to the main reason why I still play Moon Patrol today. The simplistic joy of bounding around the craterous surface blasting UFOs is as strong as it was when I had to sit on a stool to see the screen properly. The only difference is that making it through the minefield without having to pump in a handful of coins no longer rewards me with a chocolate bar on the way home.