|Publisher(s)||Taito, Alligata, CRL Group, Lyversoft, Program One|
|Release date(s)||1979 (Arcade)|
|Mode(s)||Single player, Up to 2 players, alternating turns|
|Sound||1-channel (mono), amplified|
|Display||Raster, 336 x 240 pixels, 8 colors|
Lunar Rescue is an arcade game released by Taito in 1979. It contains elements that resemble both Taito's own Space Invaders (and is sometimes listed as a Space Invaders spin-off) as well as Atari's Lunar Lander released that same year.
The game starts with the player's spacecraft docked inside the mothership at the top of the screen. Below the mothership is an asteroid field and below that, the surface of the moon. There are three platforms which can be landed on and six stranded astronauts that need rescuing. You control a small spacecraft. The player must press the button to release their spacecraft from the mothership and manoeuvre through the asteroid field. The craft can only move left or right or use up a finite amount of fuel by engaging the thrust (the same button again) to slow its descent. If the craft is landed successfully on one of the available platforms, one of the astronauts will run towards and board the craft.
The asteroid belt now changes into a swarm of flying saucers, some of which drop bombs. The player must now guide the spacecraft back up to the mothership (the craft ascends without using up fuel), avoiding the flying saucers. The thrust button is now a fire button which can be used to shoot at enemies above (as in Space Invaders). Finally, the craft must be docked with the mothership using the bay opening. If the side of the mothership or any part of the ship outside of the opening is hit, the rescued astronaut falls to the surface and dies. If the mothership is missed altogether, the craft explodes. After all six people have been rescued (or killed providing the player still has lives remaining), the game starts again at a higher level.
Ports and clones
As the arcade game was relatively obscure, there were no official ports at the time but the original Taito game has more recently been re-released on a number of retro compilations including Taito Legends 2 for PS2, Xbox and PC.
As with most arcade games of the time, there were many unofficial clones for home computers and games consoles. These include a number of unofficial versions which use the original title such as versions released by CRL Group and Lyversoft for the ZX Spectrum, Program One for the Commodore 64, and Alligata for the Acorn Electron and BBC Micro. Versions with different titles include Meteor Mission (Acornsoft) for the BBC Micro and Meteor Mission II (Big Five Software) for the TRS-80. The clones continue to be developed on the retro scene with a version called This Planet Sucks being released in 1998 for the Atari 2600.
- Lunar Rescue at arcade-history
- Lunar Rescue at Acorn Electron World
- Twin Galaxies High Score Rankings for Lunar Rescue