Video Game Review: Park Patrol

First posted in July, 2007

It's been a good weekend.  A mix of lazy and productive, if perhaps a little heavy on the lazy. I've been nostalgic and playing old videogames from childhood: Ghostbusters, Dino Eggs, Tapper, Archon, Miner 2049er, Summer Games, Spy's Demise... games that probably only one other reader of this site knows (that person being my mother).

But! I have also been looking at other interesting Commodore 64 titles that I've come across while looking for the games I know, and it is because of this that I have discovered...

In Park Patrol, you are a ranger. Rangers, of course, wander through the woods picking up the trash left behind by thoughtless park visitors. For points. And as they wander around, either in the woods or - for a touch of realism - on river patrol, they expend calories. If they expend too many calories, they die. If they go back to the ranger station and take a snooze (probably in uniform, but out of sight from the public), their calories are restored and they can once again wander the wilds in search of recyclables!

You can be a boy ranger or a girl ranger.
Boy rangers have short hair and a moustache.

But the wilds are not carefree, even to the ranger who knows the land (and water). You can stub your toe on a rock (and die). There are (killer) snakes, and (killer) turtles, and (killer) ants. Also, you can't swim. Also, you're not wearing a personal flotation device. Also, you sometimes stumble while getting into and out of your boat and fall into the river (and die). Sometimes you hit a swimmer in the lake and your raft sinks (and you die). Or, as in the screen capture below, sometimes you are going through the lake too fast and hit a log, are tossed out of your raft, fly over the log, land in the water and drown (and thus, you die).

Whether you die on land or at sea, your flat hat
is always the last thing to disappear.

My recommendation? If you are a park ranger, it's worth downloading for about five minutes of giggles, particularly if you already have a working Commodore 64 emulator on your system.

The game can be found here, and emulators for the PC can be found online as well.