Just In Time For “Pumpkin Flavored Everything”: Holiday ROM Hack Turns Intellivision Homebrew Title “Space Patrol” Into “Pumpkin Spice Patrol”
Ladies and gentlemen, fall is now in full swing, having started just a few short weeks ago. Pretty soon, many areas in the United States will begin turning their clocks back an hour, the weather will start getting chillier, and it will be time for hoodies and hearty soups and stews. It’s also that time of year where nearly everything from cake to coffee starts getting the pumpkin spice treatment. But why must everything related to pumpkins be edible? Left Turn Only, LLC (the creators of the Intellivision homebrew title “Space Patrol”), have recently made available a ROM hack of their own game called “Pumpkin Spice Patrol”, which changes the game to be focused on the fall.
The original “Space Patrol” was created as a homebrew for the Intellivision by Joe Zbiciak, who brought the game to the masses back in 2007. “Space Patrol” was the home Intellivision port of the arcade classic “Moon Patrol” that was never originally made available back in the eighties. The gameplay is nearly identical to the arcade classic, and it has been critically acclaimed over the years. Now, Zbiciak is back with a brand new ROM hack of the original title, to freshen the game up just in time for the holiday season, with the new title “Pumpkin Space Patrol” taking over just like your local Wawa, 7-11 or Dunkin’ Donuts is pushing their pumpkin coffee to consumers. The idea for the update came from a weekend getaway:
“My friend Liz and I drove down to Houston last weekend. I couldn’t work on any of my usual projects. But, with 4 – 5 hours in the car (and a trip to a Starbucks that had a huge Pumpkin Spice Latte sign), I suddenly had a muse. And I had my MacBook Pro with me. So, a handful of hours later, SP is SPiced up!”
In the original arcade game, the player takes the role of a Luna City police officer assigned to Sector Nine, which was the home of the “toughest thugs in the galaxy”. You control a moon buggy, which is viewed on the side, that travels over the surface of the moon. Obstacles like craters and mines have to be a avoided, and various enemies such as unidentified flying objects from above and tanks on the ground must be shot down. In the Intellivision port “Space Patrol”, you have the option of playing on four different levels: The Moon, Mars, Mercury & Pluto. Each location offers a varied amount of difficulty which changes based on where you are playing.
In “Pumpkin Spice Patrol” however, the planets have been changed. Instead of driving around on various real-life planets, the names have been changed to represent various fall-time spices! You get to fly around on planets Ginger, Allspice, Cinnamon and Nutmeg! Not only that, but your buggy has been changed to represent a large bottle of spice. Aside from fighting off UFOs and tanks, you now have to sprinkle your spice on Jack-O-Lanterns and pumpkin pie! And let’s face it everyone: This time of year, don’t we look forward to a slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving? (After Halloween is done, of course!)
The new hack has been tested on various emulators, however there are no reports yet on flashcart compatibility. Some users were reporting problems with the controls, and in response, Zbiciak states that while the control scheme was not altered for this version, there were ways around it if you were having issues:
BIN format is different from ROM format. BIN+CFG has a raw binary file, plus a separate CFG file that describes the ROM layout. ROM format bakes most of that information into the file format itself. I thought the CC3 Menu understood both; however, you need to leave the file named “spicepat.bin” in that case. If you’re building your CC3 menu manually or trying to download via serial, that’s a different story. Attached is the same ZIP file [with the original BIN file, along] with two additional files:
- spicepat.rom This is the Intellicart ROM format. It’s also the format the CC3 expects on the SD card.
- spicepat.cc3 This is nearly identical to spicepat.rom, except it’s the format the CC3 expects if you’re downloading over serial in “Developer Mode.”
I strongly suspect you want the ‘spicepat.rom’ file in this .zip, but both variants are included, just in case. The two differ only in the first byte (0xA8 for the Intellicart ROM, and 0x41 for the CC3 ROM.) BTW, the tools required to convert between all these formats are included with jzIntv (bin2rom, rom2bin, etc). They are command-line tools, though.
The new ROM hack has been made available absolutely free for download directly from Left Turn Only, and is available on the AtariAge forums at the link below. It should also be mentioned that this is not the first time that Left Turn Only has created a holiday themed Intellivision title! For the Christmas season back in 2012, they were the same people that brought us “Christmas Carol vs. The Ghost Of Christmas Presents“. So, they already have experience in making special holiday based Intellivision titles, and this one seems to rank up the points for one of my favorite fall holidays, Halloween! Happy sprinkling!