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While using the Moon Patrol design mechanic, Battle through TIme employs it in an interesting way, differentiating the level progressions just enough to make it a unique title and not a clone.
 
Like in Moon Patrol, difficulty increases in Battle through Time as levels are completed, but unlike it, every level has a different set of enemies with slightly different behaviors, and a different (albeit not terribly well executed) musical track to fit the current era.    
 
There is a definite progression through the game.  Not just in the sense that you move forward in time (mostly), but also in that the player gets blamed for events at the end of the fifth level, and has to face the aftermath.  There is also, at the end of the level progression, a boss of sorts that has to be defeated before the game loops.
 
Otherwise, the mechanics are similar to Moon Patrol, with firing both up and forward, jumping, and controlling the pace of the vehicle, with the vehicle moving quicker and gaining more points toward the right end of the screen, but driving more safely toward the left end.  Attacks come from the sky and from in front of you on the ground, which you either avoid or shoot.
 
The similarities are strong, but the humor and design help distinguish this game.

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