Michael Jackson Moonwalker
Platform: Arcade / Sega Consoles
About Michael Jackson Moonwalker
Michael Jackson Moonwalker (1990 Sega) – Sega developed two similarly themed beat ’em up video games in 1990. One was released for the arcades and another released for the Mega Drive/Genesis and Master System.
Althought, they were developed in tandem, gameswere made by a completely different team and are entirely different games. One is a side-scrolling platformer, other one is a weird, isometric, run-and-gun/beat-em-up hybrid. Source
Michael Jackson Moonwalker on the Arcade
It was made with the help of Michael Jackson and was released on the Sega System 18 hardware. However, this game suffered from Sega’s suicide battery on its arcade board (a battery that, accidentally or otherwise, renders the game unplayable at the end of its lifespan). This version has distinctively different gameplay from its computer and console counterparts and was focusing more on beat ’em up gameplay elements rather than platform. Source
Moonwalker’s Gameplay on the Arcade
The game is essentially a beat-em-up, although Jackson attacks with magic powers instead of physical contact. He also has the ability to shoot short-ranged magic power at enemies. The magic power can be charged by holding the attack button to increase the range and damage of the magic power. If up close to enemies, Jackson executes a spinning melee attack using magic power.
Up to three people can play simultaneously. All three players play as Jackson, dressed in his suit (white for player 1, red for player 2, black for player 3).
Jackson’s special attack is termed “Dance Magic”. There are three different dance routines that may be performed, and the player starts with one to three of these attacks per credit (depending on how the machine is set up).
Bubbles the chimpanzee, Michael’s real-life pet, appears in each level. Once collected or rescued, the chimp transforms Michael into a robotic version of the pop singer that has the ability to shoot laser bursts and missiles and absorb significantly more damage. Source
More about Moonwalker’s Arcade Gameplay
Progress through the levels is linear. The screen is automatically scrolling until it reaches certain stopping points, requiring you to kill all of the enemies to advance.
Comic book panels display at the beginning of each stage, along with a map of the area with all of the hostages. These scenes also show a portrait of Michael doing his trademark “WOOO!”
The robot transformation is abnormally creepy, with Michael growing into a huge, pixelated monstrosity, morphing into metal, then shrinking down to standard size. Source
Moonwalker’s Gameplay on Sega’s home consoles
Michael Jackson Moonwalker (1990 Sega) – Unlike Arcade’s version, home console ports are platformers. The gameplay is focused on finding children, all of whom resemble Katie from the movie. Children are scattered throughout the level, some behind objects such as doors. Most of the objects are empty or contain enemies. Jackson’s standard attack is a stylized high kick that is commonly incorporated into his dance routines. If the player continues to hold the kick button, and moves Jackson backwards, he performs his Moonwalk dance move. Source
Bubbles and Robo-Jackson
After collecting all the girls in the level, Bubbles will come and direct you to the final part of a level where you fight the enemies you fought in each level. If you manage to find a shooting star, you can turn into Robo-Jackson. Then you can fly around and shoot down everyone with a laser. Source
Stories of these games (Arcade,Genesis and Master System) all loosely follow the story of the film. Michael Jackson must rescue kidnapped children from the evil Mr. Big and incorporate synthesized versions of some of the musician’s songs.
In chilling echoes of the sex abuse allegations revealed in Leaving Neverland, game is extremely controversial as in this game Michael Jackson is rescuing kidnapped children. More than that, in Moonwalker you would touch little kids for power-ups.
Tricks and tips (Genesis)
To Get 15 Lives:
Press Up, Up, Down, Left, Right, A, A, C at the starting screen.
To Select Levels:
With controller 2, hold up+left+A and press Start. At the press start title screen use controller 1 and press start. Now, when you choose a game you can select a stage.
Find more tips and tricks: Here
Arcade’s version of Michael Jackson Moonwalker
Arcade’s version is quite fun and simple, but it can be quite annoying and difficult (as most of the Arcades). Health can decrease quickly due to having tons of enemies and bosses on the screen at the same time. But even with that, it’s still entertaining.
Graphics are decent. We get some awesome sprite shrinking effects with Michael’s transformation segments. The level design is also solid and non-repetitive.
However, the best part of this game is soundtrack of course. Bits of “Smooth Criminal”, “Beat It”, “Another Part of Me”, “Billie Jean”, and “Bad” and the sound card does a great job emulating the music.
Home console versions of Michael Jackson Moonwalker
On the Genesis, the gameplay is pretty good (except getting up or down the stairs). It’s also a bit repetitive (especially Cavern levels, where you have to find children in different rooms).
While Moonwalker may seem like a short game, at only five levels, it is probably one of the more difficult games for the Sega Genesis.
Since the game was released in 1990, it was probably developed in the late 1980s. Considering when this video cartridge was developed – within the life span of the Genesis home console system – the Moonwalker game features some truly awesome graphics, animation, music and even some digitized images of the pop star.
Personally, for some strange reason, I have always preferred Genesis version over the Arcade’s version. Maybe I just prefer side-scrolling 2D over isometric view.
Master System’s version is a noticeable downgrade where it hurts most – Sound Effects Department. Lack of sound effect and 8-bit background music kind of kill this game and might even give you a headache.
My Score for Moonwalker (Arcade)
My Score for Moonwalker (Genesis)
My Score for Moonwalker (Master System)
Composed by: Retroconsole xyz