Difference between revisions of "Michael Jackson's Moonwalker"

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(Physical Scans)
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| arcade_date_world=1990
| arcade_date_world=1990
| md_date_eu=1990-09
| md_date_eu=1990-09
| md_rrp_uk=39.00
| md_rrp_uk=34.99
| md_date_us=1990
| md_date_us=1990
| md_date_jp=1990-08-25
| md_date_jp=1990-08-25

Revision as of 14:47, 9 April 2012

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Moonwalker Title.png
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
Publisher: Sega
System(s): Sega System 18, Sega Mega Drive, Sega Master System
ROM size: Sega Mega Drive 512kB, Sega Master System 256kB
Genre: Action

Release Date RRP Code
Arcade World 1990  ?
Sega Mega Drive JP 1990-08-25 ¥6,000 G-4028
Sega Mega Drive US 1990 $?  ?
Sega Mega Drive EU 1990-09 £34.99  ?
Sega Mega Drive BR 199x R$?  ?
Sega Master System US 1990 $? 7052
Sega Master System EU 1990 £29.99 7052

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (マイケルジャクソンズ ムーンウォーカー) is the name of two video game tie-ins made by Sega based on the 1988 film, Moonwalker. A third (sometimes subtitled as The Computer Game) was released by U.S. Gold for home computers, but had no involvement from Sega. As the name suggests it is endorsed by pop sensation Michael Jackson, who would go on to have a long history working with Sega.

Moonwalker is made up of a number of short films and does not tell a coherent story from beginning to end. As a result, all versions of Michael Jackson's Moonwalker are based on one segment of the film, Smooth Criminal, which sees Jackson using various music and dance related abilities on a quest to save kidnapped children from the hands of the evil "Mr. Big" and various American gangsters.


The game was originally released for the Sega System 18 arcade platform in 1990. This version is played from an isometric perspective and behaves similarly to a beat-'em-up game. Moonwalker was then retooled and re-released as a 2D side-scroller for the Sega Mega Drive and Sega Master System. Though the two games vary considerably, both have the same goals and incorporated synthesized versions of the musician's hits, such as "Beat It" and "Smooth Criminal".

In the early days of the Mega Drive, Moonwalker was often used as a flagship product of Sega's system (particlarly in North America), with Jackson's persona being used along with many other celebrities in an effort to put a dent in sales of Nintendo products.

Even though both versions of the game have a stage takes place in a graveyard and have the "Triller dance" which can be performed, the theme of Thriller does not feature in either game (being replaced with Another Part of Me). It is suspected that the reason for this was that Jackson did not write Thriller (though did write the other songs).

The Sega versions of Moonwalker have now achieved cult status and are remembered for being a memorable point in Jackson's career, marking a change in stage personas between the albums "Thriller" and "Bad". Jackson would work with Sega on several future products - he would be responsible for much of the music in Sonic the Hedgehog 3 (though remains uncredited) and features in both Space Channel 5 and Space Channel 5: Part 2.


Arcade Version

The arcade Moonwalker is played from a top-down isometric perspective. Players assume the role of Michael Jackson and are armed with a basic melee attack. All enemies on-screen can also be forced to "dance", which will cause damage in the process. Something which is never explained is how up to three Michael Jacksons, all sporting diffent attire, can play at once.

If players find Jackson's chimp, Bubbles, they will turn into a robot and have the ability to fire projectiles.

Sadly the arcade version is known to be plagued with a "suicide battery" - a battery which, after it stops working, makes the arcade board completely unusable. This makes a working arcade Moonwalker a rare sight in the modern age.

Console Version

Console versions of Moonwalker play similarly to their arcade counterpart, but are played from a 2D perspective. As with the arcade version the objective is to go around destroying enemies while finding the missing children. C/1 jumps, B/pressing 2 kicks, and A/holding 2 spins/shoots your hat at enemies. Music is shortened in this version.

This version is notable for having several pointless features which do not appear to have much effect on gameplay (for example, B + Left/Right moonwalks and it is also possible to do crotch grabs). Up opens doors and sewer lids. Once all the children in a level are saved, Bubbles the Monkey will appear and will point you in the direction of Mr. Big, and once you get to the right spot you will have to fight a barrage of his cronies to complete the stage. The Master System version cuts the Bubbles scene and goes right to the boss barrage.

If a meteor falls out of the sky, catch it to turn into a giant mech that shoots lasers and is invincible for a short period of time. You cannot rescue children while invincible.


Mega Drive Version

Production Credits

Arcade Version


  • Round 1 -Cavern-
    • Bad
  • Round 2 -Amusement Quarter-
    • Smooth Criminal
  • Round 3 -Night Street-
    • Beat It
  • Round 4 -Graveyard-
    • Another Part of Me
  • Round 5 -Evil Fortress-
    • Bad ~Reprise~
  • Ending
    • Billie Jean

All Songs Written and Composed by: Michael Jackson

  • Available on CD, Tapes and Records

Game Concept & Design by: Michael Jackson

Mega Drive Version

Planner: Koi
Planner Assistant: Captain Elf
Designer: Doydoy, Chie Sama, Jiyna
Programmer: Ekas, Mt. Book, 610
Programmer Assistant: Nas Atagan
Sound Composer: Jimita
Sound Assistant: Middle Village, Iagan
Sound Adviser: Bo
Special Thanks: Al Nilsen
Game Concept and Design by: Michael Jackson

Master System Version

Designers: Udi, Sadou, Fudou
Planners: Tomozou, Asohy, Pata
Sound Programmer: T N
Programmers: Minepy, Kidopyu, Mochaponpon, Kozaoyaji
Presented by: Sega

Physical Scans

Arcade Version

Arcade 90 Sega Retro Average 
Based on 1 review
Publication Score Source
90 №106

Mega Drive Version

Sega Mega Drive 80 Sega Retro Average 
Based on 9 reviews
Publication Score Source
61 №38
88 №108
Mega Drive, US
Moonwalker MD US Box.jpg
Moonwalker MD US Cart.jpg
Mega Drive, EU
Moonwalker md eu cover.jpg
Mega Drive, JP
Moonwalker md jp cover.jpg
Mega Drive, BR
Moonwalker MD BR Box.jpg
Moonwalker MD BR Cart.jpg

Master System Version

Sega Master System 72 Sega Retro Average 
Based on 7 reviews
Publication Score Source
70 №112
Master System, US
Moonwalker SMS US cover.jpg
Master System, EU
6-language variant
Moonwalker SMS EU 6lang cover.jpg
Master System, EU
8-language variant
Moonwalker SMS EU Box.jpg