Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (System 18)

From Sega Retro

For the Sega Mega Drive and Sega Master System games, see Michael Jackson's Moonwalker.


Moonwalker Title.png
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
System(s): Sega System 18
Genre: Action

Number of players: 1-3
Release Date RRP Code
Arcade (System 18)
¥? ?
Arcade (System 18)
$? ?

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Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (マイケルジャクソンズ ムーンウォーカー) for Sega System 18 arcade hardware is the name of one of two video game tie-ins made by Sega based on the 1988 film, Moonwalker. As the name suggests it is endorsed by pop sensation Michael Jackson, who would go on to have a long history working with Sega.

A different Michael Jackson's Moonwalker game was released for the Sega Mega Drive and Sega Master System. While this arcade version shares many of the same ideas, this version is a three-player isometric beat-'em-up, while the console versions are presented in 2D at all times.


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 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 different 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. Some boards however are capable of being revived through chip replacement which in some cases changes the "(C) 1990 Sega" copyright in the title to "(C) 1990 RESS" which refers to a resurrected board.

Production credits

  • 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
Available on CD, Tapes and Records
Source: In-game credits [1]

Magazine articles

Main article: Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (System 18)/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

Moonwalker System18 JP Flyer.pdf

System 18 JP flyer

Moonwalker System18 EU Flyer.pdf

System 18 EU flyer

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
90 №106, p68[2]
90 №1990-09, p43
Based on
2 reviews

System 18, US
Moonwalker System18 US Marquee.jpg
System 18, JP