Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (System 18)

From Sega Retro

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


Moonwalker Title.png

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
System(s): Sega System 18
Publisher: Sega
Genre: Action

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

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (マイケルジャクソンズ ムーンウォーカー) is a Sega System 18 isometric action beat ‘em up game developed by Sega R&D 1 and starring music artist Michael Jackson. Released to arcades in August 1993, the game is based on the 1988 film Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, and marks the beginning of Jackson’s involvement with Sega.

The game, along with its home counterpart Michael Jackson's Moonwalker, is notable for being one of the earliest uses of direct celebrity endorsement in video game production.


The game is based on the Smooth Criminal segment of the 1988 film Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, following Jackson in suit and fedora through stages based on his different music videos as he rescues children from the drug dealer Mr. Big.[1]


Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker is an isometric action beat ‘em up game which emphasizes strategic movement around oncoming enemies and projectiles. Jackson’s primary attacks is a magic dazzle fired from his hand, which can be charged for a stronger burst (and during which he will be moonwalking.) By finding Jackson’s pet chimpanzee Bubbles, players transform into the giant robot from the movie and are briefly given the abilities of eye lasers and homing missiles.[1]

All incarnations of the game feature Dance Magic, a special ability where enemies are compelled to dance to short beats from Bad, Thriller, and Another Part of Me before being defeated as a result.[1]


Moonwalker’s arcade hardware incorporates a "suicide battery" - a battery which, after it stops working, renders the game inoperable.[2] This makes original working releases a rare sight in the modern age. However, some boards can be revived by replacing individual chips, resulting in a new copyright message of (C) 1990 RESS.

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
In-game credits [3]

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 export flyer

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
90 №1990-09, p43
Based on
1 review
Sega Retro Average 
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Publication Version Score
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Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (System 18) <meta itemprop="ratingValue" content="Division by zero.">

System 18, US
Moonwalker System18 US Marquee.jpg
System 18, JP
"Long" instructions
"Long" instructions (2)
Instuction card(s)