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)
$? ?

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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) is a Sega System 18 isometric action beat ‘em up game developed by Sega R&D 1 and starring world-famous pop music artist Michael Jackson. Based on the 1988 film Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, it was first released to Japanese arcades in August 1993, and was brought to the United States later that year.

Moonwalker, alongside its Mega Drive counterpart of the same name, is notable for being one of the earliest uses of direct celebrity endorsement in video game production, and marks the very beginning of Jackson’s long and storied collaboration with Sega.[1][2]


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.[3]


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.[3]

All incarnations of the game feature Dance Magic, a special ability where enemies are compelled to dance to short sections of "Bad", "Thriller", and "Another Part of Me" before being defeated as a result.[3]


Amusement Quarter
Night Street
Evil Fortress


Moonwalker’s arcade hardware incorporates a "suicide battery" - a battery which, after it stops working, renders the game inoperable.[4] This makes original working releases a rare sight in the modern age. Despite this, 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 [5]

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 
Publication Version Score
Based on
0 reviews

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (System 18)

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


Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (System 18)

Moonwalker Title.png

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