Michael Jackson's Moonwalker

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
a game by Sega
Genres: Action, Platformer
Platforms: Sega GenesisGenesis, Sega Master SystemSega Master System
Editor Rating: 8.1/10, based on 8 reviews
User Rating: 7.4/10 - 45 votes
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See also: Arcade Games, Dancing Games, Rhythm Games
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker

He's back... er bad... er, well, you get the idea.

M.J., the dancing man himself, has sashayed over to the Sega Master System. In this version of the arcade and Genesis title, Michael is once again out to rescue all the children in the world from the clutches of Mr. Big, the psycho mastermind of crime. The diabolical Mr. Big plans to brainwash the little tykes and use them as his slaves. But not if Michael has anything to say about it.

Michael's Moves

The J-Man's got some fancy moves in this one player version of the game. Although he's more limited than in the Genesis game, Michael can still kneel, punch, kick, jump and hit, Moonwalk, spin on his toes, toss his hat, and strut his stuff during a Dance Attack.


  • It's hard to get Michael to do exactly what you want him to with the Master System controller, particularly when he goes down stairs. Try using a Genesis controller tor better control - just remember you won't need one of me buttons at all.

  • The Dance Attack looks nice but doesn't do a whole lot for you. Stick with the basic moves for tge best results.

Twist and Shout

To make it to the final confrontation with the nasty one you'll have to slip into Michael's dancing shoes and "Beat It" on down to Club 30, a Parking Garage, a Graveyard, an underground Cavern, and the technoid towers of Mr. Big's hideout. It's five levels, each with three different stages, of vertically and horizontally scrolling arcade-style action, plus a final confrontation with the dreaded Mr. Big.

To clear each stage you and Michael must find all of the kidnapped children that Mr. Big has stashed in some pretty tricky hiding places: behind doors, near windows, in back of gravestones, and even inside the trunks of cars. The faster you find the children the more points you score. You've got three Michaels per game and unlimited continues. A Star Magic gauge on the left of the screen indicates how much life you have left.

In some hilling places you'll find little Michaels. When you snag one of these you get extra Star Magic on your power bar. A good strategy is to learn where these are located and avoid grabbing them until you really need them.

"It's After Midnight and Something Evil's Lurking in the Dark"

Mr. Big's cronies are a mixed lot. Club 30 is packed with gun-toting con men in blue suits.

  • Watch for the blue suits that jump out of the windows from above. These are usually the ones toting guns. Bad guys leaning against the wall and trying to look casual often have guns also.

  • Beat the blue suits at the end of each stage by kneeling, pivoting left and right, and punching them when they come to you.

A gang of tough guys, some packing bats, roam around in the Parking Garage, as well as a nasty pack of Dobies whose bite is worse than their bark.

  • The Dobies come in low and nip at your heels. Try to kneel and toss your hat at them.

  • To beat the Dobies at the end of 2-3 kneel just to the left of the red car, and keep tossing your hat.

Ghastly Zombies leap from tombstone to tombstone in the Graveyard and creep around in the underground Cavern with Spiders and laser-toting bad guys.

  • The best way to put Zombies six feet under is to hit Buttons 1 and 2 simultaneously to do a jump and punch move. If you punch them in mid-air they're done for.

  • Search inside of the Caverns for the missing children. The large Spiders on the wall show you the location of hidden doors.

  • To beat the laser-toting goons at the end of 4-2 just jump to the top of the cliff and let them drop to the floor. Then jump down behind them and get rid of them with a swift kick or punch.

  • Grab the children inside of Caverns like this by kneeling on the right edge of the ledge and punching the Zombie's feet.

  • Mr. Rig's laser-toting cronies at the end of 4-3 are easy to stop if you jump over them and kick them from behind.

Mr. Big's technoid towers are heavily guarded by goons with lasers as well as automated laser cannons on the ceilings that track you with a vengeance.

Kick the computer panels to destroy them. This will temporarily stop the ceiling lasers from firing and also open doors to different passageways.

You'll "Beat IT"

Unfortunately Michael's magic, the gorgeous graphics, and the nifty tunes (including "Bad, Beat It, Billie Jean," and "Smooth Criminal") just don't make up for the "baddest" part of the game -- it's just too easy! But hey, if "you wanna' be startin' something" with Michael you may find the game's a "thriller" anyway.

Download Michael Jackson's Moonwalker


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Game modes: Single game mode

Player controls:

  • Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
  • Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
  • "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
  • "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
  • "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)

Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.

Sega Master System

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

I was a massive MJ fan as a kid and Michael Jacksons Moonwalker for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis was a game I played through many times as a kid. While there was an arcade game, but this is here is its own beast. The movie was freaking weird and I mean that in a good way and the game manages to capture the weirdness of the movie very well.

Heal the World

This is not exactly what you would call a cinematic masterpiece, but I feel that they did a decent job in following the plot of the movie. There is an evil drug dealer called Mr. Big that wants to get the kids all hooked on drugs and MJ is having none of it! That is the basic plot of Michael Jacksons Moonwalker and it is decent enough. I do feel that they were relying on people having seen the movie before they played this.

Like A Smooth Criminal

The presentation is just fantastic! I do not think this game gets enough praise for the presentation. The visuals are very solid, Michael himself is animated incredibly well and there are five different stages ranging from a nightclub to a graveyard to a battle in outer space. It is “silly”, but it works very well and each area looks unique.

Of course, we cannot talk about this game without talking about the music. Many of the classics are here such as Smooth Criminal, Beat It, and Thriller. What is strange is that there are two different versions of the game were the music is different in certain levels! No matter what, hearing the Sega pump out these MJ classics is great stuff. There is a tad of voice in the game, but it is a bit raspy.

Beat It!

The gameplay is that of a 2D action game. In Michael Jacksons Moonwalker you will not be surprised to hear that you play as Michael Jackson. Each level has you needing to rescue some kids. These are usually hidden behind a door, tombstone, or whatever the level is themed on. You find the kids, get Bubbles to help you and then you fight a boss. Each stage offers the same thing. It is not groundbreaking stuff, but it is fun enough that you will want to see it through to the end.

What is quite clever is the way that your attacks are all themed around classic Michaels Jackson moves. For example, you do an MJ kick as your basic attack. You can also throw your hat and you can even do a special attack that causes all the enemies on the screen to dance with you and then blow up! You can even turn into the robot from the movie which is freaking weird I know, but awesome. Finding the kids can sometimes be a tad frustrating, but eventually, you will figure out where they are.

I know that many people will look at a game like Michael Jacksons Moonwalker and laugh. The fact of the matter is, this is a damn fine 2D action game and one that is well worth playing. I would go as far as to say it is a bit of a hidden gem and does not get the love that it deserves. It is rather short, but I always end up beating the game when I fire it up as I get pretty into what is going on.


Final Score


  • It features many awesome Michael Jackson tracks
  • The game looks fantastic
  • It is a fun game to play through
  • Using iconic MJ moves as attacks is fun
  • It tries to follow the movie pretty well


  • Some versions have mixed up music
  • Finding some of the kids can border on being frustrating

A hot new license that's sure to see plenty of attention both in the arcades and on the Genesis is Michael Jackson's Moonwalker video game. Using portions of the great gloved one's Moonwalker movie and various music videos, the Moonwalker Genesis game mixes familiar tunes with Revenge of Shinobi-style game play.

You're Michael, trying to stop an assortment of thugs and creeps in all kinds of different locations. Besides kicking the bad guys out of the picture, you can also use several special moves to thwart the enemy agents and get at the big Boss.

The graphics in Moonwalker are dynamite, animated much better than normal games to provide an extremely fluid appearance. Great sound and music are also employed to capture the theme.

  • Levels: 8
  • Theme: Action
  • Players: 1-2
  • Difficulty: Average

Michael Jackson's first game ever! Use your dance moves to help Michael fend off Mr. Big from taking all of the children from their parents. Great animation and music!

You, as Michael are trying to rescue the children and save the day by squashing Mr. Big. To reach the graveyard you had to fight your way through Club 30, city streets, the sewers, a parking garage, and the graveyard. Use all of your smooth moves, plus a little magic, to outwit the bad guys by dancing them into the ground. On these pages we'll take a look at the last two grueling levels and the final confrontation with Mr.Big.

You Are the One

Once you've cleared the graveyard things go from bad to worse. If you thought the graveyard was spooky, wait until you enter the dark, dank confines of the cavern. Hope you don't suffer from claustrophobia because this place would send you into a panic for sure. Besides the giant spider webs the first thing you're likely to notice are the No Dancing signs. But you're not going to let "Billie Jean" or anyone else stop you from collecting all of the Katys and putting the various ghouls and other smooth criminals you'll find roaming around the caverns in their place.


  • In different areas of the cavern you'll find secret doors that lead to hidden rooms. You'll have to find these and search them in order to collect all of the Katys.
  • Watch out for falling stalactites.
  • The boulders you'll find lying around look mighty big, but give them a good kick and they'll roll all over the bad guys. You can keep moving the same boulder back and forth as often as you need it.

You're Bad Again

Finally you're in sight of Mr.Big as you penetrate his hi-tech hideout. The place is packed with computers and other gadgets, as well as hordes of laser-shooting cronies of Mr.Big. The three areas of this level are just about the toughest in the game. You'll have to really "be bad" to find all of the Katys and clear the Hideout in preparation for the final showdown with the big man himself.

Shrink Mr. Big Down To Size

Once you've zapped the last of Mr.Big's sidekicks it's time for a final confrontation with your arch enemy. The gameplay here is a complete change of pace as you go head-to-head with Mr.Big in a cataclysmic shootout.

Every square inch of Moonwalker's development was supervised by no less than Michael Jackson himself. This game plays the way Michael wants it to -- which means unusually beautiful graphics, a unique story line, and highly original gameplay. The music includes such Michael smashes as "Bad," "Beat It,": "Thriller," "Billie Jean," and "Smooth Criminal." If you want to check out the action, try heading to your nearest arcade for a peak at the coin-op version. It's a real "thriller."

Mr.Big is taking over the world! He's capturing children everywhere and holding them hostage. To stop Mr.Big and rescue the children you'll have to step into just about the most famous shoes of all time -- Michael Jackson's! As Michael you'll have to battle Mr. Big and his assorted gangs of punks, laser gun-toting bad guys, zombies, and other hoodlums through Club 30, the streets, the sewers, a dark and mysterious graveyard, spider-filled caverns, and even Mr.Big's hideout. Along the way Michael defends himself with his deadly Dance Attack -- when the J-man starts dancing the bad guys try to dance along and quickly drop from exhaustion! Michael also has to grab special power-ups so that he can increase his strength and transform himself into the ultimate robot weapon to battle it out with Mr.Big. Michael Jackson himself collaborated with Sega on each and every one of the game's 18 different rounds, resulting in unique and exciting game-play. Hey, and you can also sing along with such MJ favorites as Bad, Smooth Criminal, Billy Jean, Thriller, and Beat. It. Just remember "You're bad, you're bad..."

In 1990, Michael Jackson teamed up with SEGA, to create the Michael Jackson's Moonwalker game for the arcade machines and PC.

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker is a game series that based on a movie of the same name and incorporates the characters co-developed by Michael Jackson himself. This game now achieved cult status. The games featured 15 different levels and playes like Rolling Thunder and Shinobi. The gameplay is focused on finding children, some of them resemble Katie from the original movie, which are scattered throughout the level, some behind certain objects or doors. Michael had basic moves like kicking and thwacking gangsters with his hat, but he could also deploy dance attacks that got every enemy on-screen swaying and popping along with him.

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker was developed as a tie-in to Michael Jackson's "BAD" album. It was influenced by other fighting games and shooters. Moonwalker game features some of Jackson's biggest hits, including "Smooth Criminal", "Bad," "Beat It," and others.

Michael Jackson is stepping down from his 16 bit world into the SMS realm. Surprisingly, it is a very small step as most of the detail and game play has been preserved in this new 2 meg cart. Michael still must save the kidnapped children, and his weapons -his hat, fists and magic dance are there also. Like Ghouls and Ghosts reviewed last month, Moonwalker is a 'step' in the right direction for reviving the tried and true Master System!

Snapshots and Media

Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Screenshots

Sega Master System Screenshots

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Discuss it on forum

4 comments total – View all
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    Justin Garcia CoolDuelist said on Forum:

    I played this game when I was really young, Playing this takes me back then and brings back good memories. If you ever saw the movie, the game is like the movie, if not, The plot of the game is that Micheal has to save his friend (a little girl named penny) and when he does, he has to face a boss. Finding her isn't easy, she's really well hidden in each level and There are enemies that try and stop you. This game is recommended by me, JGCD.

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    Andy said on Forum:

    Well how times have changed!, How many parents would let their children play with Michael Jackson now?, Not many i think!...