"If I had to say who my three biggest heroes were I’d say Jesus, Optimus Prime, and Michael Jackson. This list would be absolute if there were video games made about them. Well, the former two appear in games in some shape or form, but I’d never expect MJ to have his own game. While I have heard of Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker for the Sega Genesis from sources such as G4, it wasn’t until earlier this year that I went to a buddy’s place and rummaged through his old NES and Genesis collections t..."
If I had to say who my three biggest heroes were I’d say Jesus, Optimus Prime, and Michael Jackson. This list would be absolute if there were video games made about them. Well, the former two appear in games in some shape or form, but I’d never expect MJ to have his own game. While I have heard of Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker for the Sega Genesis from sources such as G4, it wasn’t until earlier this year that I went to a buddy’s place and rummaged through his old NES and Genesis collections that I noticed he had Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker. Without hesitation I popped the game into his hybrid NES/Genesis console and got some MJ goodness and it wasn’t just the Jesus juice!
In Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, you play as child pop star-gone-drag-gone-chimo, Michael Jackson in his white coat, white pants, white gloves, and white top hat outfit. It’s up to Michael to rescue dozens of children who have been kidnapped by Mr. Big and his gang ruffians. MJ only does this so that he can bring them back to his place for some “therapy” to alleviate the children’s’ ordeal. NO! MICHAEL NO!
Players will navigate through 16 stages of ass-kicking, pedophilia, magic-fingers action. Five levels are divided into three stages based off of the same general area with boss fights at the end of each stage. In short, it’s a platformer and you know what kind of platform MJ wants to jump on… Anyway, each stage has a certain number of children hidden throughout the area along with numerous enemies populating it too. Enemy types vary from gangsters, prostitutes, pissed off cats, zombies, and those astronaut dudes from E.T. Michael has three actions, in addition to moving. He can jump, since this is a platformer. Attack with a prissy kick when on the ground, or a crotch slap when ducking or in the air. All attacks release a glowing, blue “substance” from his hands and feet. Finally, Michael can sacrifice a portion of his life to spin around and throw his hat Odd Job style if you let go of the C button. If you hold down the button long enough, he’ll cause all enemies onscreen to dance with him, which somehow causes them all to drop dead. It’s pretty hilarious at first and is a simple way to finish off a boss fight, but he loses half of his life when executed.
Once Michael has successfully found and stowed away each child safely into his pants, Bubbles the Monkey comes and jumps on Michael’s back, pointing him in the direction of the boss fight. Bosses consist of either a swarm of enemies attacking you at once, or simply one uber foe. The stronger enemies require multiple hits to defeat, as opposed to normal enemies who can be thwarted in one or two hits.
The game can be pretty tough since there are limited recovery items. Each child you rescue restores some of MJ’s health. All of the enemies disappear after the last child is rescued, even if you die in the boss fight. You have three lives, and after that you’ll have to use one of your three continues. Using a continue starts you back at the first stage of the level you’re currently in, and you’ll have to recollect all of the children again. The game starts getting tough after the second level and gets harder thereafter.
Despite the spiking difficulty, the game is still pretty fun. Most of this is due to the license it’s based off of, Michael Jackson. Each level’s background music is one of MJ’s songs. The songs include: “Smooth Criminal”, “Beat It,” “Another Part of Me,” “Billie Jean,” and “Bad.” In addition to the music, the sound effects are okay. Most of the time you’ll hear the “Aaow!” emit from MJ’s mouth and what sounds like an owl’s hoot whenever he dies. Probably the single most hilarious sound from the game is whenever you rescue a child, (who all appear to be the same bald-headed little girls) they shout “Michael!”
Speaking of creepiness, at the start of each level, there’s a portrait of MJ’s face whose mouth opens up and does one of his “Aaows!” or even shouts “Who’s bad!?” This is undeniably the scariest thing I’ve seen in any video game, or in general for that matter. In spite of disturbing images, the graphics for character sprites aren’t that great. None of the characters have much of a face. The backgrounds for the stages look pretty good for the time, even though they repeat each other throughout the level. Animations are good and as mentioned before, the choreography moves are hilarious.
In closing, Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker is definitely a quirky game for a quick laugh or two. The game features a two-player mode where players take turns playing through the levels until one of them dies. If there’s an epidemic of missing and exploited children occurring in your neighborhood, you know who to call. This game is probably the inspiration MJ got for all of those acts he allegedly did. I don’t believe it though; Michael Jackson will always be a saint in my heart!
Community review by Ness (June 30, 2008)
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