Developer: Sega (AM7)
Submitted by: Ryan McNeilly
Released when Michael Jackson was the biggest icon in music, Moonwalker (based on the strange, self indulgent movie of the same name) was released for the Mega Drive in 1990.
Many people believe that the arcade version of Moonwalker was the first Michael Jackson game released. A version of Moonwalker was actually developed for home computers in 1989. Completly different in gameplay (as was the arcade and home console versions), the home computer version featured different gameplay genres such as birds-eye view stealth and side scrolling shooter.
The Mega Drive version of Moonwalker was exclusive to Sega. Securing the rights to Moonwalker, Sega had hoped that this would boost their American presence, featuring the world dominating Jackson as a marketing ploy.
The Mega Drive game features Michael Jackson on a quest to save all the children from the evil Mr.Big. Now, I know what we are all thinking here. Remember, this was released when Jackson could do no harm. It is very ironic, considering his future court cases, that the sole mission in this game is to save the kiddies while beating off the bad guys. But, let that go and you have quite an enjoyable game.
You can pull off all of Jackson’s trademark moves to kill the bad guys, such as throw your hat (which has a boomerang quality), flick your feet in a trademark MJ kick, spin around the floor or use some magic to make every bad guy on the screen erupt in a trademark Jackson dance number.. before biting the dust. You can even Moonwalk if you feel the need to. Sha’mone!
The repetitiveness of the game is saved by an awesome soundtrack. 16-Bit renditions of some of Jackon’s greatest hits are played during levels, such as ‘Smooth Criminal’, ‘Beat It’ and ‘Another Part of Me’. Later releases oddly removed ‘Thriller’ from the soundtrack, even though the graveyard level and dance remained in the game. No matter who you are, you can’t help but tap your feet or sing along to those songs.
After his death, Ubisoft released “The Michael Jackson Experience”. This game is one of those sing along and look like an idiot using your camera deals. Screw that. Pop in Moonwalker and enjoy the soundtrack while showing those bad guys who’s bad! Don’t stop ’til ya’ get enough and beat it!