Michael Jackson's Moonwalker (GEN)

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Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker - GEN - USA.jpg
Platform: Genesis
Year: 1990
Developer: SEGA of America, Inc.
Buy: Amazon
This page is for the Sega Genesis version. For other games in the series, see Moonwalker.

Based on the 1988 namesake film, Michael Jackson's Moonwalker is a cross between sidescroller and beat-em-up emphasizing exploration. It is notable for being one of the first games to star a celebrity and have a direct endorsement from one. Each stage involves checking inside doors, windows, bushes, dumpsters and car trunks in search for children captured by Mr. Big. At the same time, the player has to be careful not to find unwanted objects like cats or bombs. Occasional enemies also appear that can be defeated by either kicking them, throwing Michael's fedora or performing a dance, although the last two methods need to be used only in tight situations, as they drain the colored meter at the bottom representing both Michael's health and energy.

The game is a port of the Sega Master System version. However, the level designs have been completely modified, and the final boss is different. In addition, the Genesis version has an interesting feature; when all the kids in a level are rescued, Michael's pet chimpanzee Bubbles hops on his shoulder and points toward the area in which the boss is located. In the Master System original, the game simply goes to the boss fight. The boss fights usually consist in several waves of enemies which Michael must dispatch. The Genesis version also has a feature where if the kids are collected in a certain order, a shooting star will fall from the sky. Catching it will turn Michael Jackson into a giant robot like in the movie, in which he is invulnerable and can throw bombs and shoot lasers. However, while in this mode, the kids cannot be rescued.

The game received positive reviews from critics and players, citing the fluid controls and fun gameplay, as well as the graphics and animation, not to mention the faithful renditions of popular Michael Jackson tunes.

Screenshots

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker - GEN - Title.png

Title screen.

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker - GEN - Menu.png

Main menu.

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker - GEN - Gameplay 1.png

Walking around the nightclub.

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker - GEN - Gameplay 2.png

Now in stage 2.

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker - GEN - Gameplay 3.png

What were you doing here to begin with?

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker - GEN - Gameplay 4.png

Just a usual day in Los Angeles.

Music

This wouldn't be a Michael Jackson game if it didn't feature his compositions. The player gets to hear Smooth Criminal and Beat It, among other iconic 80's hits. The music was programmed on a PC-9801 computer in assembly, then converted to the SMPS 68000 sound engine. Because Jackson used a lot of FM synthesizers in his music, and the Genesis also uses a similar sound chip (albeit inferior), the music holds up very well to the original studio versions. According to the game's arranger, Hitoshi Kubota, it was a painstaking process, as he had to learn Jackson's music by ear, as there was no sheet music available. According to Takayuki Nakamura on a Facebook post of Kubota's, he wrote the boss music. The two boss themes in this game are originals from the Master System version. Nakamura did the audio for that version of the game.

A prototype was discovered on September 2017, which contains an additional tune — Thriller — not present in the retail versions. According to Kubota, the developers were informed by Sega of America as their deadlines approached that the song was not written by Jackson, but rather by Rod Temperton, and as such had to be replaced with Another Part of Me to avoid copyright issues. Deliberately or not, three short riffs still made it into the earliest American releases.

Recording

# Title ComposerArranger Length Listen Download
01 Title Screen Hiroshi KubotaHiroshi Kubota 0:09
Download
02 Smooth Criminal Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 2:34
Download
03 Round Clear Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 0:04
Download
04 Round 2 Start Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 0:04
Download
05 Beat It Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 1:58
Download
06 Boss Theme Takayuki NakamuraHiroshi Kubota 0:36
Download
07 Another Part of Me Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 2:01
Download
08 Round 4 Start Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 0:08
Download
09 Billie Jean Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 3:02
Download
10 Round 5 Start Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 0:08
Download
11 Bad Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 2:58
Download
12 Mr. Big Takayuki NakamuraHiroshi Kubota 1:47
Download
13 Dance Attack 1 Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 0:08
Download
14 Dance Attack 2 Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 0:08
Download
15 Dance Attack 3 Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 0:08
Download
16 Dance Attack 4 Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 0:07
Download
17 Dance Attack 5 Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 0:07
Download
18 Dance Attack 6 Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 0:07
Download
19 Dance Attack 7 Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 0:09
Download
20 Dance Attack 8 Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 0:09
Download
21 Dance Attack 9 Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 0:08
Download
22 Dance Attack 10 Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 0:08
Download
23 Dance Attack 11 Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 0:08
Download
24 Dance Attack 12 Michael JacksonHiroshi Kubota 0:08
Download
25 Dance Attack 13 Rod TempertonHiroshi Kubota 0:08
Download
26 Dance Attack 14 Rod TempertonHiroshi Kubota 0:08
Download
27 Dance Attack 15 Rod TempertonHiroshi Kubota 0:08
Download
28 Game Over Hiroshi KubotaHiroshi Kubota 0:02
Download
29 Thriller Rod TempertonHiroshi Kubota 2:10
Download

Credits

(Source)

The game's credits are displayed after the game's completion. The prototype and final version's audio credits are the same.

Middle Village is a translation of Nakamura's surname. Iagan is simply Nagai backwards, and Bo is a known alias of Tokuhiko Uwabo. Although Nagai has stated he has no memory working on the game, and so it's possible he only contributed sound effects or something minor.

Game Rip

Issue - Incomplete.svg

This rip is missing songs.

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Format

Download

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Download

(Info)


The last three dance attack themes are yet to be ripped.

Releases

  USA.svg   USA
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker - GEN - USA.jpg
Title: Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
Platform: Genesis
Released: 1990-08-24
Publisher: SEGA of America, Inc.
  Japan.svg   Japan
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker - GEN - Japan.jpg
Title: マイケル・ジャクソンズ モーンウォーカー (Michael Jackson: Moonwalker)
Platform: Mega Drive
Released: 1990-08-25
Publisher: SEGA Enterprises Ltd.
  Canada.svg   Canada
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker - GEN - Canada.jpg
Title: Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
Platform: Genesis
Released: 1990-??-??
Publisher: SEGA of America, Inc.
  EU.svg   EU
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker - GEN - EU.jpg
Title: Michael Jackson's Moonwalker
Platform: Mega Drive
Released: 1990-??-??
Publisher: SEGA Enterprises Ltd.
  Brazil.svg   Brazil
Michael Jackson's Moonwalker - GEN - Brazil.jpg
Title: Moonwalker
Platform: Mega Drive
Released: 1991-01-??
Publisher: Tec Toy Indústria de Brinquedos S.A.


Moonwalker
Michael Jackson`s Moonwalker Arcade Platform - ARC.png
Michael Jackson`s Moonwalker Platform - GEN.png • Platform - SMS.png
Moonwalker Platform - AMI.png • Platform - CPC.png • Platform - AST.png • Platform - C64.png • Platform - DOS.png • Platform - MSX.png • Platform - ZXS.png
Notable Personnel Tohru Nakabayashi • Takayuki Nakamura • Hiroshi Kubota
Notable Companies Sega • U.S. Gold


Links