Who’s bad? Well for starters, this game is pretty craptastic, if that is what you mean by “bad.” Based on the “hit” movie of the same name released in 1988, Moonwalker (the game, released in 1990) stars Michael Jackson dancing, kicking and punching his way to rescue children captured by Mr. BIG.
Unlike it’s three-quarters view arcade counterpart, the Sega Genesis version is a 2D platform style game similar to, but not as good as, the Shinobi series. Moonwalker features five levels in total that are accompanied by MIDI versions of MJ’s popular hits Bad, Smooth Criminal, Beat It, Another Part of Me and Billie Jean, if you complete the game.
Each level has it’s own theme but the same objective: Use your dance magic to defeat Mr. BIG’s henchmen while rescuing the “Katies” who are scattered throughout the levels. MJ has a health meter that drops when he is damaged, and he can also do a “bomb” type attack where he dances in place. This causes all the henchmen on screen to follow and dance like Michael before dying of unknown causes. Outside of doing the “bomb” attack, our little princess can also punch and kick pixie dust to thwart the opposition.
The controls are pretty basic and gave us nothing new in the platform genre. Using the three-button Genesis controller, one button jumps while the others attack and initiate the dance magic. By hold the up direction and pressing away from the enemies, you can “moonwalk” instead of turning around and walking the other way; but this serves no other purpose.
Overall, you should feel ashamed if you enjoy this game. It’s a generic attempt to cash in on the movie’s popularity by creating another lackluster licensed videogame. The soundtrack is good if you are a fan of Jackson’s music, but the overall game itself is lacking and brings nothing new to the table. Sorry MJ, it’s time to “Beat It”. Okay sorry, I know the joke was awful.