There once was a time when Michael Jackson stood for what was good in the record industry, he had the aura of innocence, a clean look, and dance movies that could make the girls scream. These days he's a traveling freak show, dogged by a child molestation trial, unusual parenting behavior, and all kinds of other weird activities. The Michael Jackson of the 1980s is gone, forever replaced by the vision of a man who has had too much plastic surgery and is afraid of the outside world.
But when playing Michael Jackson's Moonwalker you wouldn't know that his future would involve dangling a child over a balcony, sleeping in the same bed with young boys, and collecting bizarre porn magazines. Instead you would think that this was a man who absolutely loathed video games and wanted his game to suck all the fun out of the room. For the three people out there that have always wanted to know what it must be like to control Michael Jackson, the answer is that it's extremely frustrating ... and definitely not worth it.
The game starts out exactly like the movie of the same name, you play the gloved one as he fights his way through a pool hall trying to save the children. You walk up and down the stories looking in each room trying to locate the missing (or kidnapped) children, all while avoiding the baddies - which all look exactly the same, right down to the color. After you've found all the kids you'll be rewarded with a boss fight, of sorts. It's really nothing more of a battle against a lot of those same-color baddies, all rushing at you and coming out of doors.
Once you've saved all the kids in the pool hall you are made to do exactly the same thing in a parking lot. Then the woods. The cavern. And finally, the enemy hide out. The levels look different, but they are all fairly bland and uninspired. You'll quickly wonder why you're playing this game at all, especially when you realize that all the levels are the same. The game really ceases to be fun around the middle of the first level.
Controlling Michael Jackson can be a little problematic. Although he jumps extremely high, Michael is not much of a fighter ... or dodger for that matter. You're constantly being hit because it's too hard to too, duck, or jump out of the way. To make things worse, the collision detection is stunningly awful, there are times where you miss the enemy by a mile, but still get credit for hitting him. All in all you will not be playing this game for the addictive game play.
Truthfully you won't be playing this game for the graphics or sound, either. This Master System cart does manage to fit a couple of Michael Jackson's songs into the game, but they are so muffled and hard to hear that it's really not worth your time. 8-Bit audio has never been good, but it's especially bad in this circumstance. It's so bad that it almost begs you to keep the sound turned up.
For a licensed game, Michael Jackson's Moonwalker gets at least one thing very, very wrong. One of Michael Jackson's most recognizable features (beyond the absence of his nose) is his one white glove, yet this game fails to give him that magic accessory. Sadly the glove is not the only thing missing from this game, the magic that was Michael Jackson as his peak is nowhere to be seen here. This is a hollow attempt to cash in on a dance craze that nobody was ever doing. It's one thing to be excited about Michael Jackson's Thriller LP, but I would hate to meet the kid who can't wait to get his mitts on this Master System game. Forget Moonwalker, this game is Bad!