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Michael Jackson's Moonwalker - Sega Genesis - Angry Video Game Nerd - Episode 63

The Nerd: Michael Jackson's Moonwalker. Right off the bat, you wanna laugh, I know you do. But think back to the '80s, when everybody was into Michael Jackson. Sure now, he's a subject of joke and ridicule. But you gotta remember, I think Dave Chappelle said it best, he made Thriller. (opens the vinyl record of "Thriller") Thriller.

The Nerd: Back then, there weren't too many video games where you can play as a celebrity, so that's why it was a big deal. It was based of the arcade game of the same name, which was based of the movie of the same name. It was one of the first games that attracted us to the new Sega Mega Drive, known as the Genesis in North America. NES players like myself looked on with envy when this sexy beast hit the scene. It was black, it was round, and it said "16-Bit" on the front, like: "In your face, bitch!"

The Nerd: Moonwalker was one of the first Genesis games I ever played. At the time, I thought it was awesome. But other than the novelty of it being Michael Jackson, there wasn't really anything too special about it.

Michael Jackson: OOH!

(The Nerd opens the game case)

The Nerd: The only question is: are you bad? (points his finger at the cartridge) ARE YOU BAD?! Let's find out. (inserts cartridge into the Sega Genesis)

Michael Jackson: Who's bad?

The Nerd: As it begins, Michael flips a coin in the jukebox and Smooth Criminal starts up.

(The Nerd moves his feet along to the rhythm of the song)

The Nerd: So all you do is going around, kick fairy dust at people and rescue kids. Yeah, you can't advance to the next level until you get all the kids.

Annie: Michael!

The Nerd: Now, I know what we're all thinking here, but really, that's all it is. You're just rescuing the kids.

(During this part of the video, there are extreme closeups of Michael rescuing the kids, done from such an angle that it looks as they are much too close to him, making the Nerd think of Michael's infamous allegations for lewd acts upon children)

Annie: Michael! Michael! Michael! Michael! Michael!

The Nerd: But who are these kidnappers, and why are there so many kids? Why they all look the same, and why do you have to open doors, look in windows and spin bushes open to find them? Couldn't there be a better way?

The Nerd: That's the main problem I have with this game, is how redundant it is. You can't skip any doors, because if you go through the whole stage and miss just one kid, you have to go back. And of course, you're not gonna remember which door you didn't open, so you gotta open them all again!

The Nerd: You have no choice but to stop and check every single door, every single window, and leave no stone unturned. Quite literally. Most of the later stages don't even follow a linear pattern. They don't go from left to right, or top to bottom, they're all over the place! So, you're always gonna be confused which spots you already checked.

The Nerd: There's one stage where you check in cars. But often, there's a bomb in the car that you can't avoid. You don't even need to get hit by the explosion, the bomb itself hurts you. Even if you check the same car twice, there's another bomb! You have no choice but to check every car, so the only way to avoid the bombs is if you play the game so many times that you can actually remember which cars have kids, and which ones have bombs.

The Nerd: I'm also not very fond of the kick, because if your enemies are shorter than you, it doesn't help. Like these spiders. Or even these dogs. They're such a bitch, literally. A lot of animal abuse in these games.

The Nerd: There's a variety of special moves which are kinda cool. Michael can spin, throw his hat, grab his...crotch? (He becomes shocked) Why? Why would they put that in a game? How could they put that in a game?!

The Nerd: It just seems by tapping buttons, you figure out all kinds of different moves that don't have any purpose. Like, if you push up, what does that do? And if you hold the attack button and D-Pad in the correct way, then you can actually Moonwalk. But again, it has no purpose and it usually results in taking a hit. The special moves drain your energy, and I mean, a lot of it! You can make everybody dance, which takes out everyone on the screen, but what's the point of doing that if it drains half of your energy? Still, it's worth it just for the amusement factor, and even the dogs dance. (We see the Nerd dancing and doing the Moonwalk while scenes of Michael dancing with the enemies appear)

The Nerd: There's also an invincibility move, but let me tell you how this works. Every once in a while, a shooting star comes by. It's rare, but if you manage to act fast enough to touch it, this happens.

(The picture of Michael's face starts blinking and turns robotic, while the Nerd expresses awesomeness in his face)

The Nerd: Oh man, he just changed from Michael Jackson to Mecha Jackson, the king of robo-pop. It's enough that you're invincible for a brief moment, but you can fly, you can shoot lasers and you can scatter bombs all over. This... is one of the most awesome things I've ever seen. Only problem: You can't rescue kids. I guess they don't respond too well at all to giant laser-shooting robots.

The Nerd: The navigation is a pain in the ass. In the cavern, you have to figure out that you can break the walls. If you didn't know that, you're kinda screwed. Every stage seems to have its own rules, but it's never self-explanatory. It took me a while to figure out that I needed to go down these sewers. At first, I thought they were just part of the scenery, because when you push down, nothing happens. You have to know to do the spin.

The Nerd: Each stage, after you find all the kids, you have to fight a boss. But rather than the boss just simply appearing, Bubbles comes in and tells you where to go. So naturally, you just follow where he's pointing. But sometimes he points straight up or straight down. And you can't go that way, so you're never sure exactly where you're supposed to go. Finally, when you get to the spot, the boss appears, runs away, and then a bunch of bad guys come out, and you gotta fight. It's just like a little endurance round. But why can't this happen right after you find the last kid? Why does Bubbles have to lead you around? While this is happening, there's no enemies to fight. There's nothing. You're just walking to the boss. There's no purpose at all.

(Shows footage from "Castlevania 2: Simon's Quest")

The Nerd: It's like in Simon's Quest when you're walking through Dracula's castle and there's no enemies or obstacles, you just walk down steps and keep on going till you get there. It's a waste of gameplay. What's the point? Also, it's very specific where you have to stand. Like here, the boss didn't come out just because I was on this platform. I have to be on the ground. Also, this boss guy that keeps running away, even though you don't fight him, you can still take damage if you touch him.

The Nerd: Here, I'm just walking around, looking for the boss, looking for the boss... oh, there he is! I didn't expect that! Hey, I can't jump over! (Gets stuck on a rock) Wha- I'm stuck? What is this shit? This is bullshit! GOD! JEEZ!

The Nerd: And when you die during the boss part, you don't start right where you left off. You have to start with Bubbles again! What's the point of having to walk all the way to the boss again? Where's the Thriller music? Instead, it's Another Part of Me from the Bad album. Why would they go through the trouble of including a graveyard scene in a Michael Jackson game and not use Thriller? I guess if you do the dance move, you'll hear it.

(The Nerd is proved wrong)

The Nerd: No? That's the Thriller dance, but where's the music? Only if I do the dance in stage 3-3 I get a different song: Billie Jean. Apparently, some copies of the game have Thriller, and others don't. That makes no sense.

The Nerd: At this point is where the game starts to get really hard. Look at all these zombies! You think there's enough?! And that's really fair considering I can only attack one side at a time. The dance doesn't help, because even if you wipe out every zombie on the screen, there's still, like, ten times more on the way! So draining half your energy isn't worth it! Holy shit, there's so many zombies! So many zombies! Oh, my GOD! It's like, STOP! Oh, holy God, there's so many... OH, MY GOD!

(Parodying the infamous "Panther Sequence" from the classic "Black or White" music video by Michael Jackson, the Nerd starts breaking and destroying everything, cracking what appears to be the fourth wall. First, he slams a Super Scope on the couch and eventually throws it. Then, he throws a ColecoVision Driving Wheel at an XBOX 360 box. Then, he throws a beer bottle at a wall with graffiti reading "CDI RULZ". Then, he throws another box at a Commodore 64 and the box explodes. After that, a Nintendo Power poster falls off the wall. While everything is exploding, he rips his shirt, revealing a black shirt under it. And finally, he morphs into his cat, Boo. The camera then goes to Boo as he walks to the camera.)


  • In Stage 3, any random song, including Thriller, plays if you do the dance move.
  • This is the first episode that AVGN doesn't say the F word.
  • The boss character that keeps walking away is Mr. Big, even though James never mentioned him by his actual name in the game.