(This is the fourth installation of Old Games That Amuse Burpen.)
This was possibly the most amusing game ever made on the Sega Genesis platform.
The plot of this game is pretty unremarkable. You save children. Probably should have seen this coming, right?
Speaking of coming…
OK, enough of that. Let’s get on to the gameplay.
You control Michael Jackson himself, clad in his Smooth Criminal outfit. He mostly defeats enemies by throwing dust and doing spin moves at them. He can also throw his fedora boomerang-style. When he runs low on energy, he loses the dust, and the spin move button will instead trigger a crotch grab. But unfortunately, the crotch grab does not do damage to enemies.
The most impressive move in MJ’s bag of tricks, by far, is the “recruit backup dancers, then kill them” ability. When this is executed, all enemies currently onscreen move into a formation around Michael and do a short dance. (There’s a different dance for each round.)After the dance sequence, the enemies are either killed or left considerably weakened. This drains most of the energy bar, though you can recoup energy by finding children.
Michael’s enemies are generally nondescript and sort of boring. Each round contains two or three sprites that are used for all of the enemies in the round. In the first few stages there are women who appear to try to embrace Michael in what looks like attempts to kiss him. To escape them Michael must use an attack move. …Yeah, just a little weird.
After rounding up all the children in a stage, Bubbles the chimpanzee flies onto MJ’s shoulder and directs him to the boss area. Upon Michael’s arrival, the boss appears and says the same thing he says every other time he appears. Then a bunch of enemies appear which must be defeated to complete the stage.
So by now it may seem like this is a fairly unimpressive, formulaic, and repetitive platformer. But there’s something else. The game is saved by a somewhat well-hidden powerup on some stages. Watch the video below starting around 1:45.
If you can’t see the video for some reason, I’ll explain what happens: Michael gets hit by a comet and turns into a huge Robotech-esque robot with a laser cannon, missile array, and rocket boots. Yes, it’s fucking awesome.
But sadly, aside from that, I can’t say there’s really anything else amusing about this game that I remember. If you have a half hour to kill, you can watch a full play of the game in three parts. Come back here and let me know if you find something else worth laughing at.