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Music / Games

Michael Jackson: The Experience CoverMichael Jackson: The Experience

'Michael Jackson: The Experience' is a music video game based on Michael Jackson's music and songs. It was licensed by Triumph International, developed by and published by Ubisoft, and was released on November 23, 2010 for the Wii, Nintendo DS, and PlayStation Portable. It was released on April 12, 2011 in North America and April 14, 2011 in Europe on the other major platforms, featuring use of the Xbox 360's Kinect and PlayStation 3's PlayStation Move. The game features many of Michael Jackson's hits, such as 'Bad', 'Thriller', 'Beat It', 'Billie Jean','Rock with You', 'Smooth Criminal', 'Black Or White' and 'The Way You Make Me Feel'. All initial launches of the game will include a limited edition replica of Michael Jackson's famous sequined glove.

Gameplay

There are three modes of play in the game. The first is "Classic" where everybody follows the on-screen Michael Jackson avatar. The second is "Duo" which is used for duets (such as 'The Girl is Mine') or videos with two main characters (such as 'The Way You Make Me Feel.') The player(s) can choose to dance as either Michael or the other character. The third mode of gameplay is "Crew," which features Michael and two backup dancers (five during one part of 'Black Or White'.) Players can opt to dance as any of the three. After performing songs, players will be able to unlock training videos in the "Dance School" where they are taught some of the more difficult moves from several of Michael Jackson's music videos and stage performances.

Four player multiplayer is available on the Wii and Move enabled PlayStation 3 but the Kinect will be limited to one player at a time. The game will also feature singing on the Kinect version on Xbox 360, and optional on-screen lyrics on the PlayStation 3 and Wii versions. On the DS version of the game there is a cartoon version of Michael on the top screen and the player follows along by tapping the bottom screen with the stylus to the rhythm of the music, a style similar to the Nintendo DS game, Elite Beat Agents. It is also revealed that on the Wii version you can play as Michael or the Back-up Dancers. The game was displayed at New York Comic Con at Ubisoft's booth.

Screenshot ExperienceAnti-Piracy

In the Nintendo DS version of the game, when a pirate version is detected, the game won't display any notes and a loud vuvuzela sound loop will play together with the music. Ubisoft's official answer was: "The development team worked this feature in as a creative way to discourage any tampering with the retail version of the game". The retail version was successfully cracked within 24 hours of release.

Reception

The reviews for the Wii have been mixed. IGN gave it a 3.5 saying that it doesn't give clear instructions on how to dance and also criticized the controls. GameFocus said that they failed at making a masterful game that matches the King of Pop. Metro gave it 10/10, calling it an "incredible game" as it "recreates the experience of Jackson's music and life incredibly." Videogamer.com gave the review a 7/10, stating that the music overplays the responsiveness difficulty. CNET gave the game 5/5, writing that the game is "extremely easy to pick up and play" and "the choreography is amazing" The Escapist gave the game 4/5, noting that the game "is not meant to be played by yourself."

For the DS and PSP versions, the reviews were average, with a slightly better score for the DS version, IGN gave a 6.5/10 for DS and 5.5/10 for the PSP. Destructed gave a 6/10 for the DS version.

The game has since sold over 2 million copies worldwide, and is expected to sell additional millions with the release of the Move and Kinect versions in April 2011.

Developer(s): Ubisoft Montreal (Xbox 360 & PS3), Ubisoft Montpellier / Ubisoft Paris (Wii), Ubisoft São Paulo (DS/PSP)
Publisher(s): Ubisoft Paris, Triumph International
Platform(s): Wii, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable
Release date(s):
PlayStation Portable, Wii, Nintendo DS: NA November 23, 2010
PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360: NA April 12, 2011, EU April 14, 2011
Genre(s): Music, Dancing, Singing
Mode(s): Single-player, Multiplayer
Rating(s): ESRB: E10+, PEGI: 3+ / 12+ (Wii)
Media/distribution: Wii Optical Disc, Nintendo DS Game Card, DVD, Blu-ray Disc, UMD


Space Channel 5: Part2Space Channel 5: Part 2

'Space Channel 5: Part 2' was released in Japan on February 14, 2002 both for the Dreamcast and PlayStation 2. The PlayStation 2 version was released in Europe (except for the UK) on February 12, 2003, and in North America as part of special edition package with the first game on November 18, 2003.

'Space Channel 5 Part 2' (Limited Edition) was released in Japan featuring a carrying case and a set of large headphones. Improvements include real-time backgrounds as opposed to Part 1's rendered videos and stills. An HD version was released in 2011 for Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network and will be included in Sega Dreamcast Collection, released on Xbox 360 in February 2011.

Publishers: Sega, Agetec, THQ (GBA version)
Dreamcast: JP December 16, 1999, NA June 4, 2000, EU October 6, 2000
PlayStation 2: EU March 15, 2002, JP December 12, 2002, NA November 18, 2003
Game Boy Advance: NA June 17, 2003
Developer(s): United Game Artists
Publisher(s): Sega, Agetec
Platform(s): Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network
Release date(s):
Dreamcast: JP February 14, 2002
PlayStation 2: JP February 14, 2002, EU February 12, 2003, NA November 18, 2003
Steam: March 5, 2011
XBLA/PSN: TBA 2011
Genre: Music
Mode(s): Single player, multiplayer
Rating(s): ESRB: T (Teen)


Space Channel 5Space Channel 5

'Space Channel 5' is a music video game developed by United Game Artists under the direction of Tetsuya Mizuguchi and published by Sega.

The gameplay features a system where the player must copy sequences of dance steps performed by the computer. It was first released in Japan in 1999 and North America and Europe in 2000 for the Dreamcast and was later released for the PlayStation 2 in Japan and Europe in 2002 and ported by THQ to the Game Boy Advance in 2003.

Space Michael
Voiced by: Michael Jackson
A member of 'Space Channel 5', based on Michael Jackson. First appearing as a cameo in Part 1, he has a more involved role in Part 2. After being rescued by Ulala from the Rhythm Rogues, Michael uses his singing skills against a singing robot and joins her to fight against Purge.

'Space Channel 5' was first released in Japan for the Dreamcast on December 16, 1999. It was later released in the United States on June 6, 2000 and in Europe on October 8, 2000. The game was given a budget DriKore release in Japan on December 21, 2000 in simpler packaging. In 2002, Space Channel 5 was ported to the PlayStation 2. It was released in Europe on March 15, 2002 and in Japan on December 12, 2002. It was released in North America on November 18, 2003 as part of a sole package called 'Space Channel 5' Special Edition that contained both 'Space Channel 5' and 'Space Channel 5: Part 2'. A port of the game for the Game Boy Advance, titled 'Space Channel 5: Ulala's Cosmic Attack', was developed by ART.co and released by THQ in June 2003 as part of a deal to make GBA games based on Sega properties.

Developer(s): United Game Artists
Art Co., Ltd: (GBA version)
Publisher(s): Sega, Agetec, THQ (GBA version)
Platform(s): Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance
Release date(s):
Dreamcast: JP December 16, 1999, NA June 4, 2000, EU October 6, 2000
PlayStation 2: EU March 15, 2002, JP December 12, 2002, NA November 18, 2003
Game Boy Advance: NA June 17, 2003
Genre: Music
Mode(s): Single player, multiplayer
Rating(s): ESRB: T (Teen), ELSPA: 3+


Moonwalker Arcade CoverMichael Jackson's Moonwalker

Michael Jackson's 'Moonwalker' is a franchise for several video games based on the film of the same name created by U.S. Gold and Sega in 1989 and 1990 that incorporate the personage of and were co-developed by Michael Jackson himself. The arcade version, home video games and home computer versions all differ in terms of gameplay, but the story and concept remain constant. The story, which is taken from the 'Moonwalker' film, follows Michael, using various music and dance related abilities, on a quest to save kidnapped children from the hands of the evil "Mr. Big".

The games incorporated synthesized versions of the musician's hits, such as 'Beat It' and 'Smooth Criminal'. The games have now achieved cult status and are remembered for being a memorable point in Jackson's change to a different stage persona from 'Thriller', to 'Bad'.

Versions of the game were released for the popular 8-bit and 16-bit home computers of the time. They were developed by two small soft houses, Irish Emerald Software Ltd and American Keypunch Software, and published by British company U.S. Gold; all of these have since gone out of business. The home computer versions are the only games to make reference to the early portions of the film.

Arcade version

With completely different gameplay to the home computer versions, 'Moonwalker' was developed into an arcade video game by Sega (programming) and Triumph International (audiovisuals), with the help of Jackson which was released on the Sega System 18 hardware. This game suffered from Sega's suicide battery on its arcade board (a battery that, accidentally or otherwise, renders the game unplayable at the end of its life span). The arcade has distinctively different gameplay from its computer and console counterparts, focusing more on beat-em-up gameplay elements rather than platform.

Screenshot Arcade GameArcade gameplay

The game is essentially a beat-em-up, although Jackson attacks with magic powers instead of physical contact, and has the ability to shoot magic power at enemies instead of getting close enough for a melee attack. A map of the stage is shown before it begins, and after which, Jackson must get from the start to the end without losing all his health, rescuing all the children and defeating all the enemies along the way.

The game can also be played multiplayer; if the cabinet supports it, up to three people can play simultaneously. All three players play as Jackson, dressed in his suit from the 'Smooth Criminal' music video. The first player wears a white suit and hat, with a blue shirt; the second player's character dons a scarlet outfit with a white shirt; the third player's character is dressed in black, with a red shirt. The characters all have armbands: blue for white outfit, white for red outfit, and red for black outfit.

Dance Magic: Arguably the most memorable feature, Sega takes the concept of the "smart bomb" or "screen zapper" and changes it to the form of dancing, in a special attack termed "Dance Magic". Remaining stocks of this are displayed onscreen as the MJ logo, , which had recently debuted in the film. Once activated, a heavenly spotlight shines on the player, and the player starts to dance several of the high-energy moves that have become Jackson's hallmarks. All of the standard enemies — henchmen, gangsters, guards, robots — start dancing with the player and are destroyed at the end of the dance routine (ostensibly because they cannot keep up with Jackson's dance moves). However, bosses do not dance, but do take a significant amount of damage. Any captive children on-screen at the time Dance Magic is activated are not harmed. There are three different dance routines that may be performed, and the player starts with one to three of these attacks per credit (depending on how the machine is set up).

Bubbles: Part of the peculiarity of this game comes from this unusual power-up. Bubbles the chimpanzee, Michael's real-life pet, appears in each level. Once collected or rescued, the chimp transforms Michael into a robotic version of the pop singer that has the ability to shoot laser bursts and absorb significantly more damage.

Developer(s): Triumph/Sega
Publisher(s): Sega
Designer(s): Michael Jackson
Platform(s): Arcade
Release date(s): July 1990, August 25, 1990
Genre(s): Beat 'em up/Run and gun
Mode(s): One to three players simultaneously
Cabinet: Upright
Arcade system: Sega System 18
Display: Standard horizontal, raster graphics

Michael Jackson's Moonwalker CoverConsole versions

Home versions of the game were released for Sega's Mega Drive/Genesis and Master System home video game systems, as well as the Sega Game Gear handheld system, though the gameplay was completely different from the arcade version. A version has also been rated by PEGI for an upcoming release on Virtual Console, but no confirmation of which version. The home console versions of the game were actually based on an evolved version of the home computer version of the game (with gameplay somewhat similar to the Shinobi series), in contrast to the arcade version which was a three-quarters view shooter/fighter type game. The game involved the player controlling the pop star in a quest to save all the kids that had been kidnapped by Mr. Big. In the arcade version, Katie was one of three types of children who could be rescued, in the home version, all of the captive children are young blond girls termed "Katies", although Zeke appears in the end sequence.

The game's levels and music were borrowed from the film (though many of the music tracks were taken from Jackson's Thriller album as well) and the player had the ability to destroy enemies by making them dance. In the console game Michael could become a robot by rescuing a certain child first, and then grabbing a comet that fell from the sky. In the arcade version, Michael became a robot by rescuing his chimp pal Bubbles. The arcade version also had the novel feature of three simultaneous players (each controlling Jackson's character in a different colored 'Smooth Criminal' outfit).

Home console gameplay

The gameplay is focused on finding children, all of whom resemble Katie from the movie, which are scattered throughout the level, some behind certain objects such as doors. Most of the objects are empty or contain enemies. In contrast to the arcade version, Michael's moves more closely resemble his trademark dancing moves. For example, the standard attack is a stylised high kick that is commonly incorporated into his dance routines. If the player continues to hold the kick button, and moves michael backwards, he performs Michael's signature Moonwalk dance move. The player has combination health/ability bar. One button will allow Michael to spin, being invulnerable in the process. However, this spin move will slowly lose health. If the spin is held for more than two seconds, Michael will throw his hat in a fashion of a boomerang which will destroy most enemies. The longer the spin move is held, the wider distance that the fedora will cover. If held down long enough, a dance magic scene similar to the arcade version would play, featuring dance moves taken from the film clips of whatever song is playing in the background. Michael can also use the magic to slide down banisters and eliminate multiple enemies in the process. In certain levels, a shooting star may appear which temporarily transforms Michael into a cyborg that can attack enemies with various artillery, though cannot collect children. Almost every stage has three levels, designated in Super Mario Bros. fashion as X-1, X-2, X-3. However, the final level of the Mega Drive/Sega Genesis version was a first person "flight sim" type battle between Michael (now transformed into a space ship) and Mr. Big's ship.

Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Platform(s:) Mega Drive/Genesis, Master System, Game Gear
Release date(s): August 24, 1990, September 29, 1990, January 25, 1991, February 31, 1991
Genre(s): Beat 'em up/Platformer
Mode(s): Single-player
Rating(s): PEGI: 12+
Media/distribution: Cartridge


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Updated: 27/05/2011 3:18 PM

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