“ THis game was developed by Rare and published by Nintendo and can be played by up to two players (simultaneously). „
The first console I owned was the fabled Super Nintendo Entertainment System or 'SNES' as it would later be dubbed. For my birthday, the special edition SNES was accompanied with the brutal fighting arcade game 'Killer Instinct'. Now I must have only been around 7 when I acquired it, which admittedly would be frowned upon by todays standards considering the games violent nature, but its impact was great enough to push me into the world of video gaming. As soon as I slammed the cartridge into the console, saw the RARE logo, hear the atmospheric music grow in stature as a masculine voice muttered "KILLRR INSHTEENKT" I wet myself in excitement. Killer Instinct was originally an arcade only game, where you'd use the retro joysticks and bash away at the buttons - which is pretty much what the game is about for beginners as mashing the controller can prove fruitful during early fights on low difficulties. Of course, veteran gamers will no better or even frown upon such insolence! With a wealth of varying characters and button combinations to train up on, KI is worth the odd friendly 1v1 with a friend..
All combatants have their own move-sets and can be lightly customised prior to selection (you can scroll through different colour outfits and shades). Leaving the game on the 'start game' screen, often provides in depth biographies of the characters, including the usual spiel of age, height and weight. Plus, each one has their own leader-board section that, should you do well enough using a particular character, saves your 3 initials like the traditional arcade game. Each character has their own unique map which makes for more diverse imagery that goes ignored as you focus on beating someones skull in - fight on building tops, ice fields, gyms, bridges and industrial, blood soaked arenas.
Jago - a ninja with a sword, mostly screams "HYAA!", does loads of uppercuts, kicks and fires greens stuff.
Combo - a hench black guy in a boxer outfit, seemingly the most realistic of the fighters.
Spinal - a skeleton equipped with a sword and shield who can teleport and wears a headband - awesome!
Thunder - some sort of shirtless Indian American who has a mohawk and throws tomahawks.
Glacious - a weird gloop of washing up liquid that turns into a puddle like alex mack and makes spikes appear.
Fulgore - the only synthetic opponent, also teleports, fires electricity and loves the odd uppercut.
Cinder - my personal favourite, an experiment who fires lasers and turns into a fire-bolt during combos.
Sabrewolf - this 50-50 creature has a move that leaves him vulnerable but also possesses the biggest combo.
Orchid - the only female of the group, she uses light sabre things and morphs into a golden jaguar - nice!
Riptor - a velociraptor - enough said.
Newbies would be better off altering the difficulty in the options first as it starts on 4 out of 6 stars which is a harsh introduction. You can also edit the pre-mapped controls which is a pleasant touch. Other than options, you can choose to player 1, 2 player or a tournament/practice game - this means you can fight all the characters as ai or your friends. Make the most of the 20 seconds gifted to make your decision on which fighter to control and prepare for bloodshed - 'FIGHT OFF!' Like similar fighting games you can use the directional pad to aim your attacks (e.g up-jump, down-low) and hold back to block incoming threats. On the SNES you can use the standard 4 buttons as well as the bumpers, utilizing different kicks and punches at first, soon stringing together majestic combos (see title). What it comes down to is a quick trigger finger, a good memory and timing since you need to move fast, recall long button combinations and either make a break for a finishing blow or withdraw and block while you get ready to unleash more devastating attacks. The players have 2 life bars (like Mortal Kombat) and once they're both gone, a victor stands with either a small chunk of their own or full, in which case you'd be welcomed with a sneaky little victory image and as a heavy voice announces "SUPREME VICTORY... PERFECT!". Aslo like MK, when an opponent is done for, they stagger about in a death pose for several seconds, just waiting for you to put them out of their misery - which you can be merciful and do swiftly, or enter secretive finishing moves for a drawn out or eccentric execution. To be honest though, I could never figure out the special moves and just tried to hit them into the sky as they could fall of the platforms, plummeting several stories before hitting the ground, a car or lava ;)
Looking back, it was a revelation in graphics as the fighters looked fantastic and moved smoothly, but the lifespan of the game was pretty much over when you completed the single player mode, defeating that b*stard final boss 'Eyedol'.. even with the sarcastic 'congratulations' displayed when you win, daring you to up the difficulty isn't very appealing. Though it is short, the 2 player fights are certainly worth sticking around for, though there is often a gap in technical ability as someone who has got the gist of the game will often reign supreme over new gamers. That said, avid gamers will enjoy the record keeping, typing their name in for a high score in points, name among kill kings, or even speed demons.. Plus it has a badass theme song...
I find that popular beat-em-ups always bring something new to the genre. Street Fighter II introduced special moves, Mortal Kombat gave us fatalities, and Killer Instinct expanded on combos! Made by RARE, the same company that astounded games players with Donkey Kong Country on the SNES, Killer Instinct was a pretty good looking arcade game. It was released for the purpose of showing what the eagerly awaited Nintendo 64 was capable of. The game was to be one of the launch titles for the Nintendo 64. But in June 1995 I then heard that Killer Instinct was coming to the SNES! "Impossible" I thought! But RARE managed to do the impossible! The arcade game may have showcased what a Nintendo 64 was capable of but the fact that the game actually arrived on the SNES showed what the SNES was still capable of pulling off! The game was released on the SNES in October 1995. Also released in the same month was Mortal Kombat 3 and there was a little competition between the two games. Strangely the game came with a free CD titled Killer Cuts. This included enhanced music tracks taken from the stages in the game. A pretty nice freebie since some of the tracks on the CD aren't all that bad. Track 12 though, Tooth & Claw, taken from Sabrewulf's stage (the dungeon), stands out amongst them all! Anyway, enough about the history, more about the game! The story with most of these beat-em-up games is that there's some kind of tournament going on and everyone is invited to beat the crap out of someone else. The more formal version though is that a huge company known as Ultratech stages a Killer Instinct tournament, which also serves as a testing ground for Ultratech's weapons and fighters. As usual each of the fighters always have their own reasons for entering the tournament. The first thing that really struck me about the game when I first played it was the graphics. They've managed to keep the look of the game right, and
although not exactly arcade perfect, when you consider that it's running on a 16-bit machine it looks very impressive! Not a lot has been lost in translation. All the characters are there too, as are their finishing moves and combos. A lot of the sound and speech also remains intact. Even the stages where you knock fighters off from rooftops are in here! But the game has lost a few neat little touches from the arcade game, such as the scaling and rotational effects when the screen pans in and out. Also missing are the incredibly lush shadow moves. But these are just little touches. Unlike other beat-em-ups where the fights are separated by rounds, Killer Instinct is continuous. The characters have to take away the two energy bars off of their opponent. The first energy bar is coloured from green to yellow; the second is yellow to red. When you manage to remove the first energy bar off of your opponent you'd normally expect that to be the end of the first round and you're then on to the second. Instead there's just a brief pause and you're back into the action. Some might argue about whether or not this is fair since because there isn't a 'rounds' system the energy bars aren't reset. The game offers 10 characters to choose from. These characters are weird and most of them seem to be based on characters from previous beat-em-up games! As I mentioned earlier they each have their own reasons for entering the tournament. They also have an array of special moves and combos. They also have death moves (known as Danger Moves in this game). They're not exactly up to the gory standard of Mortal Kombat, but Killer Instinct does contain some very bizarre death moves. Also besides death moves, Killer Instinct allows you the opportunity to make your opponent dance instead! This is known as the Humiliation. Some disco music comes out of no where and you opponent begins to boogie down! I'm not entirely sure why this
feature is even in the game but it's definitely hilarious and seems a good substitute for a death move! The fighters include: *B. Orchid - A female secret agent investigating the disappearances that surround the Killer Instinct tournament. She's capable of pulling of the highest combo in the game (an incredible 48 hits) and has some great looking special moves to get to grips with (such as Firecat and Flick-Flak)! She also has one of the most famous death moves in the game where she removes her top and displays her chest to her opponent causing them to die (and that's supposed to be a death move!?). My favourite character! *Chief Thunder - A Native American who has some amazing looking special moves but complex combos. *Cinder - A convicted criminal who took part in one of Ultratech's chemical experiments. The experiments failed and left him as a living flame. He is offered freedom if he defeats Glacius. Probably one of the easiest characters in the game as I found beginners got used to this character far better then anyone else. *Fulgore - A prototype of a lethal robot developed by Ultrtech. One of the most difficult characters in the game in terms of combos and special moves. Definitely for the more experienced players! His death move involves the appearance of a machine gun from his head and gunning down his opponent! Nice! *Glacius - An alien who has crash landed on earth. Captured by Ultratech he now has to fight for his life in the tournament. Quite an average character that is very much like the T-1000 from Terminator 2, as he's able to morph into a liquid state. He also has some violent special moves such as Liquidize and Ice Lance. *Jago - A warrior who has entered the tournament so that he can destroy the evil within it. A character who is basically a rip-off of Ryu from the Street Fighter series since he has very similar special moves. He also has one of the most odd death moves involving a car to f
all from the sky and onto his opponent! *Riptor - A product of Ultratech created by splicing human and reptilian genes. A very stupid character that I hardly ever select! I just don't find anything unique about this character that makes him stand out amongst the others. *Sabrewulf - A vicious wolf with nasty special moves. He is also one of very few characters (in probably any beat-em-up) to regain his energy through a special move. His death move causes him to slap his opponent so hard that they hit your TV screen and slowly slide down! *Spinal - An ancient warrior who has been revived by Ultratech. A great character with exceptional special moves allowing him to teleport and occasionally morph into other characters during a combo! *TJ Combo - A boxer who has been stripped of his heavyweight title due to his brutal methods of fighting. A fairly easy character to get used to with easy special moves but difficult to master combos. Now Killer Instinct is known for its exceptionally over the top combos where you perform a combination of button presses that result in multiple hits against your opponent. Combos look great when you see them being performed. The whole game is actually a marvel to look at. It's just that when you find yourself playing you suddenly realise just how tough the game is. The control system for the game is its biggest problem and is very tricky. So if you intend to impress your friends by pulling of an Ultra 30 hit combo you'll find it's going to take you a VERY long time to learn! You'll have to learn about linkers, openers, auto-doubles and combo breakers (which, as the name suggests, allow you to break a combo). In short there's a lot of reading through the instruction booklet and a hell of a lot of practice to do! In fact when you play this game for the first time (be it a one player or two-player game), you'll find it difficult to actually perform a great combo. Thankfully
there is a practice game where you'll find a dummy character (the character just stands there and doesn't do anything) upon whom you can test your combos or any moves on. You'll find yourself returning to the practice game a lot, even if it is just to sharpen up your already amazing skills. Beginners might find the control system too taxing to get used to and they'll either have to work hard and learn (which adds to the lastability of the game) or they may just ultimately give up. When it all comes down to it in the end, the game isn't exactly the best beat-em-up ever and the gameplay doesn't match up to the quality of the Street Fighter series. The control system and difficulty is also a bit of a let down. But the game does take time to master and if you have the patience then you might be rewarded. And if not the best, Killer Instinct is still an achievement in its own right and proved to be a memorable SNES game!