death at the hands of Orchid in the previous game accidentally set off a
time warp sending everyone back 2000 years and allowed Gargos to escape
from Limbo. Now, 2000 years in the past, warriors that survived Killer
Instinct (1) and several new faces fight for the right to face the Demon
Lord Gargos in combat. Some, like T.J. Combo, just want to get home. Others,
like Tusk, want to bring an end to Gargos and his reign of evil. This time
there is no tournament or prize money, just a fight to the finish with
the fate of the future hanging in the balance.
Ready for a real
fighting game on the N64? Yes!!
Instinct Gold is essentially the home version of Killer
Instinct 2 ported over to the Nintendo 64, and the only console
version of KI2 ever made. While KI Gold retains most of what was
found in the arcade version of KI2, it came with quite a few
differences. Due to
memory limitations on the Nintendo 64 hardware and cartridges (limited to 60 MBS),
the pre-rendered FMV "flipbook" backgrounds have been replaced with
The new backgrounds offersome cool camera angles not found in the arcade version, but the polygon count & resolution
are visually inferior to the arcade version.
Several stages also feature new "stage
fatalities," as fighters can be knocked off of certain stages when their health
bar is low. The animated endings from the
arcade version sadly didn't make the cut to the home port, and the 2D characters sprites
are also seen at a
slightly lower resolution and are even missing a few animations (just a few). On
the bright side, KI Gold still looks excellent in motion, featuring many
cool projectile effects and incredibly hard-hitting combos that never seem to
Gotta love Jago's
background (and BGM!)
While some of the graphical effects were streamlined for the console version, Killer
Instinct Gold introduces some cool exclusive modes over the arcade version, such as: Team Battle, Team Elimination Battle
(introducing seamless 11 VS 11 battles), Training, Advanced Training. KI
Gold actually features one of the best Training Modes ever seen in a console
fighting game to date, providing a solid walkthrough of each characters moves,
combos, doubles, auto-doubles, links and more. The Training Mode features a
cool, exclusive soundtrack and a mysterious "dojo master" who watches
on and walks you through your training. Pretty deep stuff for 1996!
There's also an unlockable Extra Options mode where you can alter the game's
speed, and even make adjustments to the actual gameplay system itself (infinite super meter
In addition to the unlockable modes & options, there are also a generous variety of character costume
colors to unlock... ( hey, those were satisfying "customization"
options for back in the mid 90's)!
The adrenaline-oozing BGMs from the arcade version have also remixed for the N64
iteration. Following suit with the first Killer Instinct, most of KI
Gold's BGMs are catchy and sound epic. My personal favorite: Jago's Stage...
still badass to this
Watch out... that old man
knows his stuff.
The overall gameplay of KI Gold feels a bit smoother
and "lighter" than the arcade version of Killer Instinct 2, but
all of the core elements have carried over from KI2.
Throws were added to the original system to remedy players who over-used blocking in the
original Killer Instinct. Normal special moves no longer are judged on priority, but instead
follow a three tiered "rock, paper, scissors" system in which
certain special moves will always break another special moves (although the
system was considered flawed in high level play). A new super meter was added to
store energy for super moves and super linkers. On top of the gameplay tweaks, many new moves and changes were made to the returning
characters, but unfortunately Chief Thunder,
Riptor and Cinder
did still didn't make their much-wanted return... no console exclusive characters?
...Hopes and dreams smashed.
Nonetheless, Killer Instinct Gold was a solid console fighting game at
the time and easily one of the best fighting games ever released on Nintendo 64.
May 18th, 2019
Tilston, Kevin Bayliss, Ken Lobb, Mark Betteridge
Killer Instinct Gold was one of the ONLY fighting games
even worth playing on the
N64, and is easily one of the best fighters to ever come out
for the system (even though that's not saying much). As a fan of the KI
series since its original arcade release, Gold satisfied my "ultra combo urge" at the time... I actually got a really positive vibe from this
hell out of it back in the day with my friends.
Busting out 59-hit combos on my buddies
that never played or even heard of Killer Instinct just never seemed to
get old back then.
In particular, the "Team
Elimination" battles were epic fun... 11 VS 11 battles in real-time!!!
Humbly speaking, I was eons better than my friends at the time, so it was pretty
damn fun picking 3 or 4 characters versus my friend's team of 11 characters to
balance things out (and yeah, I'd still win usually).
Good times... that mode alone really made this game if you ask me.
Also worth mentioning is the insane influx of console fighting games that
came out in 1996. Take a look at the "Related Games" category (above)
for a few examples. No doubt competition in the fighting genre was fierce in
1996, but KI Gold actually held its own in the realm of console fighters. ~TFG