held by Ultratech soon turns to a battle for survival. Fighters from agencies,
temples, castles, labs, and outer space converge with different vendettas
and a common goal: to be "Champion Of Ultratech".
characters, stages, and music.
Instinct was no doubt what you'd call a "next-gen 2D fighting game" in 1994. The
"3D-like" digitized graphics and innovative camera work on the 3D
backgrounds easily enabled KI to stand out in the
crowded mid 90's arcades. Furthermore, the gameplay engine presented the longest
and most insane combos ever to be seen in a fighting game. Inspired by the likes
of Mortal Kombat, KI also features fatalities, stage fatalities,
and "humiliations." And if that's not enough, every fighter can
finish the round with an Ultra Combo, which can be extended to upwards of 40-50
hits (or 100+ if you knew any infinites). Ulllltraaaaaa! On that note, Killer Instinct definitely allowed players to punish their
opponents more-so than any other fighting game at the time.... something I
definitely, whole-heartedly loved about the game.
At it's debut, Killer Instinct might've seemed like a "rip off"
type of fighting game. Firstly, because fighting games were getting pretty huge
at the time (many were coming out), and secondly because KI shares many elements from both Street Fighter and
Mortal Kombat. However, one can't deny that KI offered something
completely different to the genre. Killer Instinct's gameplay felt
"new," and the game played considerably faster than the typical fighting game
at the time... not to mention, more "combo
oriented" than most.
The most intense fighting
angles to date!
Along with unique play-styles and special
moves, each fighter in Killer Instinct has a variety of ways to set up and finish combos.
Every character also has their own ultra-stylish Ultra Combo (AKA finishing
move), which can be unleashed when their opponent's health is low. No doubt,
these Ultra Combos never
failed to wow the audience at the arcades.
Although there is no "dash," all characters have a solid variety of
special moves and abilities to get in for that initial attack. The 11 character
designs are also very distinguished from one another, offering great variety.
Killer Instinct also introduced Combo
Breakers to the fighting genre. Straight up, Combo Breakers are pretty damn
satisfying to perform (and look awesome). However, Combo Breakers probably caused 75% of all
Killer Instinct cabinets to have to be repaired, since mashing
random buttons and the directional pad actually worked quite well when trying to
breaker. Killer Instinct also
introduced the "double health meter". Instead of winning two rounds,
each fighter starts the fight with two bars of energy. A brief pause occurs when a fighter loses their first bar, then the
fight resumes. This unfamiliar "pace" of gameplay was yet another attribute made KI stand out.
Additionally, after an initial K.O., a defeated player also has the chance to
"revive" themselves if the victor doesn't land a finishing attack of
some kind. In some cases, this gives the victor an interesting option to let
their opponent "stand up" and fight after a K.O... if perhaps they
have enough health left to confidently defeat their opponent yet again.
The SNES version just
didn't have the same pop.
SNES port was decent for a console port at the time, but was downgraded
the arcade version in graphics, sound, and also gameplay. Many graphical
effects were missing from the arcade version, such as the fully-animated, badass
FMV character intro &
victory sequences. In the
arcade version, certain stages "panned back" extremely far allowing a
ton of distance between the fighters, which could result in some pretty epically
entertaining projectile wars. Also,
when certain combos were performed on "building top" stages, the
camera angle changes dramatically, showing a birds-eye view as a character is
launched into the air - only to fall ALLLL the way back down and get hit a few
more times.Unfortunately, these awesome effects didn't make the cut to
the SNES version. The SNES port also featured significantly smaller character
sprites which just didn't fill the screen like their arcade counterparts.
So basically, there's no substitute for the original arcade version of Killer
Instinct. For an arcade game, KI was nothing short of a masterpiece. Each arcade cabinet also features a "highest combo record" for each
character... and back in the day, any local player who could get their initials on
major respect at the arcade. On a personal note, I remember a few guys
at my arcade who spent the entire day there just trying to break their
old records and keep the top spot. *sigh* I miss the 90's, such simpler times.
Finally, not to be under-appreciated, Killer Instinct also packs one of the best soundtracks in
fighting game/video game history. The heavy, dark, guitar-driven BGMs fit the
stages and the character personalities perfectly. The announcer also adds a certain
"energy" to the game. The "epic" manner in which he says
each character's name is especially memorable. I'd say the dude is one of the top 3 best fighting
game announcers of all time (if not #1).
Tilston, Kevin Bayliss, Ken Lobb, Mark Betteridge
Tim Stamper (Backgrounds)
Super Nintendo, Game Boy
Aug. 30th, 1995
I have to admit... when I first saw Killer Instinct at my arcades (in
1994), I wasn't a fan. As an 11 year old Street Fighter/Mortal Kombat fan, I
admit I ignorantly wrote off Killer Instinct as a "wannabe"... at first
glance. A few weeks later,
I realized how downright cool many of the characters were, and once I pulled off my first
Ultra Combo... I was nothing short of hooked.
Yes, I played the hell out of this game at the arcades in 1994-1996, and I anxiously awaited the SNES home port (picking it up
day one and being surprised by a badass black cartridge).
Even though the SNES version wasn't nearly as pretty as the arcade version,
still loved it. Actually, the half-assed home port made me appreciate how great
version was even more.
Good old Killer Instinct was no doubt a memorable, and successful arcade fighting game for it's
time. Graphically impressive, fun,
innovative, and original in a lot of ways. On one final note, the arcade intro is widely known
for LYING about the game's "home release in
1995" on the "Ultra 64." Classic
I really do miss the 90's. ~TFG