Howdy peeps and welcome to Day #11 of Month of Nostalgic Video Game Reviews 2! This is a blog series where I review video games from my childhood. Today’s game is one that I game across by chance and was one of the fanciest and coolest fighting games from the 90s, ladies and gents I present you Killer Instinct on Super Nintendo.
Killer Instinct was a fighting game released for arcades in 1994 and then got its console ports on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy in 1995.
Killer Instinct plays like many other fighting games, in which the player controls a character in order to beat an opponent in a one-on-one encounter. The game borrows the attack set of Street Fighter and is also inspired by the finishing moves from Mortal Kombat. There are also several features that distinguish it from other franchises:
- A double energy bar: instead of winning two rounds, each player has two bars of energy. If a character finishes with his or her opponent’s first life bar, the fight stops and resumes like a round, but the winning character still keeps whatever amount of energy he or she had at that moment. The player who depletes his or her opponent’s second life bar wins the bout.
- Automatic combos: rather than press the necessary buttons in order to deliver the individual attacks that form a combo, in Killer Instinct the combos are automated and can be enabled by inputting a determined button or special move.
- Finishing moves: Similar to Mortal Kombat‘s Fatalities, each character has at least two moves known as No Mercy (Danger Move in later revisions) in order to finish the opponent. One of these No Mercy moves can be executed at the end of a combo (which is labeled as an Ultimate Combo), when the opponent’s life bar flashes red (when his or her second bar is going to be depleted), although it uses a different combination of movements. Another finisher is the Humiliation, that forces the opponent to dance (the dance style depends on the character), but this can only be used if the player has his or her first life bar. Unlike the Fatalities, however, the Killer Instinct’s finishing moves do not feature brutality or dismemberment.
- Ultra Combo: Another finisher; it operates like an Ultimate Combo, though this one allows the character to deliver a long string of hits as the combo finisher instead, usually surpassing 20 hits, and can sometimes reach upwards of 80 hits.
- Combo Breaker: The player who is being caught in a combo may break out of it by performing a combo breaker move. The combo breaker is a designated special move of the player’s character. A combo can be broken at either the auto-double or linker stage. To successfully break an auto-double, the player must use the breaker move at a strength lower than the auto-double itself (i.e. for a player to break a Medium auto-double s/he must use a Quick breaker). The combo can also be broken at the linker stage. At this stage the player can use any strength of breaker, making long combos a risky affair. Also, after performing a combo breaker, a white starburst will appear at the tip of the breaker’s health bar, enabling advanced versions of some special moves that require a different command (e.g. Jago, instead of a regular green fireball, can shoot a red fireball).
My memories of Killer Instinct are not as vivid as some of the other games I’ve mentioned in previous posts, but what I do remember is that this game was some really hot stuff back in the 90s. I think I had two sets of friends that owned this and when we’d get to have session it’d always be so chaotic. This was Mortal Kombat but with a slighty swifter pace, stranger characters and even better gameplay. Now let me say this now, I loved Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat as a kid, I played the hell out of those games, however Killer Instinct came across as a game that meshed the two of them together with a few upgraded features which made it a blast to play. The visuals were good and the music was good too, I liked the characters too as they all looked so varied and interesting. The ultra combos were so flighty and looked so flashy and the stage deaths were cool brutal and hardcore. The more I think about it the more I see this as a spin-off from the Mortal Kombat game series, this game had a similar style of animation and art direction and the gameplay was brutal and violent too. I guess that’s why I took to this game so well haha.
There’s my two favourite characters, I used these two all the time. Why? Because they looked awesome! XD
So in conclusion Killer Instinct was a game that was a game that had taken what was already available in the world of fighting games and made it even better. It is slick, unique and though similar to Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter, Killer Instinct felt like it was in a league of its own and it was truly one of those exceptional games from the 90s that is forgotten in history and nostalgia. If you ever come across this game then give it a chance, it’s some good stuff yo. 🙂
Well there’s another game review done only 19 more to go! If you have experiences with this game or any of the following ones do comment below! I’ll see ya tomorrow with another nostalgic video game review yo! 😀