Memories of Killer Instinct

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Memories of Killer Instinct

Postby VideoGameCritic » October 4th, 2019, 5:12 pm

This time of year brings back memories of October 1994. It was a good year! I was engaged but still living at home so my friends were coming over to play games all the time. I owned both a Genesis and SNES, which pretty much made me a big shot at the time.

I wasn't planning on buying Killer Instinct (SNES) but the latest wave of magazines (GamePro/EGM) got me pumped. Next thing you know I'm over Best Buy blowing my well-earned money on a $70 game. As a consolation prize Best Buy gave out free copies of Killer Cuts. It was a dance music soundtrack CD vaguely inspired by the game.

I remember my friends checking out the soundtrack because we were into that kind of music at the time. It was cheesy (even by 1994 standards) but some of the songs were okay. I still listen to it every now and then and it always takes me back.

The game itself was pretty underwhelming. The graphics were cool but the combo-heavy gameplay lent itself to a lot of button mashing. Still, it was neat to have a brand new fighter in the collection.

Anybody else remember getting this one?

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Re: Memories of Killer Instinct

Postby ThePixelatedGenocide » October 12th, 2019, 12:52 pm

Killer Instinct was of the few fighting games I was able to play with someone who knew what they were doing, which in a small town in the mid-90's was like finding out Hogwart's was real.

And having a proper wizard's duel.

And it was around the time I first discovered that kind of music, or pre-rendered sprites for that matter, so the style alone had me hooked on the game's world and lore.

At least as long as nobody performed a fatality, because they were all about as violent as Mortal Kombat's censored SNES fatalities. And some were weird. Even by mid-90's fighting game standards. Like, how is the sight of Orchid's breasts deadlier than Scorpion's spear? Just how repressed was this cast?

And why did that make complete sense at the time? Can anyone born after 1990 relate to any of this at all?

I'm really only mocking all of this, because at the same time, a few trolls knew flashing me in real life was a reliable jumpscare. And it took me years to realize that was a friendship, not a fatality. (Fortunately, one of those friends made me play her tutorial, and then it all clicked.)

It's why Killer Instinct just instantly takes me back to a more innocent time. Kind of like everything else that was trying way too hard to have an edge back in the 90's. ("Play It Loud!") It's all so painfully awkward in retrospect, just like 90's comic books and most of the WWF's Attitude era.

And my small town goth phase.

Anyways, the actual gameplay of Killer Instinct was always a case of style over substance, but just having any substance back then meant it was a contender for SNES fighting game of the year. Sure, the combos were silly overkill, but they were cathartic. And there were enough reversal possibilities and traps that the fighting felt like a deadly cross between chess and dance.

I liked it enough to even buy the Gameboy version. And I couldn't wait for the Ultra 64...

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Re: Memories of Killer Instinct

Postby jon » October 14th, 2019, 4:39 pm

I remember a ton of hype back in the mid 90’s. I think I rented it and it was underwhelming. I can’t think of a game that had more style over substance than Killer Instinct. Having said all of that it’s provably a big nostalgia trip and I can imagine it being fun and reminiscing about the mid 90’s.

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Re: Memories of Killer Instinct

Postby DrLitch » October 14th, 2019, 7:37 pm

Well lets see... when I was younger I liked Saved by the Bell, Baywatch, and all the early 90's cheese you could sling about. Going back... well.... those shows are horrible, absolute garbage that somehow we liked back in the day.

Killer Instinct definitely belongs to that era. It was highly appropriate for the time. All style no substance. I played the heck out of this game back in the day and through a nostalgic lens it was easily the best fighter of the early-mid 90's. 32 hit combo's with Orchid, oh yeah. Then you grow up and once you became acquainted with Tekken 3 or Soul Calibur, Killer Instinct was revealed to be a Turd dressed as a Bratwurst.

Street Fighter 2 is the only fighter from that era that actually still holds up today.

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Re: Memories of Killer Instinct

Postby Matchstick » October 14th, 2019, 11:56 pm

Honestly, this time of year always makes me think of picking up one of the newly-released consoles of yesteryear. Whether it was the N64 (launched on 9/29/96) the Dreamcast (9/9/99) or PS2 (10/26/00) I have fond memories of trying to track down the newest console, calling store after store to see if they have any in stock or scouring the local newspaper classified ads for anyone selling a used system. Such anticipation!

I didn't manage to get an N64 until Spring of '97 and managed to snag a PS2 just after the start of the new year in 2001, but the Dreamcast I managed to pick up right about this time, in mid-October '99. I was so excited, snapping up as many games as I could, and this time of year always takes me back to that time, working odd jobs around the neighborhood to make just enough cash to ensure I could buy Hydro Thunder, House of the Dead 2, Ready 2 Rumble, Marvel vs. Capcom *and* NFL2K the same week I got the system.

I will never forget raking leaves for the old lady who lived three houses down from me, frantically getting her yard all cleaned up after school one day so I could get some cash from her and make it down to FuncoLand before they closed and score NFL2K. It was the week between paychecks from my job at the local Mom & Pop video store (remember those??) and I needed just a little more cash to put me over the top and pay for a new game. I swear, I was moving that rake so fast and hauling those trash cans full of leaves so quickly I would've made The Flash jealous. When I was done and she asked me what I was going to do with the $10 she was paying me, I quickly told her I was buying a video game. She just kind of stared at me and said, "All right, sweetie. Whatever makes you happy."

Oh, did it ever make me happy, Anne Dorschbach. Did it ever.

On a side note, that PS2 I bought? Got it in January of 2001. Bought it brand new out of the trunk of someone's car, in the dark, under a burnt-out lamp in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Yes, it seemed odd at the time, and looking back, it still does. But hey, I got what I wanted, and I wasn't about to ask questions about where it came from!

...wait, this is a thread about Killer Instinct? Whoops~!

I played the game in the arcade more than anywhere else. At the time, I found it to be little more than an alternative to the other heavy-hitter fighting games of the era, but I thought it was a quality game, and it was fun to play around with. I liked the diverse character selection compared to MKII, my main game at the time (Only one ninja? What madness is this??) and even though the computer would kick my butt, I came back again and again.

I didn't have a job at the time, and only received a new video game once or twice a year (Xmas and birthdays) so there was no way I was getting a copy of KI for my SNES. Luckily, a buddy of mine got one right when it came out, so I would go over to his house and play it with him. He, too, got the Killer Cuts CD, but he didn't care much for it and let me take it home with me. Mind you, I didn't have a CD player of my own at the time (was still rocking a Walkman) so I had to listen to it on my Dad's stereo while he was at work. I wasn't "allowed" to touch it, you see, so I had to be sneaky. It was worth it, though, as I definitely liked what I heard, and to this day, I still listen to that CD as a bit of a guilty pleasure.

I bit pretty hard on KI2 when it launched. GamePro put out a strategy guide with all the characters' moves, finishers, and endings, and I took that mag to the arcade with me time and time again to practice. Unfortunately, my favorite characters from the first KI didn't make it into the sequel (Cinder and Chief Thunder) so I was forced to learn to play with new characters. Got pretty good with Sabrewulf and TJ Combo as a result. Still, I didn't like most of the new characters, and felt that the "back in time" theme of the second game just didn't suit it as well as the industrial theme from the first one. Definitely a shark-jumping moment for me, and I thought the home port, KI Gold, was a pretty poor effort as well.

Every now and then I will see an original KI arcade cabinet, and I always make an excuse to play it. As most of us on this board have already said, yes, it is a case of style over substance. But what style it has! In my opinion, rarely (no pun intended) do you see a video game with that sort of uniform creative vision, where the characters, environments, and music all fit one theme and work together well. I mean, we're talking about a video game where a dinosaur can fight a skeleton, or a werewolf can fight an alien made out of organic ice. Seems so silly nowadays, but back then, I didn't question it. It all just sorta "clicked."

I am glad Microsoft brought the series back. The new KI ain't half-bad! Shame it has the microtransaction model going for it, but there's a few physical releases out there, and the Complete Edition of the game goes on sale pretty often on the Xbox One Marketplace. As a bonus, the Definitive Edition comes with the KI and KI2 arcade versions as a pair of downloads, and for me, that's worth the price right there. Me and my buddies have definitely played the OG KI on my Xbox way, way more than the newer version, but whichever one we play, we always have a good time. It's a great go-to game when we aren't entirely sure what to play next.


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Re: Memories of Killer Instinct

Postby Voor » October 15th, 2019, 7:24 am

K-K-K-Komboooo breaker!!!!

That’s what I remember. Lol. I remember the soundtrack being amazing, but the graphics—I don’t know, I think part of the appeal of SFII’s graphics is that hand drawn sprites do a good job to balance the violence happening. The pre-rendered, more realistic graphics make things feel too serious for me.

I will say that in the ocean of fighting games at the time, it was one of the better ones. There were a lot of awful fighting games then (later to be replaced by FPSs) but at least KI was memorable.

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Re: Memories of Killer Instinct

Postby Hagane » October 15th, 2019, 1:54 pm

I used to have the Game Boy version of Killer Instinct and even with the system limitations it is surprisingly a very good port, the gameplay is fast and the characters are big on the tiny screen, it's a much better fight game than either Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter ports on the Game Boy.

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Re: Memories of Killer Instinct

Postby jon » October 15th, 2019, 3:53 pm

My brother and I rented KI and he was a fan. It had a great reputation. 1994 was an amazing year for video games and music, maybe I can go back. But let’s not talk about the dolphins chargers game :(

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Re: Memories of Killer Instinct

Postby MSR1701 » October 15th, 2019, 3:57 pm

K-k-k-k-kombo Breaaaakerrr!!! Uuullllltttrraaaa KKKooommmmbbboooo!!!

I always preferred KI Gold on the N64 to any version, even over the two arcade games. Other than the Game Boy KI1, I never got into the original KI.

I do recall seeing a KI2 machine at a restaurant in the mid-90s, and playing for a bit.

Also, I LOVE the original Arcade KI intro with Coming to your home in 1995, ONLY ON NINTENDO ULTRA 64!!! ;-)

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Re: Memories of Killer Instinct

Postby MSR1701 » October 15th, 2019, 4:00 pm

Hagane wrote:I used to have the Game Boy version of Killer Instinct and even with the system limitations it is surprisingly a very good port, the gameplay is fast and the characters are big on the tiny screen, it's a much better fight game than either Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter ports on the Game Boy.

KI Game Boy is definitely one of the better Game Boy fighters. I would say the King of Fighters, Killer Instinct, Mortal Kombat II, and maybe Primal Rage are the only fighters of note on the system. Battle Arena Toshinden was decent, if not memorable, and I haven't played much of Samurai Showdown, World Heroes GB or the Fatal Fury game (which does exist and was supposed to be good, but haven't gone out of my way to check how it played).

Amongst the worst is MK3, MK1, MK4 (GBC) and Fist of the North Star GB. Also Pit Fighter, but there's not many "good" versions of that... Street Fighter II GB was decent given the limitations, and far more enjoyable than Street Fighter Alpha (GBC).

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