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Spinal by DGarcia

Updated: 03/29/95


Killer Instinct 
Spinal -- The Strategy Guide
by David Gracia

Welcome to the first in hopefully a long line of player strategy guides, 
courtesy of DGracia@ix.netcom.com. These guides (this one and those that are 
on the way) are designed to help anyone from the greenest rookie to the most 
seasoned veteran. How? Well hopefully they will key you in as to how and how 
not to attack, or how and how not to defend. At the very least I hope they 
will provide you with the opportunity to see how another person (a person 
who has spent tons of dough) plays the game. Please note that I am not 
TELLING you how to play. I feel that everyone should develop their own 
personal style. The guide below merely shows you how *I* play. Hopefully you 
can learn something from it. As a tounament player (and winner) myself, I am 
well aware of what it takes to seperate those who play in tournaments from 
those who win in tournaments. In these strategy guides, I not only intend to 
give you the widely circulated information (things like combos, No Mercys, 
special moves, etc.), but also tips and pointers to *successful* competitive 
play. In this FAQ you will (hopefully) find the little bits of seemingly 
superfluous information that make the difference between the winners and the 
losers -- and in the long run save you some cash.

Table of Contents--

1. 	IMPORTANT -- "The Nickel and Dime Defense" 
2. 	Spinal Description -- An overview
3. 	Control Notation
4. 	Spinal's Jab
5.	The Spinal Slide
6.	Air Combo
7.	Teleportation
8.	The Flashing Line
9.	Air Juggle
10.	Retaliation
11.	The Combo Breaker
12. 	Autoseconds -- When to use them
13.	A Complete Listing of Spinal's Moves
14.	Combinations

1. The Nickel and Dime:
Before I launch into an extended dissertation on Spinal strategy, I thought 
it might be important to explain a phrase that you will find repeatedly 
throughout this FAQ. That is the "Nickel and Dime Defense". The Nickel and 
Dime Defense is basically a constant assault of little jabs and kicks 
resulting in an overall large loss of energy (most commonly found in 
Glacius, Fulgore, and T.J. Combo players). Regardless of how many No Mercys 
you know, or how big a combo you can do, the first thing that you need to 
learn is how to combat this sadly popular technique (after all, it doesn't 
matter that you can pull off a 32 hit combo if never get the chance to use 
it). This entire FAQ is somewhat dedicated to that noble cause, yet I regret 
to inform you that the only *true* way to counter it, is to first master it 
yourself, and then use it. Please bear in mind though, that I do not support 
this fighting method. In truth I abhor it. The fact of the matter is though, 
that if you don't know how to do it yourself YOU WILL LOSE YOUR DOUGH. Many 
a time in the early days have I lost to a the Glacius player who couldn't do 
more than a 4 hit stun and a 5 hit hyper. You shouldn't have to lose to 
these chumps, you should take their dough every time they plunk their bucks 
into the machine. The follwing information will (hopefully) help you do 
that, and much, much more. 

2. Spinal Description:
Spinal is an extremely versatile character. Why, you ask? What makes him 
better than others? There are a few things that you want to look at when 
selecting a character to play. 1- Ability to throw fireball or counter the 
"fireball trap" . 2- Ability to methodically counter a jump attacks. 3- 
Ability to methodically counter a solid ground assault. 4- Multiple attack 
possibilities (by multiple I mean more than 2). Spinal easily fulfills all 
of these requirements, and then some. He can not only block all projectiles 
without taking damage, but throw them. He has strong air and ground based 
jumping-attack counters. He has a long sword reach, and he has the teleport 
and the slide. All of these factors together (in the hands of a skilled 
player) form a formidable and extremely unpredictable opponent. 

3. Control Notation
( / ): Or      (+):  And      (,):  Then      
1: Quick High Attack    2: Medium High Attack    3: Fierce High 
4: Quick Low Attack     5: Medium Low Attack     6: Fierce 

c: Charge button or stick by holding it 
   (i.e. cB -- Charge Back, c4 -- Charge button 4)
R: Release charged button

F:   Forward       DB:  Down Back     D:  Down     DF:  Down Forward

QCB:  Quarter Circle Back           (D,DB,B)
QCT:  Quarter Circle Toward         (D,DF,F)
HCB:  Half Circle Back              (F,DF,D,DB,B)
HCT:  Half Circle Toward            (B,DB,D,DF,F)
QCDB: Quarter Circle Down/Back      (F,DF,D,DB)
QCDF: Quarter Circle Down/Forward   (B,DB,D,DF)

4. Spinal's Jab:
Spinal's Jab (button 1) is invaluable. It is the first step in learning to 
counter to the Nickel and Dime. Now, in order to use Spinal's Jab 
effectively you must assume the position (the ever-popular blocking crouch). 
Beware -- a low-crouch block is always met by the good 'ol Nickel and Dime, 
but if you are going to get it anyway, it is best to get it on *your* terms. 
The trick is to wait until someone takes a little jab at you. Immediately 
after they attack they are unable to block. This is when you make your move. 
Immediately (and I do mean immediately) after a person takes the little jab 
at you, tap 1. If you are quick on the draw, you will hit them every time. 
This is Killer Instinct at its ugliest, mind you, but when your twelve bits 
are on the line, you gotta look out for number one. Also -- Sabrewulf's 
blocking crouch is unable to defend against this, as is Riptor's (though 
only at certain distances).

5. The Spinal Slide:
Spinal has two different kinds of slide attacks. The first, commonly known 
as the "strong" slide, is executed by pressing down + 6. This is a solid 
uncounterable means of knocking a standing opponent on their can (by 
uncounterable I mean that there is no sort of retaliation once you have been 
hit, not that it is unblockable). However, if you pull off a QCDF + 6 you 
will get what is commonly known as the "weak slide". The weak slide is 
similar to the strong slide in appearance, but the good part of this is move
is that you can COMBO out of it. There are two multiple-hit connectors (or 
autoseconds) that can be employed after the weak slide, either 1 or 3. After 
this, the only second connector available is cF,B+2. Connect this with 3, 
and tack on any ending you like.

6. Air Combo:
Spinal's J,6 is a very reliable means of hitting an oncoming airborne 
opponent. As a rule, you want to hit your opponent with the edge of your 
foot. So, as soon as some fool jumps in at you, jump at him and press 6 (not 
recommended against Thunder or Orchid).The key to the air combo is to hold 
forward on the stick. If your jump kick lands, pull back and press 5 (a 
reverse sonic boom motion). This not only hits twice for more damage, but 
prevents a retaliation move. Also -- the air combo move (cF,B + 5) can be 
executed after other moves (like the J,3), but stick to the jumpkick to air 
combo for starters.

7. Teleportation:
Spinal's ability to teleport effectively sets him apart from any other 
character in the game (except for perhaps Glacius). Now, when I say 
effectively I mean that when played intelligently, Spinal is extraordinarily 
hard to hit, and is able to combo out of a teleport. This gives him a wide 
assortment attacks, as opposed to the "I am walking towards you, and when I 
get to you I am going to give you a few jabs and an overhead" that limits 
many other characters. A few more things about the teleport  -- Hold down on 
the stick while pressing the button, otherwise it won't work. Also, on the 
Double Teleport, do the second half of the motion just as Spinal starts to 
appear. Follow that, and you will be just fine. Spinal has a few types of 
teleports. Here they are:

**Regular Teleport**
D,D + any punch -- Teleports In Front.
D,D + any kick -- Teleports Behind.
**Mid-air Teleport**
D,D + 1 -- Teleports In Front
D,D + 4 -- Teleports Behind

**Double Teleport**
D,D + 3,D,D + 1 -- Front to Back
D,D + 6,D,D + 1 -- Back to Front

8. The Flashing Line:
A flashing line at the end of your character's health meter allows you to 
perform normally unavailable moves (called Shadow Moves). For Spinal, there 
are two ways to get a flashing line. The first way is to perform a combo 
breaker move upon your opponent (detailed below). The second is to absorb a 
special move using Spinal's absorption shield. To use Spinal's absorption 
shield, simply hold B,1. His shield will then glow a nice shade of red. Any 
special move absorbed by the shield will get you a flashing line, and a 
skull. The amount of skulls floating around Spinal determine what types of 
shadow moves Spinal can perform. These skulls are then used with the 
completion of that particular shadow move. Note: some moves require more 
than one skull to perform. The specific skull requiremen for each move is 
detailed in section 13.

9. Air Juggle:
After certain Combos, it is possible to juggle an opponent in the air with 
one of Spinal's fireballs. In order to do so, you must have at least on 
skull, and press D,DF,F+1. If timed correctly this will earn you extra hits 
and inflict extra damage on an opponent. 

10. Retaliation:
Certain characters have moves which are unblockable (in actuallity I believe 
that all characters do, but only a few of the moves have been discovered). 
These moves are executed as a fallen opponent is getting up, and there is 
only one way to counter them. First let me tell you what the moves are so 
you know what to look for: Cinder -- an uppercut with 5. Jago -- an 
crouching punch with 3 or a sweep with 6. Fulgore -- a jumping 1 (commonly 
connected with 4). Spinal's retaliation to these moves is a teleport with 
any punch or kick.

11. The Combo Breaker:
First I must say that there is a system to doing combo breakers. Most of you 
know it, as it is pretty common knowledge, but since it plays such an 
integral part of combination strategy, I will give you a quick and dirty 
explanation anyhow. In order to successfully pull off a combo breaker, you 
must press the button exactly one down from the button your opponent is 
using in his combo, in conjunction with your characters prescribed combo 
breaker move. Ugh. Confusing? I think so. How about this. First of all, some 
characters use the kick buttons for their breaker, while others use the 
punches. This does not matter. The buttons are linked like so: 1 and 4 are 
the same, 2 and 5 are the same, and 3 and 6 are the same. Now, Spinal's 
breaker if F,F+any punch button. Say, for example you are playing against 
some chump who is using Glacius. A very common combo with Glacius is 
cB,F+3,2,B+2,2,QCDB+1. This is a strong 14 hitter, but is extremely easy to 
break. Why you ask? The entire combo is connected with 2 as an autosecond! 
You can break this combo at almost any time with Spinal by simply pressing 
F,F+1. Just the same, if the person were using 3 as an autosecond in their 
combo you would break with 2, or if a person were using 1 you would break 
with 3. Now, I know this is very complex. In order to religiously be able to 
break people's combos you must know ALL OF THEM. The point of this tangent 
is simple. People who know your combos are people who will break your 
combos. Unless you are playing a relatively unskilled player, TRY TO AVOID 
USING THE COMBOS FOUND IN ANY POPULAR FAQ. Make up your own, or try some of 
my homegrown cyclones. Also, try to avoid using 2 and 3 as an autosecond. It 
is pretty commonly known that this is Spinal's biggest connector.

**Please Note: I have heard from other users across the country that the 
breaker system on their local machine is not one button down from the 
opponents autosecond, but actually THE SAME BUTTON. I have yet to play on a 
machine where this holds true, but if for some reason the above system does 
not work for you, I recommend that you give this alternative a try.**

12. Autoseconds -- When to use them:
Autoseconds are what have come to be known as "connectors" for all intensive 
purposes. I would like to say that this is not necessarily a precise 
definition. Autoseconds are the buttons that, when pressed once immediately 
after a successful attack, hit multiple times. Connectors are buttons that, 
when pressed, preserve the continuity of a combination, allowing you to 
string together repeated hits without giving your opponent the ability to 
block. The point of this esoteric garble is that a connector does not 
necessarily need to hit repeatedly to inflict damage, or preserve the 
continuity of the combo. In fact, all autoseconds really do (besides look 
cool) is give your opponent an opportunity to break your combo. Experienced 
players will almost always break a combo that uses an autosecond. That is 
why I employ what I call the "one-hit connector method". Essentially the 
same method found in games like Street Fighter 2, this method uses single 
hitting connectors as opposed to autoseconds in an attempt to keep your 
combo from being broken. After all, what good is inflicting damage on your 
opponent, if you are going to take the same amount of damage yourself? Now, 
the one-hit connector method is extremely easy to employ for the simple fact 
that practically any button will work. Then, after any two consecutive hits, 
you can employ any of your characters endings. Below are a few 
suggestions/examples that I use for Spinal:

	*B,3,F,F+1,D,D+6 	Start with an overhead, into a one-hit 		
			shield charge. Tack on a morph ending.

	*cB,6,F+2,F,F+1		Start with a roundhouse, into a sword slash. 
				End with sword/kick/sword.
	*D,3,F,F+3,3		Start with a low sword slash, into a shield 
				charge. End with a one-hit punch to the

Bear in mind that endings (which are autoseconds also) can be broken just 
like any other multiple-hitting connector. Since Spinal can end a combo with 
any button, I tend to be a bit more liberal in their random use (not to 
mention the fact that it's practically too late to break anyhow). But, for 
an absolute guarantee against a breaker, end your combos with a good one-hit 
F,3 or B,6.

13. Spinal's Moves
**Special Moves**
Special Moves are those moves which are unique to Spinal, and executable at 
any point in the game. 
Air Teleport  :  H1,J,D,D+R1  (midair, teleports in front)
Air Teleport  :  H4,J,D,D+R4  (midair, teleports behind)
Absorb Shield :  B,1          (absorbs special moves for skulls)
Flaming Sword :  CB,F+2         
Flaming Sword :  CF,B+2
Morph Combo   :  D,D+aHA/aLA  (during combo)
Power Slide   :  D+6          (anti-projectile)
Shield Charge :  F,F,aHA
Teleport      :  D,D+aHA      (teleports in front)
Teleport      :  D,D+aLA      (teleports behind)
Weak Slide    :  QCDF+6       (anti-projectile)

**Shadow Moves**
Shadow Moves are special moves and executable only after Spinal has done a 
combo breaker or special move absorption.
Flaming Skull    :  QCT+aHA  (must have 1+ skulls)
Flaming Sword x2 :  CB,F+2   (must have 1+ skulls) 
Red Fireball     :  HCT+aHA  (must have 3+ skulls)

**Transition Moves**
Transition Moves are special moves which begin as one move, yet finish as 
Shield Charge - Flaming Sword    :  F,F,2/3,CF,B+2 
Shield Charge - Flaming Sword x2 :  F,F,2/3,CF,B+2  (w/flashing line)
Teleport Front - Teleport Behind :  D,D+3,D,D+1 
Teleport Behind - Teleport Front :  D,D+6,D,D+1

**Finishing Moves**
Finishing Moves are moves that do just that -- finish an opponent. 
Skeleton Grab :  B,B,B,5  (1 to 4)
Shield Stab   :  B,B,F,4  (close)
Humiliation   :  HCT+6    (1 to 4)
Ultimate SG   :  QCDB+1   (during combo)
Ultra Combo   :  HCT+3    (during combo)

**Miscellaneous Information**
Absorbing Too Many Skulls:
Spinal can absorb a maximum of 6 special moves. If Spinal a 7th special move 
is absorbed, Spinal explodes and takes damage.  

Absorb Skulls Without Exploding:
To prevent Spinal from exploding, simply cese holding back on the controller 
while depressing button 1.

Unlimited Flashing Line:
First you must absorb a special move. When you have a skull (you can have 
only one) hold 1, throw a fireball with 2, and release 1 while still
holding forward. Spinal will throw two fireballs, and retain his flashing 
line even though he has no skulls Floating around him. This can be used to 
juggle an airborne opponent for a total of 80 hits.

14. Combinations 
Combinations are, in my opinion, what makes a good fighting game fun to 
play. Killer Instinct revolves around its combos. However, try to use these 
as a platform from which you can create your own. The majority of these are 
in wide circulation, and will be broken.

3 hit: (stun in ver. 1.4)

5 hit:

6 hit:

12 hit

13 hit: 

14 hit: must have 1+ skulls

15+ hit: must have 1+ skulls
CB,F+2,CF,3,B+2,3,D,D+# - QCT+1

28 hit: ultra

29 hit: Ultra

FTP SITES: 	This FAQ can be found at ftp.netcom.com courtesy of Andy 	
	Eddy, cencongopher.concordia.com -- not to mention AOL.

alt.games.ki and alt.games.killer-instinct

Special Thanks go to Dr Daytona and the group that wrote and maintains the 
excellent KI FAQ. Without them we would ALL be in the dark.

Distrabution of this strategy guide is encouraged, however it is not to be 
sold without the sole consent of the author.

Copyright David Gracia 
March 29,1995
All Rights Reserved

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