Review by x_Hiryuu_x
Played in '95 - Still playing in '08: Killer Instinct is a More-Love-than-Hate Relationship.
People suffering from nostalgia, looking for a fighter on your console? Looking for hours of entertainment away from your usual norm? Looking to kick some arse? Look no further.
Even in this year of 2008, when there are consoles such as the XBOX 360, the PlayStation 3 and the Nintendo Wii, there are certain games that will be played by people from the moment they pick it up until, probably, the end of their lives...well, if you're that hardcore of a gaming fanatic.
For those of you still wanting to look for a fighter that goes outside your usual button-mash outside of games like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat or...if you want to call it a fighter...Super Smash Brothers whatever...you might want to consider this combo-crazed entry into the SNES spotlight. I easily have put in thousands of hours into this game over the course of me owning this thing and, even to this day, I mess around with it almost daily. The replayability of it is truly astonishing but only after one gets used to the game itself. If you aren't, you'll likely be lost in a torrent of 'wtf?' while a skilled player knocks you around like you were no one's business...hence why you will see a LOT of down-rating of this game...but nonetheless...
I'd like to say that this game is one of those that I would hold onto and try to teach to the next-gen for time to come (I still do) but that's not to say this game, like most, doesn't have its flaws. For me to say I'm not completely taken with this game, however, would be lying - I love it to death and there are reasons for it. There are others, however, that will say otherwise...saying they just cannot get the nature of the game, hence the love-hate relationship this game so brings to people. You can only love or hate it, either or...though most people tend to go with love for obvious reasons.
Let's go through those reasons of this near-masterpiece of fighting game:
Graphics - 10/10
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Keep in mind that we are dealing with an arcade port. The graphics have been reduced EXTENSIVELY from the arcade edition of this game because, as you can guess, the Super Nintendo was just not at all capable of handling it. For what RARE did with it, however, it's truly one of the best graphically-inclined games you will find on the SNES. No kidding. It is that good. Even in this era of gaming, you have to admire how something like this looked in the 16-bit daze. It was very possible to make something like this look so good and fluid and...bloody for a Teen rating. Some of the graphics that are shown for Ultras and other combinations are, to say the least, a bit odd (Glacius's Ultra, for one) but I think this is to say that there's not exactly a complete serious mindset in this game.
If you don't believe me...look out for dancing Humiliations...
Sound - 9/10
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The electronica soundtrack downgraded from the arcade version wasn't bad at all but the overall presentation of sound effects was cut below what it could have been. You'll figure this out when you get to the point of kicking around a person with a long combo or an Ultra and hearing the same one or two sounds of 'ow' repeated over and over again when there was a bit more life to it than that in the arcades. Having Combo's 'wwwOOW!!' in there when he gets knocked up off the screen might've saved this area, but eh. Still, it's very presentable for the SNES overall.
Gameplay - 8/10
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Here is what divides a lot of people.
Though the difficulties can be set in OPTIONS to an easy setting and a very hard setting and COMBO BREAKERS, which are ways to cut apart combinations that are made throughout the game instead of being reamed on forever, can be set to EASILY made or a little more difficult to make, there are going to be people that absolutely do not understand how this game works. This is why there is a Practice/Dummy mode for people to hack and slash any normal combinations at a standing opponent...but even then there are going to be people that believe that they can do ridiculous-hit combinations right off the bat when someone else is kicking their butt around or they're frustrated because they used SAME-BUTTON combinations and wonder why they always get their combinations broken.
Sorry to say, kids, but this game takes a little more research and development than that. I will honestly say that you cannot get better at this game overnight...but getting a good FAQ in front of you (like with some of the more detailed ones here) will help you out extensively. Let me state that clearly:
IF THE GAME IS KICKING YOUR BUTT AND YOU HAVE NO CLUE GET SOME FAQS TO HELP!
Thank you. If you don't help yourself, you won't get anywhere with this game, simply put.
Anyways, even to this day I learn more things about this game because there are parts of the combinations that are found out for every character, ranging from small ones to thirty-second ones...not to mention glitch combos for the more hardcore gamers that have played this enough to know about it.
The gameplay is by no means perfect thanks to this, but most fighting games suffer from this fact regardless. Most of the glitches that are taken advantage of here are difficult to pull off anyways, so most casual players won't even notice them, and very few of them are exceptionally advantageous against a human opponent. Most of them just deal with air-comboing when a person is up in the air where there should be no way it is hitting. Look around for Combo's air-ultra, for starters. There are just a lot of things that keep this out of the perfect zone but not in the overly-hated zone because of it.
The CPU in this game, however, does tend to cheat.
Well, from time to time, if you get a CPU player against the wall it will sometimes make combos and breakers that are otherwise impossible for a human player to carry out...and I do mean impossible. Four-hit combos that finish, unbreakable same-button punch long-arse combos and combo breakers that happen off of normally unbreakable attacks or breakers that happen after the CPU falls down and gets back up and magically breaks you from THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SCREEN are some of the downfalls that occur in the design...however, this is rare and overall you should not have to worry about dealing with it, as there are ways to combat even those glitches.
I would be lying otherwise to say you will have to work at it in order to get better at the game. Fighting veterans who have NEVER picked up this game will have it a lot easier than those who've never touched a fighter before. If you are a new person to this genre, this game may not be for you, even at EASIEST difficulty, but you may surprise yourself otherwise after some training (I did). You will get what you put into this game, bottom line.
Control - 9/10
There are a LOT of combinations that any given player can pull off fluidly and many variations of any given combinations as well. That said, you will likely be learning them for years to come.
That's not to say that you're going to run into limits of a combo and glitches after you get past the barrier most casual players never traverse, but it's saying that overall you're going to have some fun kicking around absurdly long combos once you learn them.
The characters in this game, however, are unbalanced to somewhat of a fault. If you need my word for it, ask someone to play Jago and another person to play Combo, have these people of equal strength, and have experienced people bet on who will win. Likely, they'd go Combo; he just has that much more of an edge over character period...Jago does not. The characters are still more than playable, though, and I have beaten the game on the hardest mode with Jago (if anyone cares to know) but there are just handicaps that the game puts in either intentionally or to the said fault.
Replay - 10/10
As the title says, I've played this game for nearly 13 years and I still think that it's more than worth it to play it at least once a week, if not against someone in order to whoop them around or to train them accordingly if they so desire. Even with the ability to throw down combinations the way I can, 48-hit ultras, 34-hit normals, etc. etc. there are people that are far and away better than that and continue to press the envelope with each passing day.
That's how much replayability you can expect from this.
More to the point, if you get to the point where you can tolerate this game and it kicking you around and have friends and people you hang out with that are as equally psyched, it would be about the same as having the overly-popular SSB series from the Nintendo played out for fans of this game. It's truly that underrated but maybe people just didn't want a somewhat complex game sitting in front of them - only just single-button stuff.
Now I sound like an old man going 'back in my day'...
Overall - 9/10
I have to say that I've flat out dropped a bunch of my life into this game after I learned just how in-depth of a game a fighting game really can be. Even after playing other titles. King of Fighters, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Capcom vs. SNK, Marvel vs. Capcom, Art of Fighting, Fatal Fury, Samurai Shodown, Last Blade, Aggressors of Dark Combat, Power Instinct, etc. etc. etc. etc. and many more fighting games I could list here just cannot compete to the replayability I've had here, even WITH better game graphics and concepts and 'oh some have stories' put out overall.
This is just that special of a game for me; it's one I'd play forever, even barring the few flaws it has. Those of you who think otherwise, I just can't sympathize, simply. I put in some work to enjoy it and got a lot in return - it only takes that much. Those of you who appreciate this game will know where I'm coming from, even to this day.
That said, is it the best fighter on the SNES? Hell yes.
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Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Killer Instinct (US, 08/31/95)
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