Review by leeko_link

Reviewed: 06/21/13 | Updated: 06/24/13

Not What I Expected But It's Still KI in a Way

The first time I play Killer Instinct at the arcade I was wow, the visuals were amazing, simply better than anything the PlayStation and Sega Saturn were offering at the time. What got me very exciting was this one liner that the announcer shout out, “Coming to Your Home in 1995 Only on Nintendo Ultra 64!” I was like holy crap it’s coming to the Nintendo Ultra 64, damn I‘m so pre-ordering that console and this game just for that. It sounds too good to be true, right? Well sad thing happen later on, Nintendo had announced that the system is going to be delay for a few months, not only that but the name “Nintendo Ultra 64” had been change to just "Nintendo 64" which to me at the time felt pathetic considering I like the name Ultra 64. It sounded more like an improvement from Super Nintendo, now it’s just N64, that sound boring. Of course what I found strange; however, was that even though they delay the system, they didn’t say anything about delaying the home port. So what happen, 1995 came and voila Killer Instinct finally came home, not on the all powerful Nintendo Ultra 64 like we’re promised but instead on the almighty 16-Bit Super NES. What the heck is this?


When I first play this on the Super NES, I had to admit I was very much disappointed. All the cool flashy effects (Cinder’s blazing flame effects, Fulgore’s laser sparks, Spinal’s orbiting skulls, etc.) of the arcade game were gone or change due to the Super NES memory limitation. Also all the FMV stuff were flush down the drain, instead we got still images of the characters intros, win screens, and endings. Not only does all the FMV stuffs were taken out, a few of the arcade special animations were also gone as well such as the shadow effect animations and the cool background cinematic fatalities. Though not all are disappointed though as the graphics still shines through, backgrounds had a great deal of details in them. Since the game use Rare's 3D-pseudo Advanced Silicon Render Graphics which was borrowed from the Donkey Kong Country series, the character’s sprite looks amazingly smooth though small and the backgrounds themselves still had the vast look to that of the arcade game, the thing is since it’s now on cart, the rotating camera as well as zooming and scaling in some stages were all impossible to produce so those were replace with stages using parallax scrolling. Still if you appreciate the use of those Advanced Silicon Render visuals, then the graphics here aren't that bad.


Simply awesome, like the arcade game all the killer soundtrack of that edition made it to this home port almost flawlessly. Thanks to the Sony sound chip of the Super NES you can enjoy all the killer music and sounds such as the back-to-back announcer all in one package in 16-Bit glory. Though not as loud and clear like the arcade version, it’s still had that killer feeling not to mention the game came with a Killer Cut music soundtrack. Well not anymore but back then getting a new copy of this game reserved you a kickass soundtrack that’s still rocking today.


This is where this game shine the best, even with all the cool features of the arcade game tone down to a 16-Bit level, there’s no denying the control still works flawlessly. Now that I think of it, I’m glad Nintendo choose the Super NES over the N64 cause the control here works wonder. This game like many other arcade brawlers at the time, is a 6-button brawler so you can customize your control to any configuration you like which is a plus to me since I’m not that good with a fight stick. Now the gameplay in KI is very similar to other arcade fighters with a minor difference. You choose a fighter and enter a tournament through ten matches until you reach the final boss character, in each match you are given two energy bars. A round ends for you (not your opponent) when your first bar is depleted, lose both bars and you lose the match. Beat your opponent by depleted their two bars and you win the match. It's unlike any other fighting games where both the competitors had their health restore after a round so this makes KI the first fighting game to use a kind of survival style tactics in a match. Not only do the control works great but the gameplay were smooth and accurate as well. Despite the lack of all the cool arcade stuff being waterdown, some of the arcade magic still shines through. All of the game’s ten deadly fighters still had their over 20 massive bone-crushing special moves and killer combos. That’s not all, every finishers, Humiliations, Combo Breakers, Ultra Combos, and Ultimate Combos still works intact. The AI themselves are also very balanced as was the roster and the final boss though could be overpower at times, is still beatable once you learn to master everything the game has to offered.


Very rewarding for what it is, the replay value of all that is available in this game are definitely worth it. For one you could try to master the game with all ten fighters as you wish. There’s also a Tournament, Versus, and Practice Mode to help get you started or get to challenge your friend to a free-for-all contest. Not only that the game also offers a ton of secret unlockables for players to discovers as well such as hidden battle arenas, alternate color outfits, turbo codes, a code for initiating Easy Combo Breaker, music select for specific arenas, and the chance to take control of the final boss Eyedol. For such a small game, the value here is very high and addictive.

Is This a Guaranteed Must-Buy?

No doubt about it, sure it was seen as a waterdown arcade port but then again almost every home arcade brawlers back then were but most importantly was the enjoyment of this game. The music and sound were faithful to the arcade original, the control works as accurate as a fight stick would, gameplay still delivers those killer combo goodness, the AI were challenging, the multiplayers and modes were solid fun, and there’s tons of unlockable replay values crammed within the game that will eat away a lot of your good times.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: Killer Instinct (US, 08/31/95)

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