Review by Aganar

Reviewed: 02/10/03 | Updated: 02/10/03

A solid fighter from Rare. Nothing spectacular though.

Killer Instinct. For most old school gamers, that should ring a bell. In the later days of the SNES, Rare took an unexpected turn and released their fighting game, Killer Instinct. While it does have its flaws, this is a fairly solid game, with interesting characters, great music, and awesome graphics.

First, you will notice the stunning graphics. Well, everyone did. Rare used a special processor to use the Super Nintendo's hardware, and managed to pull this off. While pretty, the graphics look strange. I had always thought of them being rendured, like Donkey Kong or Super Mario RPG, but looking back I am unsure. They are definitely not like Mortal Kombat's, with scanned in people doing the moves and graphics, but they do bear a resemblence. It seems like a cross-breed between them almost. But either way you look at them, these graphics are beautiful.

The gameplay is like most fighters. Each character is unique with their own special abilities and such. There is a wide selection of characters to choose from, all ranging in styles. There are pure fighters like Jago or Orchid, there are more projectile characters like Cinder, and there are turtling combo masters like Thunder or Combo. One nice thing is that the game feels fresh. It's not quite like Mortal Kombat, and is not a Street Fighter II clone. So, after being addicted to both for so long, its a welcome feeling. Also, strangely enough, you use both lives consecutively. As soon as you die once, you get up and keep fighting.

One unique feature of the game is the intentional character triangles. The game is designed so that some characters intentionally have advantages over others. For instance, Riptor has an advantage over Jago. Orchid can beat up Riptor. But, Jago is good against Orchid. So, playing is often a game of strategy when deciding which characters to use. It's an interesting feature, but I can see where it might cause some problems, since its sort of unbalanced if a player has an unfair advantage. But then again, thats in almost all fighting games anyway.

The most noticable gameplay feature is the excessively long combos. The combos range from simple 3 hit ones, to 7 hit combos, to 12 hit ones, to even some 20 hit combos! One character, combo, even has an incredibly hard to do but effective 33 hit combo. While the feature is nice, you unfortunately are often forced to use combos. I have yet to beat the game without at least using a 7 hit combo on some enemies. And then you must deal with the turtley AI who can pull off these combos with no problem. However, Rare did put in combo breakers to prevent against that.

Combos can really change the tide of battle. A couple of good 7 hit combos here and there can really help. 10 or above can literally kill your opponent before he hits the ground. Not to mention the fact that if you are in any level with a ledge, a 20 hit combo will knock them off reguardless of their life and end the match immediately!

Another good aspect is the control. While a bit sluggish, it still controls fairly well. Combos range from being easy to execute to exceedingly hard, but its a matter of skill. The controls work easily in your favor, and most of the time you can simply roll your finger around and get what you need to get done. The characters are respondent, and even though the game moves rather slowly, they can still block when somone pulls a fast one.

The music in the game is quite good. And I mean REALLY good. Every level has its own little theme, all of which are very well done. Werewoulve and Jago's themes are incredible, as are alot of others. One of the really great things about it is that Rare actually went and made the soundtrack. But instead of making it like a game, they made it like a movie. Each track has its own different instrument, arrangements, and even singers in some cases. Any of the songs could have taken months to record. So, you come out with an awesome soundtrack being played in the background.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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