Video Game Classics: Killer Instinct

Developed by Rare Ltd, this popular title debuted in the arcade, before being ported to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy. The story is centered on the exploits of a powerful mega-corporation called Ultratech that has begun using a tournament to test the weapon-readiness of their experiments against skilled human combatants. Wildly popular in the arcades and SNES, the series quickly received an equally thrilling sequel just two years after its release. A beloved franchise by a legendary company, many fans continue to anxiously wait for Microsoft to re-release this fighting game on Xbox Live, while reviving the series with a third installment. Join WatchMojo.com as we take a look at 1994’s legendary fighting game Killer Instinct.
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Video Game Classics: Killer Instinct

Some games will live forever as Classics. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’ll be taking a look at 1994’s legendary fighting game Killer Instinct.

Developed by Rare Ltd, and published by Midway, this popular title debuted in the arcade, before being ported to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Game Boy the following year.

Killer Instinct’s story is centered on the exploits of a powerful mega-corporation called Ultratech. Taking place in the far future, this company, and others like it, have come to replace entire governments.

Using a tournament to test the weapon-readiness of their experiments, Ultratech has prepared a competition that places highly skilled combatants against a variety of lethal experiments developed in their labs.

In total, the event consists of five human opponents. Among them is Jago, a Tibetan monk on the path to enlightenment. His motivation is to destroy the evil corporation. Joining him is his sister B. Orchid, a spy sent to investigate the true purpose of the event.

Other fighters include Sabrewulf, a man fighting for a cure to a rare genetic disease that made him a werewolf, T.J. Combo, a disgraced former heavyweight-boxing champion with cybernetic arms; and Chief Thunder, an native American searching for his brother.

Filling out the Ultratech side of the roster is a list of frightening creatures. Among them is Cinder, a criminal that participated in an experiment in exchange for an early release. Unfortunately, his entire body became permanently engulfed in flames. However, he is promised a cure if he defeats Glacious, an alien that was captured and fights for freedom. These fighters are joined by Riptor, a genetically engineered velociraptor-human hybrid, an animated skeleton called Spinal, a cyborg named Fulgore, and Eydol, a two-headed monster from another dimension who serves as the final opponent.

Similar to other fighting games, Killer Instinct draws parallels to the attack set used in Street Fighter, and the finishing moves featured in Mortal Kombat. However, this game makes several changes that set it apart from the competition. These include a double energy bar. This means that instead of having to win two rounds out of three, with the fighters health bars replenished, the fight continues following a defeat. Due to this, the leader retains their health level, and the opponent must survive and turn the tide using a secondary health bar.

The game also featured Automatic combos. These involved automated attacks, spurring a string of hits and larger combo sets. On the other hand, players could also launch a combo breaker; a move set that would cut the opponents attacks short at pivotal moments, reversing the course of the battle.

In terms of finishing moves, Killer Instinct made use of its signature “Danger Move”, which could only be executed when an opponent’s life bar began flashing red. These finishers included Humiliations, forcing the defeated player’s character to dance, and Ultra combos, which finished the fight with a string of 20 to 80 successive strikes.

Wildly popular in the arcades and the SNES, the series received an equally thrilling sequel in 1996. Ported to the Nintendo 64, “Killer Instinct 2”, also known as “Killer Instinct Gold” transported the survivors 2000 years in the past, forcing them to fight a demon lord called Gargos in order to return to their own time, while saving the world.

A beloved franchise by a legendary company, many fans continue to wait anxiously for Microsoft, to re-release this adventure on Xbox Live, while reviving the series with a third instalment.
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