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Killer Instinct (SNES) artwork

Killer Instinct (SNES) review

"Not What I Expected But It’s Still Killer Instinct In The End"

The first time I play Killer Instinct at the arcade I was blown away. 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 shouts out, “Coming to Your Home in 1995! Only on Nintendo Ultra 64!” It sounded too good to be true, right? Well, sad thing happened later on; Nintendo announced that the system was going to be delayed for a few months, and the “Nintendo Ultra 64” had been changed to just "Nintendo 64". Of course what I found strange, however, was that even though the system ot delayed, they didn't say anything about delaying the home port. So what happen, 1995 came and viola, Killer Instinct finally came home, just not on the all powerful Nintendo Ultra 64 like promised but instead on the less mighty 16-Bit Super NES. What the heck is this?

When I first played 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 changed due to the memory limitations. Also all the FMV stuff were flushe down the drain, instead we got still images of the characters intros, win screens, and endings. Not only were all the FMVs 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.

Not everything was a disappoint though; the graphics still shine through while backgrounds have a great deal of details in them. Since the game use Rare's 3D-pseudo Advanced Silicon Render Graphics, borrowed from the Donkey Kong Country series, the character's sprites look amazingly smooth (though small) and the background's themselves still impress. 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 these are replaced with parallax scrolling. Still if you appreciate the use of those Advanced Silicon Render visuals, then the graphics here do work.

Like the arcade game, the entire killer soundtrack made it to the 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. 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.

Even with all the cool features of the arcade game toned down to a 16-Bit level, there's no denying the controls still work flawlessly. Now that I think of it, I'm glad Nintendo choose the Super NES over the N64 as the control here works wonders. 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. The gameplay in 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 depleting their two bars and you win the match. It's unlike any other fighting games where both the competitors have their health restore after a round, making Killer Instinct the first fighting game to use a kind of survival style tactic.

Not only do the controls work great but the gameplay is smooth and accurate as well. Despite all the cool arcade stuff being watered down, some of the arcade magic still shines through. All of the game's ten deadly fighters still have over 20 massive bone-crushing special moves and killer combos alongside Finishers, Humiliations, Combo Breakers, Ultra Combos, and Ultimate Combos.

SNES Killer Instinct is rewarding for what it is as you try to master the game with all ten fighters. There's also a Tournament, Versus, and Practice Mode to help get you started or let you challenge your friends to free-for-all contests. Not only that, the game also offers a ton of secret unlockables for players to discover as well such as hidden battle arenas, alternate color outfits, turbo codes, a cheat 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.

Sure, it was seen as a watered down arcade port, but, then again, all arcade brawler ported to 16-bit had to be by design. The music and sounds are faithful to the arcade original, the controls works as accurately as a fight stick would, gameplay still delivers those killer combo goodness. The AI remains challenging, the multiplayer and modes are solid fun, and there's tons of unlockable replay values crammed in.


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Community review by leeko_link (November 19, 2015)

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Never3ndr posted November 19, 2015:

I don't know if I got a deluxe edition or what, but I remember that my KI had the soundtrack included...literally the first game soundtrack that I owned, and I listened to it religiously. Plus it was the only black cartridge game (at least that I know of) for the SNES...extra kudo points!
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honestgamer posted November 19, 2015:

I think basically every version had the soundtrack. When I was a college freshman, I finally picked it up at Wal-Mart because it was only $6. Even that one included the soundtrack disc, which I thought I lost but recently discovered in one of my boxes of junk. Woo!

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