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YMMV / Killer Instinct

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This is the YMMV page for the original two Killer Instinct titles from the 1990s. For the 2013 reboot, see here.


  • Awesome Ego: Cinder is very cocky, and fans love it. It gets even worse in the 2013 reboot.
  • Creepy Awesome: Spinal is a classic, crazy skeleton with a chilling laugh.
  • Dueling Games: Killer Instinct was created as something of a reaction to the success of fighting games in arcades, specifically the likes of Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. This rivalry has carried on into the 21st century, though KI has lagged behind somewhat due to the lack of consistent releases.
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    • Riptor was very popular in the first game due to being quite unique at the time. After all, what other fighting game lets you play as a dinosaur?
    • Cinder was well-liked in the first game for his unique design and gameplay.
    • Thunder was another popular character from the original who is generally regarded as the best of the three Magical Native American characters introduced at the same time in Super Street FIghter II and Mortal Kombat 3. This went to the extent fans were upset over him not being included in the second, to the point many game news articles on his return in the third game commented on him being a fan-favorite.
    • Fulgore's Predator-like design made him a fan favourite back in the day. He's even featured on the cartridge for the SNES version.
  • First Installment Wins: While KI2 was a legitimately better game with a more robust and balanced combo engine, many players were, and still are, turned off of it by the radically different presentation that came with the higher-fidelity graphics compared to KI1. Aside from the look, many smaller changes also didn't sit well with some players, like the announcer lacking the combo names and missing three favorite characters.
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  • Game-Breaker: Cinder in the first game is ridiculous. On his own, he holds several advantages such as simple move inputs, air maneuverability and easy combo resets, all of this topped with a fantastic moveset including: a flip kick with the second highest priority in the game as well as a lot of invulnerable frames, a torpedo that can be used in the air can can easily stun opponents, fake torpedo moves that work as combo resets, invisibility to the point only his outline is visible, the ability to darken himself and become invulnerable to projectiles until he gets hit, and teleportation. And then he has multiple bugs in his favor, such as an infinite combo involving his flip kick (patched out in later arcade versions, as well as the SNES version), disjointed hitboxes (giving his normals and his air torpedo more range than they look like), and the fact that his invisiblity move makes him completely invisible in the SNES version (with the exception of his shadow, which is not visible anyways in bridges or while Cinder is in the air). All of this makes a fighter that can only meet his match against Eyedol or another Cinder.
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  • Good Bad Bugs: Many of the exploits in the original Killer Instinct are so instilled in gamers' memories, such as Cinder's infinite combo, that the digital re-release actually allows players to choose between playing the revised arcade build that fixed them or the original build with all the glitches intact.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The comic book adaptation's first issue features a fight scene where the Tiger Spirit briefly possesses Jago in order to fight Eyedol. The comics came out before the release of KI2 but with it and KI2013 in mind, knowing that the Tiger Spirit was really Gargos puts this scene in a much grimmer light.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: The original concept for Killer Instinct that Ken Lobb presented to Nintendo was dubbed "Melee". Just wait seven years, then.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • The truth about Jago and Orchid being siblings is now common knowledge.
    • The Tiger Spirit Jago worshiped being a phony stand-in for Gargos.
    • Fulgore's CPU being run by Eagle's mind.
  • Les Yay: In the first game, Riptor is affected by Black Orchids flash finisher.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: Thunder is fairly popular among Native Americans in spite of his stereotypical nature and is more fondly regarded than T. Hawk or Nightwolf, who tend to get Ethnic Scrappy reactions. His 2013 incarnation is even more well-regarded, thanks to his Native American heritage being more focused upon (complete with him speaking the Nez Percé language instead of English).
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The announcer has a few, such as the classic "C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!" and "ULTRAAAAA COMBOOOOOO!" The sheer enthusiasm the announcer has yelling them makes you feel awesome for pulling it off.
  • Narm: The edginess and awkward 3D graphics really show what a product of its time this game was. The soundtrack, while fun and funky as hell, is the epitome of The '90s cheese today.
  • Narm Charm: Many of the first games' Ultimates. Special shout-outs to TJ Combo and Sabrewulf smacking their opponents against the Fourth Wall, Riptor eating them and gaining a cartoonish Balloon Belly, and Orchid flashing her breasts to induce a heart attack on her opponent.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Score theme from the SNES version is very creepy. Don't believe me? Check this out!
  • Nightmare Retardant:
    • Fulgore's elephant-like hit noises in the first two games, which are a rather jarring contrast to the image of a killer robot he presents.
    • Some find Eyedol's name too silly to take him seriously.
    • On the flipside, most players who found Eyedol intimidating weren't impressed with Gargos, whose design is much simpler in comparison.
  • Older Than They Think: Many older players never learned that KI2's combo engine allowed 80+ hits without glitching and absent the 2013 game's ability to chain two ultra combos together.
  • Polished Port: Thanks to Nintendo being in a partnership with Rare at the time, they had the programming team for the arcade version handle the Super Nintendo and Game Boy ports, instead of outsourcing it to a third-party developer. The result is that the SNES version was well-received and the GB version was surprisingly faithful, and more importantly, playable.
  • Rated M for Money: Fairly blatant at that. It was actually rated T, but the intent was still there. Played straight and literally with the Xbox One release of Killer Instinct Classic, which has an M rating.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Killer Instinct 2's newcomers Maya, Tusk, and Kim Wu aren't too popular with the fans, being replacements of fan favorites Cinder, Thunder, and Riptor. Replacing three unique fan-favorites with a trio of generic human warriors? Not a great move. It also doesn't help Thunder is given no explanation for his disappearance and the other two are simply written as being dead, making for a rather cheap way to get rid of them. Fortunately, the 2013 reboot saw Maya, Kim Wu, and Tusk all being retooled and becoming more popular again, resulting in them being Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
    • Gargos gets some heat as well from fans for being more of a stock character than Eyedol in addition to sharing his role and similar moves. However, there are some who like him for the fact that he contributed more in the story than Eyedol did. Like the other two, he's in the way from being Rescued due to his impact throughout all three seasons of Killer Instinct thus building him up for years.
  • Special Effects Failure: In the CGI for Sabrewulf's ending in KI2, the liquids from the potion he is making are just a bunch of small sphere particles with some bizarre behavior (they keep spilling out when they are poured anywhere, even into Sabrewulf's mouth, which makes him look more animalistic than he should).
    • Most of the time, the sprites in Gold are placed well enough that they manage to disguise the Sprite/Polygon Mix, but there are a few moments where the blend is not as well done.
  • Squick: Orchid using her "Flash" move against Jago in the first game can become this when in the sequel it is revealed that the two are siblings.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Tusk's theme music in KI2 sounds an awful lot like the Conan theme.
  • That One Boss: Both Eyedol and Gargos weren't fair fights in the slightest, considering they're capable of regenerating health while the player is down and are generally way over-powered compared to your characters.
  • They Copied It, So It Sucks!: One of the criticisms towards the game was that it was a Mortal Kombat clone. Some even mistake it for an MK game due its similar premise and aesthetics.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • While the original game seems to hold up well enough, the character models for Killer Instinct 2 are very... off, especially by today's standards. Everybody (especially the women) looks like big-eyed mannequins with Frozen Face syndrome.
    • In the SNES port of KI1, all of the announcer's callouts play at slightly higher than normal speed (presumably saving some precious space on the cartridge by making the sound files smaller) and the combo callouts are done with Mad Libs Dialogue. The difference was hard to notice back in the days before MAME and KI2013 made it easy for a player to compare the two, but if you go into the SNES port with a fresh memory of what the arcade version's announcer sounded like, it sounds really off, way more so than the rest of the SNES version's sounds, which are just lower in fidelity. Also, the character portaits are stills of their Supreme Victory cutscenes, which makes some characters look pretty unnerving (such as Riptor).
  • Vindicated by History: The 2013 reboot's callbacks to Killer Instinct 2 have been received better than KI2 itself was at its release.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Although it's hard to tell now, the graphics of the first Killer Instinct were mind-blowing in the arcades. Those 3D environments with the faux-3D character models - plus some fantastic sound design - made for an astonishing experience for all young arcade-goers.


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