Yup! Amazing huh? Time flies so fast.
However, it came as a ‘surprise’ for me (just didn’t remember that it originally came out a year following the original).
I was reading some articles about the game, and one of them had its release date mentioned. It simply said “1996”, no specific month though; although I suspect that it might have been mid 1996, during the summer maybe. Then I checked KI2’s wiki page, but that one too only says “1996” as well. Does anyone know which actual month it was released in? I do mean the Arcade version here (and the North American release too, I suppose). But anyway, the gist is that KI2 is 20 years-old this year! I genuinely didn’t remember that small detail!
What were YOUR first reaction when you first saw KI2 at the arcades? What are your memories concerning KI2? Where did you see it first? Were you alone? Etc. Well, If you do remember any details that is!
I do remember that I was completely floored by the fact that they (the devs) actually made a sequel at all! As far as I can remember, it was a ‘normal’ day like any others, going at a local arcades place with my cousin. When we entered that place there were a few select games that stood out from the others because they were louder then the rest. Obviously, one of them was the first KI, which you could literally hear from the far back of the room to the entrance when the announcer yelled Ultraaa Cooombooo!!! And so we entered and, as usual, we would just walk around trying to decide which games to play, sometimes we were stopping by as someone played ‘x’ and ‘y’ games (I loved to watch others playing racing games especially, such as Daytona USA, San Francisco Rush or Hydro Thunder, among others). So we walked down one specific aisle, one that I knew had Killer Instinct at the very end of it. I also knew that facing the KI cabinet (in the same aisle) was a House of the Dead game (can’t recall which one it was though). The thing is, there were people in that aisle, some playing games, some just walking back and forth between cabinets, etc.
So sometimes we had our view slightly blocked and couldn’t see some games well even from a short distance (that’s why we didn’t see it immediately as we walked down that aisle, because I think we’d have seen it otherwise). We eventually stopped by KI1 to play it, one guy was playing and I decided to challenge him, so I did. My cousin watched for a short moment until (as he often recalls himself when we reminisce the moment) he just turned around to look for other games when - soon enough - his heart skipped a beat when he saw the cabinet that was basically just behind us all that time. He tells me that he let me get destroyed by my opponent three times before he decided to tap on my shoulder to let me know that I had to turn around. And… well, when I turned around and saw it… to be completely honest I just couldn’t believe it. First, I didn’t know that a heartbeat could accelerate that fast in just half a second, but also I just couldn’t comprehend that a sequel to the original was already there. I mean I just didn’t expect a “new” KI game anytime soon. In fact I often thought at the time that KI1 was “so perfect” that they’d never dare trying to do better because it would automatically fail.
Anyways, I’m skipping more details, but my first impressions when I first played it (after the initial utter shock of seeing the cabinet for the first time) was that it felt “weird”, really. I mean I didn’t hate the game, don’t get me wrong. In fact I never really entirely ‘fully disliked’ KI2 (nor KI Gold). I really liked some parts (such as the new Fulgore and Glacius (re)designs)), while I thought that it generally didn’t “play as well as the first”, nor that it looked as good either, to put it fairly. It was “okay”, overall (better than MK4 anyway, which I always disliked, especially back then when it was new; but that’s another story on its own I guess). So yeah, I thought that it played… let’s say differently (that’s a way to stay politically correct). I also didn’t like Gargos as a final boss (always preferred Eyedol), and I was sort of pissed that they “removed” Cinder and Riptor, nor could I really get used to the new characters (well maybe with the exception of Tusk which I thought was ‘alright’, and I loved his theme which helped me a lot to like him).
Now, with this said, there’s a bit of an ironic side to this. Because that was my impressions of the Arcade version, which if I recall correctly I didn’t end up playing that much (far, far less than KI1 by comparison). It all changed when it got released on the N64… oh boy, and for the best. For some reason that to this day I can’t really clearly remember, I LOVED KI Gold and had an absolute blast playing it with my cousin and friends. I can’t go by memory alone on that, but I think one of the reasons as to why I loved it on the N64 (compared to its arcade version) was mostly because 1) it played faster (I think), and 2) I could train and finally understand characters properly and, basically, not suck at it (“training” at the time of arcade games consisted of basically spending as much money as you can with the purpose of losing until you got better… that was about it; and I wasn’t rich).
That’s about it, so arcade version was sort of slightly “okay”, and mostly “meh”. But KI Gold - at least according to my nostalgic memories - was significantly better.
How about you folks?