Old School Killer Instinct: What was it like?

Honestly, I haven’t played Killer Instinct in the 80’s (or was it the 90’s that Killer Instinct was released?) because, I was not born in that time frame. What was it like back in the day?

Get the ultra edition and you can try both, but it doesnt hold up well as a competitive fighter, it’s more for videogame historians and nostalgia monsters than fighting game enthusiasts

Much much harder mainly due to being pre rendered graphics which caused issues with smooth motion /frames, everything felt like it was 3 seconds behind because you pretty much had to wait put any animation, I can’t really recommend it to someone who hasn’t played before I wish we had of got the snes versions rather than the arcade once tbh, since I never got to play the arcade versions, so hold no real nostalgia

Im very curious to so ill drop this comment to continue getting notifications.

in Canada, it came out right after the Canadian $1 dollar went from bills to coins … all the better arcade games started costing a whole dollar to play …

think about it … imagine losing a dollar EVERY TIME you lose a match at Killer Instinct …



That’s a lot of money for an arcade game.

I don’t know if developers wanted to have a balanced game but I doubt it. At the time developers usually only worried if a game had a serious bug like infinite combos and such and mostly wanted the game to be fun.

For that reason KI was a very random game. Combo breakers did damage (sometimes a LOT of damage) and where unavoidable (no counter breaker). For that reason fighting on the arcades against the CPU was a matter of pure luck if the AI was gonna decide to let you do a combo or not.

In two player mode it wasn’t such a serious issue because combo breakers where somewhat hard to do. Each character had a dedicated command for doing it’s combo breaker and you still had to hit the right button strength. The rules where different, short beat medium, medium beat heavy and heavy beat short, unlike today where you must match strengths. Also linkers could be broken with any strength.

The first game lacked a throw, so it was like playing rock paper scissors with no scissors. The only way to open a good defense was to mix low attacks, overheads (the game did have them) and crossups. As people got good with the game it quickly degenerated to a bunch of blocked moves until someone opened the other’s defense and started a combo. The second game added a throw but I didn’t play it at the time so I don’t know how it was.

It was very fun but not balanced enough to resist the test of time. It hasn’t aged well at all.

I tried playing Killer Instinct Classic. The system is not intuitive enough for me to try. Plus I can’t find a tutorial on how to play. It drove me away very quickly. I’ll give it another shot in the future though.

I can’t speak on what it “was” like in this 90’s or in the arcades since I never came across it back then as a kid, but I have spent some time with the two og games included with the new one and it’s pretty fun. A lot of the characters look really goofy, and the animations are a little weird looking (or at least to someone who has never seen them berfore) but its fun to play once you get the hang of it, the music is good, and IMO most of the stages are really good too. I actually really like the stages in the old games.

How do you play Killer Instinct classic?? HAHA

Killer Instinct came out in 1994 or 1995 if memory serves. I remember playing it a bit in the arcade, but I was mostly drawn to Street Fighter 2, Samurai Showdown, and a little Mortal Kombat sometimes. On the other hand, K.I. was a great couch game. The SNES version was a very good port at the time (better than the MK port) and it was so different from the other games: Combos, Beakers, Ultras,etc. Back then combos in games didn’t exist like they do now, the closest things we had were some Chained attacks. K.I. Changed all of that. Sitting in a room with your friends having impromptu best of three tournaments was an absolute blast. Waiting to hear what level combo you just did…Kiiiing Comboooo!!! Then doing an Ultra, dropping the controller on the floor and taunting you friend while the game was still beating the crap out of them was fantastic. No one took it too seriously, if you wanted a real test of skill, Street Fighter 2 was still the best option. But K.I. was hype, and fun like no other fighting game was. Street Fighter 2 was tight, and consistent, MK was brutal, gross and funny, But K.I. delivered something no other game did. Good times. Very good times. Great to see it come back in such a strong way.

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Can someone tell me how to please play this game? XD

I’d played the first two for years and… I don’t even know. I always defaulted to SF mode but everyone else I knew did this so I didn’t feel bad about it.

The graphics in KI1 were amazing for it’s time, where everything else was strictly 2d. And nobody had every seen a game where 10, 15,20 hit combos were so quick and universal. People always ooo’d and aaaah’d when the combo count get over 10 or so. They set up the arcades so the annoucer was screaming out combos extremely loud, and the whole arcade could hear it, it definitely captured a lot of attention.

Gameplay wise, it was honestly pretty rough due to lack of in-game information, people either loved it and studied how to do combos, which were really unintuitive in the first game, or they didn’t study it, barely did Triple Combos, tried to play it exactly like Street Fighter, and ended up not impressed. Pretty polarizing game, actually.

KI2, while the gameplay was a lot better and more balanced, and resembled the current KI system in many ways, disappointed in other ways with graphcs that a lot of people would consider worse than the original, and a completely muted announcer, which was one of the dumbest ideas in video games. Like the first game, people randomly picked it up, jumping around doing Triple combos at best and then being unimpressed. they did a better of job of simplifying the combo system and making it universal, so the arcade cabinets told you how to play, but people just don’t read I guess.

all the home versions on cartridges were graphically watered down versions of the arcades. I bought them anyway but when roms came out for PC I downloaded them and still have them to this day.


If you’re looking at stepping into a time machine, say no more!

My first experiences with Killer Instinct were at a Texaco station. There were only two machines there, and KI was one of them. A lot of people came to the Texaco just to play it, but my cousin and I were lucky as we got to hog the machine 8 times out of 10. It was the prettiest fighter we’d ever played with movements that seemed incredibly lifelike (at the time) and science-fictioney at the same time.

For all the quarters that went into that machine, my cousin and I never managed to beat the game. We did get to Eyedol…once, but that was it. We were 7 and 9 respectively.


I was there in October of 1994 when I found it in my local arcade. I tried to play Jago as Ryu and Riptor Ultra’d me. Then the announcer said “Continue…?”. I thought those heartbeats I heard were my own. I was like holy $hit.

The combos were more restricted, and breakers were harder, enders were flashier, they would include two special moves in them, loved Fulgore’s teleport ender and Cinders Fireflash enders. Glacius was awesome to play. And, I just loved me some auto triples, I think there was a better “combo rhythm” with auto triples. I miss them.


I got the 2 classic games when I purchased the 'Complete" edition of KI back in December. I think the 'Supreme" Edition comes with them too

no i mean how do you literally play them lol

To master the games of the 90s, one must use the tools of the 90s:


Thank you for providing somewhat of an answer.