Killer Instinct Retro Review

Killer_InstinctReal Talk By: The Wizard

The good ol’ 1990’s! This era was a great time for video gaming. The days of the original Nintendo Entertainment System were for the most part over, and the new games for Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis were what people played the most often. Most gamers were either the SNES person, who played games like Mario, RPG’s, and other attractive looking platformers. Or you were the Genesis person, who loved the sports games, and the more violent titles. Maybe your mom didn’t approve of that violent Genesis so you were stuck with the blood free version of Mortal Kombat! Either way you look at it, both the systems had some amazing games in all genres. Every once in awhile the SNES had its time to shine. Killer Instinct, a game created by RARE in 1994 and published by Midway (the makers of Mortal Kombat), was one of those stand out titles that exploded onto the scene, and had a huge impact on the fighting genre. Originally made for the Arcade, the SNES version came out in 1995, and even though it was graphically inferior, and had a lot of stuff cut out, it still managed to gain success, and respect. So lets journey back to 1995 and take a gander at one of the most respected and loved fighting games on the SNES.

Killer Instinct is a fighting game plain and simple. If you’ve played a 2D fighting game in your lifetime you have a good idea what to expect. There are a few notable differences as compared to most games in the genre though. In KI you play with two lifebars, and there isn’t exactly a best of 3 rounds format. There is also a combo system unfamiliar to Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat players. You can still do your standard jump in hard punch, standing hard punch, into a special move type stuff. But there are also multiple levels of combos. You can perform combos in the middle of combos, and can even reach as high as 80 hit combos, maybe even more. The combo system is more of a automated combo system with nowhere near 40 button presses for a 40 hit combo. Other than that it’s a pretty standard fighting game, and any fighting game player should feel right at home.


The sound track in KI is pretty well done. It’s not a musical masterpiece or anything but the tunes are catchy and pretty diverse. Some tracks are heavy metal, some focus on heavy drum beats, and some sound a little techno and even Asian. I feel like the soundtrack is a good addition to the game that never really gets boring. The sound effects in game are also pretty well done. The only complaint I have is the announcer can get pretty annoying when you do combos. Killer Instinct isn’t the type of game you’re going to want to turn the music off and listen to your stereo, it works well with the overall feel of the game.

The graphics in KI also look pretty good for a SNES game. They are no where near as good as its arcade counterparts graphics but they still look nice. The best way I can explain them is that they kind of feel like a cross between claymation and Street Fighter. As far as Super Nintendo goes I don’t think there’s a fighting game that looks better that was released before Killer Instinct. However, even though the game looks nice, I feel like most of the characters are very unappealing, which makes how nice they look irrelevant to me. One rule I have in fighting games is that most of the characters have to have some appeal to me. I only like two of the characters in KI, which doesn’t make for much replay value in my eyes. The backgrounds are ok, I have seen much worse, but they are nothing compared to some of the SNK games of the past. Fighting games stages are nice when you play and notice something different everytime. Killer Instinct just doesn’t have that.

Killer Instinct borrows the 6 button attack method from Street Fighter. You have light, medium, and hard punches and kicks. Now although I am somewhat of a Street Fighter fan I have never been a fan of the 6 button layout, Especially on Super Nintendo.  I am not a fan of the combo system in KI. It is way to easy to do, and long combos make a match boring as you spend most of the time watching some poor sucker bobbing and weaving through the air. Sure you can attempt one of the near impossible combo breakers, but these are pretty hard to pull off, unless you’re the computer. I feel like Killer Instinct controls well, and does what it was meant to do well, but I also feel like it’s for people who don’t want to take the time to practice and learn a game. Sometimes that is just what you want in a game, and that’s cool and all for friends not very familiar with fighting games, but there should have been a manual combo setting where you actually have to push the buttons, instead of that auto stuff. If someone hits me 80 times I want damn near close to 80 button presses! You better earn that S***!!! Killer instinct does play well, and is fun. It’s just way to easy to learn large combos to keep my attention and make me keep playing. On a final note the fatalities are also weak. That’s all there is to say about that. I never felt a urge to do another one because it was so awesome.


If you read the whole review you probably have a good idea where this is going. Well you’re wrong! Even though I kind of bashed this game that doesn’t mean it’s a bad game. It’s just not in my opinion (gasp!!!) one of the greatest fighters ever. And I feel anyone who feels that way probably hasn’t played many good fighters other than Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, which in my opinion with exception of a few select Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat titles are also mediocre. If I am reviewing this game and only comparing it to titles released around the same time period it gets a 4.0 out of 5. There were way worse titles around the time. Shaq-Fu, Primal Rage, and Brutal Paws of Fury come to mind. But there were also better and more challenging titles like Street Fighter II Turbo, Eternal Champions, and Samurai Shodown. I would say if i’m reviewing this game as of right now, and you are reading this thinking of playing this game, then this game most certainly does not stand the test of time. There are so many titles, probably over 100 I could think of you may have never played that are much better. For example Ninja Masters, Fist of the North Star, Garou: Mark of the Wolves, Fighters Destiny, Power Stone, Project Justice, Mace the Dark Age, Art of Fighting 3, Real Bout II, Samurai Showdown 2, Waku Waku 7, and countless others. Right here right now this game gets a 3 out of 5. It’s simply another fighting game that stands out because of its nostalgic value to people who owned a SNES back in the day. I imagine i’ll take a crap storm for this but this is, we have real gamers here who actually play games. I’m not gonna BS you just because every review on the internet says Killer Instinct is one of the best games ever. Here at Play Legit we review for real and try and lend a helping hand to turn gamers on to the real stuff! So check out those recommendation on YouTube and play some legit games.

Unappealing characters, mediocre backgrounds, easy combo systems, and weak fatalities do not make a good game!

Killer Instinct Gets


Out of Five

What’s Legit?

+Smooth Controls
+Good Music
+Lots of different moves
+Controls really good

What’s Perpetrating?

-Unappealing characters
-Weak Backgrounds
-Fatalities could be better

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5 thoughts on “Killer Instinct Retro Review

  1. Yeah well I didnt mind you bashing the game up until the point where you start promoting your mediocre review website by trying to say this game isnt all that great. Sure, alot of people say it’s the best best fighting game and everything, and alot of them probably have never even played the game, but for me it’s different, this was my first game ever on SNES and I still have my original copy to this day, and is still my favorite fighting game, I could sit here and give you many flaws in all the fighting games you suggest. As far as real gamers go, I have played more games than your whole staff put together, and I know what it takes to be a real gamer, and there are not many REAL gamers out there.To sum things up: If you want to go pitch your website so everyone will come look at your COD reviews, you should go do it elsewhere, I know this was only your opinion(a stale opinion at that) and thats not what made me mad, I’ve actually heard worse reviews about this game. It’s the fact that your targeting a pretty deep fanbase and saying we’re not real gamers and dont actually play games! you certainly will never have another comment from me on this website because this is the first and last review i read from it. One more thing, don’t do reviews on retro games if the first console you ever owned is post ps2, because you certainly sound like someone who fits the bill.(This was me holding back too, there is alot more i could have said but feel its not even worth the time, )

    -One of the realest gamers you will ever meet,

    P.S. Sorry, my opinions suck too


  2. Hi Toast N Oats. I was in no way implying that people who read reviews here are not real gamers. I was implying that other review websites are sketchy and I am quite skeptical about some of them. I would NEVER degrade anyone visiting our site and make myself look better than them, because I am just a normal guy who is no better than anyone. I would however review a game honestly, and suggest titles I think are better. I have actually been playing video games since the early 80’s before NES and been collecting and selling on ebay since 1997. My ebay id is RAREGAMES4U. And I have helped run booths at too many games conventions with the seller 16-bit on EBAY, and am part of the CORGS (Central Ohio Retro Gaming Society). So I think my knowledge on classic gaming is more than sufficient. I have owned every 8 and 16 bit console known to man at some point in time, and played almost every game on all these consoles. Including but not limited to Famicom Disk, PC Engine, Neo Geo, FM Towns Marty, Master System, and PCFX.

    Furthermore, I never said any of the games I suggested are perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect game. It was just a off the top of my head list of games some of which like MACE are nowhere near perfect, although Mark of the Wolves and Samurai Showdown 2 are pretty close. I would have mentioned The Last Blade if I was going for a close to perfect list. I still feel like my review is pretty spot on especially since you mention liking Killer Instinct because you played it as a kid, which was my point precisely.

    The owner of our webiste KJ and all the reviewers here are passionate about games. Our goal here is to give honest reviews that people can read and know they are legit, and not some review paid off by a game company who gives early access to the game in turn for a good review. Finally I think our website is the ideal place to promote our reviews? I don’t think my reviews on another website would make much sense. I’m sorry you didn’t like my review of Killer Instinct. I can understand that. I am nostalgic about some games also. I feel like Landstalker on Genesis blows any 8-16bit Zelda out of the water, but I wouldn’t be upset if I read a review bashing it, as I know most people don’t feel the same way.

    May the Schwartz be with you!


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