REVIEW: Killer Instinct (1995, SNES)

Given the wide range of games that I’ve covered over the past few months, I knew it was only a matter of time until I reviewed a fighting game. However, rather than choosing one of the more well-known ones, like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter,  I decided to choose one that’s a bit more under the radar, although it has a humongous cult following and has even got a reboot recently. That game is the Super Nintendo-exclusive port of the arcade game, Killer Instinct.


Developed by Rareware (A developer whom some of you will most likely recognize out on a whim) and released in 1995, this particular title acts as a major detour than the studio’s more kid-friendly offerings, instead choosing to go a much, much more dark and violent route in every aspect imaginable. But can this game truly stand out from its’ fighting game brethren, or does it just belong with every other game that has a good reputation purely for nostalgia? Let’s find out, shall we?

THE LOOKS – One of the things that had so many people going (ahem) ape over DKC and this game was its’ highly detailed and striking (At the time) 3D visuals. And I have to say, even after so many years, this game’s graphics are absolutely MIND-BLOWING. Sure, people might give DKC a lot of credit for pushing the SNES’ graphical capabilities, but I’d argue that this game pushes them even further. It might be because of the fact that it’s a port of an arcade game, but the character sprites, backgrounds, and effects are packed to the brim with all kinds of details and variety. In terms of amazing 16-bit graphics, I would most definetely place this next to titles such as Puggsy and Turtles in Time.

THE SOUND – Things are already off to a good start with the graphics, and it’s a equally good thing that they don’t stop with the sound either, because my oh my it does NOT disappoint in the slightest. Starting off with the music, not only does it have a balance of ambiance and excitement, it even has individual themes for each character! These themes do an equally impressive job of matching each character’s design and personality to a T. The sound effects also really bring you into the action; you WILL feel each punch, kick, and attack, and you WILL get an idea of just how much each one hurts. And of course, I couldn’t possibly bare the thought of talking about the sound without bringing this up:

Overall, the sound offers plenty of things to admire in terms of both composition and style. But even with that, there’s still one major thing left that can either make or break a game…


It’s a dinosaur fighting a skeleton with a shield and sword. The awesomeness speaks for itself, people.

THE GAMEPLAY – Even with the fantastic graphics and music, the game still has to offer players with fun and exhilarating gameplay, especially considering the type of genre this game is in. Does it do exactly that? The answer is a definite Y-E-S. Getting the controls out of the way, they are very responsive and tight, with plenty of possible combos, chain attacks, unique abilities, and finishing moves at each character’s disposial in each timed match. The fights themselves are absolutely amazing, being fast-paced, violent, and overall just incredibly enjoyable. But of course, there are a bit of problems to be found – while the controls are definetely great, there comes the occasional moment where they can feel a bit iffy, giving your opponent the oppurtinity of a cheap shot. But like I said, these moments only come up once in a while and don’t really do much to bring the game’s quality down.

THE BOTTOM LINE – Killer Instinct is one of the greatest fighting games ever made, with spectacular graphics, music, and gameplay to back it up. I would absolutely recommend this to any Rare and/or fighting game fan.



4 thoughts on “REVIEW: Killer Instinct (1995, SNES)

  1. Hey I enjoyed your review. I was surprised at your score. This is a good game, maybe I guess I never thought of it as highly. If I get around to reviewing it myself soon, I’m sure your statements will be at the forefront of my mind! Makes me want to go back and relive it again. C-c-c-combo breakerrr!

    Liked by 1 person

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