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Killer Instinct Gold; July Game of the Month
Topic Started: Jul 4 2017, 10:41 AM (880 Views)
Grizzmeister
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It's been a little over 4 years since I did my Killer Instinct Gold retrospective video and a lot has changed since then. For one, the retro video game collecting craze has cooled down considerably. Also, Killer Instinct Gold is now available for the Xbox One through the Rare Replay compilation. Interestingly, Killer Instinct 2 (the arcade version of Killer Instinct Gold) is also available on that system. I don't own an Xbox One so I can't speak to how well KIG and/or KI2 have been ported although most of the reviews I've read are quite kind to the translations.

So where does that leave the actual N64 cartridge version of Killer Instinct Gold? Right now prices seem very stable at around $20 for clean examples sans the box or instruction booklet. Since the game sold in high quantities there's little reason to believe that the carts online are anything other than authentic. Moreover, the game remains enjoyable to play with a friend so in that regard it's worth owning but the single-player elements seem rather tedious by today's standards. That stems mostly from a very cheap AI that reads your inputs and the game's relatively small roster of characters. Nonetheless, I still believe every retro fighting game fan or N64 enthusiasts should have the cartridge in their library.

How has Killer Instinct Gold aged in the 20 years since it was originally released? Not too well but part of that has to do with the fact that it was never very impressive to begin with. It's missing frames of animation, the pre-rendered sprites are blurry and the 3D backgrounds aren't as crisp as its arcade brother Killer Instinct 2's scaling FMV. The missing frames of animation really hurt too because it affects the controls making them feel a tad unresponsive. The N64 controller doesn't help here either because the D-pad is generally very tight and seems to have less travel than say the D-pad on an SNES controller.

All that being said, I still find Killer Instinct Gold to be a sort of a time machine to a simpler time and place and for that reason alone I consider my cartridge, box and strategy guide to be almost priceless. :D

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Edit: To fix photo.
Edited by Grizzmeister, Jul 9 2017, 09:41 AM.
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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Grizzmeister
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No64DD
Jul 4 2017, 09:06 PM
Grizzmeister
 
The N64 controller doesn't help here either because the D-pad is generally very tight and seems to have less travel than say the D-pad on an SNES controller.

You made a great synopsis of this game. The reason i quoted the above statement is because using the D-pad is the best way to experience this game, especially on Ludicrus speed.
Speaking about the speed of Killer Instinct Gold, Normal (the default setting) is just too slow. Me and my friend Jonathan always bump it up to either Fast or Ultra when we play each other. At the faster speeds the missing frames of animation aren't as noticeable which defies all logic I know but both Jonathan and I agree on that observation. I've never played KIG in Ludicrous in either single or multi-player mode. I'll have to finally give that a try while I'm playing it this month. First I gotta knock off the cobwebs on my combos, though. :D

Since many people main Jago, I like to play as Spinal as a counter pick. His teleports are great for getting up close to or behind opponents who spam Endokukens (fireballs) from full-screen. Since Spinal has three teleports, or Skeleports as they're referred to in the in-game parlance, I can mix it up and leave my opponent guessing as to where I'll materialize next. Absorbing "Power Devouring" the first fireball is all I need to set up my teleports which is often easier than taking a pause from the action to Skull Summon.

Milage007
 
This is the best fighter on the system in my opinion. There aren't overly many and the ones there are largely lacked the real awesome nature of previous said games on the Super Nintendo (for me). KI did improve though and it is a game that is steadily getting more expensive in the UK.

Killer Instinct Gold cartridges are still going up in price in the UK, huh? That's interesting and perhaps a result of the success of the new Killer Instinct on the Xbox One. I hear the new KI has improved steadily since it first launched back in 2013. After watching recent tournament footage of KI season three - I know the first game I'd buy if I got an XB1 would be this new iteration. I also like that it includes the arcade versions of KI1 and KI2!
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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Grizzmeister
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No64DD
Jul 5 2017, 08:24 PM
I played this game so much back then, with the D-pad, that i still have a permanent callus on my thumb. 👍
Playing too much Killer Instinct Gold will do that and also make you go blind. :lol:

D.J Cat
 
Grizz, buddy, you would destroy me if we played.

Probably not. I may be good at Mario Kart 64 and Super Smash Bros. but I'm really not that great at KIG. :-8

D.J Cat
 
I think the fact i bought an XBoxOne just for Killer Instinct a few weeks after release shows just how much I loved and still appreciate the crap out of Killer Instinct Gold.

How good is the online competition on the XB1 version of KI? Also, do you have a fight-stick or do you use the standard Microsoft controller?
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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No64DD
Jul 6 2017, 11:21 AM
You bring up a good point about Spinal. In my experience, not too many characters, or players, know how to handle 3 different Endokukens!
Jago even has a fake Endokuken to further add to the head games. :wacko:



While looking through the options menu of my copy of KIG, I realized that Throw Damage is set to High. I think Jonathan and I did that the last time we played to more closely replicate the Street Fighter II experience. Anybody who's ever played any of the Street Fighter II iterations knows that throws do massive damage which is good as it tends to deter turtling.

You rarely see video of two really good players going at it in Killer Instinct Gold. Most of the YouTube videos you find are generally people beating the AI at the higher difficulty levels. Killer Instinct mostly came to prominence because of being a favorite versus option in the arcades so to my mind it is first and foremost a 2-player game. This video brilliantly demonstrates how exciting it is in that regard.

Spinal (East14th) Vs. Kim Wu (Cabdragon333) Killer Instinct 2 Casuals

When D.J Cat mentioned that I'm probably good at Killer Instinct Gold I just laughed knowing that the guys in the video would easily eat me for lunch. :lol:
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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No64DD
Jul 6 2017, 02:07 PM
It is impressive to see Spinal played like that! His moveset is very technical.
Spinal doesn't have long limbs like Dhalsim of Street Fighter II fame but he does have a few moves in his repertoire that are strikingly similar. Just like Dhalsim, Spinal can teleport; Spinal's Dive Kick is essentially the same as Dhalsim's Drill Kick and both characters can shoot projectiles. Since I generally main Dhalsim in Street Fighter games, it was only natural that I'd take to Spinal in Killer Instinct Gold. Yes he's a technical character but I tend to think most zone characters are.

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I'm anxious to get back into this game now.

What are you waiting for? You know that July is Killer Instinct Gold month here at N64 Forever. ;)
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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Killer Instinct Gold has performed an ultra combo on the tip of my thumb so I'm going to take a break for a few days so it can heal. :lol: I guess it's been worth it, though, because I'm consistently pulling off some big combos again with Spinal. Oh and yesterday I even played a little bit of KIG's contemporary - Mortal Kombat Trilogy - on the N64. I'll post up some impressions on it soon too for comparison and to give context on the era in which KI Gold was released.

Fighting games were HUGE in the mid 90's so no retrospective on KIG is complete without also discussing other prominent luminaries like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Samurai Shodown. Luckily, I now have access to SNK's wonderful fighting games thanks to the Virtual Console service on the Wii so I've been all over SamSho IV as well. How does Killer Instinct Gold on the N64 stack up? Check back in a few days if you want to read my unique perspective.
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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Instead of playing, I watched a bunch of Killer Instinct Gold videos on YouTube today. As a fan of fighting game enthusiast extraordinaire Maximilian Dood's videos I found this one to be quite entertaining.

Killer Instinct Gold: N64 Multiplayer Mayhem!

Max and his posse absolutely adore fighting games so even though he's monetizing his passion - I still support him by watching his videos. Besides, this one brings back serious memories of sitting down and playing fighting games all day on Saturday with my boys back in the old days. Good times!
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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Grizzmeister
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There aren't really very many true fighting games on the N64. Here are the ones I have in my collection.

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Of these, the only ones I still play with any regularity are Killer Instinct Gold, Mortal Kombat Trilogy and Mace: The Dark Age.

Mortal Kombat Trilogy is really good when played against another human and probably represents the high water mark of fighing games on the N64. I think purists prefer the arcade version of Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 overall but Trilogy on the N64 is nice because it doesn't slow down the action with pesky load times. I'd give MKT a slight edge over KIG because its controls feel crisper and because its digitized character sprites look cleaner than the pre-rendered ones in Gold.

Mace: The Dark Age is clever conceptually but the N64 port is sluggish and hampered with frustrating controls. Nonetheless, I'm still able to find charm in it and it does feature legitimate combos to keep things interesting.

Collector's Corner: Just out of curiosity I checked eBay to see what GameFan's wonderful KI2/KIG strategy guide is going for nowadays. Wow, prices have really gone up! Thank goodness I got mine as a freebie when I bought my second copy of KIG from a local Craig's List seller. I think I understand the big jump in price, though, since the guide is vital for those who want to get the most out of Killer Instinct 2 Classic on the Xbox One.
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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One of the big reasons I wanted Killer Instinct Gold to be the game of the month for July is because EVO takes place this coming weekend (July 14-16) in Las Vegas. I thought it'd be fun for N64 Forever members to see how far the fighting game genre has come since Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Killer Instinct were the big dogs in the arcades and then eventually on consoles. Few genres in video gaming elicit as much enthusiasm as fighting games and EVO is an annual celebration of all that passion. Ironically, the new Killer Instinct, which is a Microsoft exclusive (XB1 and PC), won't be featured at EVO this year. Maybe even more surprising is that Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Melee will. :o

So the encyclopedic GameFan KI2/KIG strategy guide has gotten pretty pricey nowadays, 'tis no matter. You can download the original instruction booklet here. While not as comprehensive as GameFan's amazingly detailed guide, it does give you more than enough info to enjoy KIG if you purchased a loose copy without the booklet.

So what has been the result of all this time I've been spending playing Killer Instinct Gold on the N64? I now want an Xbox One so I can play all the KI games. :P
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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Anyone who has Killer Instinct Gold in their collection but is too intimidated to actually give it a try; I suggest starting out with Sabrewulf. OMG, he's easy as most of his moves simply involve left and right directional moves followed by a button press. I'd say he's even easier to use effectively than Blanka in Street Fighter II.

Pro Tip: Use Sabrewulf's Sabre Flip < > + FK (the right C-button) to counter enemies who jump in on you often.
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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No64DD
Jul 19 2017, 08:21 PM
Grizzmeister
Jul 19 2017, 11:50 AM
Pro Tip: Use Sabrewulf's Sabre Flip < > + FK (the right C-button) to counter enemies who jump in on you often.
I used to be able to pull off an endless juggle with this move. It's one of those things that come and go.

Amazing game!
You must have had some amazingly fast fingers at the time. :)

So looking over Sabrewulf's moves list I notice he doesn't have a Throw. That's about the only thing really missing from his arsenal as overall he can be a very deadly character. His Sabre Stomp is particularly effective against zoning characters who try to spam projectiles from full screen. I especially like that it doesn't take much Super Meter to be able to use it, just 4 blocks.

Killer Instinct Gold is indeed an amazing game. It just has a few niggling flaws that probably could have been addressed if the game had been delayed a year. For one, KIG definitely belongs on a larger cartridge to add more frames of animation. The 3D backgrounds actually grow on you after a while, especially the stunning Stonehenge stage, but the missing animations are a persistent annoyance to anyone who fancies themselves a fighting game aficionado. Waiting a year to release might have allowed Nintendo to amortize the cost of cartridge production to some extent thus making it financially viable to release Killer Instinct Gold on a 24 MB cart.
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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Another issue with Killer Instinct Gold is the N64 controller. Granted, it's nice that the buttons are laid out in a StreetFighter-esque 6-button configuration but the C-buttons are simply too small. Also, as previously mentioned, the D-pad on an N64 controller is stiffer than my back when I wake up in the morning :lol: - so it definitely takes a backseat to the floating D-pad that Sega controllers are known and loved for within the fighting game community. What a shame that making a custom arcade stick wasn't as easy in 1996 as it is today because that's what I feel KIG needs to fully extract the most out of it. That's arguably a minor quibble now that both KI2 and KIG are playable on the XB1, and that arcade sticks are easily attainable for Microsoft's newest console. However, game of the month here at N64Forever is about playing games on the original N64 hardware so the controller issue is worth noting.
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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"You do not truly know someone, until you fight them."
People often ask me what I like so much about fighting games and then seem perplexed when I give this cryptic answer. It's true, you learn so much about a person when you fight them. Are they lazy, are they creative, will they make critical mistakes when the pressure's on? They say the eyes are a window to the soul and that may be true but the way a person plays a fighting game gives tremendous insight in to their true personality.

"There is no knowledge that is not power"
This Ralph Waldo Emerson quote made famous by Mortal Kombat is the very embodiment of 90's fighting games and Killer Instinct Gold takes that precept to ridiculous extremes. Knowledge quite literally is power in the game because knowing all the combos can almost make a person seem omnipotent.

Son Of Sorrow (Benoni Defense)
Chess grandmasters are aware that to be successful they often must enter a state of imagined reality. Some claim that's why exceptional chess players often seem to go mad later in life. Well, in some ways fighting games are like chess matches only they're played at a highly accelerated pace. Does that mean great fighting game masters will end up going crazy faster? :lol:

July is almost over and I'm filled with sorrow that it's time to move on and stop playing Killer Instinct Gold. It's all good, though, as Mortal Kombat X(L) offers up much of the same thrills as playing the KI games back during their heyday so that's what I'll be delving in to next.

...
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer

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