Killer Instinct 2

KI2 arcade

Summary

The spectacular finale to the last Ultratech tournament has left many of the combatants dead, the rest trapped 2000 years in the past by a massive timeflux. Eyedol has been returned to Limbo, but his monstrous arch-enemy Gargos is loose in the world once more - so here, in the wilds of a time long since past, heroes old and new must join together in their crusade to end the tyrant's reign. For some, it is a matter of honour: for others, the only way home.

Story

Ultratech's Legacy

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In the ancient past, Eyedol and his arch-rival Gargos were huge and fearsome Warlords whose bitter feud was rapidly bringing the world to ruin. Events finally came to a cataclysmic head when the greatest heroes of the age gathered at the scene of the rivals' latest clash, a battleground fated to be their last.

Each and every one of the humans knew their part in the desperate scheme: the sword-swinging warriors leapt headlong into the fray as a distraction while their sorcerer allies wove the most powerful combined magicks ever witnessed by the world, creating a vortex so strong that, despite all their panicked efforts, neither Eyedol nor Gargos could resist its pull. Though the loss of life on the heroes' part was all but total, the Warlords were finally torn, screaming, into a Limbo which would clutch them tight to its bosom for the following two thousand years.

A jump to the very recent past, and the sinister Ultratech corporation have managed to developed a machine that can reach into the void, dragging out a severely weakened Eyedol to stand as the champion of their latest tournament. However, an alarmingly strong opposition left the company watching with building fury as its other in-house death machines were gradually picked off: Riptor fell to the cybernetically-enhanced might of Combo, Cinder's existence came to a merciful end at the hands of the alien fugitive Glacius, Spinal was beaten violently back to the grave under the vengeful axes of Chief Thunder, and the young monk Jago earned the thanks of many by sending Fulgore permanently off-line.

But the real chaos only began when Orchid dealt the killing blow to Eyedol deep beneath Ultratech HQ. The whole world shuddered and creaked as the Limbo realm reopened to reclaim the Warlord's soul, allowing the scheming Gargos his one and only chance to break free. Blind panic ensued as the Ultratech scientists wrestled with their Limbo device in a desperate attempt to send the cackling monster back, but only when they reached stupendously dangerous power levels was there any effect. The machine exploded, taking with it Gargos and the entire Ultratech building as it vanished into a massive timeflux of its own creation.

Jago, Orchid, Combo, Sabrewulf and a newly-activated Fulgore Mk. II all find themselves stranded in the ancient world, where a new era of battle begins as Tusk, Maya, Kim Wu, Glacius and an earlier incarnation of Spinal all throw themselves into the fight to bring down the new reign of the tyrannical Warlord Gargos.

Review

Along with DKC2, KI2 got the new hair and fur improvement in graphics, which is definately noticable on the renders and the little movies in the arcade. It also show ups slightly in the game sprites and is much better than the solid plastic hair they had in the first game.

Some characters didn't return and the ones that did, felt so much different than they were in the first game. They even had some of their moves taken away, remapped or were given a few new moves. The big disappointment was it would not be released for the SNES. This was to be one of the games to entince you to buy the Nintendo 64.

Fighting games were really popular at the arcades and for home consoles. Pretty much every game company had made their own clone of Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat or tried to create their own twist on the fighting genre. It was a pretty saturated market, but the Killer Instinct series was unique enough to be considered one of the top fighting series ever made.

The following is Rare's description of their own game (quoted from Rare's old website)

Development on KI2 got underway almost immediately after the release of its predecessor, when it became evident that the game was going to gather a considerable fan base worldwide. To the satisfaction of some and the disapproval of others, the sequel retained the same essential 2D combat structure, though in a tweaked and updated form: new additions to the system included the mini-ultra, upgradeable combo finishers, super linkers, ultra breakers and a stone/scissors/paper formula for the special moves, all of which contributed to a new depth of challenge for the devoted gamer.

The graphics, too, were treated to a major overhaul, with the dramatic storyline twist giving scope for the rotational 3D / multi-layered parallax backdrops to be far more diverse and exotic than those featured in the original, ranging from ancient stone circles through devastated city blocks to galleys manned by the living dead. These also included limited character interaction for the first time in the form of breakable items, hidden sections of battleground and more knockoff points, features accessible to fighters both old and new: Tusk, Maya and Kim Wu replaced the original's Thunder, Riptor and Cinder following the results of a character popularity study carried out on North American KI2 arcade boards. Previous boss character Eyedol gave way to his arch-rival Gargos, and the Spinal, Glacius and Sabrewulf featured in this game are all somehow different to those of the original. Another new feature was the inclusion of multiple endings for each fighter depending on certain factors throughout the course of the game: the abandonment of an increasingly cliched 'tournament' storyline freed the reins for a far wider spectrum of possibilities.

Killer Instinct 2 was released in early 1996 following the final beta tests in late '95. Since then it has achieved a level of success and a hardcore fan base similar to those of its prequel, despite receiving no home conversions other than the N64's substantially refined KI Gold.