Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Killer Instinct
 BLOG ABOUT THIS

Impressions: Killer Instinct: Spinal

4:00 PM on 01.31.2014 // Chris Carter
  @DtoidChris

He's as alive as he's ever been

Killer Instinct surprised a lot of people when it hit the Xbox One. No one really expected much from Double Helix given its track record, but a decent following has been with the game ever since, and there's even an arcade stick to quell the most hardcore of fan's nerves.

But the fact remains: the roster is still bare, and even if the game is fairly balanced, people need more fighters to tinker with to stay interested. One such fighter is Spinal -- a classic character from the original that was just added to the game.

Killer Instinct: Spinal (Xbox One)
Developer: Double Helix Games
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: January 31, 2014
MSRP: $4.99 ($20 Season Pass, $40 Ultra Edition)

It must be said that Double Helix has put a lot of work into Spinal. He has tons of character at nearly every turn, from the fact that he constantly "reassembles" his collection of bones, to his goofy, but appropriate yells and rattling noises. He even has a command run that triggers a creepy scream, giving him a "silly but intimidating" factor that not many other fighting game characters can replicate.

There's also a lot of detail in terms of his moveset, as most of his moves sprout neon green hues, skulls, and general "souls of the damned" effects. His combos are particularly fun to watch, as they actually have a point to their flashiness, rather than the generic flame effects that may accompany some other characters. I'm not fully on board with the pirate theme as I feel like the design is a bit too busy, but I literally love everything else about Spinal.

In terms of gameplay, his big gimmick is that he can raise his shield up and devour projectiles. He'll use this mechanic to store "skulls" to use as projectiles in turn, which you can see floating around his character depending on how many you have at any given moment. It's subtle, but it's a very cool way to eliminate any sort of "meter" that would show them, and the ability itself instantly sets himself apart from the rest of the roster. The skulls can be launched low, high, or vertically in the air, which gives you some keep-away options if you meet the proper energy requirement.

Spinal also has a few other tricks up his sleeve, including a teleport move (which can be modified with shadow power to do damage), a standard slicing uppercut combo linker, a shield dash charge move, and a dive kick. One of the most deadly moves in his arsenal however is his standard low + heavy kick slide, which is actually an opener. It's easy to predict on its own, but as a punish it's highly effective to start off a combo chain with.

While he is a fairly technical character, he lacks speed, meaning you'll have to master his teleport move and be rather deliberate in your actions, especially with some of the faster characters in the game. You'll get around this by canceling out projectiles, and closing the gap with dash moves, while teleporting at the right times. You have to be careful though, as it's easy to punish Spinal with nearly everything he does.

I'm extremely pleased with the addition of Spinal in Killer Instinct. He's exceeded my expectations as a balanced and fun character, and with all of his new additions, he differentiates himself from the rest of the cast while making his own mark on the game. Double Helix did a really great job injecting him into the existing foundation, and I hope Fulgore follows suit this March.



Chris Carter, Reviews Director, Co-EIC
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidChris Tips
Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Killer Instinct


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Narrative Mistakes: Mass Effect's Reapers As Primary Villains

Journey to Become a Jedi Knight - Jedi Outcast

Waifu Wars - The End

Hindsight Part II: Unreleased Games of the Past

Robbing Kirby of his Greatest Asset

The meaning of The Witness (Part 3 of 3)

Friday Night Fights: War Never Changes Edition

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Review (Vita)

Waifu Wars: Loyalty-Tier

The Wii U's fate is not (entirely) Nintendo's fault

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth has cat-maids. It has cat-maids. Have I sold you yet? Cat. Maids. GOTY 2016.
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
Just a quick update, that you all should go Greenlight Hustle Cat, the magical cat dating simulator that is being released soon. Work in a cat cafe, date magical cats, be whatever gender you want - there is no downside! Also I'm alive, That's importa
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
What a damned good song. I'm very excited about Mick Gordon composing for DOOM =D
trippytip avatartrippytip
War not waifu lovers~ Must there only be one waifu? Why not have all the waifu? I enjoy my waifu like Lou Bega here.
Jinx 01 avatarJinx 01
So is the plural of waifu "waifus" or just "waifu"? I want to make sure I have it right when referring to my harem.
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
*Someday last week* Oh, so Toby Fox also made music for Homestuck. I guess I should read it *Today* Fuck it is 3:30 AM I have to wake up early tomorrow why I'm still reading this it is already chapter five someone help me please
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Holy shit, App Store. The copyright infringement is real. I didn't buy it, because I'm scared it'll make my iPhone explode and because the comments say the game's a generic zombie title with fake and misleading screenshots.
Torchman avatarTorchman
Pretty much in a nutshell
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Image of Myxococcus colony rising up after being submerged. I love bacteria so damn much you guys.
Nick R P Green avatarNick R P Green
Made a quick REACTion video to some of today's news storys. Hope nobody REACTs to it with a lawsuit.
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
Playing Halo 5: Guardians, got REALLY invested in this one match. It was intense from beginning to end and I was using A LOT of Power Weapons because it was so fun. We were literally seconds away from victory when the internet cut off. So disappointed. :(
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Streaming Civ V with a few of my friends. Twitch.tv/amnaumen
Retrofraction avatarRetrofraction
I must be in a weird mood, want to buy SMS games :3
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
How the fuck does Link tie his scarf? I really want to wear mine that way.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
As I recently mentioned I picked up Madworld, I also have acquired Pikmin, Red Steel and DJ Hero2 for Wii. For DS Feel the Magic XY/XX, N+ (shitty port I might add) Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, and Some Suda51 I already misplaced :/
ooktar avatarooktar
Bought Firewatch this morning, played about 2 hours and started to get really invested into the story until I hit a bug that won't allow me to progress. :(
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Fuck it. Fuck Blighttown. Fuck it's poison blow dart campers. Fuck the mosquito freaks. Fuck the fire-breathing bitches. Fuck the lack of visibility. Fuck it's pitfalls. Fuck the fact that I'm going back after 5 minutes of self-loathing.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
You know what the weirdest part about having selective hemophobia is? Getting freaked out by an anime like Elfen Lied but being 100% fine with shit like this.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
Nobody told me the boxed version of Revelations 2 lagged to shit. I was lucky to exchange it for Xbox money.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Objectively the best part of Heat.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -