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Impressions: Killer Instinct: Spinal - Destructoid




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Killer Instinct  




Impressions: Killer Instinct: Spinal photo
Impressions: Killer Instinct: Spinal

4:00 PM on 01.31.2014

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.





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Killer Instinct Updates, Screenshots, & Videos







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Killer Instinct



11:00 AM on 09.30.2014
Watch TJ Combo wrack up a 195-hit combo in training mode

TJ Combo is an absolute beast. We knew that back in the older Killer Instinct games, and that seems to be true to this day. Fans have been experimenting with the new iteration of the character in Killer Instinct fo...more



1:00 PM on 09.18.2014
Watch Maya wreck Sadira in these new Killer Instinct Season 2 screens

Killer Instinct is still chugging, and I still go back to it occasionally to play with friends. It's really held up, and Season 2 looks to bring more characters in along for the ride. In addition to the confirmed TJ Combo and...more



2:15 PM on 08.12.2014
Killer Instinct: Season 2 begins October 15

Season 2 of Killer Instinct begins on October 15, 2014. Fans can expect new fighters, enhanced game modes, and a revamped interface. The Ultra Edition will cost $39.99 and will include eight fighters starting with TJ Combo an...more



12:15 PM on 07.31.2014
Killer Instinct hits store shelves, breaks combos in September

To put a bow on the first season of Killer Instinct, Microsoft's offering the (somewhat) free-to-play Xbox One title to a new audience -- the retail crowd. Microsoft revealed today that on September 23, the game will receive ...more



5:30 PM on 07.11.2014
Maya will rejoin Killer Instinct for season two

Iron Galaxy is picking up Killer Instinct where Double Helix left off with a second season of content and as announced today at EVO 2014, one of the upcoming characters will be Maya. She's returning to the series with her tru...more



6:30 PM on 04.10.2014
Impressions: Killer Instinct: Fulgore

Double Helix's first season of Killer Instinct is over, and here to close it all out is Fulgore, which makes eight total characters in the mix. While only two more fighters have come post-launch, they make a huge difference in terms of the meta-game, and help change things up considerably. Spinal was a nice addition for sure, but Fulgore ups the stakes considerably.more



12:30 PM on 04.09.2014
Fulgore closes out season one of Killer Instinct

When I think "Killer Instinct," I think "Fulgore." How could I not, given that iconic, badass black Super Nintendo cartridge featuring the cyborg front and center? It's nice, then, to finally see him added to the game today a...more



9:00 AM on 04.01.2014
Learn everything you need to know about Fulgore in this short video

Killer Instinct is still alive and well with new content, and following the addition of Spinal, Fulgore is on the way for an early April release. He's pretty much done as well based on the video above, which gives you a...more



1:30 PM on 03.27.2014
Iron Galaxy Studios is taking over Killer Instinct

Microsoft Studios needed to find a new development partner to work on Killer Instinct after Amazon went and acquired Double Helix Games, and its selection has turned out to be spot on. Divekick and Street Fighter III 3rd Str...more



8:00 AM on 03.01.2014
New Killer Instinct Killer Cuts album is in the works

Killer Instinct composer Mick Gordon, has announced that a new version of Killer Cuts is scheduled to release this March. The album will feature music Gordon created for the Xbox One reboot of Rare's classic fighting game. No...more




double helix

12:30 PM on 04.09.2014
Fulgore closes out season one of Killer Instinct

When I think "Killer Instinct," I think "Fulgore." How could I not, given that iconic, badass black Super Nintendo cartridge featuring the cyborg front and center? It's nice, then, to finally see him added to the game today a...more



1:30 PM on 03.27.2014
Iron Galaxy Studios is taking over Killer Instinct

Microsoft Studios needed to find a new development partner to work on Killer Instinct after Amazon went and acquired Double Helix Games, and its selection has turned out to be spot on. Divekick and Street Fighter III 3rd Str...more



8:00 AM on 03.01.2014
New Killer Instinct Killer Cuts album is in the works

Killer Instinct composer Mick Gordon, has announced that a new version of Killer Cuts is scheduled to release this March. The album will feature music Gordon created for the Xbox One reboot of Rare's classic fighting game. No...more



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