Retro Weekends – Killer Instinct

Memorable Music

Here’s where things get awesome. While Street Fighter II had themes that played on the nationality of the character, and Mortal Kombat that the more brooding soundtrack, Killer Instinct had a bit of both. It had the boisterous character specific themes, but still kept that slight brooding atmosphere. But one element that really propelled this was the personality of it. If character was going to have a metal theme, he’d have a metal theme. If a character called for hip-hop or dance, they’d have it. So here’s some themes that were memorable for me. Since I played the SNES version, that’s what you’ll see embedded below. But I’ll link to the Killer Cuts and Arcade version as well.

Main Theme (Arcade Version/Killer Cuts version. They’re the same)
Composers: Robin Beanland and Graeme Norgate

Of all the fighting game themes I’ve heard in my life, this one pumps me up the most. For the purpose of this article, I’ve embedded the SNES version. But I highly recommend listening to the Arcade version. It’s that good! The buildup this song has is brilliant. Synth plays out long, sustained notes, then that guitar riff eases in. You can hear yourself going “ooooooh shit,” expecting that POW to come right in. And then, those epic six notes! All instruments play those notes at the same time. I still get chills hearing that part! And of course, that sexy ass guitar playing that melody!

Sabrewulf Theme (Arcade Version, Killer Cuts Version)
Composers: Robin Beanland and Graeme Norgate

This is one of those songs that sound like the came right out of a Donkey Kong Country game. This also shows how varied the Killer Instinct soundtrack can be. While the game is known for its hard rock and metal music, there are some that break the mold, like this entry here. The organ is present for most of the song, with marching drums accompanying the beat. And finally the trumpets round out the chorus. Sounds more like a pirate theme sometimes, but it fits Sabrewulf and his stage well.

Orchid Theme (Arcade Version, Killer Cuts Version)
Composeres: Robin Beanland and Graeme Norgate

And here’s another song that shows Killer Instinct’s variety in the music department. This might take a lot of gamers back to the 90s as dance music was the biggest craze back then with artists like Roxette, Eiffel 65, and Alice DeeJay. So the composers saw fit to add a dance track for the game’s only female fighter, Orchid. It fit too since her attacks look like lethal gymnastics. Plus, you fought on the roof of a building with the silhouette of the city skyline in the background. So there’s a little bit of romance in there too.

Killer Instinct was a hit in the arcades and at home. So now Rare, and Nintendo, had a fighting game on their hands that could play with the big boys. Unfortunately, there was only one sequel made in the series, Killer Instinct 2, and its N64 home port Killer Instinct Gold. Since departing Nintendo, many thought Rare would make another Killer Instinct game since they were going to Microsoft and it was seen as the more “mature” system. Unfortunately things haven’t been too great for the company, and now they’re stuck making Kinect games. Also much of the original people from Rare are gone. There was the misconception that Rare couldn’t make a KI game since Nintendo had the rights. This is not true at all as Rare does have the rights, but Microsoft hasn’t greenlighted the project. There have been some teases over the years of a new KI game, but right now, it looks like we’re still playing the waiting game.

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