Choose from eight characters including T.J. Combo, Fulgore, Jago, B. Orchid, Chief Thunder, Spinal, Sabrewulf, and Glacius, and battle your way to victory in KILLER INSTINCT. Learn each character's special attacks and combinations in the Practice mode, and when you are ready for competition, challenge a friend or take on the Arcade mode. Try to keep your character vertical in KILLER INSTINCT.
Killer Instinct plays like many other fighting games, in which the player controls a character in order to beat an opponent in a one-on-one encounter. The game borrows the attack set of Street Fighter and is also inspired by the finishing moves from Mortal Kombat. There are also several features that distinguish it from other franchises:
A double energy bar: instead of winning two rounds, each player has two bars of energy. If a character finishes with his or her opponent's first life bar, the fight stops and resumes like a round, but the winning character still keeps whatever amount of energy he or she had at that moment. The player who depletes his or her opponent's second life bar wins the bout.
Automatic combos: rather than press the necessary buttons in order to deliver the individual attacks that form a combo, in Killer Instinct the combos are automated and can be enabled by inputting a determined button or special move.
Finishing moves: Bearing resemblance to Mortal Kombat's Fatalities, each character has at least two moves known as No Mercy (Danger Move in later revisions) in order to finish the opponent. One of these No Mercy moves can be executed at the end of a combo (which is labeled as an Ultimate Combo), when the opponents life bar flashes red (when his or her second bar is going to be depleted), although it uses a different combination of movements. Another finisher is the Humiliation, that forces the opponent to dance (the dance style depends on the character), but this can only be used if the player has his or her first life bar. Unlike the Fatalities, however, Killer Instinct's finishing moves do not feature brutality or dismemberment.
Ultra Combo: Another finisher; it operates like an Ultimate Combo, though this one allows the character to deliver a long string of hits as the combo finisher instead, usually surpassing 20 hits, and can sometimes reach upwards of 80 hits.
Combo Breaker: The player who is being caught in a combo may break out of it by performing a combo breaker move. The combo breaker is a designated special move of the player's character. A combo can be broken at either the auto-double or linker stage. To successfully break an auto-double, the player must use the breaker move at a strength lower than the auto-double itself (i.e. for a player to break a Medium auto-double s/he must use a Quick breaker). The combo can also be broken at the linker stage. At this stage the player can use any strength of breaker, making long combos a risky affair. Also, after performing a combo breaker, a white starburst will appear at the tip of the breaker's health bar, enabling advanced versions of some special moves that require a different command (e.g. Jago, instead of a regular green fireball, can shoot a red fireball).