Killer Instinct was a 2D fighting game, using impressive-at-the-time 3D-like digitized graphics, and also introduced the biggest combos ever to be seen in fighting game. KI also featured a fatalities and humiliations and every character (heavily inspired by the likes of Mortal Kombat 2 ). At it's debut, the way Killer Instinct looked made it seem like somewhat of a rip off of Mortal Kombat, but may have actually offered a superior gameplay experience (in some opinions). The gameplay at the time was something different from the norm, and was very combo oriented... There were a variety of ways to set up and finish combos, and with an ultra/finishing combo (initiated when a fighter's health was low) skilled players could pull off combos upward of 70-hits or more, which always impressed any bystanders at the arcade. The game also featured "combo breakers" which were pretty damn cool looking, but probably caused 75% of all cabinets to have to be repaired, since mashing random buttons and the d-pad sometimes worked quite well. Although there was no "dash," all the characters had a decent variety of moves, and a good variety of combo possibilities. Killer Instinct also introduced the "double life bar"... instead of winning two rounds, each fighter starts the fight with two bars of energy. There's a brief pause when a fighter loses their first bar, then the match resumes. That small detail was another attribute made KI "stand out" as a unique fighting game . Each cabinet also featured a "highest combo record" for each character, which was fun for skilled players trying to get their initials on the list... *sigh* Simpler times. Killer Instinct also had the arguably the best soundtrack at the time, and graphics also impressed in the mid 90s. The character designs were also well done, all of which had interesting play styles... Still highly memorable characters to this day. The SNES port was a decent console port at the time, though it differed greatly from the arcade version both in graphics and gameplay slightly. Many graphical effects were missing from the home version, such as the awesome FMV character victory sequences, and the background "scrolling back" as characters moved apart (which was arguably the KI's most awesome graphical effect). In the arcade version during certain combos on "building top" stages, the camera angle would change dramatically, showing a birds-eye view as the airborne character was launched, only to fall ALLLL the way back down to get hit a few more times... *sigh* Good times. Good times.
Closing Comment : I have to admit... When I first saw Killer Instinct in the arcades, I didn't like it... As an 11 year old Street Fighter/Mortal Kombat fan, I was like "that's stupid, they're trying to be like Mortal Kombat." Then after pulling off my first Ultra Combo, I was hooked... I anxiously awaited the SNES home port (picking it up on the first day of course), and though it wasn't nearly as impressive as the arcade version, I played the hell out of the home version. Then I appreciated the arcade version even more... I really missed those awesome camera angles and projectile effects in the SNES version.