Game music of the day: Killer Instinct Gold

Game: Killer Instinct Gold

Song: Glacius' Theme

Composer: Robin Beanland, possibly Graeme Norgate

Above: Glacius' Theme from Killer Instinct Gold

Before GoldenEye, Banjo Kazooie and Viva Pinata, Rare did its damndest to get Killer Instinct off the ground as a must-play franchise. Its dial-a-combo gameplay, to some, felt more like rote memorization than Street Fighter-like skill, but the way each move links into the next (not to mention perfect timing of the c-c-c-combo breakers) still offered a unique take on the well-worn genre. Killer Instinct 2 was more of the same, though it benefited from a soundtrack that Rare saw fit to release on CD - a true rarity for the US/UK in 1996.

The tune above gels perfectly with Glacius, a frigid ice-alien who can reshape his body into various stabbing weapons (more or less like the T-1000). Something about the song just says "chilly" to me. Maybe if I knew more music terminology I could articulate this point better, but for now I just have to say "boy it sure does sound cold!"

If electro-ice isn't your thing, you can sample the game's final boss music. Considering this was on an N64 cart, the guitars actually sound pretty good - most of the time you'd get really tinny samples or awful MIDI guitar that makes your ears want to stage a revolution from the rest of your stupid head.

And if you just want stupid, there's Orchid's theme, which features actual lyrics while you fight. Lyrics about the game, repeatedly saying "K-I!" as if it's going to catch on. No one calls it KI, mainly because no one talks about it at all anymore. Well Rare, if Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat can have big comebacks, now's your chance to give Killer Instinct 3 a whirl.


Game music of the day: Air Combat
Weedly-deedly guitars from the PS1 launch game



Game music of the day: Bomberman 64
The first level of this N64 gem



Game music of the day: Plok!
Great toe-tapping tunes to cure those workday blues


Game music

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  • Sala106 - September 5, 2010 11:41 p.m.

    you cant help but Head bob to Orchids theme
  • alexk2064 - August 15, 2010 12:24 p.m.

    I'm pretty sure they're saying "play hard" on the Orchid track.
  • GamesRadarBrettElston - August 12, 2010 5:01 p.m.

    The best part is, this isn't even Killer Cuts. That's for later!
  • CoolBowling - August 12, 2010 2:44 p.m.

    Nothing beats the character select screen from the first Killer Instinct. It only lasts about 10 seconds before it loops but it's awesome.
  • philipshaw - August 12, 2010 11:09 a.m.

    I have a copy of Killer cuts in my room, them first 2 songs in the article kick ass but that last song is chessy and not in a good way
  • d3v - August 12, 2010 9:42 a.m.

    Fuck yeah! Killer Cuts.
  • toastile - August 12, 2010 5:41 a.m.

    This music makes me feel the need to infiltrate something. Nice work Brett.
  • goochbiscuit - August 12, 2010 4:10 a.m.

    Man, those guitars sound amazing for an N64 game. I can't believe that later in Goldeneye and Perfect Dark the shit-ass "guitars" sounded the way they did. Still amazing soundtracks, though.
  • lovinmyps3 - August 12, 2010 12:55 a.m.

    "K-I!" That last song is so lame.
  • 510BrotherPanda - August 12, 2010 12:19 a.m.

    B. Orchid's triangle boobs and tight butt-hugging leotard probably gave me my first video game related mind-boner. Being around 7 or 8 at the time, I wasn't all that in the know of sex yet. But boobs, yes.
  • twishart - August 11, 2010 11:26 p.m.

    The first time I fought Tusk, I damn near shit my pants. I was trying to drag out the match as long as possible to hear more of the music.
  • DarkTone - August 11, 2010 11:04 p.m.

    Killa Kutz was better. Good feature though. C-C-C (aah you know the rest)
  • nuno004 - August 11, 2010 11 p.m.

    i never played this one as much as the original but it's still badass. i remember being able to pull off all the finishers and the killer combo and the 24-hit ultra with cinder
  • Metroidhunter32 - August 11, 2010 10:58 p.m.

    I like this one.
  • VanillaFrog - August 11, 2010 10:40 p.m.

    I just listened to Orchid's theme twice. Are you sure the lyrics aren't "Play Hard!" rather than "K-I!" because that's what I'm hearing. I may just be slightly retarded though ;)
  • CH3BURASHKA - August 11, 2010 10:37 p.m.

    Pardon my double intrusion, but I love Killer Instinct too fucking much. Everyone knows the KI intro music, but here it is again: And here's a modern straight interpretation from OCRemix. Nothing too brave or original, just cleaner, if a bit faster: And now, drum roll, my favorite track from the first album...CINDER! What a fucking epic guitar explosion. Makes you want to tear the throat out of anyone within 100 feet with your teeth.
  • GOD - August 11, 2010 10:16 p.m.

    I enjoyed my first time bothering to listen to game music of the day.
  • CaptainHead - August 11, 2010 10:10 p.m.

    Oh man good memories. I would've loved to hear Sabrewulf's theme from KI2 in there. That was a peeeerfect song for a werewolf in a gothic mansion. Here it is: As much as I've wanted KI3 the last... 14? years, I doubt Rare has any semblance of the team that originally made these games. Even their music guy is gone isn't he?
  • TheElephantManchurianCandidate - August 11, 2010 10:09 p.m.

    Nice I missed out on these games when i was younger but found KI Gold at a second hand store recently and loved every minute of it
  • Strangleme - August 11, 2010 10:07 p.m.

    Make it happen Brett!!