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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 torelease 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.

Weedly-deedly guitars from the PS1 launch game

The first level of this N64 gem

Great toe-tapping tunes to cure those workday blues