Here Comes Space Satan - Let's Play Killer Instinct Season 3: Shadow Lords

Hey there, people. It’s your good buddy, ZenScissors. I wanna show you what is probably my all-time favorite game, that being the new Killer Instinct. It’ll be some time before I actually get to start this since I want to wait till all the currently planned content for the game is released, but I wanted to start the thread and reach out to people. Don’t worry, there will be videos coming out before that, but the LP proper won’t begin until then. However, that gives me ample time to get people up to speed with this game that’s had over 3 years of evolution at this point.

So what is Killer Instinct? It’s a fighting game franchise that began all the way back in 1994 with RareWare. A sequel was made in ‘96, but the series went dormant after that until 2013. The series was revived by Adam Isgreen over at Microsoft, who managed to convince the company to push for having a fighting game under their name. As such, the already in-development Killer Instinct was bumped up from being an Xbox 360 arcade title to being an Xbox One launch title. Killer Instinct was initially developed by Double Helix, creators of notoriously bad games like Silent Hill: Homecoming and Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters. However, they seemed to turn it around with this game. The game featured a unique content distribution method in the way of Seasons, which there are 3 of. These seasons, even beyond the characters they offered, varied quite a bit from one another. After Season 1 was finished, Double Helix was bought out by Amazon, and Chicago-based Iron Galaxy, creators of Divekick and responsible for several ports of old-school Capcom fighters like Marvel vs. Capcom and Darkstalkers, began development as of Season 2. Season 3 brought with it many advents, such as the inclusion of guest characters (Rash from Battletoads, Arbiter from the Halo series, and General RAAM from the Gears of War series), a port to Windows 10 that opened the game up to plenty of people, and wacky ol’ story mode called Shadow Lords. As of now, we are in what is being called “post-Season 3”, which features 3 new characters, lots of new skins, and the return of the long-requested finishers known as Ultimates.

So wait, what is Shadow Lords? The elevator pitch is basically what if XCOM combat was replaced with a fighting game. I’ve spent a lot of my life around fighting games. I’d play them at arcades in hockey rinks while my brother played some sports. I can safely say that Shadow Lords is like nothing I’ve ever seen. The closest I can think is World Tour in Alpha 3, but that’s barely even related to this. The mode also functions as Season 3’s story mode, so there’s a lot of little story bits for every character, but mainly the Season 3 folk. It’s got things like loot, crafting, and roguelike elements. I know those just sound like a bunch of buzzwords (because that’s what I thought), but they actually kinda come together and really work.

It’s a fighting game story, so it’s obviously not gonna be Shakespeare. The gist is that the cyberpunk future is controlled by megacorps (hitting a little close to home) and the biggest one around is the subtly named Ultratech. The CEO, an AI named ARIA (Advanced Robotics Intelligence Architecture) thinks humanity is growing soft and they’ll fall to shit like aliens, because those are in the game. So what’s her solution? Set up a bunch of stuff so an interdimensional horror known as Gargos comes by and makes humanity band together under her arm. Shadow Lords takes us to humanity taking on Gargos and his forces.


Honestly, all I ask is that you don’t be a shitweed. I’m pretty lax on a lot of stuff, but if you’re being a dick, you’re out. That’s pretty easy, don’t you think?

So that brings us here. I wanted to make this thread now for a specific reason. Before I get started with anything, I want to see what questions any of you have. It can be about literally anything in or about the game. Lore, moves, playstyles, modes, pricing, competitive stuff. Shoot me whatever you got. I love just talking about this game so give me what you got and I’ll incorporate it into my next video. The first set of videos I got planned will better explain what KI is and how it works as a game, then I’ll go a little into the basics of KI as a fighting game, then cover the unique combo system. After that, I’m gonna introduce you to each character personally, since I think they all deserve some spotlight. Since I know attention can wane easily and fighting game stuff can very quickly sail over heads, I’ll try to keep the videos short and concise. So if I start now, I have a lot of time to get all that information out there. I also chose now because tomorrow is the beginning of the Killer Instinct World Cup, where the 32 best KI players will be competing for $30,000 dollars raised by the community. Even if you aren’t much for fighting game tourneys, the devs will be showcasing the gameplay of the next character, Shin Hisako, tomorrow at 2 PM CST for the first time. Here’s the link for the action tomorrow:

So, for now, that’s all! Let’s have some fun with this.


Here, since I mentioned Shin Hisako, why don’t I act as a medium between you and the fun little teases the KI devs give us? Here’s Shin Hisako’s entrance and win animation posted to their YouTube as of the past couple of days:

Shin Hisako’s Entrance

Shin Hisako’s Win Animation

The KIWC has started and the devs are unleashing some cool shit. Get in here! Fulgore’s Ultimate, man!

Killer Instinct World Cup

Your LP plan sounds…interesting. I fear I will just HAVE to keep tabs on it. I did miss the stream, so I’ll just have to be content with the 1st video you put out containing naught but (hopefully) pleasant surprises!

Hey, I appreciate it! I understand that the LP idea is rather unconventional, but I’ve been rolling this idea around in my head for awhile to be sure if I could do it. LPing a fighting game is a weird idea, but Shadow Lords is a surprisingly content-rich story mode that made episode ideas a little easier. The only thing I really worry about is having too much to say, so I’ll try and keep my points concise. But I’ll do what I can to make this as informative, entertaining, and educational of an experience as I can.

I’ll keep an eye on this. I’ve always been interested in checking out the new KI, but something always comes up that keeps me from making the jump (ie, Breath of the Wild is still new, Mass Effect Andromeda comes out in like a week, so I won’t really have the time to focus on getting good at the game, etc.)

I’m eager to see how this story mode works.

I can totally understand being caught up with other games, especially right now. Seriously, there’s a shit ton of good games coming out right now. Thankfully, the nice thing about KI is that since it has a lot of constant developer support, you have all the time you need to hop on. There’s still another character in the works who’s most likely going to be coming out in like June or July, so that’d also be a good time to get in on the action.

Speaking of, I’ll lay down the stuff that got revealed yesterday that’s coming to KI in the future:

  • The 28th character, Shin Hisako, comes out on March 21st

  • The 3rd pack of Gold Skins comes out on March 21st (contains Glacius, Sadira, & Mira)

  • The 4th pack of Gold Skins comes out on April 11th (contains Spinal, Kan-Ra, & Hisako)

  • The 2nd pack of Ultimates is coming on May 2nd (contains Ultimates for Kilgore, Fulgore, ARIA, Sadira, & Riptor)

  • A new set of colors are coming out for Omen later in the summer (contains Colors 7,8, & 9)

  • A 24-inch statue of Rash is coming out at an undetermined date.

So anticipating stuff is fun and all, but what if there was stuff you could actually see?

First up, here’s Fulgore’s Ultimate coming at the start of May:

And here’s some Shin Hisako matches coming in a little over a week:

Tuesday is here, which means Patch 3.7 is out! You can find the patch notes up above at the beginning of the last message.

The patch addressed a lot of strong characters and brings them down a notch. This mostly goes for Jago, Fulgore, Maya, and Gargos. It also features a pretty nice buff for General RAAM, a character who can struggle quite a bit in some matchups. You’re welcome to check them out if you wish.

It also means we are only one week away from Shin Hisako! If you wanna check out the live demonstration of the character from Saturday, you can find that right here, featuring gameplay from KI4LIFE and Storm, some of the best Hisako players in the world:

Here’s today’s post just to give you the link to the Shin Hisako theme edit I did yesterday

NOTE: In case you didn’t know, Killer Instinct features a dynamic music system that consists of:

  • an intro portion that plays two different parts for both character intros

  • a main theme with at least 5 smaller parts that make it up

  • an idle theme that calls back to a character’s old school themes if they are a legacy character

  • a combo portion that serves as a climax of sorts

  • A danger theme that plays when a character enters the danger state

  • Several possible little ending stings when a match isn’t finished with an Ultra

See if you can discern what is what in this edit of mine:

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Looks like there’s been a change of plans, folks.

Shin Hisako is out right now! The KI devs decided to unlock the character a couple of days early after the community met a goal as of yesterday. So now, for $4.99, you can pick up a slippery but easy to understand rushdown character with a bunch of samurai and ghost horseshit. If you wanna wait for when she’s eventually part of a pack and as a result cheaper, I don’t think you’ll have trouble finding people playing her on streams. Hell, I’ll record some stuff and get it up before the end of the day.

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It’s been awhile. I thought that now’s as good a time as any to post one of the most helpful links that will ever show up in this thread.

This is a link to a free guide to everything about KI as a game by a really cool dude who goes by Infilament (Infil for short). It’s good for players of any skill level and covers things from the bare basics to specific character pages. If you have any questions about KI, the answer is almost certainly in there. Not only that, but Infil put in a way to practice breaking shadow linkers through your browser! The dude’s dedicated.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Infil maintains the website in his free time, so it’s all a passion project from him. If you wanna show some support to one of the most impressive fighting game guides out there created and managed by one of the most level-headed and determined FGC members I’ve ever seen, consider throwing a couple bucks his way at:

For more advanced ideas, we turn to the most recent version of the Community Matchup Chart. This is list that analyzes how characters do against others in a best of 10. The chart was set up before 3.7, so it doesn’t take into account the changes to some characters from that patch. Though opinion based, the chart converges the opinions of several high level players and was set up with the help of Keits, the man behind KI’s combat design. Give it a look:


If you wanna look in on the players who contributed to the list, you can look at this spreadsheet:

Phew, that was a quite a bit. In a week or so, I should be able to get the first video out for this. Not the first part necessarily, but the first video. Still gotta wait for that last character after all.

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What’s up, folks? I was originally going to make a short little video looking at the cast of KI really quick, but then I remembered the trailers for this game. I actually really like the trailers for KI characters, so I think I’ll use those instead. Some of them are more story focused, while others revolve more around their gameplay. So let’s see what we can see, eh? I’ll offer a little description of the characters as well so you have some idea who they are.
(Note: the first 6 characters have “battle reels” instead of trailers since they were in at launch)

First up is Jago, the warrior monk dedicated to a being known as the Tiger Spirit:

Then we got Sabrewulf, the lycanthropic German baron searching for a cure:

Who’s next? It’s Glacius, the ice alien seeking to reclaim his stolen tech:

Of course we got Thunder, the Nez Perce warrior trying to find his lost brother thought to be dead:

Here she comes. It’s Sadira, the spindly Thai assassin with strange spider-like powers & a lust for violence:

Who can it be now? It’s Orchid, the rogue agent who wants nothing more than the destruction of UltraTech:

Aw shit, now it’s time for Spinal, the ancient skeletal warrior searching for the mask that binds his spirit:

(Note: This is where they get good)

Hot diggity dog, it’s Fulgore, UltraTech’s military grade cyborg with a shady development:

TJ’s up, the boxer who fell from grace after getting cybernetic implants put in by UltraTech:

Knock, knock. Who’s there? It’s Maya, the last remaining member of an ancient order of monster hunters:

It’s ya boi, Kan-Ra, the Babylonian vizier bent on ruling the world through the avenue of dark magicks:

Our cute little buddy Riptor here, the cybernetics-enhanced dinosaur created for military sale by UltraTech:

Now it’s my boy, Omen, the ethereal herald of the otherworldly menace known as Gargos:

Who’s that big hunk of rock? Aganos, the Greek war golem sent by his master’s dying breath to kill Kan-Ra:

Time for the fan favorite Hisako, the vengeful Japanese spirit stirred by UltraTech:

Now we’re here for Cinder, the loud-mouthed lieutenant of UltraTech enhanced by alien DNA:

Oh shit, It’s ARIA, the AI that heads UltraTech and seeks to drag humanity into the future:

The edgelord himself Shadow Jago, who’s just Jago possessed by Omen:

It’s Rash, the obnoxiously 90’s toad man who got bored of speedruns:

Then it’s Kim Wu, a young martial artist overseen by the Dragon Spirit with a weird face:

It’s Arby time, the pensive Sangheli warrior who has faced the Flood and silenced truth:

The big bad Tusk man time, a barbarian of old who was infused with power by beings to battle with Gargos:

Oh boy, Mira, Maya’s vampiric sister who seeks to hasten the arrival of Gargos as per her master’s orders:

The big man himself, Gargos, the godlike being who seeks to corrupt earth and enslave humanity:

The general is here, RAAM, a hulking Locust with a wonky eye who loves to stab and grab:

(Note: You might have seen this one at E3 last year)

And finally, Eyedol, the eternal nemesis of Gargos who now seeks vengeance and having his head split:

What about Kilgore and Shin Hisako? They don’t have trailers oddly enough. So that’s that then. I’ve taken up enough room, so I’ll just leave it at that. Take a look at who looks cool to you and get to know the cast a bit.

Hey, it’s been a long fucking time, hasn’t it? Well, within the week, I should be able to post the first video and we can finally have some actual content here! Yay! But yeah, I’ve spent the last 2 weeks feverishly perfecting this video so hopefully the fruits of my labor pay off.

I guess, as something to tide you over till then, here’s the newest wave of Ultimates that came as of 4 days ago:

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Well, it’s time for some actual content to show up in this thread finally. After two weeks of work on this video, I think I’m ready to finally push it out there for the masses. So without further ado, here we go:


Good start for the first video, interested to see how the next few turn out, even though I do not have the game for playing and it’s not high up on the priority list.

I’m super excited for this, I loved MaximillianDood’s character-specific tutorial videos but he stopped making those like, mid-season 2 so a bunch of S3 characters don’t have any decent video tutorials out there.

In this year where there’s so many great games coming out in such a short amount of time with no break in sight, I can totally understand not having a game that’s almost 4 years old at this point at the top of the list. I guess another role this video can serve is as a way to explain all the goofy bullshit in KI. I’ve watched tournies with people who don’t really play KI before and they are often very confused as to just what the hell is going on. So, hopefully, this video can help make the game a little more comprehensible without having to get lost in the pace of it all. KI moves very fast.

And, as for S3 character guides, I know Sajam made a couple back when they came out. This Mira guide of his helped me a bit when she first came out:

However, it seems there aren’t any for Gargos or Eyedol, which is unfortunate since they are two of the more complicated ones. As for me, I definitely intend to try and some quick breakdowns for each character, so I’ll see what I can do to try and lay characters out. That last character shouldn’t be too far over the horizon, so we’ll see how much time I have till some changes kick in.

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Thirding the general excitement to see where this goes. I do own the game, but my PC isn’t nearly strong enough to run it smoothly, so it’s nice to see what I’m missing out on. KI’s always fun to watch on the tourney scene, so I imagine knowing a bit more about what all the jargon means will only deepen that fun.

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Great news, people! The KI devs have told us that they’ll be revealing the game’s 29th character this weekend at Midwest tournament, Combo Breaker. It’s gonna be a great tourney for KI talent, as well as many other thriving fighting games. Tune in starting on Friday if you wanna see some good competition. Either way, I’ll try and let you folks know when the reveal is going down. I’ve been following this game since its launch, and I can easily say that a lot of the fun comes from the reveals and development. Should be fun!

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Here it is, guys! I called the fuck out of it, because it was the only logical way it could go.

Here is the teaser for the 29th character in Killer Instinct, Eagle: