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    Spinal by DGarcia

    Updated: 03/29/95 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Killer Instinct 
    Spinal -- The Strategy Guide
    by David Gracia
    Welcome to the first in hopefully a long line of player strategy guides, 
    courtesy of DGracia@ix.netcom.com. These guides (this one and those that are 
    on the way) are designed to help anyone from the greenest rookie to the most 
    seasoned veteran. How? Well hopefully they will key you in as to how and how 
    not to attack, or how and how not to defend. At the very least I hope they 
    will provide you with the opportunity to see how another person (a person 
    who has spent tons of dough) plays the game. Please note that I am not 
    TELLING you how to play. I feel that everyone should develop their own 
    personal style. The guide below merely shows you how *I* play. Hopefully you 
    can learn something from it. As a tounament player (and winner) myself, I am 
    well aware of what it takes to seperate those who play in tournaments from 
    those who win in tournaments. In these strategy guides, I not only intend to 
    give you the widely circulated information (things like combos, No Mercys, 
    special moves, etc.), but also tips and pointers to *successful* competitive 
    play. In this FAQ you will (hopefully) find the little bits of seemingly 
    superfluous information that make the difference between the winners and the 
    losers -- and in the long run save you some cash.
    Table of Contents--
    1. 	IMPORTANT -- "The Nickel and Dime Defense" 
    2. 	Spinal Description -- An overview
    3. 	Control Notation
    4. 	Spinal's Jab
    5.	The Spinal Slide
    6.	Air Combo
    7.	Teleportation
    8.	The Flashing Line
    9.	Air Juggle
    10.	Retaliation
    11.	The Combo Breaker
    12. 	Autoseconds -- When to use them
    13.	A Complete Listing of Spinal's Moves
    14.	Combinations
    1. The Nickel and Dime:
    Before I launch into an extended dissertation on Spinal strategy, I thought 
    it might be important to explain a phrase that you will find repeatedly 
    throughout this FAQ. That is the "Nickel and Dime Defense". The Nickel and 
    Dime Defense is basically a constant assault of little jabs and kicks 
    resulting in an overall large loss of energy (most commonly found in 
    Glacius, Fulgore, and T.J. Combo players). Regardless of how many No Mercys 
    you know, or how big a combo you can do, the first thing that you need to 
    learn is how to combat this sadly popular technique (after all, it doesn't 
    matter that you can pull off a 32 hit combo if never get the chance to use 
    it). This entire FAQ is somewhat dedicated to that noble cause, yet I regret 
    to inform you that the only *true* way to counter it, is to first master it 
    yourself, and then use it. Please bear in mind though, that I do not support 
    this fighting method. In truth I abhor it. The fact of the matter is though, 
    that if you don't know how to do it yourself YOU WILL LOSE YOUR DOUGH. Many 
    a time in the early days have I lost to a the Glacius player who couldn't do 
    more than a 4 hit stun and a 5 hit hyper. You shouldn't have to lose to 
    these chumps, you should take their dough every time they plunk their bucks 
    into the machine. The follwing information will (hopefully) help you do 
    that, and much, much more. 
    2. Spinal Description:
    Spinal is an extremely versatile character. Why, you ask? What makes him 
    better than others? There are a few things that you want to look at when 
    selecting a character to play. 1- Ability to throw fireball or counter the 
    "fireball trap" . 2- Ability to methodically counter a jump attacks. 3- 
    Ability to methodically counter a solid ground assault. 4- Multiple attack 
    possibilities (by multiple I mean more than 2). Spinal easily fulfills all 
    of these requirements, and then some. He can not only block all projectiles 
    without taking damage, but throw them. He has strong air and ground based 
    jumping-attack counters. He has a long sword reach, and he has the teleport 
    and the slide. All of these factors together (in the hands of a skilled 
    player) form a formidable and extremely unpredictable opponent. 
    3. Control Notation
    ( / ): Or      (+):  And      (,):  Then      
    1: Quick High Attack    2: Medium High Attack    3: Fierce High 
    4: Quick Low Attack     5: Medium Low Attack     6: Fierce 
    c: Charge button or stick by holding it 
       (i.e. cB -- Charge Back, c4 -- Charge button 4)
    R: Release charged button
    F:   Forward       DB:  Down Back     D:  Down     DF:  Down Forward
    QCB:  Quarter Circle Back           (D,DB,B)
    QCT:  Quarter Circle Toward         (D,DF,F)
    HCB:  Half Circle Back              (F,DF,D,DB,B)
    HCT:  Half Circle Toward            (B,DB,D,DF,F)
    QCDB: Quarter Circle Down/Back      (F,DF,D,DB)
    QCDF: Quarter Circle Down/Forward   (B,DB,D,DF)
    4. Spinal's Jab:
    Spinal's Jab (button 1) is invaluable. It is the first step in learning to 
    counter to the Nickel and Dime. Now, in order to use Spinal's Jab 
    effectively you must assume the position (the ever-popular blocking crouch). 
    Beware -- a low-crouch block is always met by the good 'ol Nickel and Dime, 
    but if you are going to get it anyway, it is best to get it on *your* terms. 
    The trick is to wait until someone takes a little jab at you. Immediately 
    after they attack they are unable to block. This is when you make your move. 
    Immediately (and I do mean immediately) after a person takes the little jab 
    at you, tap 1. If you are quick on the draw, you will hit them every time. 
    This is Killer Instinct at its ugliest, mind you, but when your twelve bits 
    are on the line, you gotta look out for number one. Also -- Sabrewulf's 
    blocking crouch is unable to defend against this, as is Riptor's (though 
    only at certain distances).
    5. The Spinal Slide:
    Spinal has two different kinds of slide attacks. The first, commonly known 
    as the "strong" slide, is executed by pressing down + 6. This is a solid 
    uncounterable means of knocking a standing opponent on their can (by 
    uncounterable I mean that there is no sort of retaliation once you have been 
    hit, not that it is unblockable). However, if you pull off a QCDF + 6 you 
    will get what is commonly known as the "weak slide". The weak slide is 
    similar to the strong slide in appearance, but the good part of this is move
    is that you can COMBO out of it. There are two multiple-hit connectors (or 
    autoseconds) that can be employed after the weak slide, either 1 or 3. After 
    this, the only second connector available is cF,B+2. Connect this with 3, 
    and tack on any ending you like.
    6. Air Combo:
    Spinal's J,6 is a very reliable means of hitting an oncoming airborne 
    opponent. As a rule, you want to hit your opponent with the edge of your 
    foot. So, as soon as some fool jumps in at you, jump at him and press 6 (not 
    recommended against Thunder or Orchid).The key to the air combo is to hold 
    forward on the stick. If your jump kick lands, pull back and press 5 (a 
    reverse sonic boom motion). This not only hits twice for more damage, but 
    prevents a retaliation move. Also -- the air combo move (cF,B + 5) can be 
    executed after other moves (like the J,3), but stick to the jumpkick to air 
    combo for starters.
    7. Teleportation:
    Spinal's ability to teleport effectively sets him apart from any other 
    character in the game (except for perhaps Glacius). Now, when I say 
    effectively I mean that when played intelligently, Spinal is extraordinarily 
    hard to hit, and is able to combo out of a teleport. This gives him a wide 
    assortment attacks, as opposed to the "I am walking towards you, and when I 
    get to you I am going to give you a few jabs and an overhead" that limits 
    many other characters. A few more things about the teleport  -- Hold down on 
    the stick while pressing the button, otherwise it won't work. Also, on the 
    Double Teleport, do the second half of the motion just as Spinal starts to 
    appear. Follow that, and you will be just fine. Spinal has a few types of 
    teleports. Here they are:
    **Regular Teleport**
    D,D + any punch -- Teleports In Front.
    D,D + any kick -- Teleports Behind.
    **Mid-air Teleport**
    D,D + 1 -- Teleports In Front
    D,D + 4 -- Teleports Behind
    **Double Teleport**
    D,D + 3,D,D + 1 -- Front to Back
    D,D + 6,D,D + 1 -- Back to Front
    8. The Flashing Line:
    A flashing line at the end of your character's health meter allows you to 
    perform normally unavailable moves (called Shadow Moves). For Spinal, there 
    are two ways to get a flashing line. The first way is to perform a combo 
    breaker move upon your opponent (detailed below). The second is to absorb a 
    special move using Spinal's absorption shield. To use Spinal's absorption 
    shield, simply hold B,1. His shield will then glow a nice shade of red. Any 
    special move absorbed by the shield will get you a flashing line, and a 
    skull. The amount of skulls floating around Spinal determine what types of 
    shadow moves Spinal can perform. These skulls are then used with the 
    completion of that particular shadow move. Note: some moves require more 
    than one skull to perform. The specific skull requiremen for each move is 
    detailed in section 13.
    9. Air Juggle:
    After certain Combos, it is possible to juggle an opponent in the air with 
    one of Spinal's fireballs. In order to do so, you must have at least on 
    skull, and press D,DF,F+1. If timed correctly this will earn you extra hits 
    and inflict extra damage on an opponent. 
    10. Retaliation:
    Certain characters have moves which are unblockable (in actuallity I believe 
    that all characters do, but only a few of the moves have been discovered). 
    These moves are executed as a fallen opponent is getting up, and there is 
    only one way to counter them. First let me tell you what the moves are so 
    you know what to look for: Cinder -- an uppercut with 5. Jago -- an 
    crouching punch with 3 or a sweep with 6. Fulgore -- a jumping 1 (commonly 
    connected with 4). Spinal's retaliation to these moves is a teleport with 
    any punch or kick.
    11. The Combo Breaker:
    First I must say that there is a system to doing combo breakers. Most of you 
    know it, as it is pretty common knowledge, but since it plays such an 
    integral part of combination strategy, I will give you a quick and dirty 
    explanation anyhow. In order to successfully pull off a combo breaker, you 
    must press the button exactly one down from the button your opponent is 
    using in his combo, in conjunction with your characters prescribed combo 
    breaker move. Ugh. Confusing? I think so. How about this. First of all, some 
    characters use the kick buttons for their breaker, while others use the 
    punches. This does not matter. The buttons are linked like so: 1 and 4 are 
    the same, 2 and 5 are the same, and 3 and 6 are the same. Now, Spinal's 
    breaker if F,F+any punch button. Say, for example you are playing against 
    some chump who is using Glacius. A very common combo with Glacius is 
    cB,F+3,2,B+2,2,QCDB+1. This is a strong 14 hitter, but is extremely easy to 
    break. Why you ask? The entire combo is connected with 2 as an autosecond! 
    You can break this combo at almost any time with Spinal by simply pressing 
    F,F+1. Just the same, if the person were using 3 as an autosecond in their 
    combo you would break with 2, or if a person were using 1 you would break 
    with 3. Now, I know this is very complex. In order to religiously be able to 
    break people's combos you must know ALL OF THEM. The point of this tangent 
    is simple. People who know your combos are people who will break your 
    combos. Unless you are playing a relatively unskilled player, TRY TO AVOID 
    USING THE COMBOS FOUND IN ANY POPULAR FAQ. Make up your own, or try some of 
    my homegrown cyclones. Also, try to avoid using 2 and 3 as an autosecond. It 
    is pretty commonly known that this is Spinal's biggest connector.
    **Please Note: I have heard from other users across the country that the 
    breaker system on their local machine is not one button down from the 
    opponents autosecond, but actually THE SAME BUTTON. I have yet to play on a 
    machine where this holds true, but if for some reason the above system does 
    not work for you, I recommend that you give this alternative a try.**
    12. Autoseconds -- When to use them:
    Autoseconds are what have come to be known as "connectors" for all intensive 
    purposes. I would like to say that this is not necessarily a precise 
    definition. Autoseconds are the buttons that, when pressed once immediately 
    after a successful attack, hit multiple times. Connectors are buttons that, 
    when pressed, preserve the continuity of a combination, allowing you to 
    string together repeated hits without giving your opponent the ability to 
    block. The point of this esoteric garble is that a connector does not 
    necessarily need to hit repeatedly to inflict damage, or preserve the 
    continuity of the combo. In fact, all autoseconds really do (besides look 
    cool) is give your opponent an opportunity to break your combo. Experienced 
    players will almost always break a combo that uses an autosecond. That is 
    why I employ what I call the "one-hit connector method". Essentially the 
    same method found in games like Street Fighter 2, this method uses single 
    hitting connectors as opposed to autoseconds in an attempt to keep your 
    combo from being broken. After all, what good is inflicting damage on your 
    opponent, if you are going to take the same amount of damage yourself? Now, 
    the one-hit connector method is extremely easy to employ for the simple fact 
    that practically any button will work. Then, after any two consecutive hits, 
    you can employ any of your characters endings. Below are a few 
    suggestions/examples that I use for Spinal:
    	*B,3,F,F+1,D,D+6 	Start with an overhead, into a one-hit 		
    			shield charge. Tack on a morph ending.
    	*cB,6,F+2,F,F+1		Start with a roundhouse, into a sword slash. 
    				End with sword/kick/sword.
    	*D,3,F,F+3,3		Start with a low sword slash, into a shield 
    				charge. End with a one-hit punch to the
    Bear in mind that endings (which are autoseconds also) can be broken just 
    like any other multiple-hitting connector. Since Spinal can end a combo with 
    any button, I tend to be a bit more liberal in their random use (not to 
    mention the fact that it's practically too late to break anyhow). But, for 
    an absolute guarantee against a breaker, end your combos with a good one-hit 
    F,3 or B,6.
    13. Spinal's Moves
    **Special Moves**
    Special Moves are those moves which are unique to Spinal, and executable at 
    any point in the game. 
    Air Teleport  :  H1,J,D,D+R1  (midair, teleports in front)
    Air Teleport  :  H4,J,D,D+R4  (midair, teleports behind)
    Absorb Shield :  B,1          (absorbs special moves for skulls)
    Flaming Sword :  CB,F+2         
    Flaming Sword :  CF,B+2
    Morph Combo   :  D,D+aHA/aLA  (during combo)
    Power Slide   :  D+6          (anti-projectile)
    Shield Charge :  F,F,aHA
    Teleport      :  D,D+aHA      (teleports in front)
    Teleport      :  D,D+aLA      (teleports behind)
    Weak Slide    :  QCDF+6       (anti-projectile)
    **Shadow Moves**
    Shadow Moves are special moves and executable only after Spinal has done a 
    combo breaker or special move absorption.
    Flaming Skull    :  QCT+aHA  (must have 1+ skulls)
    Flaming Sword x2 :  CB,F+2   (must have 1+ skulls) 
    Red Fireball     :  HCT+aHA  (must have 3+ skulls)
    **Transition Moves**
    Transition Moves are special moves which begin as one move, yet finish as 
    Shield Charge - Flaming Sword    :  F,F,2/3,CF,B+2 
    Shield Charge - Flaming Sword x2 :  F,F,2/3,CF,B+2  (w/flashing line)
    Teleport Front - Teleport Behind :  D,D+3,D,D+1 
    Teleport Behind - Teleport Front :  D,D+6,D,D+1
    **Finishing Moves**
    Finishing Moves are moves that do just that -- finish an opponent. 
    Skeleton Grab :  B,B,B,5  (1 to 4)
    Shield Stab   :  B,B,F,4  (close)
    Humiliation   :  HCT+6    (1 to 4)
    Ultimate SG   :  QCDB+1   (during combo)
    Ultra Combo   :  HCT+3    (during combo)
    **Miscellaneous Information**
    Absorbing Too Many Skulls:
    Spinal can absorb a maximum of 6 special moves. If Spinal a 7th special move 
    is absorbed, Spinal explodes and takes damage.  
    Absorb Skulls Without Exploding:
    To prevent Spinal from exploding, simply cese holding back on the controller 
    while depressing button 1.
    Unlimited Flashing Line:
    First you must absorb a special move. When you have a skull (you can have 
    only one) hold 1, throw a fireball with 2, and release 1 while still
    holding forward. Spinal will throw two fireballs, and retain his flashing 
    line even though he has no skulls Floating around him. This can be used to 
    juggle an airborne opponent for a total of 80 hits.
    14. Combinations 
    Combinations are, in my opinion, what makes a good fighting game fun to 
    play. Killer Instinct revolves around its combos. However, try to use these 
    as a platform from which you can create your own. The majority of these are 
    in wide circulation, and will be broken.
    3 hit: (stun in ver. 1.4)
    5 hit:
    6 hit:
    12 hit
    13 hit: 
    14 hit: must have 1+ skulls
    15+ hit: must have 1+ skulls
    CB,F+2,CF,3,B+2,3,D,D+# - QCT+1
    28 hit: ultra
    29 hit: Ultra
    FTP SITES: 	This FAQ can be found at ftp.netcom.com courtesy of Andy 	
    	Eddy, cencongopher.concordia.com -- not to mention AOL.
    alt.games.ki and alt.games.killer-instinct
    Special Thanks go to Dr Daytona and the group that wrote and maintains the 
    excellent KI FAQ. Without them we would ALL be in the dark.
    Distrabution of this strategy guide is encouraged, however it is not to be 
    sold without the sole consent of the author.
    Copyright David Gracia 
    March 29,1995
    All Rights Reserved