There were myriad announcements to come out of Microsoft’s Gamescom conference last week, but the one that put the biggest smile on my face was the official confirmation that Killer Instinct would indeed be getting a third season. I believe the exact words that came out of my angelic mouth were “Oh fuck yes!”, to be precise.
Officially announced as coming in March 2016, KI Season 3 will release in a fashion more closely following Season 1’s distribution model; rather than rolling out new fighters on a monthly basis, a selection of several characters will be available at launch, with a choice few extras released down the line as DLC.
Additionally, the other juicy nugget of info that dropped during the conference was that Season 3 will be featuring guest characters (presumably because there aren’t many original Killer Instinct characters left to draw upon at this point, let’s face it), one of which was revealed to be Rash from Battletoads – how todally awesome (sorry) is that? As a bit of an amphibian aperitif to next year’s third serving, Rash has been released right now to anyone who’s bought Rare Replay or those who have previously purchased content for Killer Instinct. Kowabun-oh wait, sorry, wrong franchise.
The addition of a giant anthropomorphic toadman into KI is an absolutely perfect first choice of guest character in my opinion. I know a lot of fighting game enthusiasts are generally very much against cross-pollination of their franchises, but come on! Look at him – this warty warrior could not be a better fit for Killer Instinct if he tried. Placed amongst a motley crew of cyborgs, werewolves, dinosaurs and ninjas, Rash surprisingly blends into the standard Killer Instinct character roster extremely well. If you didn’t know he’s actually from a 1991 NES game (and very likely about to star in an as yet unannounced Xbox One franchise reboot), Rash could quite easily pass off as one of the regular characters just because of how utterly ridiculous he is.
However, all this frog-based frivolity does come with a slight caveat; Rash is only temporarily available until the 8th September (presumably so he can go back to starring in that aforementioned potential Battletoads reboot in the meantime, isn’t that right Phil Spencer?). This means that although Rash will make a fully-fledged return when March rolls around next year, the KI community currently only has a month to get to jump aboard the Battletoads bandwagon and clamour over this new fighter’s command list like a writhing, sweaty knot of real life toads. Kinky.
So, in the interest of time, I decided to try something different with this guide. Unlike the more detailed guides I’ve previously put together for the Season 2 fighters, I thought I’d just give a quick whistle-stop tour of Rash’s whacky command list. Without further ado then, here are a few tips that should help separate the frogspawn from the tadpoles when it comes to playing Rash in Killer Instinct – let’s go!
Miley Cyrus is a dab hand at wrangling with wrecking balls these days, and thankfully, so is Rash. However, while his twerking skills could probably benefit from some more practice, Rash’s ability to morph into a giant green wrecking ball certainly gives him a significant advantage over MTV’s favourite destruction machine jockey. Inputting Quarter-circle Back + Kick performs Wrecking Ball, which sends Rash hurtling towards his opponent as the aforementioned warty weight. What’s particularly useful about the move is that Wrecking Ball has one hit of armour, making it a great way of pressuring your opponent or getting around the stage quickly. It can also be used to create some useful cross-up opportunities when used in the air – just watch out for your opponent anticipating it and anti-airing if you spam the move over and over.
Just as Miley has a penchant for constantly sticking out her tongue for the camera at pretty much every given opportunity, so too does Rash. Unlike Miley’s human tongue however, Rash’s tongue can be used to latch onto the environment and his enemies as an oral zip line. Handily, it also allows him to gobble up incoming enemy projectiles to add to his Shadow Meter. Known as Wicked Tongue, you throw out the tongue by hitting All Punches + Any Direction; this move can be performed whether you’re on the ground or in mid-air. In fact, it helps to think of it a bit like a one-shot version of Cinder’s Trailblazer move, only with a lot less fire and lot more saliva and a ridiculously long reach. If shot out in a direct line forward, Rash’s tongue will pretty much go the full length of the screen. If it makes contact with your opponent or a stage boundary, then it will latch on and reel you in to where the tongue hit. This means you can use Wicked Tongue from afar to suddenly get in close for close-up rushdown pressure, or if mid-way across the screen, launching Wicked Tongue to the screen wall behind Rash will let you zip to a safe distance with much greater speed and range to his standard backdash. The key to using Wicked Tongue is to be aware of just how close the camera is zoomed in to the action at all times. As you get closer to your opponent, the camera will zoom in with a tighter focus, and Wicked Tongue will carry you over a shorter distance. Wicked Tongue does have a slight start-up delay to account for as well, so make sure it’s safe to start licking the screen or you might just end up eating a knuckle sandwich instead.
Hitting Light Punch or Light Kick repeatedly will make Rash perform a basic auto-combo – or as the game likes to more descriptively put it, a Battlemaniac Beat ‘Em Up Combo. I presume Miley Cyrus has the ability to do this as well, but I’m sadly not too hip with her fisticuff finesse. These Light auto-combos will also recapture an airborne opponent, which makes them very useful pressure and punishing tools in Rash’s arsenal. For example, when used after successfully connecting an anti-air attack, these auto-combos are a great way to transition from defensive to offensive tactics quickly and smoothly. The fourth hit in the combo will also automatically trigger a Shadow Linker (proving there’s enough Shadow Meter in the tank of course). Just bear in mind that these autos are very easy for your opponent to combo break if they work out you’re using them. For this reason, I’d suggest using the Battlemaniac combos rather sparingly in your attacks as a means of adding variety to your game plan, rather than leaning on them too heavily as your primary method of attack.
Baa Ram Ewe
Like a select few members of the Killer Instinct cast, Rash can run (or ‘RUN!’ as the move is listed in his command list) by hitting Forward twice in quick succession. When running, hitting Heavy Punch will cancel RUN! into Battering Ram – this move makes Rash instantly grow a set of ram’s horns and lunge at his opponent…because videogames! As a side note, I can in fact confirm that Miley Cyrus also has the ability to run, but as to what button inputs are required to initiate the running action or make her grow ram’s horns, sadly I have no idea. Battering Ram (alternatively performed with Quarter-circle Back + Punch) can be extended into a full combo if successful on hit, making it a good rushdown tool. When executing a combo, it’s worth noting that Battering Ram and Shadow Battering Ram are Rash’s only linkers (aside from the Battlemaniac auto-combos), so you’ve really got to be on point with regularly varying the strength of your attacks to prevent being combo-broken.
Of course, Rash’s famous Big Bad Boot smash hit move had to make the cross over to Killer Instinct. Performed with Quarter-circle Forward + Kick, Big Bad Boot makes Rash’s foot morph into a giant spiked boot. While I’m sure that Miley Cyrus owns a plethora of boots and other such fancy footware, I’m pretty confident that she doesn’t have the ability to spontaneously morph her feet to giant proportions…yet. Okay, back to Rash – Big Bad Boot functions as an excellent decent anti-air when used on its own, and as his Damage Ender when used in a combo. As the move isn’t linkable, it can feel a bit cumbersome to work Big Bad Boot into your combos at first, but with a bit of experimentation you can utilise it in some neat ways. One of my favourites is to whack my opponent straight up into the air by inputting the Heavy Kick version of the move, and then recapturing your plummeting combatant by repeatedly hitting Light Kick to launch into a Battlemaniac combo – give it a try, it’s really fun (not to mention painful).
Biker Toads From Mars
Activating Rash’s Instinct mode, Turbo Tunnel, gives his body cool glowing wire model highlights. More importantly though, it also allows him to summon his trusty Speeder Bike into the fray as a rideable projectile attack. Unfortunately though, it looks like Rash took his Speeder Bike driving test at the same test centre as Mr. Toad from The Wind in the Willows, as he’s a pretty terrible driver. If Miley Cyrus does actually own a futuristic hoverbike of sorts, I’m pretty confident that she at least knows how to pilot it better than Rash anyway. Mechanically, the Speeder Bike functions in a similar manner to Orchid’s Instinct Firecat projectiles; they careen in from whichever side of the screen Rash is currently occupying. While they aren’t particularly fast, they do have some interesting properties to be aware of. Rash can jump on a passing bike by pressing Up as it trundles past, and slow it down once aboard by holding Back, which allows you to juke your opponent. Once the bike explodes or goes off-screen, hitting the Instinct input (Heavy Punch + Heavy Kick) again while Turbo Tunnel is still active will call in another one. Just be aware that there is a slight delay between the destruction of the old bike and the generation of a new one to prevent you just filling the screen with hovering traffic, so be ready to hold your opponent off in the post-explosion cooldown.
When Rash stomps back onto the KI scene next year, it’s very likely that his command list will have undergone some major changes, so pretty much all of this information will be irrelevant when Season 3 drops. Hopefully this very brief look at Rash’s repertoire has given you a few key pointers to help ribbeat up the competition in the meantime. Time to crank up the Battletoads’ pause music and get thumping…or, you know, Miley Cyrus’ back catalogue if that’s more your thing.