An Ultra Combo (or simply Ultra) is a special finishing move and a unique & signature gameplay feature of the Killer Instinct games. During an Ultra Combo, the player performs an extended string of attacks on their defeated opponent, resulting in a brutally long combo that ends the fight spectacularly by beating the victim to a pulp. In Killer Instinct (2013), Ultra Combos are accompanied by rhythmic beats that sound off each time the character hits their opponent, the melody of which echoes the music theme that was playing during the fight.
Every character in Killer Instinct can perform an Ultra Combo by inputting a certain command during a combo when the opponent's health has been depleted. After a long string of combos, the character will automatically perform a special move before ending the combo with a launching attack and knocking the opponent down. Even if an Ultra Combo move ends, skilled players can continue stringing combos, sometimes lasting up to 80-hit combos. Special Stage Ultras can be performed where the winner uses the stage around them to finish off their opponent in a unique manner. Only certain stages possess the capability for Stage Ultras.
In the Xbox One remake, an Ultra Combo is always preset at a specific value and the player cannot add hits to it. However, a player can now use their Instinct Mode to cancel the Ultra Combo, allowing players to extend the Ultra Combo into another series of combos which can ultimately lead to another Ultra Combo. All Ultra Combos also launch the opponent into the air, where they can then be recaptured with certain moves and beaten even further. Finally, if a player wants to simply end the match without going through the sequence, Ultra Combos can be ended prematurely into a powerful Ultra Ender, or can be used at the end of the Ultra Combo for a very stylish finish.
List of Ultra Combos
- Orchid: A 45-hit combo.
- Jago: A 30-hit combo.
- TJ Combo: A 36-hit combo.
- Spinal: A 32-hit combo.
- Thunder: A 35-hit combo.
- Glacius: A 29-hit combo.
- Fulgore: A 29-hit combo.
- Cinder: A 34-hit combo.
- Sabrewulf: A 31-hit combo.
- Riptor: A 31-hit combo.
In Killer Instinct 2, all Ultra Combos were 17 hits long for every character (except for boss character Gargos, who didn't recieve one).
- Jago: A 32-hit combo. Ender is a wide spinning slash with his kora.
- Sabrewulf: A 28-hit combo. Ender is a backflip with a somersaulting kick.
- Glacius: A 25-hit combo. Ender causes a giant pillar of ice to rise from the ground.
- Thunder: A 28-hit combo. Ender is an overhead chop with both tomahawks.
- Sadira: A 25-hit combo. Ender is a frontflip followed by a sharp straight kick.
- Orchid: A 26-hit combo. Ender calls a Firecat to leap over her and into the target.
- Spinal: A 25-hit combo. Ender calls a ghostly skeletal arm to punch from the ground.
- Fulgore: A 23-hit combo. Ender is a blast of exhaust energy from his nuclear reactor core.
- Shadow Jago: A 39-hit combo. Ender is a wide spinning slash with his sword.
- TJ Combo: A 40-hit combo. Ender is a powerful downward hook.
- Maya: A 41-hit combo. Ender is a frontflip kick landing in the splits.
- Kan-Ra: A 32-hit combo. Ender is a bash with his spellbook.
- Riptor: A 31-hit combo. Ender is a breath of fire in a large arc.
- Omen: A 26-hit combo. Ender is a flying two-fisted punch attack.
- Aganos: An 18-hit combo. Ender is a leaping elbow-drop/"RKO" move.
- Hisako: A 27-hit combo. Ender is a large swipe with her naginata.
- Cinder: A 36-hit combo. Ender is a dramatic roundhouse kick.
- ARIA: A 26-hit combo. Ender is a backflip with a shotgun-knee blast.
- Rash: A 25-hit combo. Ender is a single punch with an enormous fist.
- Kim Wu: A 34-hit combo. Ender is a quick one-inch punch.
- Arbiter: A 31-hit combo. Ender is a ferocious Energy Sword slash.
- Tusk: A 25-hit combo. Ender is a frontflip ending with a greatsword slam.
- Mira: A 26-hit combo. Ender is a powerful upward swing ending with silver blood.
- Gargos: A 28-hit combo. Ender is a massive punch that explodes with chunks of stone.
- Gargos has a secret Ultra Ender that can be used if the player is on the road to a Supreme Victory with (Forward-MP+MK). In the ender he dashes through the opponent, grabs them out of the air above offscreen, and German suplexes them down from the sky.
- General RAAM: A 31-hit combo. Ender is a powerful slash with his combat knife.
- Eyedol: A 28-hit combo. Ender is a powerful purple lightning from his club.
- Kilgore: A 29-hit combo. Ender creates an overheat explosion.
- Shin Hisako: A 27-hit combo. Ender is a ninja-style slash with her Katana.
- Eagle: A 25-hit combo, Ender fires a huge Eagle arrow with his bow.
List of Stage Ultras
Killer Instinct (1994)
- Chicago Rooftop: The victor knocks the opponent off of the rooftop, sending them careening down into the street below where they smash into a flashy-looking car and utterly destroy it. In the SNES version, the opponent lands on the car and bounces onto the ground instead.
- Castle Rooftop: The victor knocks the opponent off of the rooftop, sending them careening down below and crashing through the castle's bridge and into the moat of murky water. In the SNES version, the opponent lands on the bridge and bounces into the moat instead.
- Desert Rooftop: The victor knocks the opponent off of the rooftop, sending them careening down into the large pool of lava surrounding the building. In the SNES version, the opponent simply lands in the dunes of sand surrounding the building instead.
- Sky: The victor knocks the opponent off of the platform, sending them careening down the clouds into a desert below, where the impact leaves a cartoony person-shaped hole in the ground.
Killer Instinct 2
- Bridge: The victor knocks the opponent off the bridge, sending them careening down through a waterfall and into the depths of the waters of the lake below.
- Dojo: The victor knocks the opponent off the arena, sending them careening down the impossibly high mountain where the fight takes place. They bounce off the side of the mountain as they fall before landing on a large and fairly spiky-looking tree, though the view is obscured.
- Helipad: The victor knocks the opponent off the helipad, sending them careening into the darkness of the bottomless pit below.
- Ship: The victor knocks the opponent off the ship and overboard, sending them careening into the depths of the waters of the sea.
- Stonehenge: The victor knocks the opponent into the background, sending them careening into the fiery pit at the center of the altar and incinerating them as they fall.
- Castle: The victor knocks the opponent flailing backwards, where they fall into an old unused well and careen into the darkness of the bottomless pit.
- Dungeon: The victor knocks the opponent off the arena, sending them careening into the darkness of the bottomless pit below. Gargos must be finished off this way, but other characters can also suffer this fate.
- Sky: The secret Sky stage returns in KI2, although this time, the opponent is sent careening down what appears a highway intersection of a town or city to their demise. In KI Gold, the opponent is simply knocked off the clouds where they hit the ground offscreen.
Killer Instinct Gold
- Street: The victor knocks the opponent towards the train tracks where, before they can even hit the ground, the train comes and fatally bounces them offscreen.
Killer Instinct (2013)
- "Wrecked" (or "#Rekt") - Downtown Demolition: The victor launches the opponent up into the air, where they are smashed by a wrecking ball haphazardly swinging through the air. They soar into the distance, smashing into a large "TJ COMBO" sign and exploding into a shower of sparks.
- "Banished" - Forbidden Archive: The victor launches the opponent up into the air, where they are bashed by five of the artifacts flying around the chaotic chamber. The last artifact knocks them towards the portal in the background, which slowly sucks them in and then disappears. The spellbook that opened the portal then slowly falls back onto its podium and closes its pages decisively.
- "Devastated" - Forgotten Grotto: The victor knocks the opponent into the line of sight of a large bronze golem in the background. The golem shoots a beam at the opponent, which slowly turns them to stone as they struggle to escape. After the opponent has been completely petrified, the stone turns to dust, dissipating in the wind.
- "Buried" - Village of Whispers: The victor knocks the opponent across the stage. Then, a mass of the ghostly arms appears from the ground and grabs the opponent, dragging them into the depths and disappearing. Afterwards, the opponent pops out of the ground for a final moment before the victor strikes them back into the depths for good.
- "Knockoff" - The Pinnacle: The victor knocks the opponent through the large glass window behind them, sending them careening down among shards of broken glass. The opponent crashes into a large skylight far below shaped like the Ultratech logo, exploding into a shower of sparks. The Ultra is titled "Knockoff" as a reference to the classic Stage Ultras from the first two Killer Instinct games.
- "Cratered" - Arena of Judgement: The victor knocks their opponent onto the ground, just as a Scarab tank bursts through the wall. As they slowly lift themselves up, an out-of-control Banshee falls from the sky in a tailspin through the hole opened by the Scarab. The opponent turns to face the sounds of destruction just in time to see the Banshee hit the ground at an angle, flip up into the air, and land on top of them.
- Exhibition of Killer Instinct (1994) Ultra Combos
- Exhibition of Killer Instinct (2013) Ultra Combos
- Exhibition of all Stage Ultras on the Village of Whispers stage (KI 2013)