Killer Instinct Wiki


— Spinal's signature maniacal laugh

Spinal is a reanimated skeleton and the restless remains of an ancient warrior. One of the signature characters of the Killer Instinct franchise, he's been playable in every installment of the series ever since his debut in the original arcade game Killer Instinct (1994). A successful product of Ultratech's cell regeneration experiments, in Killer Instinct (2013) Spinal is a cursed bandit whose soul has become bound to a mysterious artifact known as the Mask of the Ancients.



In Killer Instinct (1994), Spinal was a simple skeleton wielding a curved cutlass and buckler shield, spiked gauntlets on his arms, a red bandanna around his skull and hooped earrings dangling from the spots where his ears should be. He has two, glowing, red orbs for eyes.

In Killer Instinct 2/Gold, the ancient Spinal is virtually identical to the one in the future, though he wears a spiked belt and metallic kilt around his waist as well as the previous items.

In Killer Instinct (2013), Spinal receives a large overhaul to his appearance, accenting the pirate theme of the character. He retains his red bandanna, and now wears scraps of clothing, such as a kilt and gauntlets, while having several ropes wrapped around his body to hold the broken steering wheel of a pirate ship around his back in place, buckled boots on both his feet and a large belt around his waist. He retains his cutlass but has traded his buckler shield in for a larger, seemingly-living, magical shield with the face and tentacles of a kraken adorned on the front, with glowing green runes etched on the sides of it. Initially his eyes were green, but fan outcry caused them to be changed to their traditional red hue.

Ever wonder what spending a few centuries cursed at sea will do to you?

Spinal's retro costume mirrors his original KI1 appearance, though his curved cutlass and his buckle shield has a different design.


An undead pirate with an appetite for mischief, Spinal is often found between the Devil and the deep blue sea.

— Spinal's story mode description

Spinal is a complete maniac, having been driven insane by the wild pull of the Mask of the Ancients over the hundreds (or thousands) of years since his death. He cackles with glee in the midst of battle, enjoying combat to a disturbing extent. He no longer speaks and has a very one-track mind, always pursuing his prized Mask so that he may be granted great powers and freedom. Upon finally locating the artifact and finding it drained of its powers, however, he flies into a rage and begins a global crusade to find the culprit.

Powers & Abilities[]

Spinal is a skilled swordsman, seeming to have retained all of his finesse with a sword & shield from his past life. While he does wield weaponry, he also possesses strange, magical abilities, such as teleportation and manipulation of ghostly skulls and arms. He can also absorb projectiles into his shield, then convert them into his own fiery attacks.

Killer Instinct[]

Spinal's original appearance in Killer Instinct (1994)

Spinal's retro appearance in Killer Instinct (2013), featuring fellow classic character Sabrewulf


Spinal's origin is a closely-guarded secret of Ultratech. A secret branch of the corporation, using a variety of special techniques, have succeeded in reviving an ancient warrior. With only the vaguest memories of his past life, Spinal knows how to do only one thing: fight!


A legendary warrior over 2000 years ago, the thing now known as Spinal has been torn from the peace of death by Ultratech's cell regeneration experiments. Trapped in the new world, he has no choice but to obey orders despite his reluctance, and to make things worse, he begins to suffer tormenting flashbacks to the ancient life he can never quite remember. After the awe and wonder he inspired when first unveiled to the public this year, Spinal finds himself in the shadow of Ultratech's latest creations (Fulgore, Riptor, etc.) and, filled with resentment, he sets out to prove his worth.


Tired of constantly being surrounded by death and destruction, Spinal decides on a career break. Although nominated for an Oscar for his first film, Spinal still has great difficulty finding roles that have meat to them.

Killer Instinct 2[]

Spinal's look in Killer Instinct 2 (1996, arcade)


Although destroyed by Thunder in the present, a younger Spinal still exists in the past. Resurrected by Gargos and forced to serve him, he goes up against the tyrant to win his freedom.

Extended Story[]

He may have been destroyed by Thunder in the present, but back in the past Spinal is still undead and kicking thanks to the necromantic powers of Gargos which have torn him from the grave. A savage warrior and faithful right-hand man to the Warlord in life, Spinal remains a formidable opponent – but now bears a terrible grudge against the being who would deny him the peace of eternal sleep. Filled with resentment, he fights to avenge himself and hopefully, as a result, return to his well-earned rest.


Kill Kim Wu[]

Freed of the chains of slavery, Spinal relishes his freedom. Unable to recover the artifact that summoned him, Spinal contemplates his future. Consultation with his ancestors offers Spinal no guidance. Sadly, he resigns himself to an eternity alone and without purpose.

Don't Kill Kim Wu[]

Freed of the chains of slavery, Spinal relishes his freedom. Unable to recover the artifact that summoned him, Spinal contemplates his future. Lost, he goes to consult with his ancestors. During the ceremony, he learns one important lesson: never leave your enemies alive.

Killer Instinct (2013)[]

Spinal's new appearance for Killer Instinct (2013)

Spinal was revealed on Halloween 2013 at the end of Orchid's trailer, and was set to be available in January 2014 in the launch trailer.


Awakened after centuries, and under the control of an ancient artifact, Spinal’s sole quest is to find the Mask of the Ancients. The relic was used to give him life and bind him to this world. Spinal’s hope is that once it is in his possession, it will grant him freedom.

Extended Story[]

The Quest of the Searing Skull:

Main article: The Quest of the Searing Skull


Spinal in his new Shipwreck Shore background stage for KI (2013)

Main article: Shipwreck Shore

Similar to the Ship stage (KI2)): The shores of sorrow were to be the final resting place of countless vessels that were victims to Spinal and his pursuit across seven seas to regain of some artifact of power. The Shipwreck Cove is a graveyard of souls and broken hulls that have accumulated over the years and its new home of creatures and kraken of the waves.

During an Ultra Combo, a kraken's tentacles will grab the wrecked ship in the background, then smash it in half, and drags it into the depths of the wasted ocean.

Trivia: During the slow music due to characters not moving, his remixed classic theme, "Ya Ha Haa" will play.


Spare Sabrewulf, ULTRA Fulgore:

Though Sabrewulf manages to escape, Spinal succeeds in recovering the Mask of the Ancients. Returning to his ancient lair, Spinal destroys the mask, freeing his soul forever. Peace washes over Spinal, and he joins his ghostly crew, vanishing with the outgoing tide.

Spare Fulgore, ULTRA Sabrewulf:

It's all relative

Spinal defeats Sabrewulf, only to discover control of his body is no longer his own. He struggles to break free, but is powerless against an unseen force, a chilling voice gloats, "An immortal warrior? I do believe I'll have a good use for you..."

ULTRA Both Sabrewulf and Fulgore:

Triumphant against all who stood in his way of his quest for freedom, Spinal's prize is finally within reach. Savoring his victories, eternal rest had lost much of its appeal. Spinal decides there will be enough time for peace--for now, wanderlust, adventure, and freedom are enough.


Killer Instinct (2013)[]

External links[]