Killer Instinct Wiki

Now I go along with the law.

— Thunder's intro quote

Thunder (real name hinmatoom, formerly known in the original universe as Chief Thunder) is a traditional Native American Nez Percé tribal warrior, and a playable character in both Killer Instinct (1994) and Killer Instinct (2013). He is the older brother of Eagle.



In the original Killer Instinct (1994), Thunder appears as a large, red-skinned Native American who is bare-chested and wears a pair of camo pants, green boots and gray gloves. He has black warpaint around his eyes, black tattoo lines along his shoulders, a shaved head with a feather mohawk headpiece and ear piercings. He carries two tomahawks in battle.

In Killer Instinct (2013), Thunder received a significant overhaul along with a more accurate Nez Percé tribal identity. Still bare-chested, but no longer wearing gloves and lacking his original mohawk, he now has warpaint done in the style of a crow, with white paint adorning his hands and upper arms, along with parts of his face and neck. His face is covered in black, yellow, and white warpaint, almost completely obscuring its skin. He wears a feathered war bonnet and a Nez Percé bear claw necklace, desert-colored pants with two interlocked belts, shin-guards, and combat boots. Thunder's tomahawks now are handmade and more traditional compared to his original ones.

Traditional warrior of the Nez Percé

Thunder's "retro costume" wears a black leather vest with several logo patches such as KI, Rareware and Route 66 and also has large Killer Instinct logo at the back, he wears blue jeans and a brown shoes. He has brown hair braided in ponytail and a blue bandana.

In his Legend of Thunder costume, he received a more traditional look (contrasting his 2013 default outfit) that truly befits Thunder's Nez Percé tribal identity.[1] He wears brown buckskin pants with a color pallete of pink and green geometric patterns at each side, a gray leather belt with a red buckle, a red loincloth with white patterns below and a pair of brown shoes. He also wears two leather arm braces and a stone necklace. His headdress is removed, so he now sports a long pompadour hairstyle with braids (which he had in his default appearance) and has black warface paint only around his eyes similar to the first game. His pair of tomahawks now have pointy tips.[2]


Tormented by the death of his brother, Thunder is an honorable warrior who respects tradition and fights from his heart.

— Thunder's story mode description

Thunder is a man of loyal heart who remains devoted to his family and his heritage, easily seen in his traditional Nez Percé battle attire. He mainly speaks in his native language of Niimi'ipuutímt out of preference, though he does know English. His main goal is to find his brother tipyeléhne, also known as Eagle, who was kidnapped by Ultratech years ago. Thunder has learned from Orchid that Eagle was used in the creation of the Fulgore Mk. III, and since then he has fought against Ultratech so that he may find the Mk. III prototype and hopefully his brother as well. Thunder also maintains a strong bond with Aganos, since he was responsible for freeing the golem from Ultratech’s control and both warriors are seeking people of great importance to them. The two have traveled together ever since their first encounter.


Thunder is a huge and brutal fighter who has derived most of his fighting style from street fights that occurred on the reserve he grew up on in Idaho, as well as his old football days. He wields his tribe's traditional tomahawks with power and grace. Due to his connection with his raven weyekin he has limited control over lightning, being able to charge his tomahawks or even his own body or head with electricity. His weyekin also allows him to pass through solids by surrounding him with ghostly ravens. In the original Killer Instinct, he could also throw phoenix-shaped fireballs from his tomahawks.

Killer Instinct[]

Thunder's original appearance in Killer Instinct (1994)

hinmatoom's retro costume in Killer Instinct (2013)


Mystical defender of Native Americans. Thunder enters the contest in order to uncover the mystery surrounding his brother's disappearance in the previous year's tournament.

Extended Story[]

Long months have passed since the previous year's Ultratech tournament, and despite the wide-ranging searches of his tribe's supernatural phoenix allies, the Chief's beloved but overambitious younger brother has failed to return in either triumph or defeat. After much agonising over the matter, and to great protest from his tribesfolk, Thunder decides that he must suspect the worst concerning Eagle's fate, and pacifies his people by nominating himself as avenger. The Chief has no dreams of glory, taking up Ultratech's challenge with nothing but vengeance and a primal justice in mind.


After discovering the fate of his brother, Thunder contemplates the future and mourns the loss of Eagle but, with his death avenged, the soul of Eagle can finally rest in peace forever. Or can it.....?


Main article: Canyon

Killer Instinct (2013)[]

Thunder's new appearance for KI (2013)


Unable to let go of his grief and consumed by the mysteries that still surround the loss of his brother Eagle, hinmatoom (Thunder) strikes an accord with an unfamiliar figure in exchange for recovering Eagle's remains so that he can be given a traditional burial and both can find peace.

Extended Story[]

Main article: Murder of Crows


Spare Orchid, ULTRA Fulgore: hinmatoom's victories have not filled the grave on Devil's Throne. His brother's spirit will never rest until his body returns home. Grieving and lost, hinmatoom resolves to "walk the Path" of Eagle, knowing it will lead to answers, or death. Thunder will be content either way.

Spare Fulgore, ULTRA Orchid: A competitor in the first Ultratech tournament, Orchid knows what became for hinmatoom's brother. In defeat she sees a chance to turn hinmatoom into an ally, revealing the truth of Eagle's remains. "There are no remains. There is no body, because Eagle is not dead."

ULTRA Orchid and Fulgore: Eagle's murder was blamed on a 600-year-old immortal, but he was not dead. Unable to create an artificial intelligence equal to a human fighter, Ultratech sought a "pure fighting spirit" upon which to base a new AI. Ultratech has plundered Eagle's mind to create the ultimate fighter.


Chapter 4 — Conflux:

Main article: Conflux

Shadow Lords[]

Info to be added...


Thunder's new stage of Devil's Landing in Killer Instinct (2013)

Main article: Devil's Landing

Similar to the Canyon Bridge stage (KI).

When an Ultra Combo is being performed on this stage, a rain storm first begins, then lightning starts to strike, and a massive tornado will form in the background.

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


qe’ciyéw’yew’! (Thank you for the battle!)

— Thunder's victory quote in KI 2013 (pronounced as Kat-see-yeow-yeow)

náqc, lepít, mitát! (One, two, three!)

— Thunder when performing his Triplax move

The crows will feast on this thing from another land.

— Thunder to a Mimic in Shadow Lords

Its spirit stinks.

— Thunder referring to Omen during the events of Shadow Lords

I will not speak to a body that possesses no soul!

— Thunder rebuking ARIA during Shadow Lords


Killer Instinct (1994)

Killer Instinct (2013)

Killer Instinct Comics


  • When reimagining Chief Thunder for Killer Instinct (2013), Microsoft Studios contacted a member of the Nez Percé tribe, Josiah "Black Eagle" Pinkham, to evaluate the authenticity of the character's new design. Pinkham spent a day with the KI team and detailed the real-life culture of the Nez Percé to them, such as how a traditional warrior would celebrate the defeat of an opponent. Pinkham suggested they make Thunder "culturally heroic". Thunder's design & background story for KI 2013 were based on these interactions.
    • Other real-life Nez Percé members, language program coordinator Thomas "tátlo" Gregory and composer/singer Anthony "toyáaxnin" Smith, were responsible for translating Thunder's native dialogue and also performed the vocals heard in his new 2013 theme respectively.
  • Thunder's weyekin (or "spirit guide") is the crow, a creature which is considered to be a harbinger of good luck in the mythology of many Native American tribes.
  • Chief Thunder's real name, "hinmatoom", was first revealed in Killer Instinct (2013).
    • A small goof is that his official 2013 theme composed by Mick Gordon was incorrectly titled "Hinnamatoom".
    • Another goof is in his official 2013 backstory, "Murder of Crows", where the name was misspelled as "Hinmatoon".
  • Contrary to popular belief, the phoenix isn't a creature belonging to Native American culture. Rather, it is usually associated with Sumerian, Egyptian, and Christian mythology & symbolism. There is however a creature in Aboriginal myth known as the Thunderbird, which is said to be so massive in size that its beating wings create the rolling sound of thunder. Thunder's Instinct Mode, Ultra Combo, Ultimate Combo and Devil's Landing stage all involve either lightning, rain, or gales, suggesting he has a spiritual connection to one of these powerful legendary creatures.
    • Interestingly, Native American folklore relates that the Thunderbird was often accompanied by lesser spirits which took on the form of falcons or eagles. Thunder's younger brother, Eagle, is a minor character in the KI franchise and has his namesake as his weyekin.
  • In Killer Instinct (2013), Thunder is the only character who hasn't been given his classic KI retro outfit, which is met with controversy among fans. This is supposedly due to his appearance from the original Killer Instinct being considered too stereotypical a representation of Native American culture. However, he can still be customized to look closely like his previous KI appearance.
  • During his Ultimate in Killer Instinct (2013), some big characters like Aganos, General RAAM, Gargos, Glacius, Tusk, Arbiter and Eyedol appear shorter than him.
  • On June 14th 2019, Mortal Kombat 11 director Ed Boon teased the possibility that the MK character of Nightwolf might be featuring a skin or costume based on Thunder.


External links[]