Can I get a why why? Review

Ben Silverman
Def Jam Vendetta Info


  • N/A


  • 1 - 4


  • EA


  • Aki

Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now


  • GameCube
  • PS2


Can I get a why why?

Or even a bling-bling?

That’s obviously the motivating factor behind the marketing machine known as Def

Jam Vendetta. What else could justify a wrestling game featuring the music,

attitude and likenesses of hardcore rappers?

Not that there’s anything inherently

wrong with that. We’ve seen all kinds of wacky marketing gimmickry over the years,

from the deluge of games based on movies to the Army’s free brainwashing

tool to the Gummi Life-Saver catastrophe in Croc

2. Edible mascots Chester

Cheetah and the 7-Up dot

even had games, so why should there be anything wrong with giving some props to

hip-hop’s top rhyme droppers?

you don’t like hip-hop. Def Jam Vendetta is so steeped in contemporary
hip-hop flava that your appreciation of it will definitely be tied to your love
or hatred of the music, making it a tough game to really be objective about.
But I’m an old-school fool, so I’ll try to break down this New Kid like the
O.G. (original gamer) I claim to be.

Def Jam Vendetta is out for both the PS2
and the Gamecube, and there is absolutely no difference between the two aside
from the different controllers. The game was developed by Aki (who have done
a few other wrestling games) under the EA Big umbrella, the same studio that
brought us such sweet gaming crack as the SSX
games and NBA Street. But while
those titles were chock full of interesting gameplay ideas, this one is basically
just a hip-hop version of any decent wrestler.

The gameplay consists of trying to grab your

opponent, perform lots of varied, brutal moves, and then either pin him, KO him

with one of your two specials or weaken one of his limbs enough to make him submit.

Unlike the other EA Big games, there isn’t much in the way of complex trigger


In fact, combos are sort of hard to come by. There are none listed

in the manual; rather, you have to find them yourself by playing the game and

experimenting. Plus, you won’t be able to link more than 3 moves together at any

one time. It’s a little annoying.

The main benefit of pulling off a combo

is that it gives a nice boost to your Momentum Meter. When the meter is ‘Blazin’,

you can grapple your opponent and perform a special move. If you do this while

your opponent’s health is in the ‘Danger’ zone, you’ll score a KO. Though there

are only two per character, the specials are admittedly really, really entertaining.

Watching fictional wrestler Moses grab his opponent over his head and slam him

down so that he’s propped up emulating a cross, after which Moses actually kneels

down and prays to it, is enough to send even the most mild-mannered gamer

to heathen heaven.

The control is done well, particularly the touch-sensitive grappling. Press
lightly for a weak grapple or hard for a strong one, both of which lead to different
moves. If you get the timing down, you can also block punches, kicks and grapples
by using the triggers, which can leave the opponent open or even take them down.

The whole thing works together pretty fluidly, though you’ll find yourself
at times frustrated by the computer’s occasionally uncanny ability to reverse
everything you throw at it. Getting the timing down for some reversals also
seems a little suspect, definitely not as intuitive as the system found in the
DOA series.


there’s more here than just mindless wrestling – there’s a mindless single-player

Story here as well.

Somewhere, sometime, there’s an underground fight club/dance

party scene headed up by a mack named D-Mob, where thugs, hos, b-boys and playas

gather to shake some ass and beat the crap out of each other, which, I suppose,

isn’t so different from a typical MTV

Spring Break special. But you won’t find Madonna or Blink 182 here – it’s

strictly for new school rappers and their legions of adoring fans.

In Story

Mode, you play as one of four preset characters lending a helping hand to Manny,

your tattooed buddy who’s already embedded in the scene. Since Manny busted his

arm, you take his place in the brawl and find that it suits you.

As you progress

through the ranks, you’ll take on 12 Def Jam Recording artists and a slew of fictitious

opponents who cover just about every stereotype under the sun. DMX, Ludacris,

Method Man, Redman and Scarface are just a few of the rappers here, and while

for fans it’s pretty sweet kicking DMX’s ass, it’s a bummer you can’t play as

any of them in the Story mode.

find that with success comes a certain about of female action, since the tough
guy always gets the chicks. You’ll eventually win the affection of a lovely
ho or two, which also nets you a few pictures of her, more of which can be unlocked.
And yes, you testosterone-guided-missiles you, you’ll even get the chance to
fight as your current girl against a rival hoochie. Finally, a next-generation

So that covers respect and bitches, but no hip-hop game would be complete

without a cash money incentive. Winning matches gives you cash – the better you

do, the more you’ll win, with which you can upgrade 6 skills. Or is it skillz?

There are a few other modes here as well, including a 1-4 player Battle, Survival,

a Handicap match and a Tag Team, which doesn’t work very well due to the lack

of a good targeting option. Pretty straightforward stuff, though wrestling fans

will be miffed by the omission of any other kinds of matches. No Ladder matches,

no table matches, no cage matches, no Battle Royales…it just doesn’t hold a

candle to the wrestling competition.

However, once nice inclusion is the ability

to use your User ID in any game mode. If you need more cash to upgrade in the

Story Mode, just bounce over to another mode, win some matches, and spend the

dough back in Story.

Unfortunately, Def Jam drops the mic again by

not providing any sort of Character Creator. You have to take on the Story using

the preset guys and cannot build your own at all. Considering the nice creator

in NBA Street, I think it’s a shame they opted not to do one here as it

would have livened things up, especially since the Story mode is pretty short.

For that matter, the preset characters all go through the same exact story, which

doesn’t do any wonders for the replay value.

But while it should have bitten

the style of other wrestling games in its missing creator, it definitely gets

the party started right with its cool graphics. From the accurate character animation

and the thoroughly professional cut scenes to the smooth textures and realistic

faces, Def Jam has better looks than the pool scene in a Snoop video.

It sounds pretty good too, particularly if you dig Def Jam music. They even threw

in a Public Enemy track, though you won’t find Chuck D. anywhere, which sucks.

And as I said before, how you feel about the music will probably dictate how

you feel about the game as a whole. The mechanics are there and the delivery is

strong, but the subject matter totally drives the game, and if you’re not into

the rappers, the bitches or the ‘tude, then you’ll probably grow tired of it after

a day or two, which is about how long it takes to beat the Story mode. More match

types, different Story modes for the different characters and a player creator

would have really helped out. Still, this is bigger and deffer than I thought

it would be, proving that sometimes it ain’t just about the benjamins, yo.


Looks good
Solid mechanics
Great KO's
No player creator?
Very few match types
Limited replay value
Limited appeal