The hip-hop world is a harsh place. These days it's not enough to have lyrical dexterity, big record deals, thousands of fans and mountains of cash - if you want to earn respect you're going to have to fight for it. In underground venues across the US, top Def Jam stars mix it up with down 'n' dirty brawlers in an attempt to prove that they're at the top of their game for a reason. Combining the finest elements of pro wrestling and beat 'em up titles, Def Jam Vendetta challenges you to test your might against hip-hop heavyweights such as Method Man, Ludacris, DMX, Ghostface Killah and Keith Murray. They may lead glamorous lifestyles in the public eye, but these rhyme fiends prefer to keep their brawls strictly low-key, so expect to grapple in venues that are a far cry from huge concert arenas, such as private clubs and warehouses. Back all of this highly illegal, no-holds barred action up with a soundtrack that features some of Def Jam's finest artists and you have yourself the greatest - and most extreme - hip-hop-influenced PS2 game yet.
As the story goes, you've been out of the New York fight circuit ever since main man D-Mob showed you who was boss three years ago. Trouble is, your good friend Manny has accumulated a few too many debts at D-Mob's expense and now, after a busted limb renders him incapable of brawling, he needs your help to raise the cash. Choosing from four fictional scrappers coming out of retirement, you must climb the Def Jam ladder, taking on all-comers in order to earn dollars, boost your abilities and unlock dozens of new characters. Show some in-ring prowess and you'll also attract interest from several fly honeys who are more than willing to catfight for your affections.
Any fighter you defeat in Story will be added to the roster of brawlers in the other standard play modes - Single, Tag Team, Free-4-All (four players, last man standing wins) and Handicap (one-on-two or three battle) - but success don't come easy. You can attempt to use the traditional pinfall and submission method, but if you really want to keep a good rapper down and out for the count, make use of your fighter's spectacularly painful Blazin' techniques for that satisfying KO victory.
Def Jam Vendetta is all about capturing the essence of hip-hop culture. OK, it may not be totally realistic; we doubt that the likes of Redman and Capone enjoy kicking lumps out of each other between albums, but in terms of spirit and attitude it's everything that the Def Jam label and its artists are all about. Gritty graphics, brutal fighting, fresh features and a dope soundtrack - it's all you could ever need to cause a rhythmical ruckus of the highest order. To paraphrase the words of Method Man, Public Enemy and Redman, it's time to bring the pain, fight the power and smash sumthin'. Word.
- Fight as and against famous MCs and DJs, including Ludacris, DMX, Funkmaster Flex and Method Man
- Features classic tracks from many Def Jam artists
- Unique fighting system combines pro wrestling with beat 'em up-style brawling
- Over 1,500 moves