Def Jam is a 3D video game series published by EA.The first game, Def Jam Vendetta, was developed by AKI Corporation (now Syn Sophia; known for WWF No Mercy and other wrestling games in the West). Released in 2003 for the Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2, the concept for the game is a combination of professional wrestling and hip hop. In the game, the player has to pick from four different characters to use in the story mode. In the story, the protagonist's injured friend Manny calls them to ask that they take his place in an underground street fight, and to help him pay a debt to the underworld boss D-Mob. In the end, after they've beaten all of the other fighters, the protagonist faces off against D-Mob himself. Upon defeating him, they leave with their girlfriend and the ending sets up for the sequel.The sequel, Fight for NY, developed by AKI again, picks up immediately after the first game. D-Mob has just been arrested and is being brought in to police custody when the car transporting him gets broadsided by an SUV. The player plays as the SUV's driver, a fighter looking to make it big in the fight circuit, and who plans to use the rescue of D-Mob from police custody as the big break he needs. However, after barely any time as one of D-Mob's fighters, the protagonist finds out that D-Mob's criminal empire and his hold over New York has been weakened, allowing another syndicate led by Crow to challenge his for control of New York. The outcome of this Mob War is going to rest on the the protagonist's shoulders...Unlike the four pre-set characters in the first game, the player is allowed to create their own character. The player can also choose between several voice typesnote Except on the GameCube version, where there is only one voice type available due to the lower file space of the console's minidisc format as well, and can even choose their own fighting style. Also, while Vendetta is a wrestling game, Fight for NY gives much more leeway and balance to other fighting styles and techniques, making it a fighting game. It is also a lot more brutal. A lot more.Following that was Def Jam: Icon developed by EA Chicago, who were the creators of an entirely different series: Fight Night. Rather than expanding on the formula from the previous games, they tried to make it more like a boxing game with rappers in it, which resulted in Something Completely Different from the rest of the series. While Icon ended up being mediocre at best, when compared to the previous entries in the series, it was a severe drop in quality, and thus sunk EA Chicago completely.Without hold of the license, the future of the Def Jam series as a fighter is questionable at best. Def Jam Rapstar was released on October 5, 2010. Published by Konami, Rapstar is a more of a karaoke style game. And then it caused legal trouble. Lots of it.This series provides examples of:
Art Shift: The mild cartoony vibe of Vendetta was ditched in the sequel. Icon stays realistic but implements environment animations that goes even further down the cartoony road, bordering on surreal for an overall style very reminiscent of a music video.
As Himself: Most characters, such as Ludacris, Sean Paul and Flava Flav play fictional, street fighting versions of themselves. Some of the more important story-related characters have aliases given to them. For example, Method Man is Blaze, Redman is Doc, Fat Joe is Crack, Busta Rhymes is Magic and Snoop Dogg is Crow.
Black and Grey Morality: D-Mob and the player's character aren't the best people around in Fight for NY. Crow is worse.
Bling of War: Fight for NY allows and recommends that the player spend their earnings on pimping out their character with different hairstyles, tattoos, clothing, and jewelry. Street cred is everything, after all.
Bonus Boss: After completing the story in Fight for NY, D-Mob himself challenges the player to a one on one fight. No publicity, no spectators, just the player and him in the middle of a scrapyard.
Cherry Tapping: Capone's Blazin' Move sees him land a few punches on his opponent, pause, and then tip them over.
Notably, cherry tapping doesn't work in the real fights in Fight for NY. The player can knock them down to a sliver of health that way, but they will keep getting up until the player use one of the designated finishers to put them down for good.
"I'ma tear out your eyes and stick 'em on your knees and call ya Kneesy!"
"I'ma take your tongue out, and lick my ass with it!"
Dance Battler: Any character with the "Capoeira" variation of the Martial Arts fighting style, such as Crazy Legs and Sean Paul.
Darker and Edgier: In some ways, Fight for NY is. No more rings (well, a couple of stages are still set in rings) and the ability to use weapons as well as a darker storyline. The game is rated M, unlike Vendetta, and features liberal swearing.
Face-Heel Turn: Manny reluctantly does this in Vendetta, but is conflicted and later takes a bullet for the player. In Fight for NY, the player has to do this due to Crow kidnapping their girlfriend. This is played straight with Sticky.
From Nobody to Nightmare: This is basically the player character's journey in Fight for NY. The player start off as someone who couldn't even get into the Fight Clubbing circuit. They first become D-Mob's brute, then The Dragon, and then a superhuman fighting machine who singlehandedly swings the balance of power between syndicates.
Gondor Calls for Aid: D-Mob's in prison. Blaze's shot and crippled. The protagonist just beat the everliving shit out of every one of D-Mob's soldiers. The last-ditch, desperate response? "We went outside the family, called in a heavy hitter from Baltimore." It almost works.
Heel Less Heel Turn: D-Mob is a criminal mastermind, as said per Black and Grey Morality above. However, his talk of honor and respect in the second game is a complete 180 from his antics in the first game, where he blackmails Manny into betraying the protagonist and tries to shoot the protagonist in front of a crowd full of witnesses and spectators. This is lampshaded in the beginning of Fight for NY, when one of the first things Blaze does when D-Mob returns is to call him out on it, pointing out that, because he tried to rule with respect, his antics in Vendetta caused a lot of trouble, allowing Crow to try to muscle in on his territory and setting the whole plot of the game in motion.
Magic and Crow defect from Crow's crew after beating them with Blaze.
Heroic Mime: Whichever character the player pick's in Vendetta. Averted in Fight for NY and Icon, where the player's character has a sizeable speaking role.
I Have Your Wife: "What? You don't recognize your girl's hair when you see it?" This line is amusing if the player picked the blonde Carmen Electra or the red-haired Lil Kim, since the lock of hair Crow taunts them with is always black.
Ironic Echo: "Looks like you got yourself a morale issue there, brother."
It's Going Down: Fight for NY has the player fighting an opponent in a garage, where he has parked right next to their car. Both players can win the fight by destroying their opponents' SUV. How? By beating their opponent's limp body into his own vehicle.
It's Up to You: Seriously, in Fight for NY, the player seem to be the only fighter D-Mob has who actually wins fights. At one point, Doc claims to be whipping plenty of ass, but the player is still the one who has to win every single club back from Crow.
Left Hanging: Because Fight for NY birthed an entirely different sequel and Icon never birthed any sequels at all, their final cutscenes have raised a couple of unanswered questions.
In Fight for NY, did the girlfriend actually die or just pass out from smoke inhalation? Did the protagonist escape the police, or did he get arrested? Were the bonus fights canonical?
In Icon, was that the President of the United States, or a record company president, or someone else entirely? Why does he want to keep tabs on your character? Who is the mole he's referring to?
Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: In the second game, D-Mob wants to play by his street code of honor and keep his hold on New York through Fight Clubbing victories. Crow is happy to subvert this and play dirty.
Life Meter: Subverted. It's actually more of an endurance meter. Depleting it actually does not defeat the enemy, it just makes him weaker. Once he's at the danger zone, the player needs to do a finishing move, a powerful attack, a weapon strike, or something else unorthodox in order to actually KO him.
Lighter and Softer: Icon, to the rest of the series. The moves are simple punches and kicks instead of the brutal grapples, the story revolves around helping a media company reach the top instead of gang wars, and none of the environmental finishers apparently kill people (judging by their appearances in cutscenes).
Lightning Bruiser: The player's created fighter can become this, if they'd like. Crow is definitely one.
Loser Leaves Town: D-Mob asks Crow what will happen to the loser of an upcoming bout. Crow replies, "pshh, I don't know...loser goes to Jersey."
Made of Iron: While fighting games have never been known for gentle taps and hugs, half of the environmental attacks and Blazin' Moves would kill (or at least severely maim) people in real life. In-game, characters can soak up to ten or more in a row.
In Icon, the player's character gets shot in the face. What does Method Man say? "Thug it out".
He can talk. In Fight for NY, Method Man gets shot and crippled about a third of the way through the game, then takes a two-man pounding with a bat near the end and still gets up to join the fight with Crack and Magic and take part in the big battle royal later.
My Girl Is a Slut: One of the potential girlfriends in Fight for NY is Kimora Lee, the ex-wife of Def Jam founder Russell Simmons.
My God, What Have I Done?: In Fight for NY, the protagonist is likely to look rather taken aback after a match in the subway station.
Not Worth Killing: In Fight for NY, the protagonist tells Crow this after Magic hands him the gun.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Near the very end of Fight for NY, there's a massive showdown between D-Mob's crew and some allies the player has won along the way and Crow's gang. It happens offscreen so that the player can go chase after Crow in his hideout instead.
Oh, Crap: Get thrown in front of the train, and this will be the last expression on that character's face.
Practical Taunt: Taunting builds up your spirit and if you want to use one of your Blazin' Moves, you'll have to taunt one more time once the meter is full in order to go into Blazin' mode.
Put on a Bus: Many of the original characters and some of the rappers in Vendetta did not return in Fight for NY. In Icon, it's everybody except for Method Man, Redman and Ludacris.
The Quiet One: In Vendetta, Briggs only says "Yeah!" or "Woo!" during one of his Blazin' Taunts.
Ring of Fire: The fight with Sticky while trying to rescue the player's girlfriend. Also, there is a special gametype the player can choose that involves this.
Ring Out: In Fight for NY, there are a few stages which allow the player to do this, but they have to break the barriers surrounding them before doing it. Also, it is available as a regular gametype.
Sprint Meter: In the second game, the meter that controls the player's Blazin' Moves also controls how long they can run for.
Stuffed In The Fridge: The player's girlfriend in Fight for NY, though it isn't clear if she's outright dead.
Theme Music Power-Up: Icon builds its entire fighting engine on this. Whomever is winning the fight has their chosen music as the background, which gives them tremendous power to manipulate the environment of the fight.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: In the second game, the player had to use stronger attacks to actually KO their enemies, which can range from weapons, to Blazin' Moves, to style-specific power moves. For example, wrestlers need to perform heavy grapples while martial artists have to perform an attack off a wall.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: Throwing opponents like Carmen Electra or, well... anyone in front of the train in the subway tunnel. Really now, most of the special match variants count, where you can throw people into their own cars, burning buildings and windows.
Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: D-Mob provides a justification for not shooting Crow when Sticky suggests this. Namely, it would bring the cops down on their heads to get guns involved. He should know because this is what he did in Vendetta.
Crow tells Magic to do this when he hesitates to shoot the protagonist. This leads to Magic having his Heel-Face Turn.
You and What Army?: Crow invokes this when the protagonist shows up to challenge him. When Blaze shows up, Crow is not impressed. When all of the protagonist's allies shows up as well, Crow is visibly stunned. This is further exemplified when Crack and WC leaves Crow's crew to help the protagonist.