Video Game / Def Jam Series

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Method Man is not having a good day.

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 western countries). Released in 2003 for the Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2, the concept for the game is a combination of professional wrestling and hip hop, featuring several rappers (as the name suggests, mostly from Def Jam Recordings during Russel Simmons' rule) instead of professional wrestlers. 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, who happens to be hooked up with the protagonist's old flame. 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 (Snoop Dogg) 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 able to create their own character. The player can also choose between several voice typesnote  and their own fighting style, which is fairly individual to the characters.note  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:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: In Fight for NY, if the player character fails to claim their girlfriend from Nyne, they'll get Shaniqua instead.
  • 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 of the fighters 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, Sticky Fingaz is Sticky, and Snoop Dogg is Crow. Danny Trejo simply goes by his last name.
  • Ass Kicks You: Certain Blazin' Moves involve landing butt-first into the enemy's spine.note  In all cases, the cracking of bones only makes it more painful.
  • Asshole Victim: Trejo, Sticky, and Crow all reach their deserved ends of Fight for NY.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: In Fight for NY, Crow is easily one of the most difficult characters in the game. D-Mob is not.
  • Badass Normal: All the fighters. Henry Rollins is especially notable, as he is the only fighter in Fight for NY that has four styles.
  • Bald Black Leader Guy: D-Mob is the leader of a gang.
  • Battle Rapping: Rapstar invokes this with their "Freestyle Mode", where a player can pick any beat and drop anything they want on it. The fighting games avert this for obvious reasons.
  • Berserk Button: For the player character of Fight for NY, it's messing with his girlfriend. It's enough that even when he's being blackmailed with her life, he's still demanding her location before he eventually snaps and beats the information out of Magic.
  • Big Applesauce: The first two games are set in New York.
  • 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.
  • Boss Rush: In Fight for NY's story mode, the final set of fights include going against Doc, Crack and Magic (with an injured Blaze), Sticky in an Inferno Match, and finally, Crow in a Window Match (with the player injured).
  • Breakable Weapons: Pretty much every weapon in Fight for NY.
  • Car Fu: One fighting area in Fight for NY takes place on a subway platform with the train running through at regular intevals. If the player throws their opponent onto the tracks at just the right time, the last thing the player sees of them is the looks of horror on their faces.
  • Cat Fight: While this frequently happens in Vendetta, it only happens once in Fight for NY. In each game, the player controls the girlfriend they want to move on with.
  • Character Development: At the start of Fight for NY, the player character is a seemingly down on his luck thug who saves D-Mob so he can join the latter's crew apparently for his own ambitions. Once the player character becomes a member, he gradually learns the meaning of loyality and respect from D-Mob as well as a sense of comradely and friendship from the crew.
  • Characterization Marches On: D-Mob's personality in Fight for NY is completely different compared to Vendetta.
  • 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.
  • Chewing the Scenery: A lot of the voice actors clearly had way too much fun:
    Bonecrusher: "You will be destroyed! YOU WILL BE! DESTROYED! AAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
    David Banner: "Kehhehhehhehheh! You wouldn't like me when I'm...ANGRY, BITCH!"
    Redman: "I'm-a rip your tongue out, and lick my AAAAAASS wit' it!"
    Flavor Flav: "Hey hey hey hey! Yo yo, like this an' like that an' like this an' like that...an', uh...like this? Yeah!"
    Ice-T: You're nothin' but a punk... your daddy's a punk... and your momma's a bitch!
  • Cock Fight: The first dates of the player character in Fight for NY and his selected girlfriend are essentially this in a nutshell. When the player character first meets the girl, he ends up having to fight someone who claims dibs on her. There later comes a genderbent version, where two girls will fight over the player character as well in pretty much the same situation.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Doc provides some hilarious ones, but they're merely the best out of an entire game containing them:
    "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: Fight for NY. The game features weapons and a darker storyline. Furthermore, it's rated M, and unlike Vendetta, features liberal swearing.
  • Demoted to Extra: Manny, Snowman, House, and Pockets in Fight for NY.
  • Dirty Cop: In Icon, halfway through, the player meets a smart-mouthed cop and a silent cop. They will shoot the player.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Discussed. D-Mob explains that it's better to run ones gang through respect rather than fear as Crow does, even using the analogy of a beaten dog turning against its abusive owner. Sure enough, many of Crow's surviving crew abandon him.
  • Drunken Boxing: It is available to the player depending on which fighting styles they choose. Also, Flavor Flav has the style.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: D-Mob becomes a poster child for this in the second game.
  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • Manny reluctantly does this in Vendetta, but is conflicted and later takes a bullet for the player.
    • Fight for NY:
      • This is played straight with Sticky when he joins Crow's crew out of jealousy.
      • The player character has to do this due to Crow kidnapping his girlfriend.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: This is basically the player character's journey in Fight for NY. He starts off as someone who couldn't even get into the Fight Clubbing circuit. He first become D-Mob's brute, then The Dragon, and then a superhuman fighting machine who singlehandedly swings the balance of power between syndicates.
  • Fight Clubbing: The entire point of the first two games.
  • Gang Initiation Fight: D-Mob's gang has the player character spar with House before they'll accept him as a member. The whole thing is just there to give the player a tutorial.
  • Gangsterland: The first two games are about gangs and the criminal underworld.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: D-Mob's in prison. Blaze's shot and crippled. The player character 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.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Sticky becomes this concerning the player's character in Fight for NY. This will eventually led to him joining Crow's crew.
  • Groin Attack: Redman's Blazin' Move. Share the Male Pain indeed.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • While D-Mob is a criminal mastermind, his talk of honor and respect in Fight for NY is a complete 180 from his antics in Vendetta, where he blackmails Manny into betraying the protagonist and tries to shoot them 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 (and basically failed) 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.
    • WC, Magic, and Crack defect from Crow's crew after they are defeated by the protagonist and Blaze.
  • Heroic Mime: Whichever character the player picks in Vendetta. This is averted in Fight for NY and Icon, where the player's character has a sizeable speaking role.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Most of the stages that have ring outs as a way of winning the fight involve breaking through a barrier of some kind to make the Ring Out possible. Many a player has set up such a ring out for their opponent, only to suffer a sudden reversal and see a couple of quick hits send them flying through the very hole in the ring that they created.
  • 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.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Practically everyone.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • "Looks like you got yourself a morale issue there, brother."
    • "Goodbye, bitch."
  • It's Going Down: Fight for NY has the player character fighting an opponent in a garage, where he has parked right next to their car. He can win the fight by destroying their opponent's SUV. How? By beating their limp body into their own vehicle.
  • It's Up to You: Seriously, in Fight for NY, the player character 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 character is still the one who has to win every single club back from Crow.
  • Kill It with Fire: This is an option in the Inferno Match.
  • Lethal Joke Character: For all intents and purposes, in Fight for NY, Suspect is this. His appearance is an untextured model of Joe Budden, with the only noticeable difference, aside from the obvious, is the orientation of his ballcap, and his only purpose in the story is to act as a placeholder for the protagonist, since the player hasn't customized their character yet. Suspect also has maxed-out stats and uses the Streetfighting style, which can KO an opponent with a haymaker.
  • 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 player character escape the police, or did he get arrested? Were the bonus fights canonical?
    • In Icon, was that the President of the United States, 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 Fight for NY, 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 does not defeat the opponent, it just makes them weaker. Once they're 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 KO them.
  • 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 character can become this, if they'd like. Crow is definitely one.
  • Limit Break: Blazin' Moves.
  • 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. Furthermore, by the time the player character faces Crow, he'll fight his way through the entire roster, save Blaze, who ends up having his own problems (see below). The entirety of both crews shows up for one last rumble right before the final battle, however, despite the fact that none of them should even be in any realistic condition to fight.
    • 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.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Crow. He eventually forces the player character into working for him.
  • Mob War: The plot of the second game.
  • Monster Clown: Chukklez in Vendetta is trying to be this.
  • 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 player character tells Crow this after Magic hands him the gun. Subverted when Crow grabs the Villain Ball one final time and wounds him In the Back, forcing the latter to kill the former anyway.
  • 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 character has won along the way and Crow's gang. It happens offscreen so that the player character can go chase after Crow in his hideout instead.
  • Oh, Crap!: This the last expression on a character's face when they are thrown in front of the train.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: In Fight for NY, many of the opponents are built around power. Increase your speed every chance you get and you can run rings around them.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The Player Character, no matter how he's put together, is a smart aleck hooligan with a sharp tongue that'll make himself heard before, during, and after fights. When Crow blackmails him into fighting against D-Mob's crew by kidnapping his girlfriend, he comes in quiet and goes away without a word, looking grim all the while.
  • 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.
  • Reality Ensues: Fight for NY has a lot of big, obvious breaks from reality, including superhuman fighters who can shrug off getting hit with metal pipes, getting their head repeatedly smashed into walls, holds and takedowns that are often absurd and would almost certainly be lethal or crippling in real life. However, there's one thing that definitely falls in line with reality: if a 2 on 2 team fight becomes a 2 on 1, it's almost impossible for the one person to pull out the victory.
  • Regional Bonus: The Japanese version of Vendetta features two new Japanese rappers, Dabo and S-Word.
  • Regretful Traitor:
    • In Vendetta, Manny will feel bad for betraying you due to his debt to D-Mob, and eventually take a bullet to make amends.
    • The player character will be this in Fight for NY, as he find himself Trapped in Villainy/Forced into Evil once Crow kidnaps his girlfriend. The player character, normally a smart mouthed, boastful, and crude hooligan will suddenly turn into The Quiet One and fight without saying a word, with his body language making it clear that he hates what he's being forced to do.
  • Ring of Fire: The fight with Sticky while trying to rescue the player character'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.
  • Rival Turned Evil: Sticky. He joins Crow's crew after D-Mob chooses the player character to fight Crack.
  • Rubber Band A.I.: Vendetta and Fight for NY are notorious for this.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Crack, WC, and Magic do this to Crow.
  • Shameless Self-Promoter: In Icon, one of the player's men will get a hankering for "those fly-ass EA games". EA Chicago shut down due to the game's lack of success.
  • Skyward Scream: Many fighters do this during their Blazin' Taunt in Fight For NY.
  • Smug Snake: Crow, through and through. Being Snoop Dogg helps.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Subverted with the player character of Fight for NY. For all their cockiness and brutality, he genuinely care about their girlfriend and value the friendship and loyalty of his companions.
  • So Happy Together: The player character and his girlfriend in Fight for NY, are a fairly happy couple with the girlfriend being supportive and encouraging of the player character and he is shown to care deeply about her. So of course, Crow decides to use her as leverage against the before trying to kill them both.
  • Spiritual Successor: Vendetta uses the engine of AKI's N64 wrestling games with very few modifications. There's more difference between Vendetta and Fight for NY than there is between No Mercy and Vendetta, though even Fight for NY has a lot of familiar animations.note 
  • Sprint Meter: In Fight for NY, the meter that controls the player's Blazin' Moves also controls how long they can run for.
  • Stuffed in the Fridge: The player character'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 Fight for NY, the player has to use stronger attacks to actually KO their opponent, 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.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!:
    Trejo: (while pointing a gun at you) "Say goodbye, bitch." *click*
  • Thrown Through A Window: There's a type of match and one specific setting in the story mode where it can happen. It's also by far the easiest way to defeat Crow.
  • Trash Talk: More than a little. Actually, more than a lot.
  • True Companions: In Fight for NY, the player character clearly values the loyalty of his friends and is reluctant in betraying them, despite effectively having their friendships and reputation tarnished after being blackmailed by Crow. This comes to a head when the player character helps save his last friend Blaze after being ordered to kill him. Afterwards, all of the player character's old friends and allies turn up to help fight Crow's crew, assuring him that they have his back.
  • Undying Loyalty: The player character in Fight for NY is this to D-Mob, his crew and his girlfriend. This gets tested when Crow abducts said girlfriend and blackmails him with her life and forcing him to fight against D-Mob's crew. Even then the player character is reluctant in doing so and only doing so to save his girlfriend's life, ultimately refusing when the time comes to execute one of his friends. This in turn gets him to rally D-Mob's crew against Crow's once the latters actions are revealed.
  • The Unintelligible: Sean Paul and Elephant Man.
  • Updated Re-release: Fight for NY was re-released on the PlayStation Portable as Def Jam: Fight for NY: The Takeover, which includes new moves, new venues, and a staggering 28 extra characters. Considering that Fight for NY is the best game in the series and the PSP makes it portable, few are complaining.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Most of the special match variants in Fight for NY count, where you can throw people into their own cars, a ring of fire, and out of windows.
  • Villain Protagonist: For all intents and purposes, the player's character in Fight for NY.
  • 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 player character. This leads to Magic having his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Wretched Hive: The parts of the city where the Fight Clubbing takes place, with maybe one or two exceptions.
  • You and What Army?: Crow invokes this when the player character shows up to challenge him. When Blaze shows up, Crow is not impressed. When all of the player character'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 player character.
  • You Can Barely Stand: Crow does this to the player character just before the showdown with him.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Played for Drama. In Fight for NY, Crow forces the player character to fight for his crew and take over New York's underbelly by keeping his girlfriend hostage with the constant threat of killing her. After a number of jobs for Crow, the player character learns that he was planning to kill her anyways.

<<You're stalling. Time is money, let's go.>>

Alternative Title(s): Def Jam Fight For NY

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