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Category: Games
Monday, May 23rd, 2005 @ 02:41 pm
Posted By Brent

Before I get into this let me explain something to you: I am not a fan of hip hop. Certainly there are a few songs from the scene I like, but in all I'm not sure how a genre of music that basically consists of someone talking about how cool they are for two and a half minutes has lasted as long as it has. Outside of the few of the more "kooky" players like Busta Rhymes, I am not a fan of hip hop celebrities either. Above all I am not a fan of a culture that looks up to people who flaunt the abject poverty of their childhood and the brutality of their adulthood in order to make a buck. With that said, Def Jam: Fight for NY is a bad ass game filled with hip hop celebs like Snoop Dogg and Ludacris (pictured) beating the holy shit out of each other. They even have Busta in there too.

I really haven't gotten into a fighting game since Tekken 2 (with the exception of a brief Soul Calibur stint on the Dreamcast), so I really don't have anything modern with which to gauge it against but the mechanics seem pretty unique. First off, you have five styles to choose from (kickboxing, street fighting, martial arts, wrestling, and submissions). You have your run of the mill punch and kick combos for each, and a variety of "grappling" moves. Each of these three can also be done holding your "strong" trigger down, which will make it perform a much more destructive, albeit slower, version of each.

The grapples are basically holds on steroids. For example, in the Street Fighter series, a hold could consist of grabbing someone, then throwing them halfway across the screen. In Def Jam, a grapple can consist of grabbing someone's arm, twisting it so they double over, then bringing your foot up and dropping your heel on the back of their head as they collapse lifelessly to the ground. Then you stomp on their face.

While wonderfully brutal, it doesn't hold a candle to what happens when you grapple someone near the edge of the "arena." Depending on what the fight area is bordered by, you end up doing any number of horrible shit to the other guy. Are there people standing around the fight? Well, if you grapple near them, sometimes a spectator will hold the guy up while you kick him in the nuts. If the guy next to the spectator holding your opponent up has a beer bottle in his hand, he'll take the opportunity to smash it over the helpless fighter's head. If it's a wall that you end up grappling the guy against, your options are plenty and include sitting the guy down against the wall and repeatedly stomping his face against it. And it doesn't stop there, the environmental elements that you can use in a fight are as numerous as they are varied. Car doors, chain link fences, pool tables, neon signs, the list goes on and on. But the game's sadism doesn't stop there.

Taking the cake for sheer wince value are what the game calls your "Blazin" moves. Basically you have a "momentum" meter that increases the harder you are beating a person's ass. When this meter tops out you can perform a "Blazin Move," of which there are many. Like a hundred of them. Anyway, these moves range from the pedestrian (running up someone's chest and kicking their head like a freaking soccer ball) to the down right repugnant ( knocking someone face down on the ground, placing one foot on their back, pulling both of their arms back and repeatedly stomping on their back of their head).

The visual style is crazy with everyone all thuggish and thick-necked. When you play in single player story mode you get to choose what your guy's going to look like, and then you get to dress him up in liberally licensed accoutrements from labels like Sean John and Reebok. There's even a tatoo artist that can ink you up and a jeweler that you can purchase bling from. These all effect your "charisma," which in turn causes your momentum meter to fill up faster during a fight. Unfortunately, your dude's voice sounds kind of like Emenim, which you might think is cool, but when your trading words with someone like Busta Rhymes before a fight, you just sound like a whiney little white kid (which I guess is what Emenim is anyway.)

Oddly enough, along side the hip hop stars, they have a few sore thumbs like Henry Rollins and Danny Trejo. I'm pretty sure these guys have about as much to do with hip hop as Pat Boone does.

All in all, the unique fight mechanics make this a solid beat 'em up outside of all the cross licensed crap and celebrity appearances. It's one of those games where everyone in the room collectively says "Oooohhwww!" every thirty seconds in reaction to some move that would permanently disable any mere mortal. Thumbs up.


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