Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy
Nov 12th 2004

Introduction:Hip Hop culture has taken over the music industry and has now successfully invaded the videogame world. Def Jam leads this incursion with their outstanding fighting games; Fight for New York puts more vengeance in the Vendetta and stands out as one of the year's best fighters.

The Game: Def Jam: Fight for New York is the second Def Jam fighting game from developer AKI Corporation. AKI is mainly famous for their N64 wrestling title No Mercy which is still regarded as one of, if not the best WWE wrestling game ever made. Fight for New York does have a wrestling element which is cool for AKI fans, but also changes it up from Vendetta and brings the fight out of the wrestling ring. Now the majority of the fights take place in a number of dark environments like cages, construction pits and strip clubs. The great thing about the environments in Fight for New York is that they are interactive meaning you can bust them up, and even get the crowd involved. Bringing the street into Def Jam is just what this series needed and it makes a tremendous impact on the overall feeling of the game.

Def Jam: Fight For New York puts your right in the middle of two rival groups fighting over property, street credit and prizes. On the one side you have a man built on respect D-Mob, and on side of the record is the malicious Snoop Dogg as the character Crow. Your created player starts off saving D-Mob from the police and is placed into D-Mob's group of street thugs. You and your team mates who included the duo of Redman and Method Man set off to shake up Crow and take him down one club at a time. The storyline is surprisingly captivating and has a number of interesting turns. There are a few choices as you go along in the game, and one includes picking a girlfriend. and a little tip (make sure you win the fight) you'll see what I mean! Yip, FFNY has 'chicks', there are five beautiful ladies in the game (including Lil' Kim & Carmen Electra), and some good catfights along with their good looks. It doesn't take long before things get out of control and Crow is on your back, it's a good thing you're one badass fighter who can easily rearrange some face!

Your fighter is totally customizable from looks to skills, and from the begging you will get a wad of cash to go out and make yourself "fit" the part better. There are few areas you can go to thug out your character and of course you can outfit yourself in all the bling you desire. Platinum, Gold, Diamonds.. its all about the ching-a-ching. The bling holds more than just a visual impact; it also affects your crowd meter that controls your boost or 'blaze' meter in the game. In this world the more dollars you spend the more the crowds will respect you. You will also notice a great deal of product placement in the game, its almost a shopping catalog for some brands. I think its a great idea to bring some labels on board and the selection is fairly large. If you never knew, the degrees of the hat is an important purchasing factor!

The fighting in Def Jam is brutal and definitely isn't intended for the squeamish, prepare for the blood, broken bones, and the most devastating crunches in a fighting game to date. I know you will cringe when you see some of the finishing moves combined with KO knockouts! Def Jam: FFNY takes no prisoners and street fighting style fits the hip hop backdrop flawlessly. When you create your character you will have to pick a fighting out of Street Fighting, Wrestling, Submission, Kick Boxing and Martial Arts. Each fighting style has a KO bonus, and a different set of moves. To make things interesting if you can also upgrade to two other fighting styles during the game which holds many different combinations and styles depending in the order you pick. Def Jam: FFNY has a plethora of fighting styles and you can really notice the difference when fighting the many varied opponents in the game.

Although Def Jam: FFNY is a pretty solid game and has no real big issues there are some little changes I would suggest for next time. Some of the small problems I found in Def Jam: FFNY is that you can't customize the controller, so you are stuck with their button configurations. It would have been nice to rearrange the buttons for players who don't like using the shoulder buttons as much. Also in the 'Free-For All' Matches there are no player indicators to tell who you're facing. It's great how they use the pointing animation to change your opponent, but in the thick of battles it can be a little confusing when the opponents are grouped together.

Def Jam will keep you busy for a while with the story mode and number of multiplayer selections. I love the fact that your game can continue after you finish the main story, so you can still earn more cash, accessories and train until you're maxed out or exhausted. With a strong cast of over 65 characters, 10 game modes and 20 different locations, Def Jam: FFNY is the biggest and baddest fighting game around.

Graphics & Sound:Def Jam: FFNY is all about style and the graphics represent this over the top world. The environments are dark and dingy and the men are huge monsters of muscle. This style really works for Def Jam and I couldn't imagine it any other way to portray the underground world of street fighting. Although the characters have a slight cartoony look they still resemble their real life counterparts perfectly. There are several stars in the game ranging from New South's Bubba Sparxx to the Mexican actor Trejo. If you are fan of hip hop music then you will recognize many of the characters from the old school and new.

The detail level from the characters, items and environments is second to none. Its like they went over the game with a fine tooth comb and made sure ever inch, every tattoo, every line was in place. It's really shows the excellent level of work AKI is capable of. They also added some great interactive items like slamming your opponent into a jukebox or into a pimped out SUV. Def Jam focuses more on detail and animations more than flash, so compared to a game like DOA Ultimate it might seem simple, but if you pay close attention you will notice the extra effort they spent on the small things.

The graphics aren't all positive and I did notice some slight slowdown in levels where they add environmental aspects like rain. Depending on your experience with the game, it can seem unfluid, but once you get into the flows it seems allot smoother. I also experienced some major clipping issues in the Street Car level which where funny at the time, but inexcusable considering I was fighting half way in the ground and through walls. Overall Def Jam triumphs besides the small issues, Def Jam: FFNY will turn some heads and looks great on the big screen.

What would a Def Jam game be without its soundtrack? If you didn't already guess it, the soundtrack is filled with Def Jam artists. I guess it's a bonus to having a game filled with musicians. The sound besides the Hip Hop jams is great, and the really nail the environmental and fighting aspect to a tee. I am very impressed in the overall quality of the fighters when the grapple, the sounds of the punches and the great job they did queuing in the sound with the finishing moves. I was reminded of David Finchers movie masterpiece Fight Club during several parts of game. Def Jam's sound could be compared to Fight Club with the similar packing sounds of the punches. Def Jam is a great sounding game!

Innovation:On the outside you wouldn't think Def Jam would be a calculated and deep fighting game. There is a fair amount to learn and master involved in these street battles and it's a great change from other 'combo' based fighting games. Your reaction time has to be nailed down to beat this game on hard, and even normal and easy provide a challenging experience before you learn the game.

FFNY innovates and leads the pack of new ideas putting more variables into the fighting game then others. First off your fighter can be customized which adds a little more excitement to playing the game then just using generic fighters. The styles and attributes can be mixed and matched so you can focus on your strong points. There are lots of hidden styles to find, and the submission factor adds a great deal to the game. Secondly the environments are more interactive then the king of environments, the Dead or Alive series. Although not multi-layered, the environments have many X factors which definitely affect each fight. The crowd would be the number one factor because not only do they control how fast your 'blaze' meter rises, but they can interact and take pot shots at you, push you into the fighter and if you're unlucky smash a few breakable object on your head. The crowd can also hand the fighters weapons such as bottles, pool cues and even wrenches to use against the opponent. Weapons can not be blocked so you'll need to doge and attack to get by without any bruises.

Finally Def Jam is leading the pack by the size of the roster in the game, where as other fighters usually never get past 20... Def Jam pulls out 65+ It's impressive, and more impressive when you factor in that they are not all clones of each other. The movesets might not be as complex as Virtua Fighter, but there is enough variation to keep the fights interesting. Also the ability to make your own fighter is something every fighting game should attempt to add. I never understood almost ever other genre of game you could make your own player except fighting games.. well Def Jam has taken a step towards new ground and it makes the title more personally enjoyable. Innovative is a great word to describe Def Jam: FFNY outlook on a stagnant genre.

Mojo:Get em up! Def Jam: FFNY is in your face and takes no prisoners. The mojo is bountiful in this Hip Hop fighter. Straight up! Def Jam has the complete package with an engaging story mode, a huge cast of fighters, great graphics and sound, a wide range of customizable options and smoking babes! It's challenging, it's vicious, it's Def Jam, and it's on. There are no negative vibes in Def Jam: FFNY, it's the foundation of the mojo. Now get yer groove on!

Lowdown: Def Jam: FFNY is a great game which will surprise many fighting fans who might brush it off because of its Hip Hop content. There is no mistaking Def Jam being a serious fighting contender, and other fighting franchises should take note. Def Jam is near perfect and gives us customization you don't get with other fighters. Fight for New York is the total package and music and fighting fans should find plenty to love. Pick this sucka up!

Gameplay: 9, Graphics/Sound: 8, Innovation: 9, Mojo: 10. Final: 9

  • New Fighting Engine: A new fighting engine challenges gamers to master multiple fighting disciplines, take advantage of the interactive environments and utilize dozens of weapons to make a name for themselves.
  • The Biggest Artists: Starring more than 40 of the biggest names in hip hop, Def Jam Fight For NY features a huge cast of more than 65 characters. Look for appearances by Busta Rhymes, Carmen Electra, Flava Flav, Ghostface, Ice T, Kimora Lee Simmons, Joe Budden, Lil' Kim, Ludacris, Method Man, Redman, Slick Rick, Snoop Dogg, and many more.
  • Customizable Fighting Styles: Gamers can master five unique fighting styles- street fighting, kickboxing, martial arts, submission, and wrestling-and can combine up to three styles to create devastating hybrid fighting styles, complete with character-specific "blazin' moves" to finish off your opponents.
  • Weapons: Dozens of weapons up the ante-from one-use environmental objects like bottles to persistent multi-use equalizers including wrenches and two-by-fours.
  • Gameplay Modes: With 10 distinct match types ranging from intense one-on-one combat to demolition matches where destroying your opponent's ride is the name of the game, Def Jam Fight For NY goes well beyond the ring.
  • Interactive Environments: From destructible environmental objects to rowdy spectators who like to "get involved," the 20 venues in Def Jam Fight For NY are the player's ultimate weapons. All-new "sticky points" allow gamers to set up the big take down with style.
  • Create-a-Player: Build your own street-ready fighter and outfit him with tattoos and thousands of pieces of unlockable licensed gear from brands like Phat FarmT, Fila, Def Jam University, Rocawear, Sean Jean and more. Gamers can even rock bling from the Jeweler to the stars, Jacob the Jeweler.

Def Jam:
Fight for New York

AKI Corp.
Sept. 2004