Observations of Def Jam Vendetta:

Firs there was Rap Jam: Volume 1, then came Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style, now there is finally a decent game about rappers beating each other senseless.

It's another one of those games where I start out cursing the learning curve and promising myself to quit after one more round, then end up still awake at 2am throwing signs at the TV and yelling, "You think you're somethin', bitch?! You ain't shit!!! You're lucky I let you leave able to walk, you lowdown punk!!!"

The last wrestling game I played was the NES Pro Wrestling. I don't follow professional wrestling, and it seems like all wrestling games assume a familiarity with the source material that I just don't have. Also, I am not a patient man when it comes to beating the living shit out of people. Though I do appreciate the complexity and style of the grabs, holds and throws in a wrestling game, a match can drag on for a good fifteen minutes. All these ropebreaks and drawn-out submission moves leave me yawning. Give me a good old 2d fighter anyday.

For all its masculine posturing, it fails to really display any proverbial balls. I don't think it's too much to expect from a game licensing hyper-gangster rap artists that they not censor the f***ing songs. It's bad enough that on the radio I have to hear, "What the (doink) you think you're (boing) with (whump) I got a (hee-haw) for your (tweet) you (fwee) suck my (ahoogah!)" but to hear it in my own home? Fuck that. I want my potty-mouth hip-hop real and uncensored. It really detracts from the whole hardcore underground environment they're trying to portray when the most foul words out of the character's mouths are "bitch" and "ass".

Furthermore, peaking of bitches (no offense to ladies, who are a different species entirely) I don't particularly care for the silly ho-fight bonus levels. See, you have a current chick who's all over your nuts, and then after you win a few fights, a new chick comes along and sets up camp on your jock. They get all up in each other's grills about who gets to ride you johnson and then you pick one to control as they duke it out. If your pick wins, you get the new girl, and your old girl limps away, ashamed, as you and the new girl sneer at her. If your pick loses, the other girl limps away, and the winner gives you the cold shoulder. Stick with the same girl long enough, and you unlock some PG picture galleries of her.

Come one, how much more asinine can we get here, people? Why can't my character have a firm, committed relationship without his current girl fighting new girls all the time, especailly since the whole time, your character has his eye on the Big Boss D-Mob's chick, your ex-girlfriend Angel. How fucked up is that? At least, if they're going to go this route, they could have the gallery pics be nudie shots. I mean, really, if you're going to appeal to my baser tastes, at least have the nerve to appeal to them.


The fighting system is pretty solid, however. Co-Developer AKI apparently has a few wrestling titles under their belt so far and added in the EA Sports Big brand of making everything ridiculously Xtreem. It works.

Judging from the videos on the official site, the rap artists got to have a lot of input into their character's moves, which is cool. However, it seems from the signature moves that most of the Def Jam recording artists are obsessed with genitorture (note: Microsoft Word does not recognize "gentitorture"), and prove it by bashing in opponent's teabags with fists, elbows, knees, feet, foreheads etc. Uh-huh.

Even after these criticisms, I have to say that the game provided a difficult, yet satisfying experience. Though the matches take longer, the moves are very diverse and dynamic. The ring environment and momentum system make this more strategic than the fighting games I am used to, and reward aggression well. If only they had the testicular fortitude to make the game really adult, it would have had a lot more street cred. I'm going to take the initiative and lay down a rule of game deisgn here: If your licensed source material is M-rated, make a fucking M-rated game, you pussy,

I do really enjoy beating up DMX, though. I'm tired of hearing that Party Up song on the radio.

And I've now got some great ideas for more hip-hop label themed wrestling games. Like Death Row Vendetta, where the Big Boss is Suge Knight, and his special move is putting a hit on your ass and having you shot.


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