Def Jam: Fight For NY
It's hard to deny the appeal of a fighting game with this much street cred. Featuring no less than forty celebrities packed into the game, a fighting feel that's unique and all its own, and a serious dedication to game length, Def Jam: Fight For NY is a great game. With the only serious flaws being an interface that impedes versus play, and a learning curve the likes of which I've never seen before, this title excels even in spite of its shortcomings.
The most robust gameplay mode is that of the single player campaign, where you make a custom fighter, pick his primary fighting style, and then outfit him with tight threads and a serious amount of bling. You'll be trained by none other than Henry Rollins, and schooled in the ways of hardcore street fighting. Each fighter you make can be customized with literally hundreds of unlockable items, from all manner of bling to a complete wardrobe and set of full body tattoos. Most definitely, the ability to customize your game avatar is one of the more impressive elements in this game, and it even has a game impact, as your use of bling determines how much the crowd likes your fight, letting you get powerful finishing moves off more often. Additionally, the single player campaign is quite long, which it needs to be, because the interface isn't tweaked correctly to satisfy hardcore multiplayer.
On the other side of the fence, this game has a really worthwhile fight engine that only suffers from two major problems. First, the controls aren't quite sloppy, but if the countering and blocking system were a bit tighter, it'd be significantly easier. Second, and this somewhat exists because of the first, this game has a ridiculous learning curve, one that took me several hours to get adjusted to. Until such a time as you can keep the momentum of a fight in your favor, and learn to deal with opponents that block and grapple effectively, you'll encounter frustration after frustration. Not an endearing trait in my book.
A custom soundtrack and some truly righteous graphics finish this title's impressive pedigree of features. If you can deal with controls that aren't optimal, and take some getting used to, you may like this title. Remember that this isn't Def Jam: Vendetta, and doesn't suffer its problems, but in fact has a set of its very own. That said, I had a great deal of fun with this game, and I'd recommend it to anyone.
Download Def Jam: Fight For NY
From running kicks to the crotch to neck-snapping body slams, Def Jam: Fight for New York is a bloody, brutal fighter that is as painful to watch as it is fun to play. I'm a huge fan of fighters, but in recent years I've grown a little bored of the formulaic approach to the look and play of the genre's best games. I was floored to find that a game that blends real world rap stars with five forms of fighting would finally bring me back to a genre of which I had grown weary. This game is just fantastic. It's not perfect, but for every graphics and controller misstep there are hours of fun and invigorating playtime.
The game's story mode, the main attraction to Fight for New York, starts by having you create a custom character by crafting a face, body type and fight style. Once you get into the game a quick tutorial built into the story walks you through the controls, which are fairly basic. You have two types of attacks and a hold, all of which can be modified with a trigger pull to be strong. You can also block and run.
The game's quasi interesting plot strings together a series of fights at an assortment of underground fight clubs with the story of D-Mobb and his boys taking on an evil interloper played by Snoop Dogg. Each time you win a fight you earn points and cash. Between bouts you can spend both to upgrade you character. The cash can be used to purchase tattoos, clothes and bling ' which really does bling. The points can be used at a gym run by Henry Rollins to improve your character stats, learn special moves or master new fighting techniques.
The game features five techniques: kickboxing, street fighting, martial arts, wrestling and submissions. Your character starts with one, but can go on to learn two others. The styles are very significant in the game, affecting the way you fight and how powerful different moves are. In addition, the unlockable special attacks are a masterful touch to the game. There are dozens to choose from and each are beautifully wicked. They include things like the Speedbag, where your character dukes and weaves delivering a series of powerful punches to your enemy and then grabs him by the head and punches him into a limp-bodied flip. Another starts with a series of head-smacking holds and throws and ends with your character running up and kicking a guy, lying face down on the ground, square between the legs, flipping him into the air.
While these special attacks are the peak of the game's brutality, the standard moves in the game still manage to convey the brutality of a street fight. Blows send blood shooting from mouths; your opponent and sometimes you cringe and wave your hand pleadingly before particularly brutal kicks and punches. It doesn't help that you can use some of the environment to beat on people. You can throw people headfirst into cinderblock walls, or bend a pipe over someone's head. Heck, even the rowdy crowd gets involved, shoving, grabbing, even beating people who get too close to them.
The game manages to keep things fun with a lighting fast pace and a nice variety of locations. You can fight in cages, boxing rings, basements, against three people, in subways, next to inviting windows. It makes for loads of fun.
While the game's graphics are extremely slick, featuring dead-on renders of some of raps biggest stars, the PS2 version of the game does suffer from the occasional bit of odd frame drops. The drops appear random and don't seem to be connected to what's happening on screen or how many fighters are present. The controls also suffer from occasionally drops in functionality. Multiplayer is the only other disappointment, allowing for up to four to pound on each other on the same screen, but not supporting online play at all.
Despite the occasional glitch and lack of online play, Def Jam: Fight for New York is an excellent fighter that manages to revive a dying genre without needing to recreate it.
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