Def Jam Vendetta
Nintendo Game Cube
Def Jam Vendetta has a very interesting back story in that EA’s previous wrestling game WCW Backstage Assault (which I will get round to reviewing one day) was just such a god awful mess they went back to the drawing board. The game engine that was used for Def Jam Vendetta was made for a new WCW game, but the WWE bought out WCW in 2001, so EA no longer was able to use the WCW name.
EA instead went out and got some of hip hops biggest superstars to fill up the roster. DMX, Ludacris, Redman and Method Man are just a few of the characters that were used in the game. It wound up being a fairly big hit selling enough copies to warrant a couple of sequels. Although the sequels did move away from the pro wrestling aspect and were more fighting games.
The character models at the time looked amazing. They were very well detailed and nice and chunky. As well as having a bunch of rap stars in the game you also had made up wrestlers as well which greatly expanded the roster. The game moved away from having flashing brightly lit wrestling arenas like the WWE games had, and instead this was underground wrestling so the arenas were these dark and dingy dimly lit arenas and they did look really cool.
The game had an amazing soundtrack; well it was amazing if you are a fan of hip hop. It featured many licensed tracks that would play as you wrestle. The game just had amazing sound pretty much right through it. The voice acting in the story mode was pretty amazing and it certainly put previous wrestling games to shame. I would actually go as far to say that when this game came out it by a mile had the most cinematic story of any wrestling game.
The game play here is as close to a new No Mercy game as we have ever gotten. You have the same strong and heavy grapple system just like what WWF No Mercy and WCW/nWo Revenge offered. For example a tap on the grapple button will start a weak grapple which gives you one set of moves. A harder press on the grapple button will do a strong grapple. And it is the exact same way for the strikes. It’s a nice and easy control scheme that anyone can pick up. One thing that Def Jam Vendetta did slightly improve on over No Mercy (did I just say that!) was the reversal system. It felt like you had much more control when it came to reversing moves in this game. The game while it does certainly have a No Mercy feel to it. I think that the pace is a step quicker and a little more focused on strike attacks than No Mercy was.
Just like in WWF No Mercy was, you do moves you have a meter that fills up this was called you Attitude Meter in No Mercy, but here it is so you can enter Blazin mode this lets you unleash your totally bad ass finishing move. The moves in the game are really easy to pull off and after just a couple of matches you will feel like a master of pro wrestling. While both the Playstation 2 and the Game Cube versions are more or less the same for me, this game just feels better with the Game Cube controller.
You have a decent selection of match types, but nowhere near as much as what games like WWE Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain offered. But the main reason you want to play this game is its incredible story. You pick from one of four characters Briggs, Proof, Tank and Spider they each have their own personality. But the story is the same. You need to enter the underworld of street fighting (the game never calls it pro wrestling for some reason) what is really cool is that you take on random guys, but the bosses are real life rap super stars.
Def Jam Vendetta I feel is a very under rated wrestling game. I think the fact that it is a wrestling game, but the game itself says it’s an underground street fighting can confuse some people. I have no doubt in my mind that if EA had got this out while they still had the WCW license that this would be seen as one of the greatest wrestling games of all time. Even if you are not a fan of hip hop music, this is still a really solid wrestling game and a worthy addition to any collection.
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