I’ve covered books, toys and websites so far on Cool Stuff, but one thing I haven’t covered is video games. I’ve played video games pretty much as long as I remember, starting on the Atari 2600 and Odyssey II and on to the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Genesis and beyond. My house has at one time or another held pretty much every video game system except those Microsoft contraptions. So I’ve played a lot of games, maybe not so many anymore, but still a lot.
So it’s time to talk games and if I’m going to talk games, I’m going to talk about the ones that 1. I enjoyed a lot and 2. don’t get talked about that much.
Which brings us to Def Jam: Fight For NY.
Fight For NY was the sequel to the more traditional (and more limited) Def Jam Vendetta and it took the original engine (more on that in a minute) and turned it in to a full-fledged street fighting simulator. The game is brutal, but in its brutality it is also a lot of fun and one of the deepest fight engines of any game of its type.
The game builds off the AKI engine originally created for the Virtual Pro Wrestling and WCW vs. The World games. Many fans (and that includes me) consider it the best wrestling engine ever made. They honed that engine through half a dozen games, culminating in a video game classic, WWF No Mercy. But when the Nintendo 64 died, WWE and THQ did not continue to use the Aki engine in their newer games, instead focusing on the more arcade oriented engine of WWE Smackdown. Electronic Arts, former licensors of the WCW series, originally hired Aki to produce WCW Mayhem 2, but when that game went under, they transferred the development team on to the first Def Jam game.
While Vendetta was a traditional wrestling game in all but name, Fight For NY forces Aki out of the mold. No longer are you confined to grappling and submission based wrestling only, but boxing, kickboxing and dirty street fighting also get their own set of moves. While each character’s move sets are somewhat similar based on which of the five styles you know, customization goes crazy when it comes to attire and finishing moves.
Bigger and better finishers become much more important as the game progresses and players work their way through literally dozens of fights in a storyline that runs for several hours. Hip hop fans will find tons of stars here: Method Man, Redman, Flavor Flav, Ice-T, Ghostface Killah, Busta Rhymes and Snoop Dogg as the main villain Crow. Punk and metal fans will be happy to see actor, singer and spoken word artist Henry Rollins make an appearance as your trainer (and an eventual opponent). Even actor Danny Trejo makes an appearance as one of Crow’s top lieutenants.
The game also features some of the less savory elements of rap culture, but after all this is a game built around helping a gang take over the city against a rival gang. Gray shades everything here, but serves to set up an interesting world where everything is solved with a fist in brutal battles.
Def Jam: Fight For NY was released for Gamecube, Xbox and PlayStation 2, of which my version is the PS2. The game plays perfectly with little lag and tons of fun. I can’t recommend it highly enough to fighting and wrestling game fans.