Def Jam Series

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Method Man is not having a good day.

Def Jam is a 3D video game series published by EA.

The first game, Def Jam Vendetta, was developed by AKI Corporation (known for their wrestling games in the West). Released in 2003 for the GameCube and PlayStation 2, the concept for the game is a combination of professional wresting and hip hop. In the game, the player has to pick from four different characters to use in the story mode. In the story, the protagonist's injured friend Manny calls them to ask that them take his place in an underground street fight, and to help him pay a debt to the underworld boss D-Mob. In the end, after they've beaten all of the other fighters, the protagonist faces off against D-Mob. Upon defeating him, they leave with their girlfriend and the ending sets up for the sequel.

The sequel, Fight for NY, developed by AKI again, picks up immediately after the first game. D-Mob has just been arrested and is being brought in to police custody when the car transporting him gets broadsided by an SUV. The player plays as the SUV's driver, a fighter looking to make it big in the fight circuit, and who plans to use the rescue of D-Mob from police custody as the big break he needs. However, after barely any time as one of D-Mob's fighters, the protagonist finds out that D-Mob's criminal empire, and his hold over New York, has been have weakened, allowing another Syndicate led by Crow to challenge his for control of New York. The outcome of this Mob War is going to rest on the the protagonist's shoulders...

Unlike the four preset characters from the first game, the player is allowed to create their own character. The player can also choose between several voice types as well, and can even choose their own fighting style. Also, while Vendetta is a wrestling game, Fight for NY gives much more leeway and balance to other fighting styles and techniques, making it a Fighting Game. It is also a lot more brutal. A LOT more.

Following that was Def Jam: Icon developed by EA Chicago, who were creators of an entirely different series: Fight Night. Rather than expand on the formula, they tried to make more like a boxing game with rappers in it, which resulted in Something Completely Different from the rest of the series. While Icon ended up being mediocre at best, compared to the previous entries in the series, it was a severe drop in quality, and thus sunk EA Chicago completely.

Without hold of the license, the future of the Def Jam series as a fighter is questionable at best. Def Jam Rapstar was released on October 5, 2010. Published by Konami, Rapstar is a more of a karaoke style game.

Tropes used in Def Jam Series include:
  • Abhorrent Admirer: In Fight for NY, if the player fail to claim their girlfriend from Nyne, they'll get Shaniqua instead.
  • Art Shift: The mild cartoony vibe of Vendetta was ditched in the sequel. Icon stays realistic but implements environment animations even further down the cartoony road, bordering on surreal for an overall style very reminiscent of a music video.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Crow is easily one of the most difficult characters in the game. D-Mob is not.
  • Badass: Many, but Henry Rollins is a notable standout, as he is the only fighter with 4 styles.
  • Bald Black Leader Guy: D-Mob.
  • Big Applesauce
  • Black and Grey Morality: D-Mob and the player's character aren't the best people around in Fight for NY. Crow is worse.
  • Bling of War: Fight for NY allows and recommends that the player spend their earnings on pimping out their character with different hairstyles, clothing, and jewelry. Street cred is everything, after all.
  • Bonus Boss: After completing the story in Fight for NY, D-Mob himself challenges the player to a one on one fight. No publicity, no spectators, just the player and him in the middle of a construction site.
  • Breakable Weapons: Pretty much every weapon in Fight for NY.
  • Cat Fight: Frequent in the first game, only once in the second (between the player's girlfriend and Carmen Electra). In each, the player control the girlfriend they want to go on with.
  • Cherry Tapping: Capone's Blazin' Move sees him land a few punches on the enemy, then pause and tip them over.
    • Notably, Cherry Tapping doesn't work in the real fights in Fight for NY. The player can knock them down to a sliver of health that way, but they will keep getting up until the player use one of the designated finishers to put them down for good.
  • Chewing the Scenery: A lot of the voice actors clearly had way too much fun voicing themselves.

Bonecrusher: "You will be destroyed! YOU WILL BE! DESTROYED! AAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
David Banner: "Kehhehhehhehheh! You wouldn't like me when I'm...ANGRY, BITCH!"
Redman: "I'm-a rip your tongue out, and lick my AAAAAASS wit' it!"
Flavor Flav: "Hey hey hey hey! Yo yo, like this an' like that an' like this an' like', this? Yeah!"

"I'ma tear out your eyes and stick 'em on your knees and call ya Kneesy!"

  • Dance Battler: Any character with the "Capoeira" variation of the Martial Arts fighting style, such as Crazy Legs and Sean Paul.
  • Darker and Edgier: In some ways Fight for New York is. No more rings (well, a couple of stages are still set in rings) and the ability to use weapons as well as a darker storyline. The game is rated 'M', unlike Vendetta, and features liberal swearing.
  • Dirty Cop: In Icon, halfway through, the player meets a smart-mouthed cop and a silent cop. They will shot the player.
  • Drunken Boxing: The can be available to the player depending on which fighting styles they choose, as well as Flavor Flav having the style in-game.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: D-Mob becomes a poster child for this in the second game.
  • Face Heel Turn: Manny reluctantly does this in Vendetta, but is conflicted and later takes a bullet for the player. In Fight for NY, the player has to do this due to Crow kidnapping their girlfriend.
    • Played straight with Sticky Fingaz.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: This is basically the player character's journey in Fight for NY. The player start off as someone who couldn't even get into the Fight Clubbing circuit, become D-Mob's Brute, then his Dragon, and then a superhuman fighting machine who single-handedly swings the balance of power between syndicates.
  • Fight Clubbing: The entire point of the first two games.
  • Gangsterland
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: D-Mob's in prison. Method Man's shot and crippled. The protagonist just beat the everliving shit out of every one of D-Mob's soldiers. The last-ditch, desperate response? "We went outside the family, called in a heavy hitter from Baltimore." It almost works.
  • Groin Attack: Redman's Blazin' Move. Share the Male Pain indeed.
  • Heel Less Heel Turn: D-Mob is a criminal mastermind, as said per Black and Grey Morality above and Villain Protagonist below. However, his talk of honor and respect in the second game is a complete 180 from his antics in the first game, where he blackmails Manny into betraying the protagonist and tries to shoot the protagonist in front of a crowd full of witnesses and spectators.
    • Lampshaded in the beginning of the second game, when one of the first things Blaze does when D-Mob returns is to call him out on it, pointing out that, because he tries to rule with Respect, his antics in the Vendetta have caused a lot of trouble, allowing Crow to try to muscle in on his territory and setting the whole plot of Fight For NY in motion.
  • Heroic Mime: Whichever character the player pick's in Vendetta. Averted in Fight for NY and Icon, where the player's character has a sizeable speaking role.
  • I Have Your Wife: "You oughtta recognize your girl's hair..."
    • Which can be somewhat amusing if the player picks the blonde Carmen Electra, since the lock of hair Crow taunts them with is always black. No, Crow, apparently I don't recognize her hair.
  • Ink Suit Rapper: Practically everyone.
  • Ironic Echo: "Looks like you've got a morale issue there, brother."
    • "Goodnight, bitch."
  • It's Going Down: Fight for NY has the player fighting an opponent in a garage, where he has parked right next to their car. Both players can win the fight by destroying their opponents' SUV. How? By beating their opponent's limp body into his own vehicle.
  • It's Up to You: Seriously, in Fight For NY, the player seem to be the only fighter D-Mob has who actually wins fights. At one point, Redman claims to be whipping plenty of ass, but they player is still the one who has to win every single club back from Crow.
    • Every club we see. New York's a big city, and we seem to be in one borough.
      • Eh, the action is mostly concentrated in Brooklyn, but there are a number of bouts in Manhattan, some in Queens, even one or two in the Bronx.
    • Redman is also a very loud and proud New Jersey native, so it's plausible he's working clubs across the river.
  • Kill It with Fire: This is an option in the Inferno match.
  • Left Hanging: Because Fight for NY birthed an entirely different sequel and Icon never birthed any sequels at all, their final cutscenes raise up a couple questions that never go answered.
    • In Fight for NY, did the girlfriend actually die or did she just go unconscious? Did the protagonist escape the police, or did he get arrested? Were the bonus fights canonical, or just...bonus?
    • In Icon, was that the United States president, or a record company president, or something else entirely? Why does he want to keep tabs on your character? Who is the mole he's referring to?
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: In the second game, D-Mob wants to play by his street code of honor and keep his hold on New York through Fight Clubbing victories. Crow is happy to subvert this and play dirty.
  • Life Meter: Subverted, it's actually more of an endurance meter. Depleting it actually does not defeat the enemy, it just makes him weaker. Once he's at the danger zone, the player needs to do a finishing move, a powerful attack, a weapon strike, or something else unorthodox in order to actually KO him.
  • Lighter and Softer: Icon, to the rest of the series. The moves are simple punches and kicks instead of the brutal grapples, the story revolves around helping a media company reach the top instead of gang wars, and none of the environmental finishers apparently kill people (judging by their appearances in cutscenes).
  • Lightning Bruiser: The player's created fighter can become this, if they'd like. Crow is definitely one.
  • Limit Break: Blazin' Moves.
  • Made of Iron: While fighting games have never been known for gentle taps and hugs, half of the environmental attacks and Blazin' Moves would be killing (or at least severely maiming) people in real life. In game, characters can soak up to ten or more in a row.
    • In Icon, the player's character gets shot in the face. What does Method Man say? "Thug it out".
      • He can talk. In Fight for NY, Method Man gets shot and crippled about a third of the way through the game, then takes a two-man pounding with a bat near the end and still gets up to join the fight with Crack and Magic and take part in the big battle royal later.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Crow.
  • Mob War: The plot of the second game.
  • Monster Clown: Chukklez in Vendetta is trying to be this.
  • My Girl Is a Slut: One of the potential girlfriends is Kimora Lee, the ex-wife of Def Jam founder Russell Simmons.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In Fight for NY, the protagonist is likely to look rather taken aback after a match in the subway station.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Near the very end of Fight for NY, there's a massive showdown between D-Mob's crew and some allies the player has won along the way and Crow's gang. It happens offscreen so that the player can go chase after Crow in his hideout instead.
  • Oh Crap: Get thrown in front of the train, and this will be the last expression on that character's face.
  • Ring of Fire: The fight with Sticky while trying to rescue the player girlfriend. Also, there is a special gametype the player can choose that involves this.
  • Ring Out: In Fight for NY, there are a few stages which allow the player to do this, but they have to break the barriers surrounding them before doing it. Also, it is available as a regular gametype.
  • Rival Turned Evil: Sticky.
  • Rubber Band AI: Vendetta and Fight for NY is notorious for this. If the player got the CPU into a corner, the difficulty would go up immensely by countering everything they did.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Both Magic and Crack do this to Crow.
  • Shameless Self Promotion: In Icon, one of the player's men will get a hankering for "those fly-ass EA games". EA Chicago shut down due to the game's lack of success.
  • Smug Snake: Crow, through and through. Being Snoop Dogg helps.
  • Spank the Cutie: Iceberg's Blazin' Move in Vendetta (Baxter's Blazin' Move in Fight for NY). Though it's only spank the cutie if the player does it to a female opponent.
  • Spiritual Successor: Vendetta uses the engine of AKI's N64 wrestling games with very few modifications. There's more difference between Vendetta and Fight for NY than there is between No Mercy and Vendetta (Icon, of course, doesn't exist).
  • Sprint Meter: In the second game, the meter that controls the player's Blazin' Moves also controls how long they can run for.
  • Stuffed in The Fridge: The player's girlfriend in Fight for NY, though it isn't clear if she's outright dead.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Icon builds its entire fighting engine on this trope. Whomever is winning the fight has their chosen music as the background, which gives them tremendous power to manipulate the environment of the fight.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: In the second game, the player had to use stronger attacks to actually KO their enemies, which can range from weapons, to Blazin' Moves, to style-specific power moves.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch:

Danny Trejo (pointing a gun at you): "Say goodnight, bitch." *click* *oh crap*

Player: "Goodnight, bitch."

  • Thrown Through a Window: There's a type of match and one specific setting in the story mode where it can happen...
    • It's also by far the easiest way to defeat Crow.
  • Train Fu: One fighting area in Fight for NY takes place on a subway platform... with the train running through at regular intervals. If the player throws their opponent onto the tracks at just the right time...well... the last thing the player sees of them is the looks of horror on their faces.
  • Trash Talk: More than a little. Actually, more than a lot.
  • The Unintelligible: Sean Paul.
    • Sean Paul isn't all that bad (his intro lines are clearly audible at least). Elephant Man, on the other hand... what the hell is he saying? At least Masa has the excuse of not speaking English.
  • Updated Rerelease: Fight for NY was re-released on the PSP as Def Jam: Fight for NY: The Takeover, which includes new moves, new venues, and a staggering 28 extra characters. Considering that Fight for NY is the best game in the series and the PSP makes it portable, few are complaining.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Throwing opponents like Carmen Electra or, well... ANYONE in front of the train in the subway tunnel.
  • Villain Protagonist: To all intents and purposes, the player's character in Fight for NY.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him: D-Mob provides a justification for not just shooting Crow when Sticky suggests this - namely, that it would bring the cops down on their heads to get guns involved. This is what he did in Vendetta.
  • Wretched Hive: The parts of the city where the Fight Clubbing takes place, with maybe one or two exceptions.
  • You Can Barely Stand: Crow does this to the player just before the showdown with him.