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June 1, 2003
Def Jam Vendetta - Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
19/6/2003EA Sports BIGAki Corp/EA Canada1-4$99.95

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Gotta love that hat dude.
When Electronic Arts put Def Jam Vendetta on their release schedule there was quite a period of "what the..." with no idea what this game was about. It sounded like a music game of some sorts, but turns out to be nothing like it - well, sort of. Def Jam Vendetta is actually a game set in the hardcore fight clubs. After getting your props, as the master of hip-hop hook up with the urban local legends and battle for ultimate supremacy. This game is basically wrestling with some of your favourite music stars from the Def Jam record label.

Def Jam Vendetta challenges you to brawl your way up the ranks to become the ultimate fighter. The game features an original storyline as players are challenged to test their skills through an arcade-style, underground fight club circuit as they attempt to totally crush their opponents. With each win the player earns more money, more power and of course, more respect.

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Check out the tattoos.
Def Jam Vendetta marks the first interactive entertainment title from EA and Def Jam Records, and fully integrates a powerhouse roster of Def Jam artists into the storyline, including new hit songs from the artists, as well as classic Def Jam tracks. Each artist has contributed one original introduction and victory sequence incorporating their own voice and motion. Def Jam Vendetta include over 45 characters, including 12 Def Jam artists: DMX, Ludacris, Method Man, Redman, NORE, Scarface, Ghostface Killah, Capone, Keith Murray and WC as well as special guests including Christina Milian and Funkmaster Flex. The fights take place on over 10 highly detailed underground worlds, built straight from the mean streets: places like DMX's Junkyard and Scarface's Speakeasy.

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Fighting in the yards.
Starting the game gives you a choice of three game modes: Battle, Story and Survival. The game also includes four different match types to participate in including Single, Tag Team, Free for All and Handicap. When it comes to the actual fighting the game features over 1,500 unique moves including a variety of fighting techniques (reverse kicks, punches, martial arts swings, choke holds, elbow blocks, knee bunts, etc.) and hyper realistic EA SPORTS BIG-style moves that are dynamic with realistic finesse and style. If these moves are anything like the tricks in SSX Tricky then we may be in for something special. The developers are also promising a unique momentum and health system that will change based on the player status (i.e. players doing well will "feel" their strength increase / evolve into a blazin' special move; and players that are getting beat will see their health impact their moves, eventually becoming slower and weaker).

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About to be slammed.
On the audiovisual side of things the game includes one original intro and victory sequence per Def Jam artist. Naturally with plenty of Def Jam Records artists on show you can expect plenty of up great music. As yet the track list hasn't been announced but if it follows other EA Sports BIG titles then we can expect something special. Hopefully DTS sound will also be included. The sound design has been performed by DaneTracks who have worked on movies such as The Matrix and 8 Mile.

To be honest I'm still a little wary of this title. There hasn't been a lot of buzz, and wrestling games are pretty much dominated by THQ's WWE titles. But this is an EA Sports BIG title, and it could be tremendous fun, or very disappointing. Looking at the surrounding screens it's clear to see that Def Jam Vendetta does look nice enough, but lets just hope the gameplay holds up as well.