Def Jam Vendetta (GameCube) Review

By 12.07.2003

Anyone remember the Nintendo 64 classics such as WWF (WWE) No Mercy, or the highly acclaimed title WCW vs nWo Revenge? Well they were some of the best, no, they were the best wrestle fests and they still are. They are so good because of the sheer simplicity of the gameplay. It is one of the type of games that you can pick up and play and be good enough at to have a good bout although beyond this their lie many a move and modes to be mastered and unlocked.

As it comes, today, in this day and age in gaming we sadly don't get many good wrestling games. And this is a very sad fact. WWE games just roll out every year and rake in many gamers wallets with it and when they play it they are disappointed to find out it is basically the same with only minor graphical upgrades and basically no gameplay changes or even tweaking. Although don't be put off as Def Jam Vendetta as it really isn't like the type of games that are churned out annually or biannually just to refill the workers profits and rake in sales for a game which doesn't deserve to be selling anywhere near as well. Thankfully Def Jam Vendetta is a lot better than the relatively poor WWE games.

Def Jam Vendetta's main improvements are the fact that you can play as a great array of Def Jam Artists and totally unique and original characters, the other main improvement other than the great line up of wrestlers is the massive graphical upgrade over some of the WWE games. The graphics are mainly highly polished and look to have been very well done. The artists for the most part look a lot like their real life counterparts. Another nice addition to the game are the great looking arenas that portray street life pretty well. There is, thankfully quite a large array on offer that are unlocked through story mode as you progress. These range from Club Luda, Ludacris' club where he hangs to the greatest arena that showcases the Def Jam tournaments and even to Warehouses where the gangsters and artists come to fight and work there way up the ladder of respect. These all look very nice and notably unique. The arenas aren't just clones with minor changes, oh no, AKI aren't the type of developer to let a game have half hearted efforts. The cut scenes in the game are beautifully well done and are a great part of the story mode. They bring more depth and originality to it making the story more of a story than just matches and matches.

The other main improvement is that there are now tonnes of Artists from the Def Jam recording label such as DMX (Dark Man X), Ludacris, N.O.R.E and Method Man. This obviously means there is a tonne of great music in there making this game top notch for sound. The other more imaginative and 'crazy' characters are a real whole load of fun as there is no WWE license the moves for the characters can be totally hilarious and a lot of fun to watch and are very nicely done- especially with the camera work which will put a great emphasis on the move. So why is Def Jam Vendetta such a great game? Well, firstly it is a very easy game to pick up and master although through this there is a much deeper game of techniques, combos and learning each characters weakness and strengths.

The reasons for it being so easy to pick up are mainly in that the grappling techniques are so easy to perform and look and sound satisfyingly painful. A will result in the wrestler performing a grapple but, you're rewarded for putting in more effort as if you hold A you can perform stronger more devastating manoeuvres. The reason why it isn't good to do this all the time though is that there is a higher reversal risk and could result in you losing a lot, if not all of your current momentum. Momentum is very important and is the key to getting the crowd on your side and you getting yourself out of sticky situations and also pulling off amazing and sickeningly devastating blazin' moves that can wreck you opponent and when in danger almost certainly knock them out!

You can slowly build up momentum by doing small moves such as fast grapples and holds but to really build the momentum up rapidly you have to perform strong grappling moves such as suplex and running moves but these come with the risk of a reversal. Holds and submissions are much more reliable and wear your opponent down and will stop him from getting up when he is in a pin. The action can get very fast and provides for great fights- even in the single player, exhibition matches are still great fun. There are not as many options and configurations as there were on offer in Wrestlemania X8 which is quite a big disappointment. There weren't any high-flying ladder matches; any vast cages or any bone crunching hardcore style matches where weapons were available and everything is to the wire and where rules don't count.

Sadly we got none of this in Def Jam Vendetta. We didn't get anything, not even a cage. There was also the lack of a create a player, which, is something that has always been a trademark wrestling game option and was missed quite a lot in Def Jam Vendetta by the players. There wasn't the ability to create yourself, or enemies and pummel them or to create more stars that weren't there but does it really matter that much? Although it is sad that the gameplay comes at the expense of having more modes we aren't too bothered about the lack of create a player but we did sorely miss some of the extra match types. All that were on offer were the handicap match (2-3 wrestlers take on 1), a pretty enjoyable tag match (2 on 2) and a gauntlet style survival where you have to survive as many opponents as possible, this all along with the standard 1 on 1 match.


A- Pressing A will make your character perform a grapple, if held it will be a strong grapple which gives you the opportunity to try more powerful moves on your opponent although there is fairly high risk of a reversal depending on the opponents health and momentum.

B- Tapping B will perform a sharp kick or punch, tapping three times will make your wrestler give a powerful combo attack. Holding B will perform a strong punch, clothesline or kick. B can be used for basically anything.

C Stick- This is used to taunt or get the crowd on your side and gain momentum which can be vital for earning blazin' which will enable you to finish your opponent off with a devastating finishing manoeuvre.

X- Primarily this button will make your chosen wrestler run, by holding a direction on the Control Stick he or she will run in a specific direction, from the running stance the wrestler can then perform a running move by pressing any attack button

Y- Pressing X and a direction will make a wrestler leave the ring or climb the turnbuckle

Z- Pressing Z will alternate between opponents

Left- Tapping L can reverse certain attacks.

Right- Pressing R will stop your opponent trying to do certain moves in the form of a block which is ineffective against grappling.

D-Pad By moving the d-pad the wrestler will move around

Control Stick- By moving the control stick the wrestler will move around

The story in the game is based around you, your ex girlfriend and a gangster mob known as D-Mob. You can take on the story mode as either 4 characters, Briggs a tough man that's evenly balanced in attributes, Spider a speedy highflier, Proof, a tall, strong fighter and Tank a hard-hitting wall that is very strong but very sluggish to move. The story starts off, you are in need of money so an old mate known as 'Manny' decides to enter you in a few fights as he has debts of his own. After you battle your way past Peewee you will then be treated to a lavish cut scene where the story really begins to develop. The character you chose to go through the story mode through is with Manny, and people aren't too happy about what just happened, and to add to this your ex girlfriend is there with the feared gangster D-Mob. To make things worse, you still have a soft spot for you're ex girlfriend; Angel and you are prepared to go to all lengths to get her back. The story ends up immersing you quite a lot in the end and is very enthralling as you wonder what will happen next...

The sound is top notch and is very good- that is if you like Def Jam style music. The music is great, there are loads of tracks on offer ranging from X gon' Give It To Ya from And Then There Was X to Comp from Do Sumptin. This is all good to listen to- that is when you're in the menus and character selection screens as when you progress to the match the cool songs are replaced by the beat, without the lyrics and full music! This effectively wrecks the license and makes it seem somewhat pointless to have if its not going to be used to the full advantage. This makes it repetitive and boring when in the match ups.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Def Jam Vendetta is an exceptional wrestling game and really shows that wrestling doesn't have be just about lycra wearing men as it is in the WWE and its games. Def Jam Vendetta mixes the wrestling world with the music world and provides something that is much more fresh and different to any other wrestling game ever made. It is a game that anyone whether you like wrestling or not should defiantly think about giving this game a look. The only bad thing is the lack of options and modes but still, the simplicity of the gameplay and the sublime graphic engine make this a great game.


EA Games







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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