When we think about some of the most popular fighting games from the first half of the 00’s decade its almost impossible to have a conversation about the topic without mentioning Def Jam: Fight For NY. For those who do not know Def Jam: Fight For NY was developed by AKI Corporation & EA Canada and published by EA Games and was released in September 2004. Def Jam: Fight For NY was the direct sequel to Def Jam: Vendetta which came out in 2003. Def Jam Vendetta was critic acclaimed for mixing the elements of hip-hop and pro-wrestling together while providing players with high quality gameplay cinematic storytelling; these features were greatly approved upon in Def Jam: Fight For New York. Not only was the storyline in Fight For NY almost twice as long as its predecessor but this game also introduced a new boss character named Crow who was portrayed by famous rapper Snoop Dogg and portrayed as the main villain. It should noted that the final boss in Def Jam Vendetta D-Mob returns in Fight For NY along with various new rappers such as Sean Paul, Lil Flip, Omar Epps, Bone Crusher, Bubba Sparxxx and others. We also got to see returning rappers such as Method Man, Ludacris, N.O.R.E., Joe Budden, Redman and others.
In addition, to having more rappers in Fight For NY the game placed more emphasis on fighting styles than that of Def Jam Vendetta. Fight For NY allowed players to either create or choose characters that could have up to three different fighting styles including submission, wrestling, martial arts, kickboxing and street-fighting. We also got to see brand new modes of battle in Fight For NY. Along with the standard battles that took place in nightclubs Fight For NY included parking lot brawls, subway fights cage matches and was probably the first pro-wrestling based game ever to introduce an inferno match. Similar to the original Def Jam game players had a momentum meter that allowed them to utilize their special move once it was filled which take a significant amount of damage from their opponents; in some instances opponents could be KO’ed if their health bar was low enough. The story mode was very intriguing from the start as the main protagonist of the game is an unknown suspect who helps D-Mob escape the cops after being arrested following the events that took place in Def Jam Vendetta. After helping D-Mob escape the cops the unnamed hero must prove his worth to D-Mob by constantly fighting at different venues and winning various nightclubs such as 7th Heaven, Syn Energy Power Plant, Terror Dome and others by defeating members of Crow’s crew.
At some in the game the main protagonist ends up gaining a girlfriend and she is eventually kidnapped by Crow and his crew due him along with D-Mob’s gang becoming a threat within the nightclub scene. In order to save his girlfriend’s life the main protagonist must win back all of the clubs he earned for D-Mob which end up making the player a traitor against his own will in the process. Afterwards, players eventually discover that Crow never planned on letting the player’s girlfriend live regardless after he refused to finish off one of D-Mob’s right hand men Blaze a.k.a Method Man after being brutally ambushed near the end of the story. In end players had to rescue their girlfriend and defeat one of Crow’s right hand men from a burning building before it collapsed before the final confrontation. After defeating Crow in the end the player ultimately ends up aligning himself with D-Mob once again while clearing his name in the process. Def Jam: Fight For NY was quite possibly the best installment within the entire series and arguably the most popular fighting game of ’04. Not only was the storyline in Def Jam: Fight For NY better than its predecessor but the replay value of the game itself was high since there was plenty of unlockable content and characters in general. Despite, appearing on the PS2 & GameCube in ’04 its a bit of a shame that Fight For NY was never remastered in high definition for current generation consoles. Either way, Def Jam: Fight For NY was quite the best non-WWE pro-wrestling game to have been released within the 00’s decade.