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Def Jam: Fight for NY (PlayStation 2) artwork

Def Jam: Fight for NY (PlayStation 2) review

"You might not like it, you might not admit it…but humans love pain. Love to watch it, love to inflict it, some even love to take it."

It’s normal to get pissed every now and then, right?

I mean, sometimes things just hit you the wrong way. Somebody bumps into you, doesn’t say excuse me. You’re driving along and some idiot pedestrian runs out in front of you, nearly gets run over, and then flips you off for doing the horrible, deplorable, unforgivable act of driving when he was walking. The morons at McDonald’s put onions on your Quarter Pounder, even though you specifically told them THREE DAMN TIMES not to do so, and you only find out when you make it home, and driving back to McDonald’s isn’t worth the trouble because gas costs more than onions do, the new burger they’ll give you is probably going to be cold and shitty, and they’ll probably spit on it, just to spite you for not wanting onions on the sandwich that you took five dollars out the fifteen you had just to buy. Heaven forbid if I don’t want pickles!

Like I said…normal. Right? Right. And wanting to beat the shit out of people, that’s normal, too.

Sometimes you just want to take a bat or a brick or a bottle and just bash it over the offending party’s head, show them just how much you’re not in the mood to be fucked with. You want to find a nice, tall building, take them to the top, and just throw them off. You want to find that snazzy showoff car they’re always driving and bash their face into the hood, just bash and bash and bash until their nose is where their mouth is supposed to be. You want to throw them into a raging fire and watch as they burst into searing flames, clothes shredding, body crumbling, the smell of burnt leather mixing with the smell of burnt flesh.

You might not like it, you might not admit it…but humans love pain. Love to watch it, love to inflict it, some even love to take it. Hell, that’s why the fighting genre is still one of the strongest running; it’s the ultimate act of indulgence. All the pain you want, none of the repercussions. Forget the Ecstasy and the purple pills and the random bottles under the sink…violence is mankind’s main drug of choice. And Def Jam: Fight For New York is the best way to hit the clouds.

It’s got the style.

The crowd’s roaring, screaming, demanding blood. This isn’t some organized tournament; no brackets, no refs, no damn Duchess of Queensbury rules. When the people start circling and the doors close and the tables start getting moved, there’s no law inside the room. Anything can be grabbed, anything can be used. Pool cues crack off against foreheads, leaving gashes on the head and splinters on the floor. Bottles are good for bashing once, good for slashing every time after. The crowds throws in knives, pipes, stun rods, begging me to repaint the floor in everyone’s favorite shade of red…and I do.

The rings are many, varied, but they’re all tailored to give the greatest amount of pain in their own way. The penthouse suite looks innocent enough, simple enough, mundane enough…until you realize that the bottles aren’t for drinking and notice the three flimsy windows on the southern wall, windows that would look just perfect with someone’s head getting thrown through them. The substation’s quiet, serene, relaxed…but the walls look a bit drab, need some color. A dash of crimson would do wonders. And if you time it right, just right, exactly right, you might just manage to throw your foe onto the train in time for him to meet the 11:30 A-train.

It’s got the looks.

You start each face with a clean face. It doesn’t last long. The slashes, the bruises, the cuts, it all pays off on your face; by the time the fight’s over, your face’ll be as round as blueberry, with the colors to match. You’re going to get bashed in the face, you going to get kicked in the nose, you’re going to take some of the most sadistic forms of punishment ever inflicted on another living being, and you’re going to look like it.

And when I say ‘you’, I mean you. The game’s create-a-player mode isn’t the most in-depth, it doesn’t have the most options or the best features, but it does give you the most mileage. You know how most wrestling games set you up with some cookie cutter story mode, the same story no matter who you choose, the same structure with each character?

Fuck that.

You’ve got personality here, you’ve got stakes, you’ve got ambition, you’ve got a life. It’s about territory, about respect, about getting challenged and beating the challenger. Almost every fight advances the plot, and it doesn’t just let you off with some text screens or some stupid summary; Fight for New York has full cutscenes, fully voiced and fully acted. And don’t think the story’s sappy, either; you’re trying to get the girl, yeah, but it’s more than that. It’s about getting the girl…and the car…and the money…and street credit…and everything implied. You want the success in excess.

But screw the looks, screw the style. Do not get it twisted: This is the real street fighter.

Battles break down to the bare knuckle, making you use everything you can find, anything that’s not bolted down. If you can hold it, you can swing it. If you can’t hold it, you can probably throw them through. Things break down to whoever can land the hardest blows in the shortest time to the softest areas. You have counters, you can block…but the rope-a-dope won’t get you far, not when the computer knows its throws. It won’t last long, either; whoever gets in a hard blow with a blunt object first usually wins. Victory goes to the most brutal, the most savage, the one who’s not just willing to win, but willing to get his hands dirty in the process.

Just like a real fight.

Get that? This isn’t Guilty Gear or Street Fighter or some random anime-inspired shitfest. This is as close as videogames will ever get to the true experience, the way real men do real fights. Keep your hadoukens and your fifty hits combos; I want the guts, the blood, the rage of the ring.

Give me violence.

lasthero's avatar
Staff review by Zack Little (November 07, 2005)

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