Throwback Thursday: Def Jam Vendetta (2003)

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To kickoff our special gaming edition of Throwback Thursday this week, the game we chose to spotlight is the popular hip-hop stylized wrestling game titled Def Jam Vendetta.

Developed by the world renown AKI Corporation and published exclusively under the EA Sports BIG label, Def Jam Vendetta was a game that took popular Def Jam artists and pitted them against each other in the squared circle. The game featured over 45 unique characters along with 12 notable hip-hop personalities. Several of the artists included in the game were Capone, DMX, Ghostface Killah, Joe Budden, Ludacris, Method Man, and Redman. The launch trailer above is the game’s intro and gives a preview of what one could expect should they decide to play the story mode.

Def Jam Vendetta is not only considered a classic wrestling game for it’s time, but it is also EA’s first real attempt at making a wrestling game. The game was originally released on both the PlayStation 2 and Gamecube on January 31st, 2003. After gaining massive success, the game spawned two sequels starting with 2004’s Def Jam: Fight for NY and ending with 2007’s Def Jam: Icon. While Fight for Ny received favorable reviews, Def Jam: Icon was widely considered a flop and quickly ended all hope of there ever being another Def Jam fighting game. In case you never got a chance to experience Def Jam Vendetta, the video below highlights the first 21 minutes of the game.

After having played this game during most of my teenage years, I can confidently say now that this game is 10 times better then any wrestling game out today. No disrespect to THQ or Yukes but AKI was and still is the one developer best suited to make wrestling video games. Maybe when the next-gen consoles roll around we will see EA attempt at making another wrestling game. In the meantime, Def Jam Vendetta deserves a nod for successfully proving that merging both hip-hop and wrestling can truly be a fun and rewarding experience.

Have you had a chance to play this game? Do you think it’s better then the WWE games being published today? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below and let me know your thoughts on the matter.

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Richard Bailey Jr. Editor-In-Chief
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