- "Used to be, you wanted to make yourself known, you proved your worth as a street fighter or a hustler. We don't fight in the streets no more, we organized now. We...too gangsta for the garden so we've taken it underground...inside. I'm a business man, and this is my biz-naz. My soldiers are legion: Method Man, N.O.R.E., Capone, Luda, Redman, DMX. You want a shot at me, you gotta make it past these brothers. It's a dangerous world out here. Seems like everytime I turn around, there's another young buck want to take me on. I lay down for no man. You want to take what's mine, you gotta beat me. But nobody...EVER...beats me..."
- —D-Mob's monologue
Def Jam Vendetta is a professional wrestling video game that combined hip hop with pro wrestling. It was released for the PlayStation 2 and Nintendo GameCube. It was Electronic Arts' first attempt at a wrestling game since the widely-panned WCW Backstage Assault. The game's engine was originally designed for use in a sequel to EA's WCW Mayhem, but EA lost the WCW license when the wrestling company was purchased by the World Wrestling Federation in 2001. Several hip hop artists were featured in the game, including DMX, Method Man, Redman, Ludacris, N.O.R.E., Capone, Scarface, Joe Budden, Ghostface Killah, Keith Murray, WC and Funkmaster Flex; all of which at the time were artists of Def Jam Records . Singer Christina Milian was also featured in the game as the character known as Angel. So far two sequels have been released: 2004's Def Jam: Fight for NY and 2007's Def Jam Icon.
The game features a largely unmodified AKI engine, used in the company's Virtual Pro Wrestling games and its spinoffs with some minor "button mashing" elements added and more of an arcade than a simulation. The game plays very similarly to WWF No Mercy, and features a lengthy story mode that allows you to level up and enhance one of four player characters in your quest to become the most well known star in the urban fighting league and fight the undefeated underground boss, D-Mob (voiced by actor Christopher Judge).
Players can win in one of three ways; pin, submission or KO. Pins are done by pinning the opponent for 3 seconds before he can kick out. The player can trap opponents in holds that gradually weaken one of their body parts (head, body, legs and arms). This hold can be broken by touching the ropes. If one of those gauges reaches empty, the bones get broken and that player automatically loses. Players can attack their opponent to build up a power gauge, letting them activate 'Blazin' mode. If the player successfully grabs an opponent in this state, he can perform a special move. If the opponent's health is low enough, they will be KO'd.
The player has a choice between 4 street fighters: Briggs, a dishonorably discharged soldier (balanced skills); Proof, an ex-superbike racer (fast and charismatic but not as strong as the other characters); Tank, a massive Japanese fighter (very slow and uncharismatic with low defense but strong) and the DJ Spider (resilient but slow and uncharismatic), although the story is the same for each of them.
- Christopher Judge as Darrell “D-Mob” Lewis
- Christina Milian as Angel Rodriguez
- Dion Luther as Manny Gray
|D-Mob's Crew||Circuit Fighters||Girlfriends|
1 denotes Japan version only
The player has a choice between 4 street fighters: Briggs, a dishonorably discharged soldier; Proof, an ex-superbike racer; Tank, a massive Japanese fighter and the former high school basketball star Spider, although the story is the same for each of them.
When the player chose their character they are called to help out your friend Manny by taking his place as a street fighter. Once they've won some fights, they'll go against Scarface. Once they beat him they'll get their first girlfriend, Deja. Other girls will come up to their character every few fights and they have to choose which one you prefer as your girlfriend and they'll fight each other.
Eventually, N.O.R.E. will challenge them to a fight at Grimeyville. Before the fight, they arrive with a new set of clothes and almost get in a fight with D-Mob (Christopher Judge). Not long after the fight, Manny signs them and him up for a tag team tournament. After a while, the player will be challenged by Ludacris to a fight in Club Luda. When you get to Club Luda, the character's girlfriend leaves with a girl named Carla to find someone better. After the fight, D-Mob claims that the character and Manny are nothing. He says that if anyone in the club wants the power and respect, they have to beat him at the Def Jam Tournament. Manny tells the character to stop fighting, but he ignores him.
DMX challenges you but first the character has to overcome what the Dragon House has to offer. Once they have done that, they take on Method Man and Redman in the finale of the tag team tournament. After that, they fight DMX with the protective gear sent to them by Angel (your girlfriend who was taken by D-Mob). Once they have defeated DMX, they receive an e-mail from Angel saying that they need to talk. When they arrive at The Face Club, it is revealed that D-Mob has sent House, Pockets and Snowman to stop them from coming to the Def Jam tournament. The character defeats them, but just as they are sighing in relief, Manny knocks the character out with a baseball bat and joins D-Mob's side against his will. Soon the character wake up and enter the tournament and defeat their best fighters. D-Mob then attempts to kill the character by shooting at the player but Manny takes the bullet and survives. Your character triumphs over D-Mob and gets back Angel, leading up to the events of Def Jam: Fight for NY.
- "Nothin'" - N.O.R.E. featuring Pharrell
- "Smash Sumthin'" - Redman featuring Adam F.
- "Fight the Power" - Public Enemy
- "The Grain" - Ghostface Killah featuring RZA (Mistitled as "Buck 50" in game)
- "X Gon' Give It to Ya" - DMX
- "Bring the Pain" - Method Man
- "Uh Huh!" - Method Man
- "Saturday (Oooh! Oooh!)" - Ludacris featuring Sleepy Brown2
- "Focus" - Joe Budden
- "In Cold Blood" - Scarface
- "Get Away" - Christina Milian featuring Ja Rule2
- "Do Sumthin" - Comp
- "Throw Ya Gunz" - Onyx
- "The Streets" - WC featuring Nate Dogg
- "Oh My Goodness" - Keith Murray
- "Yeah Yeah U Know It" - Keith Murray featuring Erick Sermon and Redman
- "Intro" - DMX
- "Party Up" - DMX
- "Stick 'em" - Comp
- "Stomp" - C-N-N featuring M.O.P.
- "Its My Turn (Fight)" - Dabo1
- "Kross Over" - S-Word1
1 denotes Japan version only
2 denotes Retail soundtrack only
The response to the game was mainly positive, with fans citing the basic game play and presentation as superb, but many lamented the loss of key AKI features such as "gimmick matches" like the ladder match and the cage match, plus the lack of any true create-a-wrestler mode.
- "Do Sumthin" by Comp will always play first when the game starts up.
- Rappers Dabo and S-Word were featured exclusively in the Japanese Version of Def Jam Vendetta.
- When Ghostface Killah's "The Grain" plays in game the infobox says the song is "Buck 50". This could be a either a mistitling or the developers were originally going to use Buck 50 instead of The Grain.
- Three unknown females were seen in the game's intro, One behind Penny and Manny, the other is seen leaning on the wall as Angel walks by and the third is seen in Pockets' arms. Whether or not these characters were originally going to be include in the game as girlfriends or not is unknown.
- Many of the animations in Def Jam Vendetta are also used in Ultimate Muscle: Legends vs. New Generation and it's expansion Galactic Wrestling: Featuring Ultimate Muscle. Both games were developed by AKI Corporation.
- In Stargate SG-1: In the sixth episode of season 8, 'Avatar,' a virtual reality game is described to the character Teal'c (played by Christopher Judge) and he is asked by Colonel Samantha Carter if he played the video game Doom, at which point Teal'c says, "I played Def Jam Vendetta," to which a scientist replies, "Exactly."