Why Def Jam Fight For NY Was Ahead Of Its Time

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Freedom to customize character and Snoop Dogg as the villain...

Story Highlights
  • The in-depth customization allowed you to choose from different facial features and voices for your character.
  • Artists of that era were playable characters including Ludacris, 2 Chainz, Fat Joe, and Snoop Dogg, and their songs were played throughout the game 
  • The street fight style with interactive crowd, items, animations, and maps immerses the players giving them a feel of a real-life street fight.

Games released in the era of Def Jam Fight For NY didn’t include what this game included. What are these inclusions? We’ll discuss this in this article.

In-Depth Character Customization 

Back in 2004, this concept wasn’t common with games. If it was present in a game, the customization was limited to only a few choices that players could make.

Def Jam: Fight For NY broke this chain by implementing character customization that had great attention to detail. Firstly, you could easily adjust the height, weight, and body type of your character. You could choose your character’s skin, eyes, and hair color.

YouTube video

Additionally, you were given eight choices to choose from to change the shape of your character’s eyebrows, eyes, nose, and lips. Moreover, the facial structure of your character ranges from round to flat, which you can also select from the given eight options.

Not only that, the game also allowed you to choose a particular voice for your character. After making all of these choices, you are presented with your character immediately entering the cutscene after which you could select different fighting styles as well. 


Apart from the in-detail character customization, you were also given the freedom to choose which jewelry you wanted ranging from chains, rings, watches, bracelets, earrings, and grills – all of which further enhanced the hip-hop atmosphere.

Likewise, you can also go clothes shopping and enhance the look of your character with tops, bottoms, footwear, headwear, and accessories such as belts, gloves, and sunglasses. 

Def Jam Recordings

Def Jam Recordings is an American multinational record label with various well-known artists. Today, it consists of artists like DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, 2 Chainz, and Big Sean, just to name a few.

Numerous Rappers & Songs

This is one of the games that stands apart from all of the games even to this day. This is because most of the artists of that era under the Def Jam label were included in this game and were playable characters including Snoop Dogg, who was the main antagonist.

YouTube video

Other than that, the game featured well-known artists including Ludacris, Sean Paul, Fat Joe, and Xzibit among many others.

YouTube video

Imagine, a game where we get to play our favorite artists and hear their songs playing in the background. This is what Def Jam Fight For NY did. The famous songs of that era’s hip-hop artists were constantly played, creating a street environment which the game focuses on.

True Street Fighting

This game is the definition of real street fighting. Unlike other fighting games, where either you have powers in a fight or you wrestle with your opponent, this game captures the true essence of what it takes to be in a street fight. 

YouTube video

Here, with whatever fighting style you chose you were thrown into an environment where mostly you’re surrounded by the chaotic crowd that is cheering or booing for the two fighters.

Cheering helps your character boost his morale allowing him to use his special finisher. If the fight is dominated by one fighter, the crowd will also boo. This interaction with the crowd helps create immersion. 

Interactable Environment

If you throw your opponent towards the edge of the map where the crowd is, they are most likely to grab your opponent, allowing you to damage your opponent more.

Similarly, the crowd would throw glass bottles, steel pipes, knives, and baseball bats that you can use to either hit normally or throw at your enemy. Similarly, you can also pull off special moves with these weapons and after a number of uses, they will break.

Subway Interactable Map 

Apart from that, certain maps have interactable environments. For instance, in a map where there’s a car present you can throw your enemy towards the car and pull off a special move that would smash your enemy’s head between the seat of the car. 

Maps with walls and fences allow you to wall run, jump, and land on your opponent causing him extra damage. A map with a subway will enable you to throw your opponent on the tracks and if timed correctly can cause instant death of your opponent as well.

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