A couple of weeks ago, I realized that CircuitCity has a rolling, semi-secret sale on PS2, Xbox and GameCube games. There is a rotating inventory of good games under $10 on the CircuitCity website, but the inventory changes so fast that the stores don’t seem to have time to mark them down on the shelves. Last weekend, I went in to one of the local stores to troll the sale bin, and decided to have a few games that weren’t in the sale bin price checked to see if the bargains extended further than even the website indicated.
Sure enough, they did. I left the store with 3 games for me, and 2 games for other people, with a marked cost of around $200. I walked out of the store with all 5 games for a grand total of $40. While I’m not particularly fond of button-mashing fighting games, I remembered Def Jam Fight For NY getting good ratings on Gamespot. When it priced out at less than $9, I found it impossible to resist.
The basic premise of the game is that you’re the new guy in a underground fighting gang that sponsors underground fights and you climb your way to the top of the food chain. At first glance, the unique feature of this game is that the all the people that you fight are today’s Rap and Hip Hop stars. The other unique feature that I was unaware of is the game’s brazen brutality. I’m no stranger to violent video games, but after popping the disc into the console, I sat there slack-jawed and almost appalled at the absolute brutal nature of the fighting in the game. This is marked mature for a reason.
You start the game by creating your own character including height weight, build, skin tone, facial shape, nose shape, eye type, eye color, ear shape, and voice preference. In essence, if you’re a guy, you’re building a cartoonish model of yourself. From there, you have to learn one of five skills (street fighting, kick boxing, submissions, martial arts, or wrestling) from the gym master Henry Rollins. What Henry fucking Rollins has to do with hip-hop, I have no idea, but I find it both cool and corny that he actually sends text messages to me to get my ass down his gym to hone my fighting skills (the only person that I might’ve found more amusing in the role might have been Glen Danzig). Did I say my skills? I meant the skills of the 6’0, 210 pound, blue eyed, brown haired, street fighting character with the big ears and crooked nose that I created.
Once you’re “in the game”, the learning curve is a little steep, but once I got the hang of it, it’s pretty fun. There are the basic punching, kicking, and grappling moves, but game also includes specialized moves that can be purchased from Rollins. These moves are similar to finishing moves found in other fighting games, but without the complicated button mashing that is usually required to execute them. This should not imply that the game itself is simple, though. Each opponent has a unique style and takes me an average of 5-10 rounds to beat. While this type of repetition would normally have me shutting the console off in frustration, I find myself happily getting pounded round after round. What is more unusual about this is that I don’t really consider myself a fan of fighting games.
#1GF! finds it more than a little disturbing to watch her boyfriend get his ass kicked by Ice T over and over again, but I have to say that there’s something very satisfying about controlling a fighter that looks and dresses like you. And even if I felt a little bad about eventually kicking Ice T’s ass (he is the O.G., after all), I can tell you that there is immense satisfaction in watching that tiny version of me kicking the shit out of Sean Paul.
New level of brutality
Very custom characters
Vast finishing moves with relatively simple execution
Paying back Sean Paul for his music
You have to buy clothes and jewelery
Long, long load times
PS2, XBox, GameCube
$9 at CircuitCity