Through the course of hip-hop history, some rappers have settled beefs with lyrical battles. Others get physical. The announcement of another game in Electronic Arts' "Def Jam" fighting game series means that gamers are going to be able to settle a few more hip-hop rivalries with the press of a button.
The third in EA's series and the first to be available on a handheld game machine, "Def Jam Fight for NY: The Takeover" will allow players to use rap stars such as Busta Rhymes, Lil' Kim, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg and Xzibit to battle through a series of fights set in the Big Apple. The game, which will feature a story that serves as a prequel to 2003's "Def Jam Vendetta" and 2004's "Def Jam Fight for New York," will be available for Sony's PSP in late March.
As with the previous games, "Def Jam" for PSP is being co-developed by EA Canada and the Aki Corporation, a wrestling-game specialty house that created WWF and WCW games in the late '90s and early 2000s.
While the game will feature a new story, EA promises that the graphics and gameplay will be a close match to the 2004 PS2, Xbox and GameCube versions of "Def Jam: Fight for NY." The soundtrack is also set to be the same, once again featuring tracks such as "America's Most" from Method Man and Redman, "Mama Said Knock You Out" from LL Cool J, and "Poppa Large" from the Ultramagnetic MC's. The game will also be adorned with licensed clothing from outfits such as Reebok, Rocawear and Phat Farm's Def Jam University.
One new gameplay feature will enable Def Jam players to throw dirt in opposing fighters' faces. The game will also feature a wireless mode for one-on-one PSP vs. PSP fighting. It was unclear at press time if that mode would be limited to in-person wireless multiplayer or whether it would work with online play.
There's also no word on whether the game will restore a feature that EA toyed with but never got around to including in the very first "Def Jam" game. According to an EA executive interviewed in 2004, the developers of that game thought players preparing to brawl with hip-hop's baddest stars might need a suitable punching bag to train on. The training victim who never quite made it out of the planning stages? Carrot Top.
PSP may even get a chance to brawl with hip-hop stars a second time this year. Last year Vivendi Universal announced that the 50 Cent console game "Bulletproof" would lead into a 2006 PSP "Bulletproof" title featuring the entire G-Unit in a "Final Fight"-style brawling game. A Vivendi representative was not available to confirm release details at press time.