Def Jam Vendetta is a 2003 professional wrestling video game that combined hip hop with pro wrestling. It was released for the PlayStation 2 and 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. So far two sequels have been released: 2004's Def Jam: Fight for NY and 2007's Def Jam: Icon. TBA's Def Jam Underground.
The game features a largely unmodified AKI engine, used in other AKI wrestling games Virtual Pro-Wrestling, Virtual Pro Wrestling 64, Virtual Pro Wrestling 2, WCW vs. The World, WCW vs. nWo: World Tour, WCW/nWo Revenge, WWF WrestleMania 2000, and WWF No Mercy with some minor "button mashing" elements added and significantly speedier gameplay. 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.
Players can win in one of three ways; pin, submission and 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; Proof, an ex-superbike racer; Tank, a massive Japanese fighter and the Disc Jockey 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. 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 they ignore 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.
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.