top of page

Retro Review: Def Jam Vendetta

The original Def Jam Vendetta was a game I remember playing constantly. I couldn’t wait to see how it held up.

Reviewed on PlayStation 2


This replay was a rollercoaster of emotions. I went from no way this game is this bad, all the way to this is everything I remember it being! I finally settled on it’s still good, not great.

In my youth I loved rap music and so many of my favorite recording artists were part of Def Jam so this game was a dream come true. I also loved wrestling. So if you told me I could have a wrestling match between Method Man and DMX, who were my two favorites at the time, I would have thought I was having a weird fever dream. It’s no dream it’s Def Jam Vendetta.

Playing through the longer than I remember story mode and meeting and fighting all these rappers was fun from start to finish. There were some difficulty spikes in matches but most of it was pretty well balanced.

I know when I was younger I played and beat the story mode because I had everyone unlocked and this is how you will unlock them, but I had no memory of the story. It was a lot better than I was expecting.

The actual fighting is more complex than I first thought. You have a light and heavy attack and a grapple. There are a lot of different combos and for an older game it really did feel like the options were endless.

My biggest issue with the story mode was the way it used the women characters and forced you to make dumb choices and then fight. I know we made progress from when this was originally released but it was a painful reminder of the past. Then the grading system on top of it all was annoying.

Whether you pin your opponent for a three count, make them submit, or KO them every win was rewarding. My only problem with getting some of these wins came with the use of my special move. It was not easy to earn your special move so when you do, you hope it's game over. So many times they are not down for the count. I don’t feel it should be a guaranteed win but it needed to be more effective than it was.


At first, Def Jam Vendetta felt like it was not going to hold up. Once I got back into it and realized just how many options there are when it comes to fighting I realized not only does it hold up but it's still a good game. There are some decisions I don’t agree with and odd difficulty spikes but overall it was still fun to go back and play through.

Final Score 8/10

1 view0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page