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Def Jam: Icon demo ain't what's hot on the streets, playa

Jared Rea

If Mace: The Dark Ages was Tekken gone stupid (and not in the hyphy sense of the word), then you can only imagine what Def Jam: Icon is like. A demo for the fighting-game-gone-crunk was released today and being as hungry as we are for any original fighting game this year, we snapped it up.

The original Def Jam title, while short on options, was a fantastic wrestler. The sequel, Fight For New York, had incredible potential but fell apart with little to no defensive options. Like the previous sequel, Icon throws all previous experience out the whip and has devolved into a stand-up fighter with a musical slant.

From a design standpoint, Icon brings a lot of interesting elements to the dance. The interactive environments, correlating to the music put on quite a show and forces players to pay attention beyond swinging like a madman. And that's about where our praise for Icon ends. Beyond the aesthetically pleasing environments is little more than a clunky, stand-up fighter that makes War Gods look like Virtua Fighter. Harking back to the early days of the 3D fighter, Icon is like watching two well-fed hobos fighting over some booze and then something explodes. Even the fighters themselves can't keep pace with the hectic, ever changing world around them. With such a lack of moves to perform, it's not like there's anything to hold them back.

Like the era of fighting games it resonates, Icon is something we'd rather forget. Still, the "Kryptonite" song included is pretty catchy. Feel free to check it out, if not to understand how important it is that Virtua Fighter 5 is coming stateside.

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