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Def Jam: Icon is a 3D fighting game, the third in Electronic Arts's Def Jam-licensed hip hop video game series. The game was developed by EA Chicago, the first Def Jam game not to be developed by AKI Corporation. Unlike the previous games in the series, the game's soundtrack is completely changeable. The game was released in March 2007.

Def Jam: Icon
Def Jam Icon Game Cover.jpeg
Developer(s)EA Chicago
Publisher(s)Electronic Arts
Platform(s)Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
ReleaseXbox 360
  • NA: March 6, 2007
  • AU: March 15, 2007
  • EU: March 23, 2007
  • JP: June 21, 2007
PlayStation 3
  • NA: March 6, 2007
  • AU: March 22, 2007
  • EU: March 23, 2007
  • KOR: June 15, 2007
  • JP: June 21, 2007
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer



Def Jam: Icon is less wrestling-oriented than the previous games, Def Jam Vendetta and Def Jam: Fight for NY.[1] The game's executive producer, Kudo Tsunoda, has stated that he did not feel that wrestling and hip-hop went particularly well with each other.[2] However, throws and environmental damage remain in the game.

Gameplay is similar to EA Chicago's Fight Night: Round 3, featuring a focus on up-close brawling[3], mixing up blocks, throws, parries, and using the right analog stick to deliver stronger attacks.[4] Also, like Round 3, there is no in-game heads up display by default, encouraging the player to observe physical cues on in-game characters to determine their health, such as clothing, bruises and exhaustion of the opponent.[5]

The developers aimed to make the music and the environment a much larger factor in the fight.[6] Among the environments are: streets, subways, nightclubs, penthouses, BET's 106 and Park stage, and others.[1][7]

There is a level of interactivity between music and the stages, where the entire backdrop bumps to the beat of the background music.[8] Different events occur on the beats of each song - some of which are dangerous. For example, a column of fire shoots up from a ruined gas station on every "bass hit" of a song's chorus.[9] Other changes will be purely cosmetic: hubcaps on cars will spin and twinkle to the beat of each song.[10] The developers have added more damage to a fighter's punches and kicks if they occur "to the beat" or making a rapper stronger if one of their songs is playing.

By listening to the beat of the song and then timing a throw, the player can toss his opponent into an environmental hazard just as it goes off. The game features a "turntable" action, where by spinning the right analog stick allows the character to manipulate the music and the environment for both players and shows the character as if they are using a DJ turntable in mid-air.[11] With this, the environment can be used for gaining advantage and weakening the opponents by activating the environmental hazards when they are near. During the match, fighters bleed and show visible signs of their injuries.[12]


The game features 29 playable characters, including real-life hip hop artists signed to Def Jam at the time, as well as original characters. Funkmaster Flex, Russell Simmons, Kevin Liles, Mayra Verónica, Christine Dolce and Melyssa Ford appear as non playable characters.

Base roster Unlockables

Build a LabelEdit

The game's story mode, called "Build a Label", starts when the player is obligated to create his own "suspect" on an FBI computer. The player can edit every aspect of the character's body and choose his fighting style and fighting song. However, the songs that you have an option to pick is "Got It Sewed Up (Remix)" by Mike Jones, "Back Then" also by Mike Jones, "Soul Survivor" by Young Jeezy featuring Akon, "I Do This", also by Young Jeezy, "Go Hard Or Go Home" by E-40, "Tell Me When to Go" also by E-40, "Sittin' Sidewayz" by Paul Wall featuring Big Pokey, and "Trill" by Paul Wall featuring Bun B and B.G., along with all fighting styles except Ghetto Blaster and Street Kwon Do, are locked. Note that the artists of the 4 songs initially offered are not accessible to sign while the other artists of the other songs are accessible to sign.

After creating a character, the story starts in a sequence where DJ Funkmaster Flex can be heard speaking to his audience on the radio with the instrumental of "I Do This" by Young Jeezy playing in the background. The camera pans through several sections of a neighborhood, including a building with a promotional poster for T.I. vs T.I.P. on the side. By the time Funkmaster Flex is done talking, the camera shows a child, Kevin, walking down the street with his friend Jake while bouncing a basketball. Kevin then spots Curtis Carver (Kevin Liles), a mogul in the music industry, speaking with his record label's vice president (Playa). The camera then shifts to Carver, who is still speaking with Playa, when is suddenly interrupted by Kevin, accompanied by Jake. Kevin then asks Carver for his autograph. While Carver signs Kevin's basketball, he asks the children whether they're staying out of trouble. After handing Kevin back his basketball, Carver also gives him and Jake some money and advises them to pursue careers in basketball, adding that it will bring them financial success. While Kevin and Jake walk away, gunshots are heard and Carver can be seen falling to the ground. Kevin and Jake run away, and Playa can be seen looking at Carver while his blood spreads around his torso on the ground.


Review scores
PS3Xbox 360
Game Informer7.75/10[17]7.75/10[17]
Game RevolutionB[19]B[19]
GameProN/A     [18]
GameSpy     [20]     [20]
OXM (US)N/A8/10[26]
The A.V. ClubB−[27]B−[27]
Detroit Free Press    [28]    [28]
Aggregate score

While the game received mixed to positive reviews from critics and game critics, the game received "average" reviews on both platforms according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.[29][30]

IGN praised the uncensored soundtrack, "beautifully rendered" visuals and the "My Soundtrack" feature on the former version, but criticized "weak fighting moves" and "inconsistent game mechanics".[25][24] GameSpot, however, became more positive, stating that it "plays well enough, but it really shines thanks to its crazy story and healthy roster."[8]

Detroit Free Press gave the game three stars out of four and said it was "just two hairs short of a masterpiece. EA and Def Jam have set the bar really high for fighting games."[28] The New York Times gave it an average review and stated that "While Icon is the best looking of the Def Jam games, the combat system isn’t quite as entertaining, dropping the previous games’ over-the-top wrestling moves for more straightforward street fighting. It’s not a bad system, but it’s just not as wild and entertaining."[31] The A.V. Club gave it a B− and said that "Even if you don't own every Ludacris album, watching the rich environments rattle to the music is reason enough to give this a play. Just don't expect much depth from this beat 'em up."[27]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Minor, Jordan (2017-02-16). "Game of the Year: Def Jam Icon". Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  2. ^ "'Def Jam: Fight for New York' was Definitely the Best Rap Video Game Ever". Vice. 2016-06-03. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  3. ^ Smith, Rob (2018-08-07). "IS DEF JAM ROLLING OUT NEW 'VENDETTA' VIDEO GAME?". The Boombox. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  4. ^ Buchanan, Levi (2007-03-16). "Fight and Scratch with EA's 'Def Jam: Icon'". NBC News. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  5. ^ Summa, Robert (2006-12-14). "Def Jam Icon: Playing a different kind of fighter with Big Boi and Kudo". Destructoid. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  6. ^ Williams, Christopher (2007-04-12). "Def Jam: Icon". PopMatters. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  7. ^ Craddock, David (2007-02-20). "Def Jam: Icon Interview". Shack News. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  8. ^ a b c d Gerstmann, Jeff (2007-03-07). "Def Jam: Icon Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  9. ^ "Def Jam ICON Interview: Kudo Tsunoda". Gamezone. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  10. ^ Moormann, Peter (2012-08-11). Music and Game: Perspectives on a Popular Alliance. Springer Science+Business Media. p. 74. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  11. ^ Vallentin, Greg (2007-04-30). "Def Jam: Icon Review". Video Gamer. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  12. ^ Saltzman, Marc (2007-03-23). "Review: Hip-hop adds beat to 'Def Jam: Icon'". CNN. Retrieved 2019-05-07.
  13. ^ a b Zuniga, Todd (2007-03-02). "Def Jam: Icon". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  14. ^ Edge staff (April 2007). "Def Jam: Icon (X360)". Edge (174): 79.
  15. ^ a b EGM Staff (April 2007). "Def Jam: Icon". Electronic Gaming Monthly (214): 88.
  16. ^ Albiges, Luke (2007-03-19). "Def Jam: Icon Review (Xbox 360)". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  17. ^ a b Helgeson, Matt (March 2007). "Def Jam: Icon". Game Informer (167): 96. Archived from the original on 2008-01-30. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  18. ^ Ouroboros (April 2007). "Review: Def Jam: Icon (X360)". GamePro: 83. Archived from the original on 2007-03-14. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  19. ^ a b Dodson, Joe (2007-03-13). "Def Jam: Icon Review". Game Revolution. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  20. ^ a b McGarvey, Sterling (2007-03-14). "GameSpy: Def Jam: Icon". GameSpy. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  21. ^ a b "Def Jam: Icon Review". GameTrailers. March 6, 2007. Archived from the original on 2013-10-07. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
  22. ^ Bedigian, Louis (2007-03-05). "Def Jam: Icon - PS3 - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on 2008-10-05. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  23. ^ Hopper, Steven (2007-03-05). "Def Jam: Icon - 360 - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on 2008-10-05. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  24. ^ a b Haynes, Jeff (2007-03-06). "Def Jam: Icon Review (PS3)". IGN. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  25. ^ a b Haynes, Jeff (2007-03-06). "Def Jam: Icon Review (X360)". IGN. Archived from the original on 2007-03-09. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  26. ^ "Def Jam: Icon". Official Xbox Magazine: 84. April 2007.
  27. ^ a b c Zuniga, Todd (2007-03-05). "Def Jam Icon". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on 2007-03-08. Retrieved 2014-02-25.
  28. ^ a b c Todd, Brian E. (2007-03-25). "HIP-HOP SLUGFEST". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2016-03-30.
  29. ^ a b "Def Jam: Icon Critic Reviews for PlayStation 3". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  30. ^ a b "Def Jam: Icon Critic Reviews for Xbox 360". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  31. ^ Herold, Charles (2007-03-08). "A Sexy Witch, Zombies and Death: Who Needs a Story?". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-02-25.

External linksEdit