E3 06: Def Jam: Fight for New York: The Takeover Hands-On

The series that lets you hit Sean Paul in the face makes its handheld debut. We play the nearly finished build at E3 2006 ahead of its release in June.

LOS ANGELES--Def Jam: Fight for New York: The Takedown is set for release on the PSP in June, and we were able to get hands on with a build that was 90 percent complete at this year's E3. The game features a new storyline, but it's otherwise very similar to the game that was released on home consoles nearly two years ago.

The single-player game sees you creating a fighter and taking on a number of famous hip-hop artists in street brawls. The controls take their cue from wrestling games, with the face buttons offering punch, kick, grab, and run. You can make your attacks stronger by holding the left shoulder button and block those aimed at you by holding the right shoulder button. As this is an urban brawler, you can also use the D pad to taunt your opponent if you're feeling cocky. The blazin' mode allows you to perform more-powerful special attacks for a short period of time, which you can engage by making a circular motion on the D pad once you've punished your opponent enough.

The noise of the show made it difficult to ascertain the story, but we could tell that the interface and features are more or less identical to the PlayStation 2 version of the game. You can check messages sent to you by friends and rivals, customize your character with tattoos and clothing, and then choose the venue that you want to fight in on the game map. The Takeover is particularly violent, especially for an EA game, as characters smash each other into objects and take weapons from the crowd. The crunching impact of the attacks has lost some of its effect in the translation to handheld, as there is less detail on the characters and fewer crowd members, but the combat still boasts a distinctive and polished style. Smash your opponent into a car and the windows will shatter, or throw the opponent at the crowd and they'll hold his arms while you smash his face in.

The game offers quite a few quick-fix modes outside of the story mode. You can set up a one-on-one fight with an AI opponent, and there are variables on this that include cage matches and subway fights. Other options allow you to unlock rewards that include other fighters and venues. You can play ad hoc wireless multiplayer, enable cheats, and play music from the game. Fans of Fight for New York on the home consoles may want to play through the game for the new story, but it doesn't seem like much has been added apart from wireless multiplayer. Those who missed it the first time around and fancy satisfying their need for urban violence on the go will get more from the game. We should have a full review for you shortly.

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