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Def Jam: Icon is a fighting game, and is the third in Electronic Arts's Def Jam-licensed hip hop video game series. The game was developed by EA Chicago, developers of Fight Night Round 3 and is 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 controllable. The game was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 Consoles on March 6, 2007 through GameStop Pre-Orders, and March 8, 2007 for all other gaming outlets.
The game features 28 playable characters and is much less wrestling-oriented than the previous games, Def Jam Vendetta and Def Jam: Fight for NY. 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. 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, mixing up high and low attacks, blocks, throws, and parries, and using the right analog stick to deliver stronger attacks. 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 ripped and burned clothing, bruises, and an overall look of exhaustion of the opponent.
The developers aimed to make the music and the environment a much larger factor in the fight. The environments includes rooftops, streets, subways, gas stations, two clubs, an Atlanta neighborhood, BET's 106 and Park stage, and other locales, as opposed to the wrestling rings or arenas of the previous Def Jam titles. In addition, the producers promised massive levels of interactivity within each environment. Fighters bleed and show visible signs of their injuries as fights progress and as the player's character gets hurt.
The music actually effects the environment. The entire backdrop bumps to the beat of the background music. 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. Other changes will be purely cosmetic: hubcaps on cars will spin and twinkle to the beat of each song. 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. On the Xbox 360 Console, players are also able to load up their own music (Custom Soundtracks), and the game has a form of beat detection to find the beats from any song.Def Jam: Icon features various controls which, if used correctly, can cause severe damage to another fighter. Up to four attacks can be used in a combo, with a directional stick to be used as the fourth attack . Depending on the amount of damage caused in the four hits, a fighter can cause an opponent to stagger backwards slightly, knock directly down, or fly across the venue.Soundtrack The game features 20 songs from 19 artists, all of which are completely uncensored. However, "Hate Me Now" is locked and can only be unlocked while progressing through the "Build a Label" mode of the game, while "Make It Rain" and "It's Goin' Down" can only be unlocked using cheat codes.