I found out recently that Snoop Dogg* has a new game out called Way of the Dogg. It looks to be a brawler featuring his likeness. This got me thinking about previous games that Snoop has been in. While it’s not a metric ton of games, it is more than the game history of other rappers like Dr. Dre and 50 Cent. So let’s check out Snoop’s history in video games, because why the hell not?
Note this may not be a complete list. I likely have left out a game or three, so if I did, let me know through the usual channels. That being said, let’s get started.
Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (PS2 – 2001)
I never really enjoyed the Gran Turismo games. Sim driving games never were my thing, I don’t want to maintain my cars by changing the oil and tires, I just want to pick a car and drive on a track. GT3 was one of my first PS2 games I got, along with such wonderful games like NBA Hoopz and Contra: Legacy of War. (That last one was in the PS2 that I bought second-hand, the guy gave it to me free of charge.)
Snoop contributed a song to the game’s soundtrack, called “Dogg’s Turismo 3.” It’s… something alright. He needs to make another one for the forthcoming Gran Turismo 6.
True Crime: Streets of LA (Xbox, GameCube, PS2, Windows – 2003)
Developed by Luxoflux and published by Activision, True Crime was a decent free-roaming action game that mixed gun play, driving and fighting in a facsimile of Los Angeles, CA. Released during the boom of Grand Theft Auto clones, it boasted big stars like Russell Wong, Christopher Walken, Gary Oldman and James Hong. It got a sub-par sequel, True Crime: New York City, and a spiritual successor in Sleeping Dogs. (Highly recommend Sleeping Dogs by the way, it’s an awesome game.)
Snoop Dogg is a playable character in a special game mode. To unlock it, you have to find 30 Dogg Bones scattered around the city. Once you find them all, you unlock “Dogg Patrol,” which features Snoop stopping criminals around LA, much like Nick Kang does in the main game. You’re given an hour to stop crimes until you die or time runs out, whichever comes first. It’s little more than a score attack, but the novelty of playing as Snoop is worth a look.
Some of his music is also in the game, along with a bevvy of other west coast rap artists. The soundtrack got a CD release, and I bet the soundtrack is pretty ballin’.
Need for Speed: Underground 2 (Xbox, GameCube, PS2, PC — 2004)
Snoop really likes making songs for video games, doesn’t he? He contributed another song to a driving game, this time a Need for Speed title. Except this is probably the most bizarre thing I’ve heard.
It’s a mashup of The Doors “Riders on the Storm”, with Snoop contributing rap vocals. This is the second time I’ve heard “Riders on the Storm” mixed with another song or artist. I wonder what the surviving Doors thought of this creation…
(Thanks to andlabs and LanceBoyle for pointing this one out!)
Def Jam: Fight for NY (Xbox, GameCube, PS2 – 2005)
I’ve heard good things about the Def Jam fighting games. I’m afraid I haven’t played them myself, but from what I read, Snoop plays a prominent role as Crow, the leader of a rival gang who takes over the turf of D-Mob, one of the major characters in the previous game, Def Jam Vendetta. The story goes that your main character works with D-Mob to whittle down Crow’s gang of thugs – which includes such greats as Busta Rhymes, Sean Paul, Xzibit and fuckin’ Danny Trejo – until you take down Crow once and for all.
Funny thing is I could believe Snoop being the leader of a gang in real life, and bring a posse like that with him in person. This game sounds amazing, I need to pick it up. It looks pretty awesome even though it came out almost ten years ago.
Rock Band downloadable content (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii – 2010)
Did you know you could buy some of Snoop Dogg’s songs to play in Rock Band? Yeah, this was one of those moments in Rock Band that was announced around 2008 or so, and went quietly unnoticed by everyone until Harmonix surprisingly mentioned it out of the blue two years later.
The songs include “Beautiful,” “Drop It Like It’s Hot,” “Ridin’ in My Chevy,” “Sensual Seduction,” “Snoop’s Upside Ya Head,” “Tha Shiznit,” “That’s tha Homie,” and “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?”
Since a fair share of these songs are sample-heavy or don’t have the Rock Band staples of guitar, bass, and drums – this was released before Rock Band 3, so no keyboards – the songs have been modified slightly. “Drop It Like It’s Hot” adds guitar and bass to the existing track, while “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” is a straight re-record made specifically for the game. Since Rock Band is rated T for Teen, don’t expect to hear a lot of swearing, but the game won’t penalize you if you decide to rap “187 on a motherfucking cop” anyway.
This was originally released as a pack of songs, but due to some licensing issue, “Snoop’s Upside Ya Head” got pulled from the store shortly after its release, so now you can only buy the songs individually. That’s okay with me, because all I needed was “Drop It Like It’s Hot” and “Who Am I” anyway.
I can’t tell which is weirder, this or that one week Harmonix added Jimmy Buffett and Disturbed songs to the Rock Band catalog on the same week. If there’s anything I miss about Rock Band DLC is weird releases like this one.
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (360, PS3 – 2011)
Apparently Snoop loves the Tekken-izzles, so there’s a stage dedicated to him that was available as a pre-order bonus, along with a new song called “Knocc ‘Em Down” [sic]. From the brief amount of knowledge I was able to salvage off the web, you can’t buy this as downloadable content, nor does it come with the Wii U version released at its launch late last year. Which really sucks, because I’d totally buy this, and I don’t even play fighting games.
The song also had a music video, and it’s quite… something:
Way of the Dogg (XBLA – 2013)
Now we come to the most recent game featuring Snoop. Complete with his recent Rastafarian look, it’s baffling why they still called it Way of the Dogg. I guess they were worried calling it “Way of the Lion” might attract the wrong crowd or something.
You would think by the screenshots that this would be a fighting game made to cash in on Snoop’s newfound roots. But it isn’t – it’s a rhythm action game. Press the 360 buttons in time with what’s on screen, with an occasional quick-time event to break up the action. Ouendan this isn’t. It’s really bare bones and seems to be nothing but timed button presses. I found more interaction with Heavy Rain for god’s sake.
Outside of having Snoop do voice overs and contribute to the soundtrack, this just looks like a sub-par quick-time event game. I don’t understand this, why couldn’t they just make a straight fighting game? This makes me wanna play actual fighting games, or actually good rhythm games. Maybe this would be mildly entertaining if they released it on iOS or Android. At least you could get away with shallow gameplay on that system.
Call of Duty: Ghosts (360/One/PS3/PS4/PC — 2014)
Never thought I’d be coming back to this one: Snoop has now contributed his dulcet tones to Call of Duty: Ghosts, as part of a multiplayer announcer pack. For the price of $3 (that’s three dizzollars), you can have Snoop tell you that the bomb’s been planted, or that a helicopter is coming to rain shizzle down on your entire team. Using celebrities as multiplayer announcers isn’t new, but this is the first game that used a celebrity that wasn’t also voicing a character in the main campaign. (Previous COD games had celebrities in their games like Kiefer Sutherland, Gary Oldman, and Ice Cube, but as campaign characters in addition to being announcers in multiplayer.)
I honestly wasn’t expecting this, but since Call of Duty: Ghosts has map packs where you could play as Halloween‘s Michael Myers and Predator, plus character skins of previous Call of Duty titles, I’m not surprised that they’re doing all these weird crossovers and special promotions. Maybe it’s to woo old COD veterans like me to buy Ghosts. Personally, I’d rather stick with Black Ops II instead since Infinity Ward hasn’t made a great COD game since Call of Duty 4. (and they haven’t made a good COD game since Modern Warfare 2.)
Honestly, I love when famous stars branch into video games. They can become memorable actors with famous characters attached to them, or be something that we laugh at in retrospect, like having Kiefer Sutherland voice a soldier in Call of Duty: World at War. I praise Snoop’s historizzle into video games, and I hope he does more. For shizzle.
*-I know he went by “Snoop Lion” as of this writing, but he will always be Snoop Dogg to me. Not “Snoop Doggy Dogg” though, that’s one too many doggs.