Product Review: Mad Catz Street Fighter IV FightStick and FightPad

streetstick

I had a hard time justifying custom controllers for a fighting game (I don’t play them much), but I bit the bullet and tested two Street Fighter branded peripherals from Mad Catz.

Was it worth the cash? Did I find additional uses for the hardware?

Find out inside.

Although they are in short supply, you can still find these peripherals online (I’ll include links at the end of the review).

I managed to get my hands on the Standard version of the FightStick, although a Tournament Edition does exist. The Tournament hardware features a slightly wider base and higher quality parts.

The FightStick has an arcade stick, 8 arcade buttons, Turbo modes, and allows you to map the joystick to emulate the left stick, right stick, or D pad.

The entire assembly feels sturdy, and the controls are tight and responsive, without feeling like you’re fighting the stick.

One drawback is the placement of the stick in relation to the left edge of the casing; the corner rests RIGHT on one of the bones in my wrist. After extended use, I developed a nasty looking bruise from slamming into it.

The Tournament Edition, having a wider stance, looks like it would eliminate the problem. Then again, I have REALLY short fingers and broad hands… it might just be my freakish paws that are the problem.

streetpadThe FightPad has the same features as the stick, the differences being form factor and wireless connectivity, and it comes in a variety of character styles. I wound up with ‘Ken’, but I’m not particular.

The pad is very similar in size to the original XBox controller (the Duke). It’s huge, rubber padded, and extremely comfortable. There are no sticks, but it features a very functional D pad and 6 buttons on the face (there are 2 shoulder buttons).

Using the FightStick or the FightPad in fighting games, I noticed an immediate improvement in my gameplay. I started unlocking Trophies and characters that had been a huge source of frustration for me.

I tested the hardware with Tekken: Dark Resurrection, Virtua Fighter 5, Mortal Kombat II, and Soul Calibur IV… I was pleased with the results in every case.

But what about games that AREN’T fighters?

I’ve rediscovered Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection because of these controllers. Having access to buttons in a similar fashion to a Genesis controller is one thing, but having an arcade stick for platformers is a huge bonus.

However, I found the better solution the old Genesis games was the FightPad… and it’s less expensive.

The XBox 360 version of the FightStick says that it works as a PC controller, and I wondered if the PS3 version was also compatible. I fired up MAME (Multi Arcade Machine Emulator) and tried some PacMan (legally, I own the arcade machine).

The PS3 hardware worked perfectly, both the FightStick and the FightPad.

Both are great for Street Fighter, but the FightPad is best suited for retro games that were originally released on earlier consoles, while the stick is better for arcade ports (like MAME).

If you have retro games, or games that don’t use an analog stick on PC or console, either would be a good purchase.

Matt says these products are definitely a BUY.

Links:

Buy Street Fighter IV FightStick Tournament Edition

Buy Street Fighter IV FightStick

Buy Street Fighter IV FightPad

Related:

Buy Street Fighter IV

Buy Street Fighter IV: Official Game Guide

Buy Virtua Fighter 5

Buy Soul Calibur IV

Buy Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection

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2 Comments

  1. How did you get it to work with MAME – because the stick is useless; only works with ZSNES

    • I use WolfMAME, so that may have something to do with it.

      In the configuration settings, there is an option to turn on Joystick Support, and each game will have to be configured manually the first time you launch it. The settings will be saved, so you should only have to do it once, but you will have to do it for each game separately.


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