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After years of PlayStation thumb, I have finally come to the conclusion that the PlayStation control pad isn't as comfortable as the Dreamcast controller. Let PlayStation thumb be a thing of the past now - this DC pad is fantastic, and for many other reasons other than it's comfort. The Dreamcast controller didn't cost me anything seeing as it came with the Dreamcast that I have now purchased from my brother, although I think it's available between £10 and £20 in stores across the united kingdom, but you will probably find the best prices online - why not use Dooyoo's price/product finding facility to search for it? It's a rounder pad compared to the PSX one, with 2 shoulder buttons, four action buttons - A, B, X and Y along with the standard start button, an analogue stick and a d-pad too. The buttons are durable and well designed, with the two movement sticks well spaced out. The pad fits nicely in your hands with two grooves either side for you to grip. The best thing about the control pad other than the comfort factor is the feature of having expansion ports. We first saw this on the N64 controllers, I wasn't very impressed with those as the memory cards kept getting stuck in them, but it was a great idea - having rumble and memory card slots in control pads, but Sega give you TWO therefore you can either slot in up to 2 accessories in the form of a VMU or two, a VMU + a rumble pack, or even a microphone. The controller is about half the size of the actual console, but it's very ergonomic although the grey/white colour is a bit boring - the buttons do liven it up a bit, but I was informed that you can actually get some coloured pads, but they were limited stock and so are worth more and very rare. Sega may have pulled out of the hardware industry, but when they were in it they made some brilliant devices. The control pad is no exception. Comes in a box, although mine didn't - brother did
n't keep the box, and it's a worthwhile ESSENTIAL peripheral. Thanks
It's part of gaming folklore that third party accessories suck. Ever since the early days of consoles, unofficial controllers have been so uncomfortable, unendurable, unresponsive and just plain unusable that buying the official controllers has been a no-brainer. Annoyingly, some of the above can also be applied to the official Dreamcast pad as well. Its not as if its particularly uncomfortable - although it does feel a little narrow towards the bottom - nor is it unusable by any stretch of the imagination, it simply isn't durable. The digital d-pad (that's the little cross thing under the stick for the uneducated) in particular has a habit of quickly becoming unresponsive. Additionally, the shoulder triggers are not as sturdy as they could be. With this in mind I thought I'd give Mad Catz Dreamcast joypad a shot. Actually, there were two other featured of it which appealed to me - a solid circular d-pad, and six front mounted buttons. Having a solid d-pad as opposed to the standard cross-shaped d-pad proves advantageous when playing Street Fighter titles, as it makes it easier to do the sliding motions required to perform special attacks, whilst having the triggers functionally duplicated as two digital front-mounts is also a great bonus when playing certain games - the analogue triggers can prove to be too unresponsive. Onto the specifics of the pad itself. As previously mentioned, this joypad differs in two respects to the official joypad. Firstly, there are two additional buttons on the front of the joypad, labeled Z and C. These are placed just to the right of four main buttons, and slightly further towards the front. As standard these buttons duplicate the functions of the two trigger buttons (Z does the same as the left trigger, C the same as the right), but do so digitally rather than analogue - there is only 'on' and 'off', no in-between. The joypad still has analogue triggers of course, t
hese prove to be a great use in driving games, but having the functions duplicated on the front is a useful feature. In addition, it is possible to 'reprogram' the six front mounted button - that is, you can swap the functions of the buttons around. Tap the program button, then the button you want to switch the function of, and finally the button you want to move - its that simple. Whilst I haven't personally found any real use for this, it could be useful for games where the default configuration is awkward and the game will not allow reconfiguring of controls. Any programming is, however, lost when you reset your console. As also mentioned, the d-pad is a circular piece of plastic with the rough shape of a cross slightly raised in it. The d-pad proves slightly more responsive than that of the standard Dreamcast pad, and certainly more comfortable for prolonged use. The analogue stick is a lot looser than that of the standard Dreamcast pad, and being slightly taller it a gives a feeling of having a greater deal of control than the standard pad. It is also capped with rubber, and is more comfortable to use with sweaty fingers. Still, there are a few minor issues. The pad as a whole feels slightly wide - about as too wide as the standard pad seems too narrow. Those who clasp their joypads firmly may find it slightly uncomfortable, although those like myself who hold these things loosely should be fine. The d-pad feels as if it is placed slightly too low - about a quarter of a centimeter up and to the right and it would have been placed perfectly. Again, this is largely going to be a problem to those who grip pads tightly (or have really oversized hands), and isn't too much of a problem. Another problem with the d-pad is that the raised cross area is slightly too thick, occasionally leading to diagonals being pressed accidentally (up-left in particular). Considering the position of the pad on the controller, it should either have had
the cross section narrowed, or have been ever-so-slightly rotated clockwise. A further issue is that the expansion slots at the front of the joypad are a little tight - getting a VMU unit out of slot 1 can take a fair amount of force. Ultimately, however, I think Mad Catz have produced a pad which is, whilst not necessarily better than that of Sega, certainly worth a look. In some situations it certainly has its advantages, and feels slightly sturdier than the official Sega pad. Certainly, if you are seeking to have a full compliment of four Dreamcast pads it wouldn't hurt, and it could just give you an advantage when it comes to Capcoms fighter output.
This pad is a brilliant pad and good value for money. its rubber buttons and grips make it alot more comfortable to hold and to use. it also has a programable feature that lets you change the button set-up so you can configure the controller as you like. The only critisism of the controller is that it does look a bit bulky and the d-pad can get slightly twisted out of position but that won't effect it to much. This pad is only second o the official controller (but only just.) if you buy a new controller this should be it