3DO Control Pad 2 Review
Posted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:40 pm
A quick review of the 3DO Controller Pad 2.
I always have a weird thought when something like this arrives. The controller is brand new, it has obviously only ever been opened to have look at, then popped back lovingly in the box. The controller was manufactured in 1995. It rolled off of a production line in China, got shipped to the USA, and then some 18 years later wound up in the UK. What happened to the guy in China? What was the name of the cargo ship it arrived in the States on? Why was it never used?
The other thing is my muscle memory. In truth I haven't played Street Fighter II on the 3DO in a number of years but after a few moments, I was Shoryuken'ing and Tatsumaki Senpuukyaku'ing that show-off Ken like I had never put the controller down. None of which never ceases to amaze me.
...but could I Hadouken?
The Control Pad 2 is well built. I had my doubts while waiting for it to arrive, but in the hand the controller is made of good quality plastic, has a good weight, although lighter than the original 3DO Controller, and the buttons feel solid. Reassuringly, the words 'Designed by Logitech' are stuck to the bottom, and there isn't a hint of flimsiness. Plus, it is aesthetically a step forward from the original controller: It looks more 'modern'.
Unlike the original controller there is no sound-jack or volume control at the front, and 3DO daisy chain controller output on the back is also missing. However, additional controllers can be daisy-chained via a separate jack hanging off of the main plug. So, not everything is lost.
To test it, I took it for a spin on three games: Street Fighter II, Road Rash and Starblade.
Starblade seemed to benefit, for me anyway, the most from this controller. I found it much easier to target the enemy ships and incoming missiles than I ever could with the traditional controller. It definitely responds faster. Plus the Dpad controls are more precise. The slightly stiffer, and stouter A, B and C buttons on the Pad 2 were more assertive when pressing fire, and the overall experience was enhanced. It was good.
Roadrash was next. The accuracy of the controller helped me mow down old grannies and dodge Volkswagens with ease, but the continual pressing of the B button to accelerate did become a little uncomfortable, even after the first race. The surface area of the A,B,C buttons is less than the original 3DO pad, and I felt prolonged use, I would end up with a serious case of “Road Rash thumb” [ a R.E.A.L medical condition ] much sooner than the original pad ever would.
So, to Street Fighter II. Good and bad if I’m honest. The original 3DO pad wasn't great for Street Fighter because hitting some of the diagonals was a challenge. I always found I could only fireball when facing right, and bird-kick when facing left with the in pack controller. The 3DO Pad 2 resolved this. Not only that, it permitted me to Hadouken at will. Something the original pad never seemed to want me to do. Pulling off the Super-Duper Hadouken when my power bar filled, was also a good deal easier. In these respects, the 3DO Pad 2 is better even than the Capcom controller that was released with the game. Unfortunately, the shoulder pads L and R on the Pad 2, while visually pretty, are a little shallow and you have to stretch you finger round to the fatter part of the button make sure it triggers.
Ultimately, I think the controller is okay. The shoulder buttons aren't great but the Dpad is precise, the buttons responsive. The inclusion of a sound-jack and volume control would have been my preferred choice and adding an additional 3 buttons to the existing A,B,C buttons would have made it perfect for Street Fighter, as it is I like it, but as a purist, I think I’ll go back to the old controller. I hate change, and this new upstart of pad, is no replacement for the classic.