A lot of people enjoy fighting games on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, we’re sure, but very few use regular controllers when taking on others. Every time we go out to a tournament or some MLG-sponsored event, we always see folks carrying around these special FightSticks, as well as FightPads that are much more comfortable when it comes to executing techniques and special moves. (Try doing that with a typical analog controller.) Mad Catz is a master in this specialty, and while its new Street Fighter x Tekken-branded S.D FightPad may not replace the superior FightStick model, it’s an affordable alternative that fighting fans will truly love.
The controller, available for $39.99 through various retails, comes in multiple designs, each one featuring characters from both the Street Fighter and Tekken universes. The one that we were provided for review features Marduk coming in for a strike on the left, with Hugo looking on near the bottom and Poison, from the Final Fight series, ready to strike. While each of the FightPads is artistically different (prompting some fans to collect them all), they all perform about the same.
And what performance it is. The S.D FightPad is laid out like a traditional fighting controller from the “old-school” days, with the two shoulder buttons on top, click-in select and start buttons, a comfortable D-pad (way more so than the ones on typical controllers) and six face buttons, with the traditional four on the left hand side and two shoulder buttons right next to them. This set-up is very similar to many popular arcade games from Capcom, with weak, medium and strong attacks laid out accordingly. This is an ideal layout, and it’s worked well with each of Mad Catz’ designs.
Where the S.D pad succeeds, however, is comfort. While we enjoyed using previous FightPads, they felt a bit bulky for their own good, forcing those with bigger hands to take a break, lest they get cramped up. The new FightPad design is a little slimmer, and better at providing comfort, especially during prolonged fighting sessions. There are times you might accidentally hit the Guide button located near the bottom of the pad, but unless you’re really clumsy, it won’t happen.