When Retro Fighters released its Nintendo 64 'Brawler' controller a while back, we thought it was pretty darn good – it's just a shame that so few games on the N64 really take advantage of its amazing D-Pad. However, the company is back with another pad, this time for a system which has plenty of amazing fighting 2D games: the Sega Dreamcast. So it's fitting that on the day we report on one of the console's most famous titles getting a spiritual successor, we also bring you our verdict on the rather cool Retro Fighters StrikerDC pad.
The StrikerDC is a genuine upgrade from Sega's original Dreamcast controller, which, while groundbreaking for the time, hasn't aged particularly well over the years. The analogue stick feels better and the design is far more ergonomic; it's got two very well-defined prongs to grip onto and doesn't cause any unfortunate cramping over prolonged periods – and it comes with a very generous 10-foot cable. Retro Fighters has even redesigned the hole in which the VMU display is viewed so it's easier to see the LCD screen from a wider range of angles (it's quite recessed on the original Dreamcast controller).
While all of these changes are incredibly welcome, the biggest difference is how the pad feels when you're playing 2D games, like the abundance of one-on-one fighters on the console. The D-Pad on the original Dreamcast pad wasn't terrible, but it was hardly well-suited to the intense and precise directional inputs required for games like Street Fighter III: Third Strike, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 and King of Fighters Dream Match 1999 – or any of the other amazing 2D brawlers that were released during the console's brief but eventful lifetime. The D-Pad was small and mushy, and had a slanting shape which was intended to make it 'blend' with the design of the controller itself.
The direction pad on the StrikerDC is a massive, massive improvement. While it's not quite as good as the rolling pad seen on the Sega Saturn controller, it's still brilliant for fighting games. It's got a decent degree of travel and feels precise and responsive; within seconds of booting up Capcom vs. SNK 2 we were chucking fireballs and pulling off dragon punches with ease.
Furthermore, Retro Fighters has equipped the StrikerDC with two digital shoulder buttons to compliment the analogue triggers, which means you can use these inputs but avoid the insane amount of travel you'd normally get – as a result, fighting games which use the shoulder triggers for punch and kick strengths are much easier to play (we'd still prefer all six buttons to be on the face of the controller, mind you).
The end result? An utterly fantastic pad which isn't just perfect for 2D games, but also enriches 3D titles massively, too. If you own a Dreamcast, then you need this pad.
This article was originally published by nintendolife.com on Thu 23rd July, 2020.
Have two Dreamcast arcade sticks which are still great to use.
Looks cool! I’ve never owned a DreamCast but I’ve heard good things about it! So if I ever get the chance to get one then I’ll consider getting this
@kobashi100 Heck yes. I only have 1. I wish I had a nice one for saturn so I don't have to sell the games to buy the arcade 1up capcom fighters.
Is this designed for fighting games? If so, why aren’t there six face buttons? This wouldn’t be great for 6-button Capcom fighters.
Have had my eye on this for a bit now - waiting for a sale though
@RushDawg No, it's mostly just designed to feel like a modern controller first and foremost. They wanted it to feel more comfortable to hold and create something similar to current pads, with a nice modern analogue stick. The D-pad and face buttons are improved too. The shoulder buttons are better than the original controller's analogue triggers for fighters, but obviously not as good as a 6 button set up.
I got this from kickstarter (after a looooooong wait and a crazy import fee...), but man, it is just superb compared to the official controller. D-Pad is much better, analogue stick is leaps and bounds better (ever tried playing toy story 2 with the analogue stick? it sucks. on this controller? IT WORKS!), face buttons are, well, about the same lol. The great addition of 2 different triggers is great too, as you get the nice clicky ones for fighting games and pressure sensitive ones for racing games.
I'm probably in the minority who actually things this looks utterly awful. It just looks like something Mad Catz would have released in 2000, cumbersome and overly ugly.
The novelty of the VMU is kind of dead by now though. The only useful thing was play calling in nfl without your friends screen watching
@FourBs As someone who owns this, a Mad Catz Dreamcast controller from the year 2000 and the original controller, I can assure you, fortunately, it's nothing like a Mad Catz controller 😂
Nope! I’ll wait for the retro bit wireless one due out soon!
I got $280 for my like 20 dreamcast games and then just burned them all to still be able to play them, I may have to invest in one of these because the OG controllers are not that great lol.
I’ve honestly never had a problem with the DC controller. I’ve never had cramp from the handles and I think the analogue is wonderfully sensitive without the huge dead zones that seem to prevail on modern controllers. The analogue triggers are probably still the definitive implementation too, with just the Xbox 360 coming close to matching them. I guess I just like odd controllers, I love the N64 pad too.
It looks good, but I'm not sure I would fork out £45 for something like this, especially when you consider the cost of the PS4, XB1 & Switch Controllers with fancier tech inside. If it were more in the £25-30 bracket, then I may bite
I'll have to look into that. I absolutely adore my Dreamcast and I have all of the notable fighters on it still.
It's a nice controller overall, although the triggers don't feel as nice as the original. The position of the left trigger in relation to the analog stick is excellent though, I always found the original to be far too cramped, especially with racing games. The dpad is much better too.
@Jokerwolf that's terrific. that's smart. let other people worry about "collecting". These games are NOT investments. we just wanna play!
What a waste. 4 face buttons instead of 6 and it calls itself a fight pad. Also who is still releasing wired controllers in 2020?
@Papichulo It is far cheaper than lag free wireless would be.
Not a bad stick but I wouldn’t go as far as to call it an essential purchase in my opinion tbh, the arcade stick or the ascii pad are the way to go for fighters and shmups for sure, for other titles this is more comfortable than the standard pad but the triggers feel a little cheap, really another version of this with 6 fave buttons would have been ideal
@Reprise That's a relief in that sense, it's still a shame that this thing really is no oil painting, but then, I guess it's not marketed for someone like me as I feel the original controller works just fine for anything that came out for the console at the time.
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