Back in 2020, we reviewed the excellent Retro Fighters StrikerDC, naming it the only Dreamcast controller you need. Leap forward a few years, and we may have to modify that statement because the company has just released a successor that offers 2.4GHz wireless connectivity, making it even more attractive to modern gamers raised on cable-free gaming.
Like the original StrikerDC, this wireless upgrade is an improvement over the stock Dreamcast pad in practically every way possible. It's more comfortable to hold, thanks to the fact that it takes plenty of design inspiration from the Xbox One / Series X controller. The Hall effect analogue stick is excellent, but it's the cross-shaped D-pad which arguably steals the show. Yes, we'd have preferred a Saturn-style 'rolling' pad, but this is still brilliant for 2D fighters.
The face buttons are arranged in the same way as they are on the official Dreamcast pad, which does feel like a bit of a missed opportunity; arranging the buttons in two rows of six would have made this the perfect controller for Capcom's brand of one-on-one brawlers. On the upside, though, Retro Fighters have added two additional digital shoulder buttons, which are much better for fighting games than the standard analogue triggers, as there's less travel.
The most significant change in this wireless version of the StrikerDC is the fact that the twin VMU slots have been removed completely. Instead, the VMU docks inside the wireless receiver, which then plugs into the Dreamcast's controller port. This could be seen as a negative, as you're unable to view the VMU's LCD display unless you get up from your seat and walk over to the console itself – but, in all honesty, hardly any Dreamcast games really made use of this feature during gameplay, beyond displaying a logo, so it's not as big an issue as you might think.
With a turbo mode, built-in rumble, 30ft wireless range, super-low latency and over ten hours of battery life per charge – plus the ability to update the firmware in the future – there's very little to pick fault with here. Retro Fighters have improved on what was already a fantastic controller; if you're a dedicated Dreamcast fan, then this comes highly recommended.
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Thanks to Games Connection for supplying the StrikerDC Wireless pad used in this review.