MadCatz Fight Pad (T-Hawk) ReviewDavid Bader
Madcatz, I barely recognize you anymore. It has been a long time since these hands have had the pleasure, or displeasure, of handling a one of your peripherals. Have you finally redeemed yourself? Well the answer to this question requires us to delve a little deeper.
First off let's address the design of the controller. If it wasn't for the beastly T-Hawk staring his tree-hugging eyes at me, then this controller would remind me of the glory days of the Sega Genesis. The buttons are mapped just like the four face buttons of the dual shock 3 controller with the exception of R1 by the SQUARE and TRIANLGE buttons and R2 by the X and O buttons. This is a very pleasing layout for combos, focus moves and grabs. The L1 is mapped to the left side of the pad and L2 to the right. This can take a little getting used to but will become second nature in no time. The controllers D-Pad is probably its best feature as it is elevated off of the pad just enough to make moves easy to pull off and transition into each other. The Fight Pad has a very sturdy feel and is easily accessible. Of course Madcatz offers the controller in many different character designs, and all of which are far superior to the grotesquely square chin of T-Hawk.
Game play wise the controller shines over the DS3 in every aspect. I was one of the few Super Street Fighter 4 players to use the left stick of the DS3 and this made dash moves exceptionally hard to pull off. Another move that the DS3 fails for fighting games is its consistency of special and ultra combos. I had no problem pulling of any of the characters special/ultra combos with the Fight Pad. Charge ultras are a breeze along with circular ultras and rolling ultras. Once again I must say that the D-Pad on this controller is by far the best feature, although not it's only. Moves like Chun-li's Hyakuretsu Kyaku(Lightning Legs) are extremely efficient to pull off even without the use of the integrated turbo button.
Instead of using the integrated Bluetooth capabilities, Madcatz decided to go with a wireless dongle to accommodate the Xbox 360 owners. Although the dongle is extremely responsive there are some downsides. First off, every time you turn on your system this receiver will automatically assign the controller to player one. The next problem is when you go to watch a Blu-ray the dongle blinks red at you until it reads input from the controller. These aren't necessarily deal breaking issues but they still are issues nonetheless. Of course there are also issues with the lack of rechargeable batteries and the fact that if you hands sweat during the match the controller is likely to loosen your grip.
The fight pad is capable of handling some of the harder moves in Super Street Fighter 4 with ease. Although I have a few minor gripes, the controller is still able to consistently pull of Focus Moves, Focus Cancels, Charge Moves, Grabs, Ultras, Specials and Dash moves with ease. At the end of the day that is all we really want from our fight pads isn't it?
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.