PS2/Xbox Accessory Review: Street Fighter Anniversary Control Pad

For those not inclined to purchase an arcade stick nearing the triple digit dollar amount, there's a line of controllers that should suit them nicely. Back in the 16-bit era, Capcom offered up a 6-button controller for the 3DO, Genesis, and SNES. Up until this point, that would remain the most accurate d-pad ever produced. The Street Fighter Anniversary controllers come awfully close to matching them, somewhat gaudy design or not.

The immediate reaction is the packaging. Stuffed inside a brilliant, sturdy, and holofoil box, these controllers look far more expensive than they are. There is no text on the front other than identifying what console it's for. Inside, a certificate of authenticity provides background information on what you're holding. The addition of a Street Fighter comic is a nice inclusion too, even if obviously a promotional move.

The controller itself sits on a cheap piece of plastic, covered by the same. It's brittle and easy to crack, so even if the box is meant to be reused, this isn't made to stand up to abuse. Removing the eight-button control pad reveals a similar feel to the Sega Saturn controller, which is exactly what the company was going for.

It's the d-pad that instantly causes a reaction, not just for its accuracy, but for comfort. Hours upon hours will hardly damage the skin as the glossy coat makes sliding the thumb effortless for all the biggest specials. It never misses a move. It's somewhat loose, which initially seems like a mistake. Once into a game, you'll find yourself forgetting that you ever worried.

Buttons are an entirely different segment to this controller. They're stiff, and pop back up with force. It doesn't take that much effort to push them down, but beware when they snap back. They're large, rounded off, and nicely aligned to the overall angle. Two triggers are obviously not meant for extensive use, and as such, their awkward placement feels like a last minute choice.

The entire controller is a thick piece of plastic. It's sturdy, rounded off nicely, though the bulk may be a turn off. It may pattern itself off the Saturn pad, yet the thickness is definitely not. Given the lack of analog sticks, it's hard to imagine what's buried inside.

Aesthetically, the controller doesn't live up to the packaging. The huge lenticular animation (proudly boasted about on the box) looks, feels, and is in all actuality totally unnecessary. Each controller showcases a different character and a special move, though the three pieces of animation hardly make the controller better to use. It ends up looking like a remnant of the 80s. It's an unnecessary dose of visual flash.

Whether on the PS2 or Xbox, the controllers fare the same. Xbox owners have a memory card slot on the bottom, and with the limited width of the controller, your fingers may find a way in there during an epic fight. It's best to have a memory card or headset in there to make things less uncomfortable if your fingers are long.

Even with some issues, there's no denying that if you can land a Dragon Punch every time out, it's worth the price. If arcade sticks are out of your range or just prefer something you can easily hold, these are the best choices out there (given the d-pads on each console's first party controllers were never meant for 2-D fighting). Ignore the cheapness of the lenticular pictures and you'll have a great time pulling off specials you always had trouble with previously.

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