Introducing the Quantum PhonyPad
Sega's Dreamcast controller does not exactly have the greatest design in the world. In fact, it's about as streamlined as a bloated water buffalo. After the Saturn's six facial buttons and the plethora of 2-D fighters that put them to work, many of us fight fans wondered what in the world Sega's designers were smoking as they drew up the specs for a four button Dreamcast controller. Oh well, live and learn, right? Unfortunately, the folks at InterAct didn't quite get the learning part. They may have gotten the six buttons, but they also put a new world of hurt into your precious gamer's hands. Remember that drunk duck with the poor sense of direction from NFL 2K? I think he was on the design team for this controller.
To be fair, I'll start out with the things that InterAct managed to do right. Six buttons; 'nuff said. Next up, we have the programmable buttons feature. This mode allows you to customize those two "extra" buttons with memorized controller movements and button pushes. Not too shabby for unleashing some of your best moves with the push of a single button. Another bright spot is the auto fire feature, a definite must for tired, worn out fingers. Sorry to say this, but that's all the good stuff.
InterAct's Quantum FighterPad was supposedly designed for fighting games... I mean it says so on the box, right? So will somebody please tell me why the trigger buttons aren't programmable? I mean, the whole point of having six facial buttons was so gamers didn't have to use the triggers in a fighting game. Also, as mentioned in the "good" section, button programming is nice, but it doesn't work all that well in a 3-D fighter. Take for example, Soul Calibur, a must have game for every Dreamcast owner. The moves that do the most damage (and look the coolest) involve movements that relate to the fighter's position in realtion to his opponent. This means you have to program the move for either being on the left or the right. Now, you can only be on one side in order to pull off your unblockable move. Exasperating. Despite the word "FighterPad" in the title, this controller is definitely NOT geared for fighters.
Another major boo-boo with InterAct's controller (I refuse to call it a "FighterPad" anymore!), was the actual design. Comfort was definitely not in mind when they drew up the plan for this controller. It's actually bigger than the original Sega controller! I'd also swear that it was heavier, too. Picking up the controller, I immediately noticed that it just didn't seem to fit right in my hands. The controller's curvature just felt plain odd.
Next on our list of design problems are the triggers. Oh wait, I take that back. InterAct's controller doesn't exactly have triggers in the same way that Sega's controller has triggers. It actually has a pair of fat and clumsy buttons at the top of the controller. Fat, clumsy buttons set at an odd angle. Fat, clumsy buttons set at an odd angle that have a resistance equivalent to an angry mule. I give up. Just in case you haven't noticed by now, I would never recommend this controller to anyone I remotely liked.
Hopefully, InterAct will have learned from these god-awful mistakes in case they ever decide to make another Dreamcast "fighting pad." My apologies and condolences go out to any unfortunate soul who may have already purchased this piece of... uh, fine Chinese craftsmanship.