Street Fighter X Tekken – FightPad S.D.: Great things can come in small packages

Mad Catz has released numerous versions of their FightPads throughout the years. These included ones for Street Fighter IV; ones for Super Street Fighter IV; and ones for WWE All Stars, although those were called BrawlPads. For Street Fighter X Tekken, they have made a new reincarnation, the FightPad S.D..

One of the 2 major differences between the FightPad S.D. and older FightPads is that both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions are wired. This made me happy when I found out, because traditionally only the 360 versions have been wired, while the PS3 ones have been wireless and run on 2 AA batteries. But no more!

The FightPad S.D. has the same shape as its predecessors, which is similar to the shape of the revised Sega Genesis controller. The (second major) difference here being that when compared to the original FightPads and the BrawlPad, the FightPad S.D. is 15% smaller. This is one thing that the “S.D.” in its name could stand for: Smaller Dimensions (the other could be Slimline Design). The sucker is ridiculously light too, even compared to a regular 360 FightPad, which is lighter than its PS3 counterpart.

As with its older brethren, the FightPad S.D. lacks analog sticks. This is because the controllers are for fighting games, in which the analog sticks are almost never needed or the directional pad (D-Pad) and the left analog stick have the same function. However, they do have analog stick functionality. On the back of the controller, there is a 3-way switch that allows you to set the D-Pad as the D-Pad, left analog stick, or right analog stick. This feature is useful for playing games that may otherwise be incompatible with a digital controller.

The D-Pad is also larger than those found on first-party controllers. In addition, there is a noticeable gap between the D-Pad and the body of the controller, giving it an appearance that it’s floating. This not only gives you ample room to perform circular or direct motions, but it also makes intricate motions easier to do. It is nowhere near perfect, but it’s a massive improvement over a standard D-Pad.

The FightPad S.D. features a 6-button layout, which gives the controller more of an arcade cabinet feel, something fans of fighting games will

appreciate. By “6-button layout,” I mean that in addition to the 4 action buttons that you’d find on the face of a standard controller, the FightPad S.D. also has 2 shoulder buttons, which are located on the top of a standard controller. These are also larger than buttons on a standard controller, making them easier to press.

Another thing I like is the fact that the Start and Select buttons are a little raised from the body of the FightPad S.D.. This makes them easier to locate and press without looking down at the controller.

Like with its predecessors, the FightPad S.D. has Turbo or Rapid-Fire functionality. For me, this is especially useful in Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3, where button mashing during a super move double its hits and damage. (Note: The use of Turbo in tournaments is illegal, and the user is disqualified.) To enable the Turbo, you hold the Turbo button and press what button you want the Turbo to effect. To disable it, you just hold down the Turbo button until the Turbo light comes on.

I only have one problem with the FightPad S.D.. My initial concern when I heard about it being smaller was that the distance between the D-Pad and buttons would be shortened, which might give me trouble due to the fact that I play one-handed. Unfortunately, I was right in thinking this. Right now, I am having trouble executing moves that I have no problem with on a regular FightPad, although it’s probably just because I’m still not used to the FightPad S.D.’s compact size.

Regardless of the problems that I’m currently having, the Street Fighter X Tekken – FightPad S.D. is a well-built controller that emulates the feel of playing on an arcade cabinet. I would definitely recommend this controller to fans of fighting games. As of the writing of this review, the FightPad S.D. retails for $39.99 USD, and features different graphics with characters from Street Fighter X Tekken.

Mad Catz Interactive, Inc. is a global provider of innovative interactive entertainment products marketed primarily under its Mad Catz, Cyborg, Tritton, Saitek, and Eclipse brands. Mad Catz also operates a video game content website under its GameShark brand, and distributes games and video game products for third parties. Mad Catz distributes its products through most leading retailers offering interactive entertainment products and has offices in North America, Europe and Asia. They graciously sent me a PS3 FightPad S.D. for review, and I would like to sincerely thank them for doing so.

Andrew Monkelban

Andrew Monkelban is an avid gamer and writer, who has been featured in Second Skin, and on Wired's GameLife and The Escapist. He is also really into the Japanese entertainment scene. Even though he has Cerebral Palsy, he does not let it stop him from doing what he loves, although he's always on the look-out for technology that would help him with difficult tasks. He came to PopTen in the Summer of 2009, where he's now able to combine his passions.

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