Hands-on with crazy-cool new controllers for Street Fighter IV, HAWX, Rock Band 2

Mad Catz’s spokesperson Alex Verrey is a volcanic mountain of a man, a giant, hyperkinetic Englishman who spews forth not lava but PR jargon. Seriously – the guy speaks in bullet points. However, Mad Catz backs up Alex’s advertalking bravado with truly next-level products. If you’re into Street Fighter IV (and really, what true gamer isn’t?), Tom Clancy’s HAWX, or Rock Band 2, you’re going to want to check out these videos.

We’ll start with the biggest fish of them all, the Fancy Street Fighter IV stick. It’s hot. Real Sanwa parts (same as the Japanese arcade cabinets), programmable turbo for cheaters who want it, a switch that turns off all unneeded buttons so you don’t hit them by accident… good stuff. 

There’s a video below that we’ll let do most of the talking. But there are a couple features Alex didn’t get to because we had him on a timer. There’s a headphone jack in front. The feet on the bottom can be removed easily and the bolt holes used to bolt the stick down to your coffee table - hardcore guys do this all the time. The artwork is switchable if you have a star-head screwdriver (and the actual parts can be swapped if you’re insane). You can even set it so that the six major buttons are the offset ones starting on the left, or the two parallel rows starting with the far right button. That’s giving the fans what they want.

Now for that video.

You’ll notice he also talked about the second, more affordable stick. It’s nice too.

Then, we moved on to a gorgeous control pad – WHAT? Alex is a PR guy, but this thing is just enough like our beloved Japanese Saturn controller that it had us frothing at the mouth. The D-pad seems smooth but not slick, and pulls off Zangief’s spinning piledriver with ease. The buttons are snappy, the programmable turbo and stick selector switch are still there, and there’s a rubbery coating on the sides and back that make sure it isn’t sliding out of your hand. The PS3 one is even wireless. The US gets five versions (Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Blanka and Akuma), while the UK has to make due with just the first three we mentioned).

Check it.

Rock Band fans will want to know all about the new bass guitar. It looks like the old one, but it’s wireless and the split strum bar has been made faster and stiffer. The neck is more matte in the back, the buttons are quieter, and it’s going to come in sea foam and red in addition to the white.

Then comes the stomp box – finally, a use for that plug on every Rock Band 2 guitar! Basically, this is just a footswitch that triggers star power, but we love it. It’ll work with the new bass, the Rock Band 2 guitars and at least the latest Guitar Hero guitars as well.

Getting airborne, Alex showed off a new Saitek flight stick for HAWX, as well as other flying games. If you’re into flight sticks, this looks like a no-brainer thanks to a low price point ($50) and the fact that it works with virtually any other flying game as well.

Finally, there’s no video, but check out this sweet Street Fighter faceplate. Our crappy pic can’t do it justice. There’s a PS3 skin and controller faceplate too.


Jan 14, 2009 


  • hardcore_gamer1990 - January 16, 2009 6:46 p.m.

    @bamb0o-stick: oooh yeah. british marketing rocks and i might want one of those d-pad controllers
  • bamb0o-stick - January 16, 2009 12:37 p.m.

    Am I the only one surprised the fight sticks aren't wireless? I'm assuming that the response time might not be as fast as a wired one, but would like an option to get one wireless since I'm not that hardcore. I agree with Nucleotyde, I'd like to try out the gamepads too. Hopefully these gamepads will start being sold at retail stores? I dunno, for some reason having a guy pitch something at you in an English accent makes me want it more :D
  • Defguru7777 - January 16, 2009 2:24 a.m.

    That Street Fighter IV faceplate is awesome!!
  • JollyCrisp - January 15, 2009 9:36 p.m.

    my only wish is that they had a mortal kombat faceplate for the controller. Then i would gladly buy it. but i would be okay with the blanka one though :)
  • TrIp13G - January 15, 2009 8:10 p.m.

    Must. Have. Faceplate. NAO!
  • Life - January 15, 2009 6:40 p.m.

    Bah, almost first. Second I suppose. Cool article though.
  • ELpork - January 15, 2009 6:40 p.m.

  • Ibankai - February 22, 2009 4:57 p.m.

    where can i get that faceplate
  • GoldenMe - January 16, 2009 3:02 a.m.

    Sadly, I'm not into peripherals.
  • Nucleotyde - January 15, 2009 11:20 p.m.

    I kind of like the D-pad controller, but I'd like to try it before I got it. The fact that I only have two games (three if I get SFIV) that I'll actually use it with make it a hard sell. I've never had much luck with third part controllers either. The longest I've ever got one to last was just about a year. Of course, that one was Madcatz (a sexy Panthers controller), so it might be worth it.
  • RebornKusabi - January 15, 2009 11:16 p.m.

    As a rule, I generally don't see a point in arcade pads as I can kick ass without one but the SF4 one is cool as hell, in fact I might actually want one.
  • Rockman - January 15, 2009 6:37 p.m.

    Also that Faceplate is awesome!
  • Rockman - January 15, 2009 6:36 p.m.

    I so want the Ken pad. Fighting sticks are cool, but I loved SFA on the saturn and my 6 button ps2 pad.

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