Gear Review: Interact SuperPad [GCN]
I wouldn't, for one.
Simply put, the InterAct Pooperpad, as I call it, was inadequate and is still inadequate. You might as well till the fields with it, because it deserves to eat sod for the rest of its pathetic existence. Let the cows chew it along with the grass. You'll thank me later.
Upon feeling the first party Gamecube controller, you'll probably notice how the grips fit easily into the contours of your palms and fingers. It's an extremely ergonomic, comfortable design. It's not too meaty, in fact it's smaller than the PS2 pad. But it's substantial enough that you feel like you're holding onto something comfortable (all dirty images out of your head RIGHT NOW). Yet, when you grasp the InterAct pad... well, let me put it this way. Does the word "twig" tell you enough? It literally feels like you're holding onto flimsy twigs. And if you're the big-handed type who prefer the Xbox meatloaf style, well, let's just say your fingers could probably wrap around your hands twice.
However, in most cases it's not the twig-like feel that causes the most trouble. Remember that the NES pad was a painful rectangle, and we all got along fine... well, most of us. It's tolerable enough. All the buttons are easily within reach, and the dents in the triggers are sufficient enough that your fingers feel like they fit in. Aside from the weak feel of the (very, very, very cheap and shoddy) plastic, grip-wise everything else seems to be in order.
The real problem starts when you notice the immensely different feel of the analog stick. Your thumb fits into the groove fine, and the concentric contours help to keep grip, but somehow it just doesn't feel right. The resistance in the stick is just way too low, and it's hard to control the difference between creep, walk and run. This was a complaint I had with the Playstation's Dual Shock, but it's much worse here. Less resistance means less precision, and when you try to play a game like Super Monkey Ball using this analog stick, don't be surprised if the playfield frustratingly swings this way and that out of your control. Such shoddy mechanics are inexcusable.
The curious thing is the fact that the camera stick feels more resistant than does the main control stick.Now, why couldn't they implement the same analog resistance with the main control stick? Still, though, the camera stick is also quite badly made.
For both sticks, the accurate description of its resistance would be -- from the center -- a small hill that goes from a slight incline to a vertical drop instantly. When pushing the sticks, you feel a tiny bit of resistance and then quickly the stick easily springs towards the edges. Terrible.
However, while I thought the analog implentation was bad, the buttons are even worse. InterAct tried to make the controller *somewhat* symmetric, if you can even use that word to describe the first party controller's odd design. Now, this isn't the really bad part, but it's not too great either. Instead of having a round, smaller B button, InterAct decided to make the B button a kidney shape to match up with X and Y. I question this move. It ruins the sensation that the B button is something of a polar opposite to the main A button. Again, it's nothing major but it's a bit odd.
The bad part comes in when considering the responsiveness of the buttons. Don't mistake this with the feel you get when depressing the buttons -- they feel fine when you press them down. However, all hell breaks loose when you actually try to play a game that requires lots of button pushing in succession. A great example is Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. For some inexplicable reason, you have to really jam on the grind button after an ollie-kickflip to actually successfully complete the grind. It's as if there's too much information for the controller to process -- like you're asking too much of it to try and press 3 buttons in quick succession instead of two. Pitiful. The worst part came when I tried to do multiple stalls on the lips of vert ramps -- I couldn't. I just couldn't. But when I went back to the first party one, they came out 7, 8, 9 times in a row, perfectly. What's the deal with that?
The analog shoulder buttons and the Z-trigger are more satisfying than the terrible face buttons and control sticks, but mostly still fall short of first party quality. The Z-trigger actually has a better reaction to my push than does the first party Z-trigger; it feels more like a click and less than a nudge. The one bright spot for this sorry piece of [expletive deleted]. The shoulder triggers have enough resistance to them, but they still don't feel as comfortable. They lack the "spring" that the first party controller has, as do the clicking functions upon fully depressing the triggers. There's no *oomph*, only a dull click.
Now it's time to go back into the negative. One look at the d-pad and you'll be thinking, "Xbox!" or "Gravis Gamepads!" The d-pad for the Pooperpad is, for lack of a better word, a glob. Instead of a cross, or at least the annoying segmented d-pad "button" setup of the PSX controller, it's just a round pad with bumps to represent the four main directions. At first touch, it feels like it's very responsive, with springy clicks in each of the eight directions. Trust me, young ones, it's all a clever ruse.
Again, the results in Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 were less than satisfactory. While I do rock at the game if I say so myself (^_^), I had to really focus on the control pad to get Tony to do my bidding. Where getting the 900 with the first party d-pad was a blissful simple flick of the thumb, pulling that trick off with the Pooperpad was half luck and half, well, luck. (...) In game performance is what counts, and it's sorely lacking.
Perhaps the only real improvement the Pooperpad has made over the first party controller, aside from the Z-trigger, was the implementation of a rumble switch. Rather than having to turn off the built-in vibration via software, with the Pooperpad all you have to do is flick a switch. The cord is sufficiently long enough, and the little navigational corners surrounding the analog stick are retained from the first party controller. However, the start button is placed in an annoying fashion. There's this groove between the top area (control stick, face buttons) and the bottom area (d-pad, camera stick). The start button rests squarely in the heart of this groove, and it's pretty annoying to reach for.
All in all, when I can't even commend the start button for being properly placed, you know it's bad. After reading the review, no doubt you feel I've been lenient with my score. Bear in mind: it's only twenty bones, and it's functional. Barely. But the thing is, if you've got 20 bucks and need a second controller, you're better off waiting for another 15 to roll in to get the first party one. Or you can try another one of the many third party controllers, none of which I've been exposed to yet. Bottom line, only spend money on this if you find it for a measly seven bucks on eBay or the used bin at Electronics Boutique (if you even set foot in that over-priced dump).
The entire contents of this Web site, unless otherwise noted, are Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 Triumvirate Games. All Rights Reserved. ™ and © for all copy, products, characters, and indicia related thereto which are contained herein are owned by the companies who market or license those products. This Web site is not endorsed, sponsored, nor otherwise affiliated with ANYONE unless specified otherwise. It has been created for the sole purpose of entertainment, knowledge and hobby. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form without consent from Trigames.NET is strictly prohibited and is punishable by law.