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Tatsunoko vs. Capcom Arcade FightStick Review

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On 02/15/2010 at 09:37 PM by Lukasz Balicki

Quite possibly the best and most feature-packed arcade stick currently available for Wii.

While $79.99 is a relatively steep price for a peripheral, it is worth it if you like to play with an arcade style controller, especially if you are a hardcore fighting game player or have numerous 2D games on Wii that are compatible with the Classic Controller.

Most gamers familiar with the Mad Catz name are typically reluctant to purchase their products; I'm not surprised considering their track record, and many poor quality peripherals. Recently, Mad Catz has entered the arcade stick market with Street Fighter IV branded arcade sticks, as well as the Tatsunoko vs. Capcom Arcade FightStick, which was released in conjunction with the recent Wii fighter. While Mad Catz has a questionable track record, I am happy to say that after thoroughly playing numerous games using this arcade stick, this is a fantastic controller.

The Tatsunoko vs. Capcom Arcade FightStick features a standard Japanese-style eight-button layout and a ball top joystick. While the buttons and joystick are not high quality arcade-grade parts like Sanwa or Seimitsu, the buttons and joystick that Mad Catz included are very responsive and feel very sturdy. Unless you are a hardcore arcade stick user or used the Street Fighter IV Tournament Edition Arcade Stick extensively, it will be hard to notice the difference.

The body of the arcade stick has a nice appearance, featuring official licensed art from Tatsunoko vs. Capcom. The stick has a matte finish and the buttons are colored blue and white to match the standard Wii color scheme. On the bottom of the arcade stick are four rubber feet, which are nice since the arcade stick won't move around at all on your lap or on a table. One small touch I really enjoy is the hadouken arrow dust washer (an arcade stick dust washer engraved with the arrow directions to perform a hadouken).

Since the FightStick connects to the Wii Remote, the controller technically counts as a Classic Controller allowing players to use it as such in any supported games. There are a few unique features to the controller including turbo functionality for buttons and the ability to emulate the left analog stick, D-Pad, or the right analog with a flick of a switch. There is also a lock switch - when set to locked it disables the home, plus, and minus buttons. My only issue with the controller from a functional perspective is that there is no compartment on the controller to house the Wii Remote. Anyone who frequently uses the Classic Controller will understand this frustration.

After play testing the controller with many Virtual Console titles and various games that are compatible with the Classic Controller, it's not surprising that the controller performs the best when playing 2D games or fighting games. While it is possible to play a 3D game with the FightStick, it's not optimal since those games are optimized with an analog stick in mind while the joystick on the FightStick is an eight-way digital device similar to a D-Pad.

Due to the color-coded wires and solderless connections, this arcade stick is easy to modify.

One of the most surprising aspects of the controller came when I opened it up. If you decide to modify it with arcade quality buttons and joystick, all you really need to do is purchase the desired parts and swap them. The internal wiring and components are very tidy and the wires that connect to each button are color-coded. To make it even easier, all the connections are solderless which makes it simple to swap out parts as long as you are careful. While I personally won't modify my arcade stick any time soon, whether it was intentional or not, I think it's nice that Mad Catz has made this arcade stick so easily modifiable. (Reviewer's Note: You will forfeit your warranty if you open the controller and/or modify it with new parts.)

Overall, the Tatsunoko vs. Capcom Arcade FightStick is a great investment if you are a fighting game enthusiast. As an added bonus, the controller is also great for playing both 2D Wii games and Virtual Console titles. Overall, this is one of the best Mad Catz products I have ever owned and it's really hard to find any major faults with this arcade stick. Even at the $80 dollar price point, I highly recommend the FightStick as it's very enjoyable for fighters and 2D games alike.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Joaquim Mira Media Manager

02/17/2010 at 10:30 AM

If only the Metal Slug Anthology game would support play with the classic controller, if only *sigh*.

Lukasz Balicki Staff Alumnus

02/18/2010 at 04:37 PM

@ Caliban

If I remember correctly, SNK's response to why Metal Slug Anthology doesn't support the Classic Controller was, "What's a Classic Controller?"

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