Crispy Gamer

Zerbo's Garage: World's Best Street Fighter IV Peripherals

(Contributor: Matt Zerbo)

Throwing fireballs and Dragon Punches via the Xbox 360 controller or the PlayStation 3 DualShock 3? In the words of the great philosopher Gus Mastrapa, "You're doing it wrong."

With the bevy of third-party peripherals currently on the market, all of them promising to recreate the Street Fighter IV arcade experience right in your living room, we decided to lock CG's resident SFIV czar Matt Zerbo in the Crispy game room for 24 hours with six pizzas, a case of Fresca, one new pair of underwear and the latest, greatest third-party fight sticks and control pads known to man.

What follows is a transcription of his nearly inscrutable pizza-stained notes. Will a champion emerge from this scrap heap of cheap plastic? Read on to find out?

Zerbo's Garage: World's Best Street Fighter IV Peripherals

Combatant No. 1: Hori Fighting Stick EX2 (360, PS3)

Price: $49.99

Pros: "Semi-portable. Reasonable price."

Cons: "Too light; doesn't stay put when I pull off half- and quarter-circle moves; RT and LT buttons are small and placed near the top, making them basically unusable."

Zerbo Says: "The smaller size and light weight resulted in the entire unit sliding away from me when trying to roll out the fireballs. And the lack of usable bumpers makes this stick my least favorite. Pass."

Zerbo's Garage: World's Best Street Fighter IV Peripherals

Combatant No. 2: Mad Catz FightPad (360, PS3)

Price: Around $40

Pros: "Supremely portable. Wireless. Inexpensive."

Cons: "Loose control pad is very sensitive, and takes some getting used to. It's not nearly as responsive to quick motions as a joystick. And there's no headphone jack."

Zerbo Says: "Overall, it's better than the standard control pad; yet it still can't match the feel and precision of a joystick."

Zerbo's Garage: World's Best Street Fighter IV Peripherals

Combatant No. 3: Hori Real Arcade Pro EX (360, PS3)

Price: $129.99

Pros: "It has eight face buttons, which I like. And the slightly titled console gives it an authentic arcade feel."

Cons: "The button layout is a little awkward. Often I pressed LB instead of RB/RT. Placement of the B button in the top-left position is unintuitive for navigating menus. Placement of the headphone jack puts the wire directly in front of your stick hand, which results in interference."

Zerbo Says: "This stick ranks a very close second, but only by a hair. It's an excellent joystick all around, with just a few very minor design flaws. A very acceptable substitute if you can't get your hands on the extremely rare Mad Catz Fight Stick."

Zerbo's Garage: World's Best Street Fighter IV Peripherals

Combatant No. 4: Mad Catz Fight Stick: Tournament Edition (360, PS3)

Price: $149.99 (but they're so damn rare, you'll spend more than that buying one on eBay, until Mad Catz gets around to manufacturing more).

Pros: "Eight buttons are great. And the button layout is more natural than the Hori EX Pro's. The longer cord (three feet longer than the cords on the Hori models) and cord stowaway are terrific. The selectable joystick control (d-pad / left stick / right stick) is helpful depending on which character you are playing. For example, I use the d-pad setting for 'charge' characters and the left-stick setting for 'circle' characters."

Cons: "There's no arcade-like tilt to the unit. The Start and Back buttons are located on the back, making it awkward to reach them. And the limited supply means that they are currently going for about a gazillion dollars on eBay. That's bad."

Zerbo Says: "If you look past how cool it looks and all the bells and whistles, some of which are 100-percent useless to me (example: turbo and button lock), it's still essentially a Hori EX Pro with a better button configuration. Overall, competition was very tight between the Hori EX Pro and the Mad Catz Tournament. I really wanted to hate the Mad Catz because it's so impossible to get just now, and expensive as hell, but there are a few minor details that make it slightly better than the Hori for me."

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