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Manufacturer: Gravis
Min OS X: Not Supported    Requires: USB Port

Eliminator Aftershock
July 5, 2001 | Christopher Morin

The wonderful world of USB has opened so many doors for Mac gamers in the area of input devices that it makes it difficult to choose the Ďperfectí gamepad. Today, we look at the Eliminator Aftershock, Gravisí dual analog solution. Gravis has a good reputation for quality design and craftsmanship. Upon taking the Aftershock out of its box and holding it in my hands, I felt that it was one sturdy gamepad. The sleek, silvery surface, its two analog directional sticks, 8-way D-pad, and four buttons make it appear as a very versatile device. It has a nice weight to it and is just about the right size to fit the hands of most adults and children.

Like most USB devices, the Aftershock has a lengthy four-foot (thatís about one and one-half meters for those of you outside the US) cord. This means that you can get a healthy distance from your monitor when playing your favorite game. The cable is also a native USB cable. That means there is no heavy serial-USB adapter weighing you down.

The smooth metallic top of the gamepad makes one wonder if Gravis took a design cue from Apple. Of course, I am sure this is not the case, but I think this gamepad might find its way into my bag alongside my Titanium PowerBook G4.

Installation of the Gravis Aftershock gamepad is a snap. Simply plug the device into a free USB port on your Macintosh, and it is ready to use in any Inputsprockets-compatible game. There is no software to install, as the Gravis does not provide itís Xperience control panel for the MacOS.

The Aftershock features two analog directional sticks a-la the Sony Playstation controllers. These sticks are also textured to prevent sweaty fingers from slipping. There are four small, oddly placed buttons on the right side. They are not easily distinguished one from another by mere touch, meaning that unless you memorize the exact location of each button, you will be relegated to the hunt-and-peck method of button selection. The buttons are numbered, so if you have the time, you can look at the gamepad for the appropriately numbered button. There is also the omnipresent D-pad on the left. The gamepad includes four paddle buttons on the front of the device, which are in a great position for sliding left or right in games.

The response of the analog directional sticks is a mixed bag. In games like Cro-Mag Rally, no amount of fiddling with the physics editor and gamepad calibration made the game remotely fun to play. The game vehicles overreacted to every input from the directional sticks.

The Aftershock worked beautifully in Ambrosiaís masterpiece Ferazelís Wand. The buttons and directional sticks are in close enough proximity to allow precise control in this arcade-style game.

Control in Lucas Arts Star Wars: Episode 1 Racer was equally precise. The analog sticks provided great control when careening around the planetscape at ungodly speeds. Utilizing the supplied "precision" buttons below each directional stick added to the control. These precision buttons limit the range of input. The result is that slight movements in the sticks either way have a lesser impact on the game item being controlled Ė in this case a pod racer. This makes this a most useful feature because there are times in Racer, when on a straightaway, a typical gamepadís D-pad (or directional sticks) may cause your course to alter slightly because you just canít hold the stick straight all the time.


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