|Min OS X: Any Version Requires: USB Port|
|Logitech Dual Action Gamepad|
October 20, 2003 | Scott Turner
My tongue is stuck partially out of my mouth. I clench the gamepad tighter and tighter, jamming away on the various punch and kick buttons as if I can somehow save my doomed character on the screen by how fast I jam on the controls. I begin to rise out of my chair, but my efforts are to no avail. My "Mortal Kombat" character only becomes more and more bloodied as punch after punch is thrown into his body by the computer opponent. When he keels over with a resounding thud, I surprisingly choose to replay the game. No, I haven't gotten any better at this game. I believe I am just as much a frustrated beginner at it as ever. However, I have the Logitech Dual Action gamepad. Many games I play are no longer tedious or time consuming, thanks to the gamepad, and Logitech's sturdy construction and solid execution of an age-old product make this a very appealing buy.
Step 1: InstallationLogitech impressed me, literally right out of the box. The packaging is neat and easily discarded, with no annoying plastic do-dads or small securing pieces that get in the way of plugging the 'pad in. With the gamepad in hand, there was only one cord to attach — the USB cable — so I merely plugged this into the side of my Apple Pro Keyboard.
The gamepad was immediately compatible with every Macintosh game and emulator I attempted to use it with, from Tony Hawk Pro Skater 4 to the Macintosh SNES emulator "SNES Custom". It was instantly recognized by all the input programs I tried it with, and in a jiffy I had the controller's buttons programmed. The only downside is that the Mac version does not come with game presets like the PC does. These presets are pre-made button set-ups of the controller for many popular games. Since the gamepad is technically cross-platform, the gamepad package includes a CD filled with a PC setup assistant, along with the presets. Whatever button combination I felt comfortable with was painless to set up in every game I tried, so I didn't really feel like this was a big blow to the Mac version.
The only "major" feature that some power users may feel the Mac version is lacking is a shift button. In the PC setup assistant, you can assign a shift function to a button that, when pressed, causes every other button pressed to have a different function. While the layout of the Dual Action controller seemed to me to have plenty of buttons for every game I played, some may feel this is a major omission. For me, 18 different functions with the directional pad and buttons was enough.
Step 2: Getting a Feel for Your ControllerThe Logitech 'pad is built exactly like the Dual Shock 2 controller included with every Playstation 2. This is likely good news for many, as unlike Microsoft's X-box or Nintendo's Gamecube controller, the Dual Shock 2 controller was hailed as being "perfectly" built. Of a fairly light weight, the Dual Shock conformed very well to hands both large and small, with smooth, comfortable curves and well-placed shoulder and pad buttons. Two analog controllers (basically mini-joysticks) placed at the bottom were at a comfortable reach for any sized gamer, and could be used in conjunction with each other to perform a variety of tasks.
Thankfully, Logitech has managed to bring over every single one of these positive traits to the Dual Action controller. The gamepad slid easily into my hands, and I could grip it firmly for hours and not feel blistered or develop joystick calluses. The analog sticks, which are likely the most frequently used part of the gamepad, have a surface on them which does not irritate the fingers but gives ample grip when needed. There are four multi-function buttons on the right side of the pad, two smaller buttons in the middle, and an eight-way directional pad on the left. Two shoulder buttons (buttons placed on the top of the 'pad) on each side of the controller complete the panoply of choices.
There were only two significant problems I encountered when using the controls. The first was that the start and select (number 9 and 10) buttons in the middle were small and didn't protrude as they do on the Dual Shock 2. They were awkward to press in the middle of a game, and I often found myself mapping other controls to their functions. The only other problem I had was with the directional pad, which, while used less frequently than the analog sticks, provided a persistent and annoying problem. Often when I pressed one of the four cardinal directions into its pad, it would accidentally register a diagonal movement instead. Maybe the result of sensitive pressure buttons behind the pad, but it proved to be frustrating in certain games (such as "Mortal Kombat") where a certain direction press was the difference between life and death.