For the past two years the gamepad to beat has been the XBOX 360 USB controller. In fact, I was among the first to point out to our forum members that this controller could be used on a Windows PC.
When a video game can be played using a gamepad, it is essential that the accuracy and response be the highest level possible. If either of these is lacking, it can make the difference between winning and losing by the slightest millisecond. Or, in the case of racing/flight sims, it can be the difference between maintaining the track or crashing the vehicle mercilessly!
So, for the past nearly two years, this reviewer has been religiously using the 360 controller in such games as FlatOut; FlatOut 2, Rainbow Six: Vegas, and a few others.
However, I’ve not been a big fan of gamepads, either. The keyboard/mouse combination has worked very well for me in First Person Shooters, Role Playing Games, and Adventure Games.
I remember my first gamepad very well. My son bought one for me for my birthday back in December, 1999. Along with the gamepad, he also gave me a copy of Descent 3, which had just been released that previous summer. But, the gamepad he gave me just didn’t feel right to me, it was a LogicTech brand and we went together to exchange it for one I felt more comfortable with. I opted for the Interact Hammerhead FX. Between Descent 3 and Descent Mercenary, I literally wore out the Hammerhead FX but was still using it when I upgraded to Windows XP. Alas, by that time, Interact had gone out of business and drivers for the Hammerhead FX could no longer be found.
However, as a PC gamer, my first love is still the keyboard/mouse combination. I’m sure there are many others in my camp on this. But, with the advent of so many consoles, and the need to move between them at times, being able to handle a controller is simply a must.
Having gotten pretty well accustomed to the XBOX 360 Controller, it was with great interest that I received a couple of Saitek brand controllers for review. We’ll first look at the Saitek Cyborg as it’s the closest in configuration to the XBOX 360 Controller.
A little bit of background history first. Saitek was founded in 1979 and was the first company to use microcontrollers to create chess playing games. It’s been the leader in this category ever since. Then, in 1993, Saitek entered the PC game controllers industry and has grown to become the 2nd largest brand worldwide. All of the products made by Saitek are made by gamers, for gamers.
In this capacity, Saitek’s product line includes mice, keyboards, headsets, PC controllers, loudspeakers, and other related peripherals.
As seen in the above photo, the controller is wrapped in bubble wrap and secured in place within the cardboard. A CD that includes the drivers and a manual are also included.
Close-Up of the Controller:
Anyone familiar with the PlayStation 2 Controller will immediately recognize the configuration of the Cyborg Rumble. There is a slight difference in the weight and contour but it still feels very comfortable when in use.
A Special Difference:
On the bottom of the Cyborg Rumble is a button that, when pushed, releases the left joystick/hat section allowing the user to switch the positions as shown in the following photo:
Anyone familiar with the XBOX 360 Controller will immediately recognize the configuration of this setup.
The supplied software allows the user to configure the controller to work in X-Mode. This is alleged to make the controller completely compatible with the configuration of the XBOX 360 configuration for games. Saitek states that this eliminates having to deal with making substantial changes when moving from the console to the PC.
The Cyborg Rumble can also be used to open, select, and close programs on the Windows Desktop. By pressing the FPS button to activate FPS mode, the buttons and triggers become interactive with the PC.