Overdrive Controller

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HARDWARE REVIEW



Overdrive Paddle Controller

By Fury Unlimited (http://geovector.tripod.com/_sgg/f10000.htm)


for

GCE/MB Vectrex


Review by

TrekMD



One of the things that the home video game experience in the “good old days” was missing for consoles like the Vectrex, the Atari 2600, and others, was the ability to use a steering wheel for racing games. Consoles like the 2600 had paddle controllers and driving controllers which, at least, helped with the experience for games that took advantage of these controllers. Well, Vectrex owners need not feel left out now as Fury Unlimited has created the Overdrive Paddle Controller for the console.

This controller has a small steering wheel and may remind some of controllers used for those toy race car tracks of the past. Currently the Overdrive is compatible with Hyperchase and Pole Position as these games use analog control. Because this controller also functions as a paddle controller (the steering wheel behaves like Atari 2600 paddle controllers with a finite degree of turn) it can be used with other games as well such as Vaboom!, VectRace, and Spike’s Water Balloons. More games are also in development (Purgatory and Night Trucker are currently listed). So, how well does the controller work? I have tested it with several games already. Of the racing games, I’d have to say that Hyperchase works like a charm with the Overdrive. Hyperchase is already an excellent racing game on the Vectrex but its gameplay is definitely improved by using the Overdrive. Because the controller does not self center, however, one has to remember to move it toward the center after a crash on the sides of the road (otherwise your car will keep crashing on the same spot). Response to maneuvering is superb and adds to the fun. Such is not the case for Pole Position. While it also uses analog control, it has truly been optimized for joystick maneuvering and it plays better with the regular controller. With the Overdrive, maneuvering gets sluggish and it is hard to control the race car well enough. I would assume that the new games currently being developed will be optimized for the Overdrive and will play as well or better than Hyperchase. How about games that would traditionally be played with a paddle controller like Vaboom!, VectRace, and Spike’s Water Balloons? I have to say that controlling these games with the Overdrive gives a better experience and makes the games more enjoyable. The controller works flawlessly and it made my scores better than when I tried playing the games with the standard controller.

Insofar as build quality, the controller is well made and is lightweight. The cable is long enough to play at a distance from the system if you want to. I chose mine to have both buttons 3 and 4 be red and green but this can be customized when you order an Overdrive. You can have the buttons be all green or all red. Buttons 1 and 2 are always black. I did neglect to mention that the positioning of these two buttons works perfectly with the racing games as it allows the player to upshift or downshift quite easily with the thumb as you steer with the other fingers. Since more games will be released that will be compatible and there are already some games that work well with this controller, I feel it is an excellent add-on to get for the Vectrex.


Rating: 10/10

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