Reviewed: October 13, 2002
Type: Force Feedback Gamepad
InterAct has improved on perfection with the SuperPad Pro. This newest Gamecube controller now boasts rubberized non-slip hand grips, is fully programmable and has been redesigned to feel more comfortable in the hands of any gamer. The SuperPad Pro also features Precise Mode which lets you switch the sensitivity of the left analog stick—settings include Off, Low and High—by merely sliding a switch. Many of the features from the original SuperPad have been carried over including the high-quality analog stick with steel shaft, precise eight-way digital D-pad, analog shoulder buttons, and digital fire buttons.
I put this controller through some serious testing over the past two weeks playing everything from Star Fox to Smugglers Run: Warzone. I tried to cover all the major genres and varied my gaming time to test for extended comfort.
Ultimately, I found the SuperPad Pro extremely comfortable and well designed. Prior to reviewing this gamepad I had been an avid user of the MadCatz Cubicon and the more recently released MadCatz MicroCON. The SuperPad Pro falls nicely between these two controllers in size and functionality.
InterAct has kept the primary button configuration exactly the same as the Nintendo brand controller while adding a new button to let you adjust the sensitivity of the left analog stick. This is perhaps the single best feature of this or any other third-party controller released to date. By adjusting this setting I was able to increase my targeting accuracy and set some new records on STAR WARS Rogue Leader: Rogue Squadron II. That alone may justify the purchase of this gamepad for many aspiring rebel pilots.
I must mention the C-stick on the SuperPad Pro. Not only does it sit higher, it has a wider top surface making it more of a stick than a trackball with a knob on it. I found it was much easier to relocate my thumb and accurate manipulate this stick in games like All-Star Baseball 2003.
All of the buttons had a rigid digital quality to them and sit higher above the surface of the pad giving them a longer travel that requires a more forceful push to get through some “dead space”. This could create a problem until you get used to it. The triggers both had an excellent tension and travel distance, but the D-pad seems to have some issues.
Unlike the cross-style D-pad of the original controller, this SuperPad Pro uses a circular design that introduces some potential inaccuracy when using it. Most games rely on the D-pad only for menu selections or minor sub-commands, so it’s not “life threatening” and can be overcome with some practice and patience.
The rubber grip kept my palms from sweating even during my typical 4-5 hour game sessions and the extra-long 8-foot cable is just a bit longer than the standard gamepad cable giving you some added reach to the nearest chair or couch.
Typical for most third-party controllers these days is the ability to program your own macros or chain of commands to various buttons. You can program up to four macros with up to 16 commands each using the four directions of the C-stick as the activation key for any preprogrammed moves. This is fairly simple to do and you will find plenty of great uses for this feature in fighting games and other titles that require certain complicated button sequences. There is even a nice auto-fire feature that rounds out this excellent controller.
I’ve never been really impressed with the feedback effects on any of the GameCube controllers I have used, and the SuperPad Pro also failed to impress me. I did a directly comparison to test the rumble while playing Smugglers Run:Warzone and driving along the railroad tracks. Both the MadCatz MicroCON and Cubicon offered the strongest rumble while the ThrustMaster Firestorm Powershock came in third and the SuperPad Pro just edged out the Nintendo brand controller. I will give Interact props for including a rumble toggle switch so you can turn the feedback off entirely, but considering how weak it is, it almost seems unnecessary.
If feedback isn’t important to you then the Interact SuperPad Pro is probably one of the better third-party controllers you can buy. With the recent price drop of the official Nintendo controller you will have to decide if a $5 savings is worth passing on a first-party controller.
Personally, I feel the SuperPad Pro is one of the better constructed gamepad available and once you get used to the higher buttons this could become your favorite GameCube controller. The adjustable sensitivity of the control stick is a welcome feature and one that I hope other manufactures start to implement in their designs. Until then, the SuperPad Pro is a fine selection to fill up those available controller slots on your GameCube.