Hands-On: MadCatz Officially Licensed 'Street Fighter IV' Arcade Sticks


Posted January 22, 2009 - By Brian Leahy

Yesterday, I had the chance to play Capcom’s Street Fighter IV with the two officially licensed arcade sticks from MadCatz. I’ll also be comparing them to the HORI Fighting Stick EX2, which is the stick that I currently own.

The Standard Edition FightStick (on the right in the picture) runs around $70.00 and is a great stick to grab if you’re going to get serious about SF IV. It’s not as good as the Tournament Edition (on the left), however, which runs around $150.00. That’s double the price! Is it double the good? The EX2 will set you back $60.

Keep reading for my impressions of all three sticks.


HORI Fighting Stick EX2

At the bottom level, the Tournament Stick is heavier and larger, which lets you rest your hands on the sides. With the smaller FightStick, I often found my hands resting on the edges of the box, which could become uncomfortable during long play sessions. The same goes for the EX2, which is the lightest of the three. Havind said that, both the FightStick and EX2 are more comfortable to play with on your lap. The Tournament Stick is designed to be played on a tabletop.

As for the buttons, I found all three sticks to be easily playable. The Tournament Stick uses the same buttons from the arcade machine and feel really nice, but unless you’ve actually played on a SF IV cabinet, you shouldn’t worry about matching the feel. The non-arcade buttons didn’t bother me and I have played on a cabinet.

The two MadCatz sticks feature two additional face buttons that can be mapped to two additional commands. This can help players who have trouble executing moves that require simultaneous button pushes. The EX2 has these buttons, but they are placed at the top of the unit and are not easily accessible. On the other end, the arcade doesn’t have eight buttons on the face and I actually prefer six buttons. Then again, I have no problem hitting all three punches at the same time. In fact, moving from the EX2, I sometimes found myself realigning my hand incorrectly, confusing MP with LP and so on. It’s not a major issue and I got used to it fairly quickly, but it has the potential to mess you up.

The quality of the stick itself goes straight down the price line. The Tournament Stick features a great stick that makes it easy to pull off 360’s and complex moves. The FightStick has a good stick, but I wasn’t a fan of the give between the 8 directions. I found myself jumping backwards when trying to block a few times. The EX2 stick is passable, but doesn’t quite hold up for the most complex moves. Zangief players will want to look into one of the MadCatz models.

Street Fighter IV Preview


Street Fighter IV Preview »


So, which stick should you buy? It’s going to depend on how much you’re going to play the game! For me, I’m eyeing the Tournament Stick, but only if the online play is smooth and lag free. I don’t want to invest in a $150 stick if that money will go to waste due to latency. For now, I’m going to keep my HORI EX2, but if you don’t have one yet, I’d recommend the MadCatz Fight Stick. It’s $10 more, but features a better stick. If you’ve got the money and are looking to replicate the arcade experience, go for the Tournament Stick. If you play a lot of fighting games, go for the $150 bad boy. It’ll pay itself off, especially if SF IV launches a resurgence of great fighters (read: 2D fighters) that require complex motions to pull of specials…

Got questions? Send them my way!


Hands-On: MadCatz Officially Licensed 'Street Fighter IV' Arcade Sticks


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