Well, it turns out that all the searching I did for this control at my parents house was in vain, I actually had the controller in my possession all along. Buried deep in my “treasure chest” right next to a PSOne controller and my wife’s PSOne (although I’m not sure where the cords for it are) so I put that system on my game shelf as well.
But anyways, the Six Button. This is an aftermarket controller, developed (if the logo on the controller can be believed) by a company called “High Frequency.” As its name would indicate it has the six button layout (A-B-C + X-Y-Z) that was introduced later on in the Genesis’ life when it was more universally recognized that three buttons was not enough on a 16-Bit system (Nintendo found this out early which is one reason why the SNES fared better, slightly, then the Genesis at the time). Systems like the Sega CDX (a combination Geneses, Sega CD, and portable CD player) packaged the six button controller with it automatically and even the Sega Saturn controller had a similar set up.
This particular controller is also clear, showing the circuit board underneath, and has an extra half foot of cord attached to it. The somewhat shorter cord of the primary control, I have found to be a bit of a problem. On top of all that it has 7 thumb switches, which can activate “Turbo” and “auto” setting for each of the six buttons, plus a slow motion option (which basically presses the start button repeatedly which will give the appearance of slow motion in certain games (preferably screens that don’t change or change little when paused), obviously this feature is not universally convenient. Turbo is a setting in which you press and hold whatever button, but the output from the controller into the system is that of having the button pressed repeatedly. Auto would be the same thing as putting a clamp down on one of the buttons.
Now given all these features, and the work put into finding this thing in the first place, will I be using this controller from now on? Surprisingly the answer is no.
There are two reasons, physical and metaphysical, I’m not so sure which one is more important. Physically speaking, though the controller works fairly well, the thumb switches don’t seem to work if you switch them in game, and the D-Pad seems to dig into my thumb, it is noticeable on the original controller, but much more prevalent with this 6-button. On the metaphysical side, the control I use mostly is actually the original controller that came with the system, black on black with gray engraved letters, it is the very same controller that I first held on Christmas 1993, when I was 9 years old, playing Aladdin, it was never destroyed in an act of rage (I can’t say the same for a number of GameCube controllers). The slightly shorter reach is manageable when all other aspects are considered, and since I only have two games that even make use of the 6-button controller, both of which are recent acquisitions, I will be sticking with the original most of the time.
Speaking of the two acquisitions, the first thing I did after finding the 6-button was test out those two games to see how much of a difference it made. Here are my thoughts. Warning: they aren’t too good.
Mortal Kombat II – this time around, with the credits set to 30, I was able to make it (with Baraka) all the way up to Shang-Tsung (level 8 maybe, I’m not quite sure) before I got a game over. The controller did make the game easier, and if or when I do a thorough review of it, I will be using the 6-button to play it, the turbo features seem to help, but unfortunately the game is still way to difficult. Maybe it will require a healthy amount of practice to get good at it, but that won’t be for a while yet I’m sure, too many other games to play.
Eternal Champions – perhaps it was because I threw this game in right after playing Mortal Kombat, and the fighting styles are quite different, but I actually did worse with the 6-Button then I did with the unrecommended 3-button. I couldn’t even get past the first stage, and I was using who I believe is the strongest character in the game. At least this time I could pause the damn thing. If I ever give this game a thorough review, I will definitely be using the 6-button again, but that may be a long time from now. The game had great premise, good story, good characters, but it’s way too difficult.