Controlling the Cube

by David Trammell - April 3, 2001, 8:16 pm PDT

IGN Cube recently took a look at how the GameCube controller would perform on different genres, but they skipped quite a few; namely, the FPS genre.

This IGN Cube article covered three major genres, but they skipped an American favorite, the first person shooter.

This seems like an oversight when you consider the success of Goldeneye and the upcoming Metroid FPA along with the sequel to Perfect Dark (both of which are unofficially intended to be launch titles).

So, let's take a look at the GameCube's controller and compare it to the N64's which is often thought of us the ultimate FPS controller.

The N64 controller made such a good FPS controller because of its Z trigger and C buttons. The quick action of the trigger and its gun trigger-like placement made it ideal for shooting (even though most of us aren't left handed). The Dreamcast L button has a similar placement to it, but the analog action of the button takes something away from it.

The GameCube's L and R buttons are similar to the Dreamcast's in that they are behind the controller as opposed to on top (as seen in the PS2 and N64). Although it won't have the same action as the N64's Z button, I'm not so sure this is a problem. After all, actual guns have a full range of motion in the trigger as well. What ever happened to realism?

That said, the Z button may ultimately be moved from the right side to the left side of the controller giving you a feel that's even more similar to the N64's.

The next issue seems to be the strange action button placement and the lack of the directional c-buttons. I have to admit, moving around with the A-centric action buttons might be odd, but the truth is, those are not the buttons you would use. Instead, you would use the analog C-stick wherever you used the c-buttons before. Anyone who has played Goldeneye or Perfect Dark using the two controller setups will tell you that two analog sticks are better than one, even if holding an N64 controller in a single hand is a bit uncomfortable. Now you can play in that way with a single controller in any FPS, (only Rare's FPSs support the two controller setup on the N64). My only concern is that the little nub on the C-stick might be uncomfortable during prolonged use, but I haven't actually held the controller yet. In addition, Nintendo might change the final controller design so that the C-stick has a disk on the top like a normal analog stick.

Now, with your right thumb on the c-stick, this frees up the four action buttons for items and weapons where the N64 only had two. The R button would obviously function the same way as it has in the past too.

While some contend that no controller is a substitute for the keyboard and mouse, a game like Goldeneye or Perfect Dark that is built specifically for a console doesn't suffer a bit from using controller.

If you liked this article and would like to see an in depth look into another genre, send your requests to me.

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