reviews\ Sep 24, 2003 at 8:00 pm

Adrenalin Stick for Xbox - XB - Review

See a need, supply the need - can it get much simpler than that?

Saitek, one of the leading manufacturers of video gaming peripheral controllers, looked around one day, saw an area where there was a gap and stepped in and helped fill it. The result is the Adrenalin Stick for the Xbox.

This is a departure in many ways from the control devices gamers are used to. Wheels and the gamepad have been the standard to date. With Soul Caliber II, a stick was created to help with the player movement. The keys were set for the game, employed key tabs usually not found on the typical control device for the console platforms it was developed on.

Saitek’s Adrenaline stick was designed with a game in mind, though it certainly can be used for other titles. The Microsoft Xbox title Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge is a stylish flight sim. Saitek’s stick was designed for that game and employs the stock elements found in other standout Saitek flight stick products.

The controller has a broad, weighted base, a hand rest on the grip, which also can twist to roll your airplane. The controller has a trigger for firing (players will think of this as the A button), a top hat for scanning about, and the rest of the buttons (B, X and Y), typical for the gamepad are placed atop the stick within easy thumb reach. The L and R triggers are base mounted, as are the black and white buttons and the start and pause buttons.

This stick was used on a variety of titles, such as Soul Caliber II, driving and sports sims. In Soul Caliber II, the stick took a bit to get used to, but once the movement keys were understood, the controller allowed the player to perform a variety of combination moves quickly and smoothly. The sports games were also average on this device.

If you are conditioned to the gamepad set-up, this device will take a big to get comfortable with.

But pop in a flight sim and watch this controller shine. The twisting hand grip makes rolling the plane a breeze, and it was so much easier to lock on targets and track them.

There are some drawbacks to the device. Because of the base on it, this stick does not fit the lap top very well. But put it on a table on sit on the floor with the stick on the ground in front of you and the device is rock-solid in the stability department.

And the device is very responsive. The delay before input of commands and on-screen actualization is negligible.

The Saitek Adrenaline Stick for the Xbox is not a controller that will suit every game on your shelf. But then, you would not use a wheel to play a football game (ok, maybe you would but that is a whole other topic). When used on the appropriate game, the Adrenaline Stick provides a rich and entertaining experience.

This is a joystick, big and with a weighted base, not a tiny controller that gets lost in the hands in the heat of battle. It employs all the earmarks of a weapon that is familiar, and in games like Crimson Skies, it adds control elements missing with the typical Xbox controller.

This is a joystick and does not work well as a lap device. You need something to place it on.

Overall: 8.8
The Saitek Adrenalin Stick for the Xbox is not the perfect weapon for all games. Let’s be honest here, there are some games that are better with a wheel or even the gamepad. In driving games it seemed to lack the functionality of the gamepad controller, and while Ok, in sports sims, this device was not as strong a player as the gamepad. But when it game to flight sims, this peripheral was a standout. It made the flight mechanics so much easier to control, and the game more enjoyable to play.


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