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Microsoft Sidewinder Dual Strike in the test: A controller especially for action games

Microsoft Sidewinder Dual Strike in the test: A controller especially for action games

Foreword

A new family member was added to the popular and award-winning SideWinder series from Microsoft some time ago: The Microsoft SideWinder DualStrike. This GamePad should offer improved control, especially for 3D shooters, and thus offer an alternative to keyboard and mouse controls that are used almost everywhere. The DualStrike should also cut a good figure in previous areas of application for GamePads, i.e. sports games, racing games, etc. The following test will show whether it can do that. Microsoft itself has the following ideas of the product:

  • (Video unfortunately no longer available)

Scope of delivery

In the very handy pack , which sells for around DM 70, includes the GamePad with a 2 meter long cable, a software and driver CD and operating instructions in 6 languages. The instructions are quite puristic and, in addition to the individual buttons, only describe connecting the DualStrike and installing the software. There is a reason why at the beginning of the manual reference is made to the online user manual, which is included as a Microsoft Help File on the CD.

Structure/Ergonomics

The DualStrike consists roughly of 2 parts: on the left the movement control and the 3D control, whereby the movement control serves as a control pad or really as a movement control depending on the game. The right part is the already mentioned 3D control, which allows one to look around freely and as precisely as with a mouse. Both parts have each fronta trigger at the top that most people will probably use as a fire button. Furthermore, there are 4 buttons on top of the 3D control that can be easily reached with the thumb. The 16 freely programmable functions, in spite of the only 8 available buttons, are due to the fact that you can use a toggle switch to place 2 functions on a button and then use the toggle switch.

Microsoft Sidewinder Dual Strike
Microsoft Sidewinder Dual Strike

The cable of the DualStrike goes out on the left part, so it lies when playing in the direction of the player and not, as with many other GamePads, in front. This may seem a bit strange at first, but soon it doesn't bother you anymore. What I also couldn't quite get used to at first were the two triggers, where your fingers can easily slip off due to their inclined position. In contrast to the rest of the buttons, the pressure point on the left trigger is somewhat imprecise; sometimes the corresponding function is already carried out although the pressure point has not yet been reached. Overall, the DualStrike sits comfortably in the hand and is relatively light for its size.

Installation

Thanks to USB, installation is child's play. Under Windows Me, the DualStrike could also be found immediately under Game Options in the Control Panel. However, in this state it can only be used as a normal GamePad; the buttons can only be programmed and various options can be set or the sensitivity can be changed after installing the software supplied.

On the next page: Software