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Classic Linker Review

Written by Sean Aaron on Sunday, 26 April 20093 Comments

The Gamecube controller is regarded by many as one of the greatest console gamepads ever created, but for people like me that play a lot of games that use digital input, the decision to put the d-pad in a position where it’s very difficult to use as a primary control interface makes for a very unsatisfying gaming experience.

In the past your only solution would be to try tracking down a Hori digital gamepad for the Gamecube, or buying an adapter that allows use of a Playstation 2 gamepad.  Thankfully now that the Wii has taken the world by storm EMS Production Limited of Hong Kong has seen fit to make an adapter which allows the use of either a Playstation controller or better yet the Classic Controller for the Nintendo Wii instead.

As illustrated the Classic Linker is a box with two controller ports: a Playstation connector for use with a Playstation or Playstation 2 gamepad (or even a Playstation dance pad) and a port like the one on the bottom of the wiimote which is for connecting a Classic Controller (or presumably a 3rd party device which is compatible with the Classic Controller).

The cord from the Classic Linker which is used to connect to the Gamecube controller port on a Wii or a Gamecube is only 30cm long, so some kind of Gamecube extension cord is probably a good idea and I can confirm that they work well with it.

When connected a red LED on the device lights up to confirm it’s active.  Only one controller port will be active at a time; if you connect a second one the system will switch to recognising that controller to the exclusion of the first one.

I have a Playstation dual analogue controller and a Classic Controller so I tried both using Namco’s 50th Anniversary Collection.  Both controllers work well, however the Classic Controller had a better feel being lighter weight and having a more responsive d-pad.  One major issue that was apparent is the button mappings are not simply one-to-one with the Gamecube controller. As would be expected the L and R buttons on the Classic controller maps to the L and R Gamecube buttons; the Zl and Zr buttons on the Classic Controller both map to the Z button on the Gamecube controller (on the Playstation controller this is L2/R2 and L1/R1 respectively).  The -/+ and Start/Select buttons on the two controllers are both mapped to the Start button on the Gamecube controller.  These is all pretty normal, but the four face buttons are a bit different.  On the Classic Controller, A=X, B=A, X=Y and Y=B.  The Playstation controller buttons map to the Gamecube as follows: Triangle=Y, Square=B, X=A and Circle=X.  In reality this is a small issue, but I would have preferred A=A and B=B, etc.

Playing Paperboy in Midway Arcade Treasures 1 with the Classic Controller a more significant issue became apparent:  the analogue shoulder buttons of the Classic Controller are only seen as digital inputs (unlike the analogue shoulder buttons on the Gamecube controller when playing this game), so unfortunately you cannot simply replace all the functionality of the Gamecube controllers with the Classic Controller.

Despite these shortcomings I find using the Classic Controller for Gamecube games which use digital input for movement superior to using a standard Gamecube gamepad.  The Classic Linker has proven to be a worthwhile purchase — especially considering you can get it for less than £15 from importers like Play-Asia.com.  I recommend anyone dissatisfied with the d-pad on the Gamecube controller consider getting one to play retro games as they were meant to be played.

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