Saturday, January 10, 2015

The NES Max Provides A "Powerful" Option For Retro Gamers

Other than their well known roster of characters, Nintendo's gaming experiences have been equally hallmarked by the great controllers they employ. This was especially evident by the number of control options available for the NES. In addition to the standard control pad, Nintendo also sold two more official controllers in the arcade styled NES Advantage and a smaller controller called the NES Max. The NES Advantage, with it's arcade styling, became instantly more popular. The NES Max has however become the go to aftermarket controller for a lot of retro gamers who want a little more bang for their button press. I finally got my hands on one and while it works great with some games, it isn't a perfect fit for others.

The first thing a gamer will notice about the NES Max is the lack of an actual control pad. Instead there is a little red disc that the player slides in different directions to move their character. Ideally, the disc will function much like the standard cross directional controls on a stock NES controller. This didn't seem to be the case with the NES Max that I was given to review, and the controller didn't feel as responsive in side scrolling action games as one would like. It does, however work quite well with vertically scrolling action games, racing games, and to a lesser extent, sports games.

The NES Max's turbo buttons are functional and work just as you'd expect. The rate of fire can't be adjusted like the NES Advantage, and it also lacks the rapidly pausing "slo mo" feature. While this feature was quite popular with gamers when it was new and shiny, in hindsight it was a bit annoying and the lack of "slo mo" in the NES Max isn't a big deal.

All in all, the NES Max is a solid controller that, while not perfect, is a solid choice for the gamer looking for a secondary option for his NES controller needs. There were other controller options for the console, but Nintendo provided two quality choices in the NES Advantage and NES Max. It may not work perfectly for Contra or Mega Man, but for games like 1943, Commando, or Kung Fu Heroes it's a great fit.

*Shout out to the good folks at The Classic Gamer for providing the controller for this review.