X-Arcade Solo Review

Compxpert - 2010-08-04 18:34:59 in Gaming, Input Devices
Category: Gaming, Input Devices
Reviewed by: Compxpert   
Reviewed on: September 15, 2010
Price: $99.95

Introduction:

When gaming the right peripheral can make all the difference. Whether you play a console or a PC there are many options to consider for a controller. Price is one point to make but so is functionality. Functionality is always needed in any situation but the type of functionality you need is always different depending on what your game is. Maybe for instance you like Arcade Fighters such as Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat or maybe several fighters. What if I told you that you could have the genuine arcade experience in the comfort of your home? Xgaming offers just such a device with their X-Arcade Solo. This product provides the genuine look and feel of a true arcade setup making it the peripheral of choice if you love arcade fighters but do not like to play them on a keyboard or game controller. The X-Arcade is quite special though in how well it works with emulators on the PC such as Mame, and it's also capable of working with consoles such as the PS3, PS2, Xbox (360), and GameCube/Wii though an adapter which can be ordered with the device or separately should you need it. So how well does the X-Arcade Solo do its job? Let's find out.

 

Closer Look:

Upon first examining the X-Arcade Solo we are met with a rather stylized box featuring a window and also sporting a compatibility list for several consoles and the PC. Additionally, we can see the device carries a Lifetime warranty. Moving on to the side of the box we are met with several points the product makes including that you can relive the arcade experience at home and that this product features an authentic arcade feel with authentic arcade parts. The buttons on it are also programmable and the unit features 4 switchable programmable modes. It also mentions supporting any console. Moving on to the back of the box, we have several points also made here about the product and additionally awards the product has received over its existence which must be pretty long considering it mentions Tech TV. The biggest claim that seems to be made here is that this is the highest rated arcade controller available. Finally moving onto the front of the box we have some more of the same that was on the back of the box which also makes some mentions of the different organizations that gave the thumbs up to the product and some more quotes from them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There isn't a whole lot to see on the bottom other than some filler. However upon opening the box there is much to see. Here we have our wonderful X-Arcade solo sandwiched between to pieces of styrofoam as well as two pieces of a cardboard packing material.

 

 

Wow just a short glimpse and already drooling but wouldn't you rather see more? I would so let's read on.

Closer Look:

So where to begin? Well why not with the main attraction. The surface of the device is a nice wood surface which has been laid out to look and feel just like that of an arcade machine. The joystick is authentic in both look and feel as well as all the buttons. On the top are 9 buttons, 8 of which are black and 1 of which is white with a person on it. On the one side of the device we have pictured a solitary button. This button, just the same as the one featured on the opposite side is a pinball button according to the box. This in my opinion is a great feature because it makes the button placement like that of a pinball machine should you choose to play pinball. On the back of the device we have what appears to be a female PS/2 cable connection as well as a female Serial connection. Also, there is a solitary black button and a switch. The switch is a 4 way selector switch which features a default mode layout for it which cannot be reprogrammed and three programmable modes. The button is used in conjunction to program the other selections on the switch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving on, we have a picture which shows off the front as well as the bottom of the device. The device features 6 rubberized feet. The device comes with two cables one of which extends out into a male serial port connector and the other goes out to either a PS/2 or USB connection. The X-Arcade Solo also includes a manual and a software CD which includes a couple of games, so if you don't happen to have much of a game collection they do give you a couple of mentionable titles such as Defender, Gauntlet, Joust, Rampage, Robotron, and Smash TV.

 

Of course your probably not getting this for the games it comes with but for the games you have that you can use it with right. Just how well does it work anyway? Find out when I test it out.

Features:

 

All information courtesy of Xgaming @ http://www.xgaming.com/store/arcade-joysticks-and-game-controllers/product/x-arcade-solo-joystick/

Testing

I could do a lot of things for testing. To be fair I should put the X-Arcade Solo against some decent competition so I dug out my gamepad and also used my keyboard in a few games that I have. I decided to grab Mortal Kombat 1, Street Fighter II, Space Invaders, and Metal Slug 5 to see how well they play with the hardware I'm testing. Of course these games I have aren't on the same platforms nor are they on the PC as my copy of Mortal Kombat is for the Sega Genesis and Street Fighter II is on the SNES so I figured it best to test all these games under the same emulator and since they are all available as Arcade titles, Mame was an obvious choice. The X-Arcade makes it easy when working with Mame as its default layout works with just about every game. I did encounter one such game where configuration did need altering, that being Smash TV since the original Arcade unit utilizes two joysticks and the X-Arcade solo only includes one. As for testing categories between the devices I figured comfort and playability would be most important among all the devices in these games. I will test these factors on a scale of one to ten with one being the worst and ten being the absolute best. I myself haven't played on realistic arcade hardware in a while so it did take some getting used to to adjust to playing on the device. After a bit though I became accustomed to the device.

Testing Setups:

Comparison:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although it took some getting used to the X-Arcade solo quickly became my device of choice beating out a keyboard and gamepad any day when it came to the arcade titles I chose. In both Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat it became easy to do those hard to hit combos. I had a much harder time getting any Fatalities to work with my gamepad and didn't even try on the keyboard which probably would have been a flop every time. However with the X-Arcade I was hitting those button combos with ease. When Xgaming makes it a point to say you get an authentic arcade look and feel they aren't kidding. Nor are they when they say you'll play better at fighters because believe me it makes it that much easier. It would have been great to test it on other platforms but Xgaming only includes one adapter of choice when placing the order so it only came with the PS/2 USB adapter. I'm sure this would also be great for Xbox Live Arcade. In case you are wondering, the adapters depending on console are anywhere between $7.95 to $19.95.

Conclusion:

The X-Arcade Solo is probably one of the coolest devices I've tested in quite awhile. The goal it sets out to achieve is that of being the best authentic arcade device out there and I feel it delivers excellently on this. The buttons have an authentic arcade look and feel while the wood box that it is feels like playing on a real arcade machine. Everything just seems so well crafted. The device also features the ability to program what the buttons do and can save up to 3 other unique programmings internally. With the authentic look and feel came authentic game-play. I was able to more accurately achieve combos through use of the X-Arcade than that of a gamepad or keyboard. Sad to say though that great quality and real arcade look and feel comes at a price. The Solo is priced to sell at a sizable $99.95 and is pretty much only sold on Xgaming's website, though a few retailers do carry it. It is what it is though, and you're definitely getting what you pay for. Not only does the device have an authentic look and feel but it comes with a very great warranty for lifetime so you know Xgaming is backing their product and it's built to last. While it is great that the X-Arcade works with consoles, it's kind of a bother that they sell the different adapter cables separately. If you wish to be able to use the X-Arcade with any other system than what you ordered it for, you then have to buy additional adapters. Say you want Xbox 360 or PS3, well they add an additional $9.95 charge if you want the adapters. I guess for what you get you can't really complain. It's not like they are charging an arm or leg for the adapters and shipping on the X-Arcade Solo is free anyway. If you're looking for a better way to play your favorite arcade fighters then I highly recommend you pick up the X-Arcade Solo to improve your game

 

Pros:

 

Cons: