Mad Catz Lynx Wireless (Xbox)
Written by John Yan
on 12/20/2002 for
I must say it’s about time the Xbox started getting cordless controllers. I’ve grown very fond of the Playstation 2 ones and the pseudo cordless setup of the Saitek With Out Wires unit. With that said, MadCatz has launched their Xbox wireless controller dubbed the Lynx Wireless and if you’re not an Xbox Live user and want a good responsive cordless controller, this is it.
If you have any experience with MadCatz’s Control Pad Pro, then you know what the Lynx Wireless feels like. Well, almost. Before I get into the minor changes, let’s start out with the layout and performance for those who don’t know anything about the Control Pad Pro Here’s an excerpt from my Control Pad Pro review describing the peripheral.
Officially licensed for the Xbox, the Control Pad Pro is a slick alternative to Microsoft’s controller. As you can tell from the pictures, the Control Pad Pro has a slight physical shape design difference from the Microsoft gamepad. The handle grips protrude from the gamepad a little more while the overall shape is closer to the Playstation controller and it’s also not as bulky. A very nice feature of the Control Pad Pro is the rubber grips on either side of the handles. If you play long sessions, you know your hands can get very sweaty thus making it harder to get a good hold on the controller. The rubber grips greatly enhance the feel and hold on the controller. I admit I felt more comfortable holding the Mad Catz gamepad over Microsoft’s.
Button placement on the Control Pad Pro is more aligned to what most people are used to. Microsoft’s four colored buttons are placed at a skewed diamond layout that was different from Playstation or Dreamcast. The Control Pad Pro places the four colored buttons at a normal diamond scheme that’s perpendicular (or parallel depending on where you call the diamond the top) to the normal holding position of the controller. That left the black and white button placed about 45 degrees north of the yellow and red button. Spacing between all buttons have been increased. I found that it worked out pretty well and I felt pretty confident in knowing what button I was pressing without any trouble.
The triggers on the Control Pad Pro are more like Saitek’s Adrenaline Pad in that you press the triggers with your fingertips rather than the crook of your fingers. I did prefer Microsoft’s trigger placement but I didn’t have any problems with Mad Catz’ implementation either. It’s really a small matter of preference and this little design didn’t make me dislike the controller at all. That said, the triggers felt responsive and the strong spring provided a good feel.
All that I said in my review of the Control Pad Pro so far applies to the Lynx Wireless. In addition, the D-pad is a cross-shaped design and features a very strong spring underneath.
Now here are the minor differences. The rubber on the Lynx Wireless that covers the surface of the analog sticks are different and a little slipperier than the Control Pad Pro. It didn’t feel as comfortable as the old one and I do wish Mad Catz would’ve stuck to the material used earlier. The Lynx Wireless doesn’t have macro programming unlike the Control Pad Pro.
Three AA batteries power the unit. I’m not sure how long they last as I played with the controller periodically but you can lengthen the battery life by adjusting the vibration strength. There’s a heavy, light, and off setting. The batteries sit underneath and make the middle of the controller a little more bulbous than the Control Pad Pro but it’s not something you’ll notice when using it. On the left side of the controller is an LED to let you know when the batteries are low. Curiously, the light stays off until the batteries start to wind down. I would’ve preferred the light show the battery strength rather than be lit only when the battery is low.
The expansion ports have moved to the receiver unit. In place on the pad is a plastic cover that is green and clear. The same clear plastic is also featured at the base of the analog sticks. Now you’re probably saying if the expansion ports have moved to the receiving unit, what about using the Xbox Live microphone? Well, you can get a really long extension cord for the receiver but that defeats the purpose of being wireless. If you don’t like talking on the mic or listening to the people on the other line, then this shouldn’t be an issue for you as you can have the XBL plugged in to play XBL games but not talk. For me, I’m not an XBL player so it was a non-factor but one of the big selling points of Xbox is the Xbox Live peripheral and this alone could turn people away from the controller.
Working in the 900MHz range, the controller performed great I tried the controller with Mortal Kombat: Dark Alliance, NCAA Football 2003 and Hunter: The Reckoning to test out how well it worked. In Mortal Kombat, I didn’t have any problems performing any of the combinations while completing a good portion of the Konquest mode. Additionally, using the controller in arcade mode provided a wonderful virtual lag free experience. If there were any lag, I didn’t notice and it didn’t hinder me fighting against the computer. In NCAA Football 2003, I was able to quarterback my Ohio State Buckeyes to a few victories with good running control, crisp bullet passes, and accurate lob passes. The analog buttons worked correctly giving me the ability to control my passing and perform hard or soft jukes. During a session of Hunter: The Reckoning, I was able to utilize the analog sticks to perform a walk or a run depending on how far I have the sticks pushed. The controller vibrated with the various guns I used and the motors are pretty strong giving you some good vibrations.
If you want to use more than one Lynx Wireless controller, all you have to do is set the channel to use on the receiver and the controller. Up to four separate controllers can be used so everyone can play with a Lynx Wireless if they want to.
The Lynx Wireless for the Xbox performs exactly as expected. You do have to sacrifice using the headset of Xbox Live to take advantage of the cordless capabilities. It’s also pretty expensive and the size, while smaller then the old Xbox controller, is still pretty big. I definitely prefer the MicroCon size but the size of the Lynx Wireless isn’t too bad. It’s one of the few cordless controllers out there for the Xbox and I think Mad Catz did a good job even with the few shortcomings. The Lynx Wireless is definitely for you if you’re not into Xbox Live and desire quality cordless controller.
The Lynx Wireless controller is expensive and those who use the Xbox Live will be disappointed to see that the expansion ports are on the receiver. Other than those two issues, the controller works quite well and you'll be free from cords.
Rating: 8.7 Very Good
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
I've been reviewing products since 1997 and started out at Gaming Nexus. After writing for a few different sites that went under, it's nice to bring back a site that's not dependent on revenue and just wants to deliver news and reviews of products.
I'm married, and enjoy first person shooters, sports games, and real time strategy games.