The TW has a few traditional third party bonus features as well. Turbo and slow-mo buttons replicate features you’d find on an old NES controller, and while they work about the same as the NES Advantage did back in 1987 they’re nice to have for nostalgia’s sake. The big bonus of this controller is the ability to remap any and all of the buttons. The process is simple: hit the “map” button, press a button or analog stick direction and then press the button you want to remap that function to. This is useful for those esoteric VC games that don’t let you pick your control configuration. It’s not hard to remap but you can get the buttons confused rather easily, so it’s a good idea to write down your key mappings on a piece of paper. To reset the controller to its default mapping simply hold the map button down for a few seconds and you’re good to go.
The button layout is similar to the Classic Controller but with a few key differences. You get the standard D-pad and X, Y, A and B setup with two analog sticks situated below the buttons, very reminiscent of a Playstation pad. The buttons are slightly squishier than the Classic Controller’s and the D-pad has an odd concave, “scooped” design but overall the TW is remarkably comfortable for playing VC games. The four shoulder buttons are stacked vertically, with LZ and RZ piggybacking the L and R triggers on both sides. The TW doesn’t have a select button, but one of the Z buttons usually fills that function and in the case of Super Metroid, is much more comfortable for swapping items.
The shoulder buttons might put off some GameCube purists, though. All four of the buttons are analog, but instead of the “slide and click” design of the Cube they have a squishy depression like the PS2’s DualShock shoulder buttons. I tried a number of Cube games with the TW and this change was never a huge problem, but it does take some getting used to. It really isn’t an issue for VC games.
The ergonomics of the TW are a mixed bag depending on how big your hands are. It has rubberized “wings” and a wider grip around the shoulder buttons so it is much easier to hold than the flat, ovoid Classic Controller. However it’s also about the same size as the CC—pretty small—and the buttons are actually a bit closer together than the CC’s. I’m pretty sure my hands are smaller than Master Yoda’s so I didn’t run into any serious cramping, but if you’re more on the average-to-Lou Ferigno hand size then you might have some problems holding the TW.
The TW is really just a replacement for the Wavebird and wired GameCube pads, and because it works just like a Cube pad and plugs into the same socket, it also doubles as a Classic Controller. It just happens to be shaped a lot more like a CC, so it’s naturally better for playing VC games than a Cube controller is. It does okay as a total replacement for both Cube and CC pads but its “middle ground” design doesn’t make it completely ideal for either style of play. That said, it’s a great little controller for only 20 bucks and a sight better than the equally priced, dangly, plasticy Classic Controller, and it doesn’t do too bad as a GameCube pad either. Now that the Wavebird is impossible to find on store shelves, the T-Wireless is your best bet for 2-in-1 Cube and Classic functionality.
Thrustmaster’s T-Wireless is a great alternative to the Classic Controller and a decent one to the GameCube pad. Its remapping feature is very helpful if you know how to use it, and because the controller basically works like a GameCube pad it completely bypasses the Wii remote. It doesn’t work perfectly for both styles of play but considering the features and functionality you’re getting it’s a real bargain for only $20.
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