Limited Run Games retro inspired controller review - catching your CD-i

The paddle controller vs the Limited run games controller

The paddle controller vs the Limited run games controller

In the list of the worst game controllers ever made, you can often find dubious ones such as the Nintendo 64 (because of its awkward lever) and even the original the Xbox Duke. But one that will always come up in these lists, somewhere around the middle, is the Philips CD-i. Indeed, the console, despite being marketed for gaming as well as generic family entertainment, was shipped with a simple remote control with a terrible analogue lever on top.

But that wasn’t the only CD-i controller, the other notorious one was the "paddle controller". It was a distant cousin to the Wii’s nunchuck, but with a circular shape where the d-pad was lodged. The problem with the paddle was that it was still quite of a hard fit if you were looking to play anything remotely action-oriented, let’s say, the classic Zelda games, Wand of Gamelon and Faces of Evil. But hey, that did not stop Limited run games from producing their very own "retro inspired" version of that controller.

Limited run games retro inspired controller
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Available for 35 dollars, Naturally, the very first (and, well, only) recommended use for the controller is be their Zelda-celebration game, Arzette: The Jewel of Faramore. In fact, the controller is first and foremost made to go together with that game as a pack-in item. So, does it work for that game? Well, not out of the box as it is. Indeed, the game will recognize it and it will work right away but to understand a bit more what the issues might be, let’s look at the controller.

LRG has updated that original controller, which now has two more buttons, with A / B / X / Y and also shoulder buttons L / R all clearly represented. But as to how, well, ergonomic they are to press, that’s a different pair of Octoroks. This is because while A / X / Y are all around the d-pad, B is among the smaller buttons below the d-pad itself.

Character from Arzette
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Consequently, to play Arzette old-school but still somewhat efficiently, you'll have to spend some time in the config settings page. Basically, leave the B button for tasks you don't need often (like using lamps or bombs) and A /X /Y for jump, attack and special attack. Now, in the original config, L is used for the shield and that is a bit of a hard sell since now we’ll have to go below the d-pad and find it. But there's not much choice.

But how does the controller fare in other games, since spending 35 dollars for a controller to use with one game would be a bit of a lousy bargain? Well, it will mostly depend on the game and, especially, if you can get it to work. Most of the games I tried, from the Mega Man Collection to Horizon Turbo, would downright not even recognize there was a controller plugged in. Not sure if LRG is planning to release a driver update, but that’s really all there is to it.

Good news though, it is a really efficient controller to play Vampire Survivors. Or well, if you are playing a game where you only need to move around and, only occasionally, press a button, then the CD-i replica controller is a good idea. But, hear me out, this is the most efficient visual novel controller ever made.

Think about it. If you are playing a game, for example something like the Apollo Justice trilogy, where you are just pressing a button to make the test advance and, only occasionally, moving around to select an option, wouldn’t you want to hold in your hands as less “plasticky controller” as possible? If you have, well now your dream has now come true.

If the game supports it, this is also a great controller if you want to play and point and click adventure or a strategy game, where you can just take your time for most of the gameplay, thanks also to quite a long cord which allows you to sit back and relax.

But, anyway, the CD-i circle shaped controller is definitely item dedicated to those that loved the very same idea Limited Run Games is selling along with their 2D adventure Arzette. That idea being: let’s get back to 1993 and enjoy an alternate timeline where that weird style of platforming never went out of style. So, indeed, the CD-i controller might be the perfect complement for that. Just don’t try to go and play Street Fighter 6 with it…

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