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by Nuby

Nuby’s Black Hawk 2 is a fully featured dual analog controller compatible with both the PS2 and PSOne consoles. While it does suffer from some of the usual third-party peripheral foibles—some design and control features are liable to please some players while annoying others; it is attractive, comfortable, and at $24.99, reasonably priced.

The design of the Black Hawk 2 retains the general Dual Shock look, and it is color coordinated with the PS2 (black and blue)-- its target console. It has built-in vibration motors and fully analog joysticks, D-pad, surface and shoulder buttons. The four surface buttons and dual joysticks look, feel, and perform nearly identically to the Dual Shock. The shoulder buttons, however, are raised a bit further from the base and pull back like triggers rather than being pressed like buttons. Also, the D-pad is a single disc instead of four separate buttons. I know some gamers like discs because they are easier on the thumb, but I feel they sacrifice the precision of the buttons. The only real problem with the basic design is that the larger, rounded handles, while being comfortable and ergonomic, also make the top buttons—up on the control pad and the triangle—harder to reach, which can be frustrating on certain games. For example, I have average sized hands, but found myself having to readjust my grip to reload my weapons (using the triangle button) on Red Faction.

The Black Hawk 2 also has a few extra features. Rapid fire and slow motion buttons have become more or less standard on 2nd-party controllers. I have yet to meet a gamer that actually uses these things, but the Black Hawk 2 has ‘em if you want ‘em. It also has a Macro-Map function that allows players to program any of the surface or shoulder buttons to perform up to eight individual steps with a single press. Each of these steps can be further refined within the program by selecting one of four speeds at which that step will be performed. Programmable buttons are often popular with Fighter fans, as it trims those big-hit, mega-point combos, throws, and (ugh) projectiles down to one button.

After spending some time with the Black Hawk 2, I can safely say that in terms of performance it is a solid controller. Aside from my preference for separate D-pad buttons, and some readjustment to the handle/button design, I have no complaints. And at no time did it hinder my game play. We all know how that goes: you go over to your "friend’s" house for a little multiplayer action, and you get stuck with some half-assed, misshapen attempt at a controller because he decided to save a few bucks. You lose, repeatedly, while everyone points and laughs. Finally, you get steamed and throw the darn thing through his big screen TV, and then the cops show up, and it’s just a big mess. Well, the Black Hawk 2 will allow you to save $10 and no one has to get hurt.

Jeremy Kauffman   (10/27/2001)


Ups: Only $24.99; programmable macros; comfortable design.

Downs: Perhaps too large for some gamers' hands.

Sony PlayStation 2 or PSOne