In the Forums...
Posted: November 17, 1999
Written by: Chris Burek
Overwhelmed could be used best to describe our initial thoughts when taking a first glance at Gravis' Xterminator Digital game pad - it's loaded to the teeth with buttons and controls, with seventeen total controls on the pad itself. Going in for a closer inspection of the Xterminator, we found the pad is very well constructed being sturdy and an ergonomic fit to the hand. Its basic outer design somewhat resembles Microsoft's SideWinder Game Pad, if you've ever seen it. Basically, the Xterminator Digital is almost identical to Gravis' original Xterminator game pad, but this one boasts of new USB support.
This pad is jammed full of functions -- it houses six action buttons, two triggers, two d-pads, two proportional flippers, an eight-way hat switch, start and select buttons, a throttle control, and lastly, a hot switch button which allows each of the aforementioned controls to serve a second purpose.
The first d-pad serves the traditional function, moving eight directions, the second is a proportional d-pad, where the movement is similar to that of an analog joystick. These two d-pads are located on the left side of the game pad. The two triggers and flippers are located on the bottom of the Xterminator, the start and select buttons are positioned at the middle-front of the pad, and finally, all the remaining controls are at home on the right side.
Included with the Xterminator Digital is a short, but to-the-point installation manual, a CD containing the drivers and software, a CD containing a full version of Need for Speed 3, and the registration card. The Xterminator plugs into a USB port, however, you can also use your standard game port. The standard game port connector on the pad has a second connector on it, allowing you to daisy chain another controller. The software installed without any glitches, and from there we went to configure the controller with Gravis' Keyset Manager.
The Keyset Manager allows you to customize the controls on the Xterminator for your favourite games. It came with many pre-configurations for a lot of today's most popular games, so chances are you'll already have games configured for this controller. If not, we found it quite easy to configure the controller for all the games we tested.
Xterminator In Action
We fired up a few games to test out the capabilities of the Xterminator, which included NHL 2000, Need for Speed 4, X Games Pro Boarder, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2000, and a more.
We found the Xterminator Digital to be a superb controller - the layout of all the controls on the pad were planned well. Having both the traditional and proportional d-pads came in very handy when playing flight sims such as Flight Simulator 2000. The mass of buttons is great for programming all our must-have in-game functions. However, at times, we were still a bit overwhelmed by all the buttons. It takes a bit of getting used to. The Xterminator Digital can be used for any game from racing, to action, to adventure, and as we mentioned before, even flight simulators.
This is a very versatile game pad, folks. Although a tad overwhelming at first, you'll become accustomed to its layout. You can't beat a three-year warranty, and the pad's design and workmanship is excellent. Still, if you're looking for something more basic, the Xterminator Digital might not be for you. Give it a try in stores before making your decision.