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Capcom Pad Soldier GS

Capcom Pad Soldier GS

Mega Drive box, appropriately known as the Capcom Pad Soldier MD.

Mega Drive box, appropriately known as the Capcom Pad Soldier MD.

Platform: Sega Genesis

Category: Controllers

Developers: Capcom / ASCII

Release Date: 1993/1994

What exactly IS the Capcom Pad Soldier GS? Why is it shaped like this? And what’s up with the name? I can answer the first two questions, but the name of the controller is a mystery to me. It just doesn’t sound right, almost like something got lost in translation, such as the order of the words. I feel like it should be called the “Capcom Soldier Pad” instead of “Capcom Pad Soldier.” I can’t get over the oddity surrounding the name, but I digress.

The Capcom Pad Soldier is a controller designed with arcade fighting games in mind. While Capcom may get the top billing, ASCII is responsible for the concept and construction of the hardware, something of which they have plenty more experience than Capcom. The GS model is specific to the Genesis with the only notable difference between this and the SNES and 3DO models being the button’s colors.

capcom pad

Capcom wanted to fuse the arcade experience with the growing home experience thus the reason for its odd shape and function. It’s very obvious how and where to place your left hand when holding this badboy, with your left thumb perfectly positioned on the d-pad while the rest of your fingers wrap around the back all nice n’ snug like. sf2 arcadeNow, what the hell do we do with our right hand? This contorted plastic thing jutting out is downright confusing. To be honest… I had to look up online HOW to hold it! And to be even more honest, I’m probably retarded because it makes so much more sense now that I know how to do it the right way. You put your right hand on it as if you were holding a cheeseburger with just one hand… sorta like a McDouble (hold the pickles, extra ketchup). On this Capcom Pad, your right thumb goes on the back / under the right part of the controller for support and leverage while your index, middle, and ring finger (and pinky if you’re badass) are now freed up for smashing some buttons! While the right thumb placement might not feel like the arcade gaming you remember, the rest of your hand’s positioning should be very familiar.

I can’t say that I’m a believer in this little guy, but I can definitely say that it is a cool idea! I like the idea of ergonomics with controllers, and after learning how to hold it, the Capcom Pad Soldier GS is surprisingly ergonomic and comfortable. In particular, I enjoy the finger contours on the back of the left hand side, mimicking IMG_20160218_150006954some pistol grips. The construction is sound and feels very firm and well-made which is more than I can say about some other third party controllers I’ve handled in the past.

Even though the Capcom Pad Soldier can be used with any game, it was definitely designed with Super Street Fighter II and Street Fighter II Turbo in mind. In the arcades, Street Fighter II‘s button layout was 2 rows of 3 buttons on top of each other, and due to the cabinet design, players used their fingers instead of their thumbs for gameplay. Granted, the arcade cabinet featured a big joystick, but the thumbpad on the Pad Soldier is all part of the fusion design, so it works better than you’d think. Essentially (although not technically) this controller was crafted exclusively for use with Street Fighter II. Even though the Genesis model Pad Soldier is identical in construction and layout to the SNES and 3DO Pad Soldier models, it gets a big boost over the competition for one simple reason…

… Switching from a standard console controller to the Capcom Pad Soldier on ANY console is a big challenge, but considerably less so on the Genesis. The standard 6-button Genesis controller already features 2 rows of 3 buttons, creating a seamless transition. The SNES and 3DO versions of the Capcom Pad Soldier required ASCII to move the left and right shoulder buttons (L and R respectively) onto the 2 rows of buttons, which is very awkward for anybody used to using their left and right index fingers to make L do ‘this’ function and R do ‘that’ function. So for this reason, the Capcom Pad Soldier GS is hands down better than the other models!


Overall, it’s a cool controller and one that I’m happy I stumbled upon! I found this in a random thrift store bin for 25 cents! When I told them I needed to go to the car to grab a quarter, they told me to just take it! So I actually acquired this badboy for free. Considering the cultural importance and proven popularity of Street Fighter II (and its myriad variations and upgrades a la Turbo, Champion Edition, etc) in the arcades as well as at home, it was a no-brainer for Capcom to bring the 2 styles of play together in a new way. The designers were very thoughtful with everything when they crafted this controller. I’ve tried it on other non-fighting games, and it just doesn’t do much for me. But when I used it on Mortal Kombat, Eternal Champions: Challenge from the Dark Side, and Super Street Fighter II, it did provide some speedy button mashing ease! Hey, I never claimed to be good at fighting games, but now with the Capcom Pad Soldier GS, I can mash the buttons even faster than before! Worth a pick-up if you can find it, but probably not worth the $20 that I’m seeing it go for on Amazon.

Written by Nerdberry


Nerdberry here. It’s about time I updated this badboy (been a loooong time). I’m currently loving time on my Xbox 360, as I destroy aliens left and right through the Gears of War games (man these games are good).

But that doesn’t mean I’ve lost my love for retro-gaming! My wife and I just bought a house (December, 2015) and we have a baby due ANY DAY NOW (my mini-nerdette-berry is 1 day late as of December 10th), so I haven’t fully unpacked the hundreds of cartridges that I own.



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