I missed out on the original run of the Mortal Kombat Tournament Edition Stick. Honestly, it was a little confusing in terms of which version to get because there was not one single version which included all the features I wanted. There was a Kollector’s Edition which included figures and an art book with an MK1 Scorpion costume, whereas there was also a Tournament Edition which included an MK9 themed Fight Stick from PDP. Knowing what I know now about the MK9 DLC and the fact that I really have no use for the figures, I would have rather have bought the Tournament Edition.
PDP, the manufacturer of the MK9 Fight Sticks, also sold them separately at the same $149.99 that the Tournament Edition launched at which kept me away from buying one. Later on PDP released the Mortal Kombat Klassic Fight Stick. This was essentially the same as the MK9 stick except it was re-branded with MK1 style designs on the stick to match what was on MK1 Arcade cabinets. This version of the stick also does not open up to allow you to store anything in it (such as the external USB cable) or give you easy access to customize the internals.
Recently, I managed to find one of the Xbox 360 editions of these sticks at a local EB Games for about half of the MSRP on the original MK9 Tournament Edition stick. First thing I noticed when grabbing the stick out of the box was that the design of the stick was extremely nice. I was shocked I was able to get this stick for the price I did, as it looks like it should be priced at $200 or more. The Artwork on the stick sits under glass and makes the stick look very slick. On the back of the stick there’s also a small metal plate denoting that I have stick #1497 of 6000 which I thought was a nice touch. The stick also came bundled with a download code for Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection, which is appropriate considering the “Klassic” design.
The bottom of the Stick has memory foam which makes it extremely comfortable to place on your lap over extended periods of time. The stick itself is pretty big and weighty but I never was uncomfortable with it. From other reports, I’ve heard it is slightly lighter than the MK9 Tournament Edition stick however.
I tried the stick out with Mortal Kombat Arcade Kollection on PC (yes, this stick will also work on PC). It automatically was setup to use the appropriate buttons so I did not have to mess with any settings.
The feel of the stick and buttons out of the gate were really fantastic. It had been years since I had played with an American style arcade controls (The feel of which varies quite a bit from MadCatz sticks which emulate Japanese style arcade controls). Immediately I liked the clicky feel of all of the buttons and the stick itself. I was getting immediate feedback on when controls were registering based on the sounds I was hearing when pressing the buttons. The stick itself is stiff but it works well for Mortal Kombat controls.
I was executing moves like Raiden’s Superman or Mileena’s roll at a much higher percentage than I could on a gamepad where accidentally jumping instead of performing a back/forward button press is commonplace for me. Suddenly, Mortal Kombat movements (as compared to the swooping movements in Street Fighter) started to make a lot more sense after using the stick. I also had absolutely no trouble executing moves which required multiple button presses (such as Reptile’s force ball). Sometimes I’d be hit and miss on a controller or even a keyboard, but was finding it much easier to time the button presses together on the Klassic Fight Stick. Charging moves (such as Liu Kang’s bicycle kick) are also considerably easier due to the spacing of the buttons, it doesn’t feel like I’m doing finger gymnastics like it does on a gamepad.
Executing flip jumps was the only problem I was having using the stick. There’s a very small amount of degrees on the stick it seems where both Up & Forward or Up & Backward seem to be pressed. With some practice, you can get better at it, and overall it’s much better than the opposite situation on normal Xbox 360 controllers where you’re jumping around by accident.