Pelican GameCube Starter Kit II: So what if it was Microsoft's slogan for a while? I say "Start Me Up! Yeah!"
According to Nintendo they sold a lot of GameCube systems this holiday season. And when it comes to a new system nowadays you need a few essentials. This is where the Pelican GameCube Starter Kit and others of its ilk come in. Even though it's four months later now, the system continues selling and with a ton of big releases on deck for 2004 I can't imagine this trend slowing down. So if it's time for a second controller, maybe it's time to look into one of the many Starter Kits that populate game stores. The Pelican Kit features a G3 Controller, 2 Extender Cables, a 59 Block Memory Card, five GameCube Mini-Disc Cases and a "mini-issue" of Code Vault magazine.
After breaking into the box, most of the pieces require little introduction or review. The 59 Block Memory Card works just like any other memory card out there. And naturally a 59 block card is good for a first card, but odds are if you own a GameCube you own at least one game that requires the 251 block edition. So this 59 block card will quickly be relegated to backup status. The Extender Cables turn the too short GameCube controller cables into 12 ft behemoths. It's the next best thing to having a Wavebird. Game cases are multi-colored GameCube disc sized pieces of plastic with a hinge, no more, no less. It's the controller, a Pelican G3 Controller that on first glance looks very similar to a Nintendo brand official controller, that is the piece of this package that will get the most use.
The feel of the controller as a whole is a bit heavier than a regular GameCube controller. The added weight gives the controller a slightly different feel, and while it's not worse per se, it is different. Different can be good, but your reaction will vary. It's also probably the reason why the Rumble feature is more sensitive on the G3. Which is definitely a good thing.
The face buttons are smaller and closer to being uniformly shaped. The smaller shape makes it easier to hit a different button than you meant to. The X and Y buttons are also considerably higher than the A and B buttons, much higher than the slight difference an official controller features. Floating from the A or B buttons to the X or Y buttons is a little rough. The Z-Trigger is very stiff and is hard on the precision pressing that some games require of it. The L and R triggers are also stiffer than a standard controller, but less so than the Z button. The sticks are also built for harder play. The Analog Stick is covered with a smooth surface, which is very nice to play with for extended periods of time. The C Stick is cupped to make it more precise and easier to use. The digital pad is the probably the closest component to a standard GameCube controller as it feels very similar.
The controller also features a Turbo button in front of the Left trigger. It works by holding the button down and then pressing the button you want turboed. Turning off turbo works exactly the same way. It's actually very helpful in Mario Kart when you pull up a Super Mushroom, just leave it on and let 'er rip. It's easy to turn on, but it can be a pain turning it off in the middle of the action. And what makes it even more difficult to use is when a game requires quick pressing of two buttons in a row. In these situations it becomes very easy for the Turbo button to stick and turbocharge a button you did not want turboed, which can get annoying.
When looking at any starter kit, the overall "value" of a low price is usually balanced out by the parts being of a quality best defined as crappy. The Pelican kit is definitely a good deal for the money and while I prefer an official GameCube controller to the G3 included in this package, at twenty dollars it's hard to pass up. And when you factor in the Extender Cables and the Memory Card, I can't see how any GameCube owner can pass up this package if they're in need of a second controller on the cheap.