With a street price of around 50 dollars, proprietary digital circuitry, solid construction, a hair-pin trigger and 17 programmable buttons, this baby is sweet.
My first impression was that the Panther DX is a big stick. After I opened the box, I immediately wanted to take it out for a spin to see what this baby could do. From opening the box, it took only a couple minutes to get things moving. I quickly plugged it into my USB port [requires Windows 98 or NT 5] and installed the software. Then I installed Red Barron 3D, by Sierra, which comes bundled with the Panther DX.
After my first flight I started to take a closer look the Panther DX. It is solidly constructed from good high grade plastic, and once I placed it on my desk it was extremely stable. MadCatz placed rubber grips both on the stick and on the palm rest, a nice touch both for comfort and improved game play.
As I mentioned before, the slightest tap on a button is all that it takes to fire your guns, so be careful there. The buttons are all well placed. In fact, the only problems I noticed about the design was that the rubber feet on the bottom came off really easily. And also, the DX is too big to get to your keyboard, but the later can be dealt with easily by wisely programing the 17 buttons and hats, so as to limit keyboard use.
The system requirements for the PantherDX are a bit on the steep side. Windows 98 or NT 5 are needed to use the USB connection or windows 95 and a four axis Gameport connection. While testing the joystick I found that it worked well with all of the new flight simulator games including both Decent 3 and Decent Freespace 2. Don’t bother trying to run any of your old Dos based games though, they don’t work — and neither did a couple of the first person shooters I tried, but that was to be expected.
Overall, I found the PanterDX to be an excellent flight stick. The drifting associated with most flight sticks was nonexistent with the DX, a nice touch on those long uneventful flights. The high system requirements hold me back for giving the PantherDX, otherwise a good flight stick, more that 4 GiN Gems.
Use this baby for flight games, but you might want to look elsewhere when playing shooters or other titles.