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Do you really need me to give this a kicking for you? Isn't it immediately obvious from the basic premise that this couldn't be worth 40 quid in a million years? What do you mean, you don't know the basic premise? Sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself again.

What we've got in NBA All-Star Challenge is, obviously, a basketball game. But not the kind where you actually play basketball. What? No, what you actually get here is what I'd personally expect to be a sort of training mode sub-section of a proper basketball game, a little throwaway extra bit to provide extra variety and value (like, for example, the two-player game in Sunset Riders. It's good fun for a quick blast, but you wouldn't want to make an entire game out of it).

You actually get five different variations of basketball in NBA All-Star Challenge (or 'five blistering ways to play', as the box rather worryingly suggests) - there's one-on-one, which is you against a solitary opponent. The two of you simply try to score at the same basket until a time limit runs out or a certain score is reached, and you run out of things to do after around 90 seconds. Terrifyingly, this is the most involved sub-section in the game. Your alternative entertainments are'Free Throw Contest' which is, amazingly, a free-throw competition which plays not unlike most computer darts games (wibbly cursor which you have to force into position), 'Three-Point Shootout', which is much the same except that you throw from further away and in varying positions against the clock, and 'H.O.R.S.E.', which is a bizarre game involving you making a shot from anywhere you feel like, which your opponent then has to duplicate exactly or they're awarded a letter of the word HORSE. The first player to be completely dubbed as a hoofer loses. Making up the five different games is the All-Star Tournament, which is one-on-one but, er, in a tournament.

Right, so there's the plot. Sorry to spend so much time wibbling on about it, but I couldn't think of any more effective way of warning you exactly how little you're getting if you fork out hard-earned cash on this game. It's feeble, it really is - NBA All-Star Challenge might just about be worthwhile as a practice section in a proper basketball game, but as it stands you play around with it for a few minutes and think 'Okay, I'm ready for the real thing now', and then find you've got nowhere left to go. It's all executed reasonably well, but that's also what should happen to the person who decided that this would make a full-price cart.


Does what it does well enough, but there's practically nothing there. A waste of money, even for two players.


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