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NBA All-Star Challenge

Genre: Sports Developer: Beam Software Publisher: Flying Edge Players: 1-2 Released: 1992

The ’90s were awesome times to be a basketball fan for me, I lived in Illinois, near Chicago, and was obviously a Bulls fan, and it was a non stop rush with how many records they broke and just how good they played. Who could forget a 72-10 season and two three-peats for world champions? I’ve since stopped following basketball and sports in general in the current years but still miss it, and wish I’d give it more effort.

You can then imagine my enthusiasm when I found this game at a thrift shop. Sure, it was made by Acclaim, but it was an all-star game that had almost the full roster of top players of my favorite years of the NBA. I figured that it may not be great, but it had to be decent enough fun and a way to relive the memories and remember some of basketball’s greatest players. Well, I got home and gave it some of my time before it became so unbearable to play that I just had to hit the power button and sit there in complete disappointment at Acclaim for completely trashing a game with such great potential.

All-Star Challenges are quite nice to watch on TV and they keep me interested for the entire duration. Acclaim made a game with an all-star challenge, and that’s it; it’s as bare bones as it can get, no extras, variety or pizzazz whatsoever. On TV it takes a couple of hours to complete. Here, if you want to compete in each event it will take you maybe fifteen to twenty minutes, and it’s over. There’s no replay value because the events are translated very poorly. They included the free throw contest, the three-point contest, horse, a one-on-one match, and a one-on-one tournament. There is also the option to have a second player.

The free throw contest is useless. Shots are made by pressing the button when the cross hair is exactly in the center of the square of the backboard. I could make maybe one or two baskets in one round since the aiming is so precise that it’s useless. Sometimes, it takes forever for the cross hair to get in the right spot, leaving you to grow bored when the shooting takes longer than it should. The three-point shootout and horse are decent for what they are, but again, the aiming is still on the overly-precise side, and the computer player still has an easier time making almost every shot it takes. The one-on-one tournaments have no options and are exactly what they are, a two person contest and just that.

NBA All-Star Challenge includes twenty-seven NBA all-stars and claims it has actual player stats, but I was hard pressed to tell the difference. For a game having such big names as Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippin and Michael Jordan, among others, you’d think Acclaim would have given them a game worth being proud of and that would showcase their skills. Instead, they did a disservice to the players as well as the NBA name as a whole.

The graphics can be best described as adequate. Nothing really looks bad, but there’s nothing to cheer about either. Players look distinct and resemble their real-life counterparts, and each team’s court looks like it should. The same goes with the sound, it gets the job done but it won’t leave an impact on you. For a game from 1992, it could all be passable.

My wife saw this game when I bought it. She’s a basketball fan (more of a WNBA fan) and was curious as to how it would be. We tried this together with the glimmer of hope that it would be one of the better Acclaim games, but after a while we were both ready to turn it off for good and both thought the game was terrible. It needed some other options or an entire extra gameplay mode or something to give it some backbone and solidity. As it is, it feels more like a mini game collection. It would have been nice to play a game where you could actually divide the players into teams and play a real game instead of just one on-one-contests, but we get an all-star challenge and nothing more, and a broken one at that.

Don’t waste your time with NBA All-Star Challenge. Most of you probably haven’t heard of it or haven’t played it since it’s just another game lost in the sea of other sports titles, but let this review reemphasize that it needs to be left alone.

SCORE: 2 out of 10

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