The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (video game)
|The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie|
Original North American PS2 Cover Art
|Developer(s)||Heavy Iron Studios (PS2, GC, Xbox)
AWE Games (PC)
WayForward Technologies (GBA)
Aspyr Media (Mac)
The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is a 2004 video game based on the film of the same name, which is a complement of SpongeBob SquarePants. The game was released on the PlayStation 2 (PS2), Game Boy Advance (GBA), Xbox, GameCube, Microsoft Windows, and (albeit not currently available) the PlayStation 3. The PS2, GameCube, and Xbox versions are all ports of the same game, while the PC and GBA versions were separate games.
The GameCube, PC, and Xbox versions received mixed to average reviews, while the PS2 version received generally favorable reviews.
The plot of the video game is very similar to the film. King Neptune's crown has been stolen by Plankton and SpongeBob and Patrick must retrieve it from where Plankton sold it to: Shell City. A few areas in the game are not seen in the film, such as where SpongeBob and Patrick must escape Gooberland (their dreams) by following the Goofy Goober in the Patty Wagon. Much of the locations in the game greatly exaggerate the film's screen time; for example, SpongeBob never had to tour "Planktopolis" in the film, but he does so in the game. And later again to the Krusty Krab 2, in the Patty Wagon (requiring several Goober Tokens to get it back as this is in their reality, not their dreams).
Home console versions
The game play (and some graphics such as SpongeBob and Patrick's model as well as text font) is similar to that from the previous game, Battle for Bikini Bottom. There are 18 levels in the game that loosely follow the storyline of the film. Each level contains its main component and side tasks. Four levels involve a boss enemy that the player must defeat to progress to the next level. Boss enemies include a giant monster, Dennis, and King Neptune. Each main level and side task will give the player a Goofy Goober Token once completed, and the player needs these tokens to learn certain skills and proceed to the game. Although the player only needs to complete a level's main component to unlock the next level, it is not possible to complete the game only doing the main levels (though the player does not need to do all of the side tasks).
There is also an update system in the game. As the player progresses to levels, they will learn new moves for SpongeBob and Patrick which are needed to win the game. Additionally, the player will receive points as they go through the levels; once the player gains enough, they get an "Upgrade Point" which can improve a skill's effect (or be used to increase the player's Max Health from 3 to up to 6 units). Although very helpful in progressing and completing the game, upgrades are not mandatory to doing so.
The game does not use a life system; if the player dies, they are reverted to their last checkpoint, the game does not count deaths.
- Platforming - Ultimately, the main levels of the game, the player must use SpongeBob and/or Patrick to proceed through the levels. Several skills such as combat, careful movement, and most notably, the use of SpongeBob/Patrick's movesets are needed to progress. Each of these levels have some side tasks which offer a Goofy Goober Token, and some of the ones which are recurring throughout the levels include:
- Sonic Wave Guitar - The player has to use SpongeBob's Sonic Guitar (his 5th and last move) to guide the wave throughout rings without missing one.
- Spongeball - The player must guide a ball-form SpongeBob through a platforming area, similar to the Super Monkey Ball series.
- Floating Block Challenge - Patrick must jump from block-to-block to reach the Goofy Goober Token, and each block has different attributes.
- Combat Arena Challenges - SpongeBob, with only few health units throughout the level, must defeat some waves of enemies.
- Driving - Using the Patty Wagon, sometimes the player will need to drive through an area. All of the driving levels have 3 identical side tasks: a time challenge, a ring challenge, and a "Macho" (or harder) time challenge.
- "Sliding" - Using a small bathtub that acts almost like a sled with its movement, the player must slide through the area. The same side tasks as in the driving sequences.
- Bosses - There are a total of four boss battles in the game, none of which contain side tasks.
Each completion of a challenge or its side quest grants the player a Goofy Goober Token. In order to learn the moves required to advance in levels and the stories, SpongeBob and Patrick will have to complete these side missions (like the extra driving and minigame challenges) to get these tokens. SpongeBob and Patrick have a few moves, and when they get a sufficient amount of points, they can upgrade a move or increase their max health. Their health units are measured in Krabby Patties; they each contain only 3, but can be upgraded up to 6 over time. The moves will improve in effectiveness when upgraded.
The gameplay is similar to that of SpongeBob SquarePants: Lights, Camera, Pants!, and SpongeBob SquarePants: Employee of the Month. The game consists of 8 chapters. It mainly follows around SpongeBob and Patrick a various number of locations. It has many gameplay features that are reminiscent of point-and-click adventure games. The 8 chapters the PC version contains loosely follow the plot of the film.
There are 6 worlds to progress through, plus many bonus levels. Unlike the console versions, there is no save feature; instead, players are given a variety of level passwords as they progress through the game.
- Tom Kenny as SpongeBob SquarePants, Gary the Snail and French Narrator
- Bill Faggerbakke as Patrick Star
- Clancy Brown as Mr. Krabs
- Mr. Lawrence as Plankton
- Jeffrey Tambor as King Neptune
- Scarlett Johansson as Mindy
According to Metacritic, the GameCube, PC, and Xbox versions of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie have received "Mixed or average reviews," while the PS2 version received "Generally favorable reviews." On GameRankings, the GBA version has a rating of 53 percent.
Home console versions
Juan Castro of IGN, who reviewed the home console versions, stated that "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie delivers an entertaining (and oftentimes challenging) mix of platform and driving sequences. Controls feel responsive and the camera rarely hinders your view of the action. And the humor of the show practically seeps out of every clamshell and bed of kelp you cross". The PS2 version was noted by Play magazine as "a full blown AAA platformer".
GameZone's Louis Bedigian, who reviewed the Xbox version, felt that the game did not take advantage of the system's graphical capabilities, and wrote, "The cut scenes are more like storyboards than movie sequences. You don't get to see too many clips from the film, just stills taken from specific scenes. Why would they do this when all other movie-based games use real-time sequences, if not actual clips from the film? […] This could come as a disappointment to players expecting to re-live the movie's magic through a game. During the gameplay you'll be entertained by amusing dialogue, but the still picture movie sequences are a bore." Bedigian concluded that young children would enjoy the game, except for "the frustration" of its driving levels due to its controls, which he wrote "aren't very accurate, causing a lot of unnecessary screw ups during that part of the game."
Anise Hollingshead of GameZone praised the GameCube version for its graphics and music, but noted that "there probably could be more" sound effects for "a better experience." Hollingshead, who felt that the game was not as fun as SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom, also noted that the game's platform-based levels were not as fun as its racing levels, "Maybe because they're dark and dimly lit for the most part, or because they feel small and contained." Hollingshead wrote that the game was probably better for older players because of "the slight difficulty in some of the jumping sequences, and the long races".
Nintendo Power, reviewing the GBA version, noted the ability to change paths throughout the game, but wrote that "some areas are more difficult to reach than they should be, making the platforming tricky at times." Hollingshead criticized the GBA version for its repetitive gameplay and its inclusion of Patrick as a playable character, writing that "despite the appearance of a dual partnership in the game, it quickly becomes evident that it's really only one playable character that's been melded from two." Hollingshead wrote that "unlike the console versions, the story here feels tacked on and doesn't really do much to tie the levels together in any sort of cohesive manner." Hollingshead praised the graphics and wrote that the music was "the best part of the game," but concluded that the console versions "are much more fun."
Hollingshead praised the PC version for its graphics and sound, and wrote, "The humor from the TV show has been translated very well to this computer game, and some of the dialogue is a riot. The characters all have funny things to say, and there are plenty of sight gags, too. Playing as Plankton was a great idea, and kids will love listening to the diminutive evil-ruler wannabe as he comments on the people and things around him." However, Hollingshead – who felt that the game would be best for children who were between the ages of 6 and 10 – wrote that "it's a short game, and because the adventure is the same each time through, there's not much replay value here."
Kristen Salvatore of Computer Gaming World felt that the PC version and its puzzles would appeal primarily to young children, but wrote that people expecting to "play" the movie would be disappointed. IGN's Levi Buchanan, who reviewed the cellphone game version, praised its graphics, but criticized its simplicity. Buchanan wrote that the game "certainly has plenty of goofball charm and personality", but concluded that it was "something of a let-down" in comparison to previous SpongeBob cellphone games, as well as the "pretty fun console version of the game".
The GBA version sold an estimated 780,000 copies; in August 2006, the game was ranked at number 25 on Edge magazine's list of "The Century's Top 50 Handheld Games," arranged by number of copies sold.
PlayStation 3 port
On February 5, 2012, it was announced that The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie would be coming to the PlayStation Store as a PS2 Classic on February 7, 2012. It was later taken off the store for an unknown reason. The HD version was still available at GameStop's website as a download code but has since been removed as well.
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