SpongeBob SquarePants

 

If you haven’t heard of Spongebob Square Pants, you’ve been on a different planet for the past four years. The odd setting, weird characters and the synonymous question; who does live in a pineapple under the sea? All make for one of the biggest cartoons of the current era.

So it was only a matter of time until our little yellow porous friend would get his own video game.
The start of the game sees Spongebob as the manager of a new restaurant, set up by another character in the game. Of course (for anyone who has seen the show), this is set in a dream, and at the end of the mission, Spongebob awakens and the game begins.

As with the cartoon, the plot is outlandishly wacky yet still relatively funny, with sudden gems of comedy interspersed throughout. For example when Spongebob and Patrick (the 2nd playable character) get turned down for a managerial position they drown their sorrows in a sort of ice cream bar.

Platform games aren’t notorious for having great graphics, and this game is no exception. The graphics are somewhat reminiscent of those in The Simpson’s games, only with a little bit more polish. They are, however, well taken from the cartoon as you really feel you are playing the show.

When you’re playing the game the controls just feel natural. Maybe that’s just years spending too long on other platform games, but the controls sit perfectly within the context of the game. A simple ‘circle’ attack will see off most enemies. Whilst Patrick’s ‘square’ cartwheel attack is the best way of not only killing the bad guys, but is also a quick way of navigating the levels. ‘X’ is left for jumping which just feels right for this genre, plus ‘triangle’ is there for overhead attacks – again a natural control.

However, there is one thing that spoils the Gameplay experience somewhat, and that is the camera. Whilst all of the other controls are taken from other games people are used to, the camera is worked in a different way to other games in the genre. This sounded very stupid when I repeated it back to myself, but if you move the right joystick to the left, the camera would move to the right to reveal what was happening on your left side.
Most other games, not only in this genre but most games in general, operate the camera by moving the joystick right, to move the camera right, to reveal what was happening on your left-hand side.
All a little complicated I agree, but this just doesn’t feel right when playing.

The missions play very well, although a little linear. There is a change of pace with the character changes throughout, and the occasional driving mission.
I personally got stuck on one of the missions where there are 3 log bridges, and I don’t know how a person of the games key demographic (3-9 I think it’s aimed at) will overcome these few problems.

This game has to be one of the best in its genre due to the way the game has taken a license and made a decent game out of it. In a time of appalling license games, this is a breath of fresh air. Offering the gamer a lot of rewards for spending time playing through it.
I will definitely still be playing this one after writing the review

Platform: PS2
Developer: Heavy
Publisher: THQ
RRP: £29.99
Buy!

Rating:
81%

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