Spongebob Squarepants: The Movie PS2 Review

Jealous at the opening of the Krusty Krab 2, Plankton unleashes the dreaded ‘Plan Z’.

Plankton steals King Neptune’s crown and sells it to Shell City “The Place of No Return”. Plankton frames Spongebob’s boss, Mr Krabs for the theft. When King Neptune shows up to pass judgement, Spongebob decides to go on a mission to rescue the crown. Along with his best friend Patrick, they leave with only six days to return the crown or Mr Krabs will die…

Graphics

Being based on a cartoon movie, there is only so much detail that can be afforded to both the characters and surroundings. This is one of the good points about the game, both Spongebob and fellow lead character are well detailed and mirror their cartoon counter-parts brilliantly. Colours are both bright, bold and very colourful, this does not just extend to the main characters but this is also the case with the environment. The waterfalls flow and ripple reminiscent of the cartoon movie, and although are simple effects, add to the overall character and feeling you get whilst playing the game.

The background effects are both as bold and as colourful as the characters. Often as you are speeding through the levels whether in the Patty Wagon or on a crazy rampage it is great how the game manages to keep up with all the action, not just following the characters actions but also having background action such as buildings collapsing and levels building ahead of you. The game seems as frantic as this section of the review.

That’s not to say that this game is a visual wonder of perfection, although the game has lots of action going on there are times when the game struggles to keep up with all the action and slows down. This normally happens when you smash a piece of scenery or there is large dust clouds. Thankfully most of the time this was not to detriment the game. Being based on an animation, there is only so many details you can put into the characters and although most of the game this looks good, there are moments where textures are recycled and environments can look bland. But it doesn’t matter when you seem to be having so much fun.

Gameplay

Since this is a title aimed towards a younger audience the controls are simple and mirror those of other platform games with the ‘X’ button being used for jump and the ‘square’ button for attacks for example. The simplicity enables players of any age to slip in to the game comfortably and instinctively, this is where the game shines in its “open-ness” to all audiences. I picked up the pad and within two minutes I was bashing my way through the levels, smashing crates and collecting NOS style boosters for the Patty Wagon.

Throughout the game you undertake many strange tasks to obtain ‘Tokens’ which unlock many abilities for your “Two Heroes” such as the ‘Bash’, which is basically a powerful uppercut initiated via a click on the “triangle” button.

Not only are you required to jump from platform to platform, you also drive a variety of vehicles such as the Patty Wagon, something that resembles a bath tub and right at the beginning of the game “Spongebob’s Tongue”. These sections are generally short one level affairs and the levels are obviously constructed to make the use of the forms of transport available.

Finding your way through levels is both quick and very easy, with helpful signposts and dead ends of various types that helps point you in the right direction to go. The game does a great job of both leading you alongside the main story whilst also giving you many other side-tasks to complete to gain extra items and also to unlock more abilities for the two main protagonists.

There are the bad points though, sometimes when fighting the collision detection can feel a bit off and hits sometimes ‘glitch’ through the enemies and sometimes when a connection is made, it does not even register.

The camera can also play tricks on you at times although this is very rare and for the most part it works very well with the game and all the action that goes on. But there are times when there is an enemy behind you and although he is much closer than the camera suggests you do not get to see them until too late as focus is placed on the playing character and not on what’s behind them. In the game this is fine when you are running through environments and they cleverly fade when your back is against them whilst still letting you know they were there. If such a method was implemented on the enemies and crates dotted around the levels, you would still be able to understand exactly where you were without losing your bearings… which sometimes meant an untimely end for your character.

I feel it would be unfair to end the gameplay on a sour note though, for all its little mistakes it would be unfair to dismiss this game due to a few errors. I shall admit the moment I put this game into my PlayStation I wasn’t expecting too much, but what I found was an entertaining and accessible game which at times frustrating and sometimes bland turned out to be a really good adaptation of a movie to a video game.

Sound

Coming from a cartoon feature length movie, you would expect that sound clips from the film would have been used. There are moments when you know clips were obtained from the movie, but there have been good efforts by the developers of the game to get the actual actors to record the vocals for the game and this works very well for its advantage. There are some moments when clips are used over and over and this is sometimes quite annoying, but what can you expect eh?

Overall sound is very good with funky little melodies playing in the background and nice enemy sounds, however once an adult has spent an entire weekend listening to the sounds of the game and the voice clips it does begin to grate.

Lifespan

For a game based around a movie there is only so far you can take the game as whole, this is where the developers of the game have added to it in a variety of good ways. Not only are you presented with the main task of the game, you can also do lots of extra missions to unlock various abilities and movie clips in the extra’s section. This makes the game a much worthier purchase than the last title as it has much more replay value for completists who want to collect all the tokens and all the treasure chests. An adult or skilled youngster could complete this over a weekend, but for a completist it will take a little while longer.

When you have done this game there is not really much to make you want to come back except to unlock a few more extras, but when you have so much fun on the adventures why would you want to live it twice?

Overall

A good and very entertaining game while it lasts, which does justice to its tag of “Movie- License” surprisingly. The gamer has plenty to do to live the adventures from the big screen ‘at home’ from the comfort of their sofa. It’s a shame that whilst there has obviously been an attempt to bring back the gamer to do the little tasks most of the target audience will not want to go and do extra missions again.

7.0 out of 10
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