reviews\ Nov 22, 2004 at 7:00 pm

SpongeBob SquarePants Movie - PC - Review

SpongeBob is starring in his very own movie, "The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie." It's all about a young sponge, his friends, and how they prove age isn't everything. Of course, to coincide with their theatrical debut, SpongeBob and friends are also starring on several console and PC games based on the movie.

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie for the PC is not an action platformer like the console versions, but is an adventure game for children, along the lines of the Humongous games by Atari. Kids will explore different locations, looking for inventory items and talking to various characters, in order to solve puzzles and advance the game.

Plankton is up to his old tricks, and this time has concocted a plan involving framing Mr. Krabs for the theft of King Neptune's crown, in order to get rid of the food-industry competition and corner the restaurant market for himself. Meanwhile, SpongeBob, who has been passed over for promotion at the Krusty Krab because of his youth, decides to put aside his disappointment at the lost promotion and clear Mr. Krab's name.

The game is divided into chapters, and kids will get to play the different characters in each one. Mostly they will play as SpongeBob, but they will also play as Plankton and Misty (King Neptune's daughter). The gameplay is typical adventure gaming, with conversation dialogue trees and inventory collecting. There are also some clickables, and a few mini-type games to break up the adventuring.

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.

The game is in 3D, but because of the cartoony look, doesn't look much different from 2D cartoon adventures. While it is similar in gameplay to the Humongous games, it also looks and feels a lot like The Curse of Monkey Island, especially with the silly dialogue choices, and partly because of the sailor/restaurant themes. The colors are all very crisp and clear, and the cartoon look is exactly right for SpongeBob.

Because this is a children's game, the gameplay is pretty easy. Each chapter will require kids to talk to everyone, and look around at everything. If something is missed, odds are the characters will supply some pretty direct clues in the dialogue choices. Usually only around three or four things will be collected in any one chapter. Unfortunately, the objects do not appear to be randomized (we started a new game a few times, and each time the objects in the first few scenes were in the same places), so the game is the same every time it is played. It's also pretty short.

SpongeBob Squarepants: The Movie is a good children's adventure game, that has plenty of humor and things to do and see. However, it's a short game, and because the adventure is the same each time through, there's not much replay value here. Best for kids ages 6-10.

Review Scoring Details for SpongeBob Squarepants: The Movie

Gameplay: 7.5
I love adventure games, and this one is good. The humor is just right, and kids will enjoy the bright colors and the puzzles. However, the game is short the first time through, and there's not much reason to play again.

Graphics: 8 
The game looks wonderful, and Bikini Bottom is just like the TV show.

Sound: 8
Ditto for the sound, everything is very similar to the TV show.

Difficulty: Easy
This game is easy to play, and young children will have no problems figuring out what to do next.

Concept: 8 
There's nothing new here, but the execution is flawless.

Overall: 7.5
This is a fun adventure game for kids that is well-designed, and offers humor and some good puzzles. However, kids will get more bang for their buck from Humongous Jr. Adventure games, which are longer, just as humorous and can be replayed many times.


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