Spongebob Squarepants Battle for Bikini Bottom

The PS2 box art for THQ's Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom.

Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom is a game that was released in late 2003, based on the insanely popular TV show Spongebob Squarepants. The game's story begins with Spongebob and Patrick playing with robot action figures, and then the two both wish that they had real, life-size robots. After talking about it for a moment, Patrick heads home and Spongebob goes to bed, all the while thinking about how great it would be if their dream came true.

However, unknown to them, Plankton had built the Duplicatotron 3000, which produces robots who are accidentally set to aboey no one, and who go on a rampage throughout the city. Spongebob then has to stop this chaos and trace the trouble back to its source at the Chum Bucket.

I got this game a long time ago and it really remains my favorite Spongebob game, because it doesn't remind you of the goofy new cartoons where Patrick acts like a complete jerk on occasion and where Spongebob is more like queer than funny. It has the proper whimsical air but not in a cheesy way like you would expect from a newer title.

What's more is that the controls and environment in the game are true to the series. For example, they actaully featured Bubble Buddy in this game. He's barely even been in the series at all, and yet they make him a pretty major character along the way. That kind of appreciation of what came before is rare nowadays, which is one of the things that makes this game so remarkable.

Now what about replayability? There's a ton of it, and there are a couple reasons why. The way you progress through the game is by collecting a certain amount of Golden Spatulas by fulfilling certain requirements in each level. You can get these by paying Mr. Krabs, or collecting 10 of Patrick's missing socks (don't ask) and returning them to him. Some of them are so wicked hard to get that I can't even get them after all these years, so that should be a clue to how much time you can spend trying to get to 100% completion on this title.

The levels themselves are what you might expect to be boring, but they're anything but, because they vary between straight-up fighting to complex puzzles that require serious skill to complete. There are also a ton of different enemies to fight; some of them require a certain method to defeat, but there were occasionally multiple ways to go, so you had to pick and choose strategies to be all you can be. There are some pretty sick moves, too; everything from bowling balls to guided bubble rockets! Since when did Spongebob become underwater Rambo? We're hardly even talking kids' games anymore!

The most important thing is that this is an ideal launch to a great series of video games. It acted as a template for the Spongebob games to come, and more than that, I think it's still the best! More than that, this appeals to more audiences that the Fairly OddParents games do, to the point where I'd recommend it to kids up to 13, or anyone who's a fan of the series. This is a classic cartoon game and it's worth a complete buy no matter what.