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SpongeBob SquarePants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman

Score: 95%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Media: Cart/1
Players: 1
Genre: Miscellaneous

Graphics & Sound:

As strange as it may sound, I usually gauge something's popularity on if my dad likes it. Take for instance, Spongebob Squarepants. If you had told me a year ago that my dad would become a Spongebob fan, I would have laughed. But, what do I know since he not only loves the show, but he has a Spongebob screen saver at his office and a talking Spongebob sitting in an area that is usually delegated a 'holy shrine' for all things LSU. And with this popularity comes the deluge of merchandise, such as Spongebob Squarepants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman.

Having played most of the handheld Spongebob games, I'd have to say this one is easily the best looking one yet. While the others have done a good job at representing the look of the show, none have come as close as this one does. The biggest difference is the size of the characters has been increased, allowing for more detail and much better animation. Fans of the show will also love how everything in the game mirrors the show, especially the integration of photographs into the animated environment, such as the hand that pops on screen and drops Spongebob into each level.

As far as the sound goes, I was really disappointed to see that once again, the Spongebob theme song has been replaced with something that kind of sounds like the real thing, but isn't. This isn't something that ruins the game, but it's a minor distraction. The in game music is good, but only in the context of the game, which means it may annoy those around you not playing the game. One of the real audio treats is the inclusion of digitized speech samples from the show.


Trying to explain the premise of the game is something that would be lost on non-fans; it's just that off the wall. What it basically boils down to is Spongebob finds a magic bottle and frees the ghost of the Flying Dutchman, who Spongebob thinks is a wish granting genie. This assumption leads Spongebob on a quest to find all of the Dutchman's lost treasures.

One of the more noticeable aspects of the game is that Spongebob can do much more than in past titles. Whereas past games have limited players to the 'normal' platform moves, this game allows you to shoot bubbles, crawl, stick yourself into square-shaped areas, and float. Although it may look like a simple platformer in the beginning, Spongebob can actually be considered a 'thinking-man's platformer' (something I would have never expected from a Spongebob game). Most of the game's levels revolve around Spongebob's primary weapon, the bubble wand. By collecting different bubble types, he can blow bubbles that destroy objects, trap enemies, float to higher areas, or bounce. Each of these types is important to getting through levels and collecting the keys which unlock the treasure chest. The trick is that you can only have one type of bubble equipped at a time, causing you to have to think about when to keep the bubble you have, or when to pick up a different one.

After completing certain levels, you can also unlock mini-games in which you can earn extra lives. These are easily some of the more enjoyable parts of the game, especially the one where Spongebob dances with the jellyfish.


Spongebob is a challenge, but not unbeatable. As I mentioned before, the hardest part about the game is that it requires you to think about what you are doing instead of mindlessly blasting away at enemies and jumping over pits. By only allowing you to carry one type of bubble at a time, each level becomes a giant puzzle that really keeps your problem solving skills on their toes. Overall, it's just a really smart game, which makes it even more attractive to me since I can see the game helping develop kid's logic and problem solving skills.

While I would have preferred an auto-save option, the password system is very easy to understand due to the clarity of the letters and the easy to remember combinations.

Game Mechanics:

Guiding Spongebob couldn't have been made any easier. The control layout is extremely responsive, allowing for even the most casual of gamers to figure out what to do. Part of the reason the controls are so well done stems from the first level being a tutorial. As you come across new obstacles, the game explains in very easy to understand terms how each task is accomplished. This makes the learning curve very user friendly and shows that the developers are fully aware of the fact that kids (or most gamers for that matter) do not read the manual.

I can't say enough good things about this game. Having played past Spongebob games, I was amazed with how much effort seems to have gone into fixing the problems found in past games. Nearly every problem has been looked at and fixed. Personally, if I were management at THQ, I'd take the entire development team out for steak dinners or something considering the remarkable job they did. This is one of the best uses of a licensed game I've played yet and something everyone should pick up - regardless of how much of a fan you are.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Nintendo GameBoy Advance Sonic Advance Nintendo GameBoy Advance SpongeBob SquarePants: Supersponge

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