Battle for Bikini Bottom
North American cover art
|Developer(s)||Heavy Iron Studios (PS2, Xbox and GCN)|
AWE Games (PC)
Vicarious Visions (GBA)
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom is a 2003 video game based on the animated series of the same name, developed by Heavy Iron Studios, AWE Games, and Vicarious Visions, and published by THQ. The game was released for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Nintendo GameCube consoles as well as separate versions for Microsoft Windows and Game Boy Advance. The Microsoft Windows version of the game is a point-and-click adventure game, whereas the 6th generation consoles received a 3D platformer. The Game Boy Advance version received a 2D platformer. All versions of the game feature an original storyline, in which the player attempts to defend Bikini Bottom from an invasion of robots created by Plankton with a machine called the Duplicatotron 3000, playing as SpongeBob in all versions, as well as Patrick and Sandy in the console versions. The game was released on October 31, 2003, in North America and in Europe on November 28, 2003.
Battle for Bikini Bottom received mixed and average reviews, although it has since gained a cult following, with many expressing interest for the studio to remake the game. Edge included the PlayStation 2 and Game Boy Advance versions on its lists for top handheld video games of the 21st century.
Core gameplay involves collecting items, such as Golden Spatulas, Shiny Objects, and Lost Socks, and defeating the robots which have attacked various areas in Bikini Bottom, whilst crossing platforms and avoiding environmental hazards like spikes and flames. Some areas require different characters to beat, as each character has their own unique abilities. The player can control SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy, except in the Game Boy Advance and PC version, in which the only playable character is SpongeBob. Switching characters in console versions requires the player to find a Bus Stop. Upon using said Bus Stop, the current character will switch to another, and using it again will switch back to the previous character, giving the player an option of two characters in each level. The default character throughout the game is SpongeBob; Sandy and Patrick do not appear together as playable characters in any of the same levels.
The core gameplay is based off a 3D platformer, requiring players to collect three main types of items. Shiny objects are the game's currency, and can be used to pay tolls within game areas or to buy golden spatulas from Mr. Krabs. Golden spatulas are used to grant access to new areas, they are hidden throughout the game and can also be earned by completing tasks set by Squidward and several other characters from the cartoon. Patrick's socks are spread throughout the game. Patrick will reward SpongeBob with a golden spatula in exchange for 10 of his socks. SpongeBob can also blow bubbles to form different shapes as special attacks/moves which can be used to advance further in the game, and can learn two new bubble moves from Bubble Buddy as the game progresses.
Props are also included in the game. Trampolines help the player bounce to further ledges or platforms, buttons activate certain things throughout the game, pressure pads are like buttons, however, the effects of the pressure pad are only active while the player stands on the pressure pad, or there is another object on the pressure pad, once whatever is holding down the pressure pad is removed, the effects of the pressure pad are undone. There are also character specific abilities, such as Sandy being able to swing from Texas hooks, SpongeBob being able to dive downward on a bungee hook, and Patrick's ability to pick up and throw throw fruits and freeze fruits. Though some areas can be navigated by any character, several sections can only be completed with a specific character, due to each one having unique abilities. SpongeBob can create a bubble helmet for head-butting enemies. Patrick can throw objects at buttons, robots, and freeze liquids. Sandy can glide over large gaps with her lasso.
The game revolves around the theme of robots invading Bikini Bottom, SpongeBob's hometown. Plankton, the evil genius owner of the Chum Bucket, has built a new machine called the Duplicatotron 3000 to produce an army of robots to use to steal the Krabby Patty Secret Formula. After creating them, he realizes that the switch on the Duplicatotron has accidentally been set to "Don't Obey" and the robots quickly kick him out of the Chum Bucket before taking it over and then wreaking havoc all over Bikini Bottom.
Meanwhile, SpongeBob and Patrick are playing with toy robots. SpongeBob is bored with the toys and wishes he could play with real robots. Patrick uses his "magic wishing shell", believing it will make their wish come true the following morning. SpongeBob wakes to find that his house has been trashed by real robots. He receives a fax from Mr. Krabs, stating that he would give SpongeBob a Golden Spatula for every certain amount of Shiny Objects he collects for him. Shiny Objects must be collected to open or activate various tolls throughout the game. Outside, SpongeBob finds a disappointed Plankton, who lies and claims that the robots appeared suddenly and kicked him out. Fooled by the diminutive villain, SpongeBob promises to help Plankton back into the Chum Bucket by embarking on a perilous quest to find golden spatulas and get rid of the robots.
SpongeBob travels to Jellyfish Fields, where he finds that Squidward has been stung by jellyfish. SpongeBob defeats King Jellyfish in a battle and obtains some of his jelly for Squidward's stings. SpongeBob also helps Mrs. Puff by locating stolen steering wheels in Downtown Bikini Bottom, stolen paintings in Rock Bottom, and missing students/campers in the Kelp Forest. King Neptune calls SpongeBob and Patrick to the Poseidome to defeat Robot Sandy. He then goes to the Mermalair, where he fights Prawn, one of Mermaid Man's archenemies. He also helps Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy several other times throughout the game, as well as Larry the lobster, his pet snail Gary and the Flying Dutchman, in other areas like Goo Lagoon, Sand Mountain, and the Dutchman's Graveyard, where Sandy beats the Dutchman in a fight. Later, SpongeBob and Sandy save Squidward from Robot Patrick.
SpongeBob then falls asleep, allowing him to enter his friends' dream worlds to search for more golden spatulas. After SpongeBob, Patrick, Sandy, and Squidward gain access to the Chum Bucket, they discover Robot SpongeBob and Robot Plankton, and learn that Plankton was responsible for making the robots. Before the battle starts, Robot Plankton is frustrated because SpongeBob has interfered with his plans once again. SpongeBob must destroy all the green weak points to get in his brain to finish him off once and for all. After defeating the giant robots, SpongeBob hopes that Plankton learned his "lesson". The Duplicatotron produces several more Robot Planktons, which begin arguing among themselves. The game ends after SpongeBob says that their work is not done, as there are still many robots running amok in the city.
The game then cuts to The Spongeball Arena, where the player rolls around in ball form in a large arena, while the credits roll on the screen. If the player collects all 100 golden spatulas, the game ends with a special surprise cutscene of all the game's characters singing the theme song.
In the Game Boy Advance version, Mr. Krabs thinks the robot invasion is putting him out of business, so his assignment for SpongeBob is to fight the robots to get into the Chum Bucket to shut down Plankton's Duplicatron with the help of Mystery the Seahorse.
At the end of the PC version, SpongeBob and Patrick discover that Plankton was the one behind the robot invasion. Plankton admits that it was his fault and that the robots are not listening to him and the only way to control the robots is to set the switch to "obey" mode. Instead, Patrick fools around with the machine, accidentally pulling its obey switch off, which turns off the machine and deprograms the robots. After SpongeBob and Patrick leave, Plankton tries to tell them that he will be back with another plan.
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The home console versions of Battle for Bikini Bottom received average reviews from critics, according to Metacritic. The game holds a 4.5 out of 5 from the Official PlayStation Magazine.IGN rates the game a 7.3 out of 10, praising the sound, graphical style, and gameplay, saying, "While it's generic collect, jump, and kill mechanics, the variety and general SpongeBob zaniness keep things fresh." The game has won numerous awards, including favorite video game at the 2004 Kids' Choice Awards, and entered the Player's Choice, Platinum Hits, and Greatest Hits for GameCube, Xbox, and PlayStation 2 respectively.
The Game Boy Advance version sold an estimated 710,000 copies, while the PlayStation 2 version sold an estimated 880,000. In 2006, Edge magazine ranked the Game Boy Advance version at number 34 on its list of "The Century's Top 50 Handheld Games," while placing the PlayStation 2 version at number 67 on its list of "The Top 100 Games of the 21st Century," both lists arranged by the number of copies sold.