SquarePants: Lights, Camera, PANTS!
assistance from guest reviewer Deanie
If I asked you if you wanted to play an adventure game
in which you get to clamber aboard an eerie haunted pirate ship promising
untold treasures, what would your answer be? What if I said you could
explore the ocean floor in 3D, rife with undulating sea horses and jewel
colored jellyfish, as you search for a mysterious vortex into a hidden
pocket of time? Would your answer change if I told you I have been
describing the game ďSpongeBob SquarePants: Lights, Camera, Pants!Ē
It comes to mind that SpongeBob and David Letterman both
have a gap between their front teeth. So here are the top ten reasons why
you might enjoy this game:
graphics are colorfully rendered in cartoon style, whimsical in brilliant
# 9 Itís
point and click.
# 8 The
voiceovers are professional and excellent across the board, including Tim
Conway who is the voice behind Barnacle Boy.
# 7 The
ambient sounds are entertaining, and the music changes appropriately to
fit the various scenarios.
# 6 Youíre
probably not going to need a walkthrough. There are no sliders and no
mazes (O.K., thereís a teensie one, but a seahorse leads you through it).
# 5 No bugs
or glitches (perhaps an occasional sound stutter Ė I didnít experience
this, but it has been reported).
# 4 You canít
die in this game.
# 3 You can
save to your heartís content, and the game also saves automatically for
# 2 You get
to pick and choose from a wide assortment of characters and props to make
your own mini-movie.
# 1 Your
kids or your grandkids will love to play this with you.
Donít have kids or grandkids? Neither do I, and I still
had several pleasant afternoons exploring the underwater world of Bikini
Bottom and SpongeBob. This is ideal to play with the younger set though,
as there is no bad language and no mature content to worry about Ė the
raciest thing to happen here is someone loses his pants and is apparently
left in his underpants, but you canít even see that, since it is blocked
from view as a sort of spoof censure. (Due to the title, this must be a
big moment, but I just donít get it. Maybe itís just silly, and I should
let it go at that). I also appreciated that the language was not ďdumbed
downĒ and suspect a lot of the included puns are for the adults, and will
fly over the youngstersí heads like dandelion fluff.
Thereís a wealth of vocabulary for the younger set to
learn in a fun way, including such words as invertebrate, vortex, and
antiquities. There is also the premise of good triumphing over evil. So,
the number one reason for playing this game is it is just plain fun. Itís
difficult to be morose when following SpongeBob in his innocent and
enthusiastic adventures through such a colorful world.
Without further ado, what is this game about?
Television director Gil Hammerstein (portrayed by a
hammerhead shark) is holding a casting call at the Shady Shoals rest home
for an episode of The Adventures of Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy, crime
fighters extraordinaire. Unfortunately, our favorite Sponge boy is the
only one to turn up for the audition, and the show will be canceled unless
SpongeBob can find the talent and the props to make the show go on.
Most of the characters SpongeBob encounters have a
dilemma to be solved, either by bringing them an inventory item, or
completing a mini-game. These are mostly geared to the younger folks, but
some reflexes are involved. However, the THQ website does contain a cheat
code for this game! Although you donít have to successfully win all seven
games, the first two are necessary to continue the main storyline.
One example of a mini-game is the checkers match with
the old lady. You can either win the game by beating her at checkers, or
you can irritate her so much that she lets you win by default when she
becomes annoyed at you. Another example of a mini-game, Jellyfish Roundup,
has you netting jellyfish babies as you evade big stinging jellyfish.
When you have obtained enough actors and props to make
the video segment, a movie slate icon will appear in the upper right hand
corner of the game. At that point you can start picking your cast, or you
can continue looking for characters. It was interesting to me that proper
selection did make a difference in the enjoyment of the video, with some
characters performing their roles much better than others. If you wish,
you can try out different characters for your video.
At any time you can elect to exit a mini-game or
re-enter it, either during the game or from the main menu, so there might
be some replayability if you like the mini-games.
Before I played the game, I was not familiar with the
vast empire of SpongeBob SquarePants, and was surprised to find out that
this is a highly successful franchise. Obviously he is near and dear to
many children and those children at heart, perhaps. Therefore, I think it
only fitting that I need a guest reviewer of the younger set to make a
cameo appearance to add his thoughts on this game. Please join me in
welcoming our Beckyís Deanie, nine years of age:
SpongeBob SquarePants: Lights, Camera, Pants! is
even better than The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (game) Ė itís great! The
mini-games were all fun and they were easy. The graphics were perfect.
The only part I didnít like was the part with scary music after you go
through the vortex. The best thing about the game was getting all the
actors so they could be in the TV episode. I especially liked running the
video again and again with different actors. -- Deanie
All in all, a clever, well crafted adventure game that
will bring you lighthearted fun without any of the pathos of so many these
days, and without any mind-boggling puzzles. A joy to play with your
children, offering not only fun but some education as well.
A very solid B+.
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