Review by EJRICH
"Don't get me wrong, I'd still like to see Spongy fall down an elevator shaft, but you know..."
I don't like Spongebob. I never have liked Spongebob. And I never will like Spongebob. I don't know what inspired my incredible dislike for this yellow thing, but to tell you the truth, I have to partially blame it on my brother. For more then a year he tortured me with everything and anything Spongebob, taking over the house TV and filling his room with yellow books and other toys that reflected the series. It got to the point where I started to wonder if he was going to become Spongebob himself. Thankfully, that day never happened. I thank God every day that it didn't.
Needless to say, back when my brother was going through the Sponge phase of his life, he bought a game called Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom. He asked me to play it. I said no. He said he'd give me five bucks if I didn't like it. I said yes. Within a few hours, I was happily sitting on the couch playing a game that I thought I'd hate with a passion. Don't get me wrong, I'd still like to see Spongebob fall down an elevator shaft, but you know.
Something happened from that exchange, though, something that introduced me to a breed of plat-formers that pushed the boundaries of my thinking. More years than I care to mention later, and here I am playing yet another Spongebob game, aptly titled Spongebob Squarepants: Creature from the Krusty Krab.
Spongebob Squarepants: Creature from the Krusty Krab introduces players to a sponge who is on the brink of total exhaustion. He's been worked to the bone, tossed around a bit, and is really in need of a good night's sleep. And he gets it. Unbeknownst to our little Spongy friend, the nice sleep he's getting is not so nice after all. In a dream that only the psychotic mind of Spongebob could create, Spongebob winds up meeting a dark creature, and the only way that he'll ever be able to free himself from this limbo dream world is if he can muster the courage to solve the mystery of the Creature from the Krusty Krab.
So with a story like that, you're probably wondering what separates this game from every other plat-former on the market. To tell you the truth, not much. This title is everything that many other plat-formers are. Spongy just does what they do better. By placing a heavy emphasis on fast game play that makes use of an ingenious level design, this game forces you to think outside of the box while retaining a fun perspective. Right from the start, it's fully apparent. Although most people may or may not be intrigued by the stupidity that takes place, Spongy is introduced to a biker hangout that has him finding parts to a drag racer. After he does that, he can compete in a couple of races for the ultimate prize. In his quest to get the parts he'll jump, swing across hanging anvils, and even fight off hordes of fish clothed in leather jackets. Nice trend.
Thankfully, just as they pull off the latest trend, so do they the game play. Not only does it do a wonderful job of using Spongy's unique talents to make puzzles seem more playable, but it also manages finally to put things into the game that work. For example, swinging across anvils isn't done with a rope. You don't even jump across them. Spongebob extends his arms and grabs it, allowing you swing from them, sort of like a gigantic yellow grappling hook. Something like that only touches the littlest extent of Spongy's unique talents.
For those of you that don't take a liking to Spongy (and I wouldn't blame you), you can always fool around with his conveniently placed friends. Joining Spongy in his quest to get out of this dream are Patrick Star and Plankton. Both have their own intertwining levels to go along with Spongebob, and each adds a certain flare to the game that makes the title that much more fun. For instance, Patrick becomes a super hero and ventures through the comic book lands of comic world. Super powers and all. Plankton grows to Godzilla like proportions and goes on a rampage. Eye beam style. When combined with Spongy's already outrageous stage selection, you might think that the combination is perfect.
And it really is.
Whether you're going across space or blasting through the paper thin comic lands, this game manages to wonderfully do almost everything that you'd ever want to expect while improving the already game winning formula that they previously used. Things such as the races that previous Spongebob made use of sparingly (eh, they started on the movie) now become important parts of the game. Controls are tweaked to fit in the higher usage, making it feel much more like you're driving a car than riding around in a giant hamburger. I still have nightmares from that. Other things, such as the sliding levels from previous games, also got some small tweaking in the form space shuttle launches in this game. You're control reticules are better, and level design gives you a bit more freedom than you'd really expect.
For those of you who are more interested in getting a graphical presentation over anything else (which you'd be an idiot if that were the reason why you were going into this game, but who's to say), Spongebob Squarepants: Creature from the Krusty Krab manages to deliver. Wonderfully. Basic things like Spongy's biker stages look like something that you'd see in real life, minus the flaming barrels. Some people would expect that, though. But I never expected to see what came after that. Unlike other games that just give you that polygonal look when you go into something like a comic book level, Patrick's areas look amazingly detailed, exactly like a comic book would in real life. Things kind of borderline after that, but it still is good enough to make the game work.
Combine that with another good musical track (it's practically a bubbly, Hawaiian type themed track that does a great job, but unlike other Spongy games that stop at that, this one bothers to put in other music that focuses on particular levels, such as guitar solos in the biker joints), and you have a very good game. In general, I dislike Spongebob deeply. But I do like his games. As I've said to people in the past, just because a game stars a kiddy character doesn't mean it'll necessarily be bad. I learned that from my brother years back, and I really believe that it's because of that day that I've managed to look beyond personas and start playing the games for what they are. If you're looking for a fun, bubbly game that never fails to disappoint, I think you may have stumbled upon a masterpiece. Kudos to THQ for delivering once again.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/14/07, Updated 01/04/10
Game Release: SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature from the Krusty Krab (US, 10/16/06)
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