Spongebob Squarepants Lights Camera Pants Review

I’m always up for a retro Gamecube game and I got this one as a souvenir from my very first SSB4 tournament. It’s a Spongebob party game so I thought that it would make for a decent playthrough and who knows…maybe it would be a lot of fun! Unfortunately, it was actually less fun than I had expected and that’s mainly due to the lack of options within the game. It’s very short and compact to the point where I feel bad for anyone who may have bought this on day 1 at full price. I shudder at the thought!

The plot of the game revolves around an episode that is being created about Mermaid Man. The director is looking for actors willing to grab the roles that are left, but they’ll have to earn them by playing a lot of games. Spongebob and friends are up for the job! There’s not much of a story though because every cutscene is basically just the director talking to the organizer of the event. Rinse and repeat a few times until the commercial is done. The game is incredibly short as a result. Each area has 3 mini games to complete and then you move on to the next area. I forgot how many areas there are, but one playthrough should be enough to easily get through the game. It’ll take you around 2-3 hours I believe and if you skip cutscenes, then that total significantly decreases.

One of the problems about the cutscene at the end is that it isn’t handled well. Every time you beat an area, you get to see one scene from the episode. Once you beat the game…you get to see the full episode. The problem is that you’ve already watched 90% of it so instead of enjoying the final product, it’s just really boring. The episode has such low replay value that even just watching it a second time isn’t very long. It’s also about as long as a real episode so that final cutscene just drags on and on. I would actually recommend just skipping it since it’s unlikely to get you hyped or impressed.

Granted, the episode had some good lines in it. I forgot how old Mermaid Man was nowadays and he just doesn’t understand anything that’s happening. It’s like Knuckles from Sonic Boom, but not nearly as funny. I can see the humor of Mermaid Man though and he’s decently funny, but I’m not sure if the other characters can keep up. It’s purposefully campy like the classic Superfriends so a show about Mermaid Man would have some potential, but again…I wouldn’t want to see any episode twice. At least not twice in the same day!

As for the gameplay, some of the minigames do have potential, but nothing is handled right. Every minigame has a mandatory timer so that none of them can end before 3 minutes. (Typically) This means that even the most enjoyable of games will start to drag on. I’ve always preferred stocks/lives/health points to a timer system since it encourages you to get good and really take on your opponents. With a timer system, you can build a big lead, but you’ll still have to wait for the timer to finish. It’s just not fun and drags the minigames down.

The best minigame is easily the one that ripped off Mario Party. I’ve noticed that just about every party game rips this minigame off, but that’s a good thing since it’s always fun. You have to balance on a ball of sorts and knock your opponents off. It’s fun, but the area is so small that it can be very hard to do anything without falling. You could say that this takes skills or you could say that the game tried too hard to make it an even playing field for newcomers and pros alike so a lot of the enjoyment was squeezed out. Nonetheless, this is the best minigame in the whole collection. (Again, not much of a collection though) There’s a nice car minigame and climbing the mountain is decent as long as your partner doesn’t sabotage you. There’s even a nifty Soccer game. Again, the problem is that you have to play these games until the timer ends and some of the minigames actually end up copying each other, which isn’t cool. In such a short game, this is pretty unacceptable.

Even the enjoyable games could have been better if the company had put more of an effort into the project. This game is definitely a cash in and may have been phoned in by the devs. I can only imagine what the reviews would be like nowadays for a game like this one. Spongebob was apparently a good show back in the day (It never caught my eye) so it deserves a lot better than this.

I’d say that the graphics are decently good. They won’t be something to write home about like Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, but they’re not that bad either. They’re essentially a nonfactor while playing the minigames. You can still tell what and where everything is and that’s the important thing. The game will be over before you know it after all. There’s not really a soundtrack to speak of. Any tunes that were in the game were instantly and completely forgotten. That’s the problem with having such a forgettable soundtrack.

There is also no real replay value here. Why are most of the minigames 2 vs 2 contests? That doesn’t really make sense for a party game. If you’re a group of 3, then one person is going to have to be with the computer and I can assure you that you won’t have a great experience. There are a few free for all contests, but it’s a very small number of them. I don’t understand the thought process that went behind this and maybe the developers forgot that they were making a game midway through. Once you have beaten the game, there’s really nothing to do. The only thing that you have for replay value is really just playing the minigames again a few times. Yeah…I don’t think I want to do that anytime soon. You can go for the high scores, but that’s not much of an incentive either. This game is definitely lacking in bonus content.

Overall, This is a game that’s best left on the forgotten shelves. I planned to get a few other Spongebob games, but that might have to wait for a while after this. The next time that I want a Gamecube game, I’ll just get Kirby Air Ride or Gotcha Force. Granted, Gotcha Force is going for 100 dollars and up right now so it’ll also have to wait for a little while. There’s really no reason to get this game and the only reason that it’s not lower is that some of the minigames are decent. It’s not borderline unplayable or anything like that, but there is no reason to play it. This would be a bad game if it didn’t even have that or if it forced you to keep on playing them over and over again in a very stretched out story mode. Either way, I do not recommend this title and you’re better off getting just about anything else. I was really torn between giving this game a 4 or a 5 and in the end, I had to go with my gut.

Overall 4/10

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