SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom is a platform video game based on the SpongeBob SquarePants television series developed by Heavy Iron Studios and published by THQ. It was released in October 2003 for the Nintendo GameCube, Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox and Game Boy Advance. A remake of Heavy Iron Studios' version, titled SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated, was released on June 23, 2020 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows. The remake was developed by Purple Lamp Studios and published by THQ Nordic. A mobile port will be released on end of January 2021, and mobile published by HandyGames.
Why It Rocks
- Humorous dialogue and great voice-acting for most of the time.
- Varied and coherently designed levels.
- Smooth controls.
- Lots of collectibles and rewards to unlock.
- Creative boss battles.
- Colorful graphics.
- Teleportation boxes can be used to cut backtracking.
- Three playable characters, SpongeBob himself (you can only play as him in the GBA and PC versions), Patrick Star and Sandy Cheeks.
- Great soundtrack.
- The Xbox version is the most notable for having lighter graphics, the screen freezes when you enter or exit an area, shiny objects and robots are shinier, etc.
- It’s the perfect use of the source material.
- The Realistic Fish Head announces all of the boss battles.
- On a side note, he is referred to as Johnny in this game.
- Introduces new characters such as Prawn and the robots.
- While Rehydrated may not be 100% faithful to the source material of the original, it still retains the spirit of the original game.
- The colorful graphics is a nice step-up to the original.
- Even the designs of the characters like SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy look amazing too.
- The game brings a lot of unused content that was never used, including:
- The antagonistic robotic counterpart of Squidward Tentacles.
- It has a red circle to tell you where an enemy projectile will land.
- SpongeBob now has appropriate expressions for his dialogue when talking to an NPC.
- Unlike the original, there's finally subtitles in the cutscenes and gameplay, which weren't in the original.
- Mr. Krabs and Mermaid Man are both voiced by Joe Whyte instead of Clancy Brown and Ernest Borgnine respectively (as they were more than likely expensive to hire), and his performance as both of them is very poor as he barely replicates their voices.
- And even worse is that since Rehydrated uses archive audio from the actors, Joe Whyte's voice is now permanent.
- While good for its time, the graphics have not aged very well (low res textures and some clipping is very obvious). The GameCube version also suffers from slight framerate drops in some areas compared to the PS2 or Xbox versions.
- The last level of the game, SpongeBot SteelPants, has no checkpoints, which can be grating when you have to start the battle over when you lose all your lives (indicated by pairs of SpongeBob's underwear).
- The PC version of the game is a minigame collection as opposed to an action-adventure platformer, and a pretty poor-quality one at that, fortunately, Rehydrated will make it the same as the console versions.
- The only thing you get for beating the game 100% (collecting all 100 Golden Spatulas in the game) is the main characters singing the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song, and there isn't one where every voice actor sings the song themselves, it's just the one in the main menu.
- Grinding Shiny Objects is pretty harder now, as Hans that do not trigger loading screens don't respawn tikis or robots. (Thankfully the Goo Lagoon cruise bubble grind method works fine here)
- Health does not recover when you go to a different area (triggering a loading screen), and there's a loading screen each time you die.
- The Switch version is inconsistent with its frame rate because of the weaker hardware. This also makes no sense, because Burnout Paradise and Super Mario Odyssey both run on the same hardware, and they don't experience frame rate drops and keep a constant 60FPS.
- The difficulty, while okay, is toned down significantly from the original (even though it is justified since it's a kids' game). The only exception is Squidward's Dream, which the difficulty is increased by 12%.
- The special editions are overpriced as the Shiny edition is $150 while the F.U.N edition is $300.
- False Advertising: The remake was confirmed to have all the levels, items, and bosses that were cut from the original game, but those are just used as scenery for the multiplayer mode, instead of just re-creating the way they originally were before being scrapped from the original version, although the files are still hidden in the game, just very unfinished. This was because Nickelodeon rushed the development of the game to coincide with the summer season specifically with the movie The SpongeBob movie: Sponge on the Run, but failed due to COVID-19. And that film was delayed to Paramount +.
- Due to the game's development being rushed, most of the game was included in a 5.2 GB day one patch for the Switch version, and a 7 GB day one patch for the PS4 and Xbox One versions. Also, the characters have a lot of voice lines missing and there are many glitches including the infamous two-controller map glitch that could be used to skip to any boss battle or even beat the game with only one spatula, a feat not possible in the original game.
The game was well-received by both critics and fans of the show and is hailed as one of the best licensed games ever made. It also sold well enough to enter the Player's Choice, Greatest Hits, and Platinum Hits categories for GameCube, PS2, and Xbox respectively. However, Rehydrated received mixed critical responses from IGN, but got very positive responses by fans of the show, and even the game itself, and SHIFT.
GameSpot's review of Rehydrated is an unambiguous example of dishonesty in game journalism. It has caused backlash from series fans and fans of the video game, even when the end product came out rushed and lacked many things THQ Nordic had promised in the first place. The same goes for IGN, where said reviewer gave The Last of Us Part II an 8/10.
The game garnered a strong cult following over the years and became enormously popular with speedrunners (SHIFT, mostly).
- In the original Battle for Bikini Bottom, there's a trigger which makes SpongeBob runs faster, this is a possible reference to the cut power-up that's based on the smelly sundae from Something Smells.
- During of the idle animations in Rehydrated, SpongeBob and Patrick do their surprised animations while SpongeBob has the Mocking SpongeBob idle animation.
- According to an interview with Internet personality RidersDX, A THQ Nordic producer of the game said that Battle for Bikini Bottom will get a sequel if the remake is successful.
- The remake was the first SpongeBob related game to be released fellowing the death of series creator Stephen Hillenburg.