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Spongebob Squarepants Featuring Nicktoons Globs of Doom
Score: 75%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Incinerator Studios
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Platformer (3D)

Graphics & Sound:
As a thirty something parent, it can be a little grueling playing through games specifically meant for a far younger audience. As a member of the game industry, we all know you have to keep an objective eye and accept things at face value. I will have to say that from the very beginning, SpongeBob Squarepants Featuring Nicktoons: Globs of Doom has some surprisingly well done aspects, given the audience. That is not an admittance of how I thought the game would actually be before I played it. But let's face it, it's a kids' game geared for kids, and I have played a few in my time. The fact that it breaks my preconceived notions from the start is a high compliment. The real test came when the kids actually got a hold of the game.

The game looks great, even for a now obsolete gaming system. I think that this was both a testament to the design of the PS2 to last through the years and to the art of the game. As good as the graphics were during the game, the cut-scenes were exceptionally done and polished. I feel that a lot of game designers for kids' games give in to the fact that kids have higher suspension of disbelief and so kids will let far more slide by, and thus, so will designers. Here, I did not feel the same apathy in how the game looked artistically.

Of course with so many known characters, having plenty of sound bites and one liners is a must. Again, this is an area that can sometimes go overlooked as developers may feel that just one or two sound bites will do. The music is repetitive, but it is very transparent, and you will barely notice it until you really pay attention. The one liners may get just a little repetitive, but they are all perfectly within character.

SpongeBob Squarepants Featuring Nicktoons: Globs of Doom is a 3D adventure platformer. A "gooey meteor shower of impending doom" splash lands into Bikini Bottom and it is up to you and the Nicktoons to save the day. You can play any one of ten different characters from five of Nickelodeon's cartoons. Move from one familiar area to another as you play through many of the most popular locations in the Nicktoons' world.

In an effort to save their lands, both heroes and villains team up with one another to take out the gooey menace that threatens to take over their land. There is always one bad guy with one hero. It is extremely easy to play cooperatively with a human player. The second player can just hit the "ENTER" button and they're in. If you are playing alone, you can always switch between the available characters on that level.

With the help of the Mawgu gadgetry, each character has a unique weapon suited to their abilities. As you fight your way through the levels, you will find and collect Mawgu coins. These coins are used to upgrade your player's attacks and weapons. Finding special trophies inside the level will unlock bonus material you can view later.

You can find little challenge in SpongeBob Squarepants Featuring Nicktoons: Globs of Doom. Part of the difficulty comes from its camera system, but I will get into that more in a bit. Each of the levels are very straightforward and on just enough of a straight line as they need to keep kids on the right path. The hidden areas are just difficult enough for older players to discover and provide the desired sense of accomplishment. Younger players plowed straight through the levels with relative ease. The jumping and environments were a good mix of difficulty and timing. The younger players in my group would sometimes pass the controller to an older sibling just long enough to survive a jump and then want the controller back. Button-mashing sufficed just fine for the fighting sequences, so they were happy.

Game Mechanics:
SpongeBob Squarepants Featuring Nicktoons: Globs of Doom has a very rigid camera system. There were many times in which I was running towards the camera, and it felt very awkward to be looking at the level from that angle. Many of my younger players would stop and ask where to go based on the fact that the camera was not leading them. They quickly adapted to it and learned that when in doubt, just run around until you can see where you are going. Not sure that is a mechanic I have studied and said "Huh... here I will just make them run around in circles to see where they are supposed to go." Overall movement and jumping worked fine. I could hear little sounds of frustration when a player would fall off of a cliff because their attacks would move them forward and drop them off of the cliff. I myself noticed there was little to no knock back on enemies, but a lot of forward movement from attacks.

The game played very well and was well received from the kids. More importantly, they wanted to keep playing and play again. I can really not say that about a lot of games. I personally could find many issues to beat the game up with, but none of these really warranted mention when the fact was the kids liked playing the game. With that being said about my opinion versus their enjoyment, we met happily on the score.

-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

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