The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is a 3-D action-adventure platforming game created by Heavy Iron Studios for the Xbox, PlayStation 2, and Gamecube, with separate ports made for the Game Boy Advance and Windows. It is loosely based off of the 2004 movie of the same name.
The plot loosely follows that of the movie, being that Plankton concocted an evil "Plan Z" to take over Bikini Bottom and finally get the Krabby Patty Secret Formula. He steals Neptune's crown and takes it to the dangerous Shell City, framing Mr. Krabs, so King Neptune encases him in a block of ice. Soon Plankton has all of Bikini Bottom as his slaves, so SpongeBob and Patrick must "become men" and venture to Shell City to save Mr. Krabs, thwart Plankton's Plan Z, retrieve Neptune's crown, and save Bikini Bottom.
The gameplay of The Movie Game is very similar to Heavy Iron's acclaimed previous game, Battle for Bikini Bottom, as a lot of assets are re-used. This time around, you play as only SpongeBob and Patrick as you venture through levels based off places from the movie. They collect "manliness points" instead of shiny objects and "goober tokens" instead of golden spatulas. Manliness points, like shiny objects, come in different values and can be used to upgrade their abilities, while goober tokens are used to advance in the game.
There are four level types: SpongeBob, Patrick, Patty Wagon and Slides. SpongeBob and Patrick levels are platforming challenges, the Patty Wagon levels are driving stages, and the Slides involve going down a dangerous slope in a bathtub.
- No Cheese: The first level in the game. SpongeBob is rushing to the Krusty Krab to investigate the situation there.
- I'm Ready... Depression: Both of them hungover on ice cream, Patrick strolls through Goofy Goober's Ice Cream Party Boat in an attempt to retrieve SpongeBob so they can leave.
- Sandwich Driving 101: The beginning of SpongeBob and Patrick's journey to Shell City and the first Patty Wagon level, they drive the Patty Wagon out of Bikini Bottom.
- Three... Thousand Miles to Shell City: In a vast desert, SpongeBob must destroy Plankton's hypnotizing Radio Towers in order to prevent more fish from becoming his minions.
- Rub a Dub, Slip Slide in the Tub: The first Slide level in the game, SpongeBob and Patrick take out the last of Plankton's Radio Towers.
- Bubble Blowing Baby Hunt: Patrick must traverse through the Thug Tug Bar and obtain the key while avoiding the dangerous thugs.
- No Weenie Parking Anytime: Despite obtaining the key, the gates to the open road are locked, so SpongeBob and Patrick have to drive the Patty Wagon around the bar and obtain the five keys to unlock the gates.
- I'll Let You Pet Mr. Whiskers: In the first boss level of the game, Patrick must defeat the frog fish.
- Rock Slide: Having become men, SpongeBob and Patrick slide down the slopes of the monster trench and reach the bottom while avoiding the monsters.
- Now That We're Men: SpongeBob is challenged with traveling through the monstrous trench and getting to the other side alive.
- Shell City Dead Ahead: In a trashed area of the ocean, Patrick must destroy Plankton's hypnotizing TV's.
- Name's Dennis: The second boss level of the game, Patrick must battle (and save SpongeBob) from Dennis.
- Sundae Driving: In a surreal Goofy Goober dream world, SpongeBob and Patrick must follow Goofy Goober, who will lead the way out of Goober Land.
- Google Eyes and Smelly Knick Knacks: Having reached Shell City, SpongeBob and Patrick finally obtain King Neptune's crown. They slide on the hoses and cables of the gift shop and find a way out while avoiding the Cyclops.
- Dennis Strikes Back: SpongeBob must defeat a deformed Dennis in their final confrontation on David Hasselhoff's back.
- Welcome to Planktopolis... Minions: Having returned to Bikini Bottom thanks to the Hoff, SpongeBob and Patrick find it has been converted into Planktopolis, and SpongeBob must use his Sonic Wave Guitar to destroy three giant Plankton statues to break his control over the bucketheads.
- Drive of the Knucklehead McSpazatron: With a fully repaired Patty Wagon, SpongeBob and Patrick must drive through the dangerous streets of Planktopolis and return Neptune's crown before it's too late.
- Turn the Tables on Plankton: In the final boss level of the game, SpongeBob must use King Neptune's own trident against him to free him from Plankton's control.
- The graphics and gameplay are nearly identical to Battle for Bikini Bottom, making many people call the Movie Game it's sequel as it was made only a year later.
- The robots from BFBB can be seen as rotting garbage in the game, suggesting the game is indeed a sequel.
- Even though the game is based on the movie, there are obvious points where things were tweaked. In the movie, Neptune gives SpongeBob and Patrick 10 days to get his crown, but it gets lowered down to 6 after Patrick argues that they can do it earlier. But in the game, he simply gives them 6 days. Another example is that, in the film, Mindy gives them a magical bag of winds in order to get back to Bikini Bottom from Shell City, but in the game she only gives them a shell mirror so she can talk to them.
- In some of his attack moves, SpongeBob can be heard saying "SuperSponge: saving the day!". This is a reference to the Playstation 1 game SuperSponge.
- For some unknown reason, David Hasselhoff is never referred to by name throughout the entire game.
While the PC and GBA versions were not really reviewed at all, the PS2/GC/Xbox versions have received positive to mixed reviews, all three receiving about 70% on GameRankings, and ranging from 73-75 on Metacritic. IGN gave the game a 7.8 saying "Instead of settling on oversimplified gameplay, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie delivers an entertaining (and challenging) mix of platform and driving sequences. Controls feel responsive and the camera rarely hinders your view of the action." Most reviewers also complimented the fact that it was a licensed game that didn't simply exploit the license in order to sell well, which it could've very easily done considering SpongeBob's popularity.
Despite it's relative obscurity with "hardcore gamers", the console versions of The SpongeBob Movie Game and Battle for Bikini Bottom have developed a decently large cult following, where many say they're underrated and deserve much more attention. Many also have pleasant, nostalgic memories from playing the two games as children.