SpongeBob's Atlantis Squarepantis ( Why the hell do I find myself writing about this?) I think we all know that I don't like SpongeBob, and if you couldn't immediately tell that this was mediocre shovelware, then I hereby rescind your status of gamer. You have abused it for too long. Granted, I'm abusing it right now by even mentioning this, but....wait, where was I going with this? Rather than figure that out, I might as well get on with the show, even though that show sucks ass so hard that doctors can't tell if it's choking or constipated.
For those wondering what the hell a SquarePantis is, this game holds no answers. It's based off a 30 minute special that holds the exact same amount of answers, so I honestly have no idea why this game has such a dumb name. All I know is this: SpongeBob and Patrick begin the game blowing bubbles. Somehow, this lands the duo in a cave with a broken medal. Somehow, this lands that at a museum, with Squidward amazed at their piece of shit medal. I know how they got to these places, but good luck finding it in the game. This thing is so effing abridged that it should be called SpongeBob: The Abridged Series. (Curiously, I looked that up on YouTube, and it turns out that that's a thing, and it sucks just as hard as the actual show.) Although for an Abridged Series, I did notice something very weird: what wasn't abridged was startlingly accurate. Almost all of the dialogue was ripped verbatim from the actual episode, meaning the people behind this game watched the episode and know how it unfolds. This begs the question of why there's so much cut from the game. It just makes the bullet ridden plot make no sense, and for what? Most of the levels are just you bullshitting around, waiting for the next scene ripped from the show, so what's the point?
In fact, now that I think about it, the game's defining feature is bullshit. Every screen feels like the Arise series of terrible Flash games: the exit is right in front of you, but to get to the exit, you have to press switches to open doors to press switches to open doors ad infinitum. Later in the game, it can get really confusing where you are in a level, since there are more doors and switches than there are levels. Add to this a partner system, and...actually, no, I can see how somebody would be able to finish this. More on that later, though. Right now, the partner system. The designers made the wise decision of placing a character next to SpongeBob for the entire game; if it was just the little yellow turd, I'd spend all my time directing him into pits, forcing him to question what kind of cruel god would derive joy from his suffering. I am that type of cruel god. Don't like it? I can always switch you out for another character and ignore your existence. The only time I can't really do that is in the "we'll feed you the instructions line for fucking line" boss battles, since SpongeBob is the only character with a long range attack (they really want us to like him, don't they?). Fortunately, there aren't a lot of boss battles in this game, so most of the time, it feels like a dumbed down version of Sonic Advance 3, or like the level designers for The Lost Vikings genuinely weren't trying. In fact, go play those games instead of this one.
What, you want more reasons to do what I said? How about how I'm the FUCKING KING OF VIDEO GAMES!? That's not enough to convince you? How about this: those other games I listed have some type of challenge. This one does not. At all. Period. I've already mentioned how the boss battles are so easy that the bosses will literally do the work for you, but what about the regular enemies? Turns out that they die in one or two hits. Meanwhile, SpongeBob just won't die. I tried to kill him multiple times, but the bastard just refuses to curl up and die. Part of the problem is that there's a stat progression system in place. Whenever you kill enemies, you can absorb their power to make yourself more powerful. I see no issue with this and the characterization of SpongeBob. However, I do take issue with how the system becomes useless after the first level or two, since everything becomes so weak that it becomes pointless for SpongeBob to harness the power of their deaths. Nothing will be able to kill you, yet death will follow your every step. The only decent challenge I encountered was in the terrible mini-games that occasionally interrupt the actual game and outstayed their welcome on their first frame, but that's probably because I honestly didn't care whether or not Patrick and Mr. Krabs completed a poor man's Arkanoid, or if SpongeBob got his face bashed into walls for five minutes. Actually, that last one was pretty good, since it meant I could expose SpongeBob to even more bodily harm than I normally expose him to.
Perhaps I haven't made it clear: I HATE SPONGEBOB AND EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM. I know that I've touched on this before, but I want to go in-depth and outline every single reason why I hate this yellow piece of shit. First, let's go into the obvious: horrible Asian stereotypes. What, that wasn't obvious? Anyway, some analysis: he's yellow, he has buck teeth, he's always in a suit & tie, and the bastard can't drive. Why not make him good at math while you're at it? You dirty motherfuckers. You actually made him good at math!? What kind of racist assholes are you? I'm guessing that there's some super obscure stereotype that they applied to SpongeBob just to piss off Asia. *looks for said stereotype* Oh my fucking god, they actually did it. Let me set things up: Squidward hates his job at the Krusty Krab. He knows that it sucks working there, and he's not afraid to tell Mr. Krabs about it. His employer's response? "Shut the fuck up! Look at SpongeBob. He's not complaining about it, so it can't be as bad as you're saying. Now get back to work, you worthless pile of shit." Do you have that in your mind? Replace SpongeBob with "Asian Americans" and Squidward with "African Americans" ( oddly somewhat natural), and suddenly, any episode in the Krusty Krab takes on a much darker tone. These are all real things.
Then again, the show has already taken a darker tone when the writers decided to make SpongeBob an infallible asshole. No matter what he does (to Squidward), we, the audience, must empathize and root for this cock. Hell, he could even burn somebody's house down, and we're supposed to laugh alongside him. In fact, he did burn somebody's house down. I'd link you to the episode where he does it, but I honestly don't feel like navigating Nickelodeon's horrible site, so I'll leave it at this: he lures Squidward into his house, knocks him unconscious, and then burns his fucking house down. I am not making any of this up. How can you top something like that? I know: destroy the one thing that brings joy to somebody's life. In enters a terrible episode (but not the worst; that will come later) named "The Cephalopod Lodge." It begins with Squidward happy. SpongeBob notices this. His first thought? "What unnatural sorcery brought this state of affairs about? Clearly, this is an error that I must personally fix." And he does. He destroys the one thing that gave Squidward's life joy and meaning. These are not my words; these are the words Squidward says to SpongeBob in the episode. But does the little yellow dickhead take this to heart? Hell no! He continues to pester and annoy the one person who has every right to despise and hate this shitstain. And to make things worse, there's an episode where Squidward actually becomes less miserable and enjoyable to be around. SpongeBob's response to this? "I am top dog around here, motherfucker! Stop being so goddamn happy and know your place, you sorry little fuck!"
But don't think that SpongeBob is all about shit like being an unaware asshole or torturing other characters. Hell no. This show also does utterly terrible plots that make zero sense. I could go for the obvious shit, like when a monster arrives and nothing happens, or when a squirrel gets confusingly naked, somehow, but I'll aim for the big guns instead. First, the surfing episode. Yes, there is a surfing episode in a show that's set underwater. The premise is this: the major characters are trapped on an island with a cast of completely forgettable and lame characters, and the only way off the island is to surf back to Bikini Bottom. I'm not sure why they can't just build a fucking boat, but that's not the worst problem that this episode has. Remember that part about it having an underwater ocean that must be crossed? I'd say that they forgot a major aspect of the show (the underwater part), but I'll talk about that later. Right now, I'll just leave it at the fact that they promised one of the characters would die. Immediately, we know that it's going to be the Johnny Depp "is that supposed to be a fish" character, but hold onto that thought for a second. Sure, he does get sacrificed, but a minute or two later...what the fuck is this? He comes back to life for no reason? WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS, SHOW!?
You think that's the worst the series has to offer, don't you? Don't worry; the worst is yet to come. Two words: "Dear Vikings." This has to be the worst episode in the entire fucking series. It begins with Mr. Krabs starting a Viking-themed promotional special for his restaurant, because somehow, Vikings are related to hamburgers. Squidward then says some bad jokes about the Vikings, sparking a curiosity in SpongeBob. How does he channel this curiosity? Writing a letter to a dead society. What makes less sense than that? An actual Viking picks up the letter. At this point, I feel obligated to point out that none of the Vikings even resemble fish in any way. They look more like the artist behind Doug had a lobotomy. Given that they also have torches in their throne room (apparently, Vikings have kings), and that they burn down the Krusty Krab, I honestly think that the writers forgot that this show was underwater. Oh, but the crap doesn't end there. You think that the writers would use this opportunity to do something interesting with the Vikings, but no, they don't. Instead, they just dick around and tell bad jokes about how they don't like to sing. Hey guys: it worked better when Billy & Mandy told that joke. I'm not joking about that, either; the joke actually works much better on that show than it ever did on this one. And then the episode just ends out of nowhere, probably because the people making this shit wanted to end it as fast as possible. Oh, and did I mention that there's a goddamn hoarding episode of SpongeBob? I shit thee not. There is a fucking HOARDING episode of SpongeBob. South Park couldn't pull it off, and The Simpsons fucked it up when they had a reasonable starting point, so what are the chances that this won't be some fad-chasing, poorly thought out piece of shit episode?
"But my mighty King", you ask me in your meek voice, "how do you intend to rectify this affront to all that is right with the world?" Simple: end the series. I know that this will never happen (probably because Viacom has a terrible business model), but humor me. At this point, the show's like the Spike TV Ren and Stimpy. You don't know how this came to be, nor do you know why such a great show took such a terrible nosedive. All you know is that somebody needs to die for this. Clearly, the show needs to be put out of its misery. I even know how to end the series, and it's with my idea for an episode: "Everybody Dies." You're probably thinking that it's exactly what it sounds like, and while that's true, give me some credit, because I've thought the hell out of this. The episode begins with Squidward standing on a stool. A single tear drops to the ground, and he kicks the stool out from underneath his feet. His feet don't touch the ground. Later that day, SpongeBob, being the asshole that he is, breaks into Squidward's house to force him into some terrible scheme he's cooked up. And then...then he sees the dangling corpse. Immediately, SpongeBob knows why Squidward ended it all. We then see clips of every horrible thing that SpongeBob has ever done to Squidward. Nothing is omitted. SpongeBob then goes back to his pineapple, and after weeks of depressing contemplation, we hear a gunshot and a thud. Bits of yellow blood splatter on the window. I'm not done yet.
Gary, having nobody to feed him, eventually starves to death. You know what? So does Patrick. I'm not convinced that he can breathe without SpongeBob's assistance. Our focus then shifts to the Krusty Krab. Mr. Krabs is ruined, since both his cashier and cook have killed themselves. The Krusty Krab goes under, and he can't find a job. Afraid of being plunged into poverty, Mr. Krabs slits his fat throat. DEAD. Pearl, now an orphan, can't face the sudden drop in popularity she will inevitably experience. Knowing this, she closes the garage door, turns on the car, and sits down for a nap. Oh, and speaking of death, reality finally catches up to Plankton, and he dies of starvation, his food being too inedible to be of any help. Finally, we come to Mrs. Puff and Sandy. They don't die. Mrs. Puff can now run her school in peace, and Sandy now has a substantial role in the show. AND THAT IS HOW I WOULD PUT THIS SHOW OUT OF ITS MISERY.
You know what would make SpongeBob better? If it was a completely different show altogether.
Goldeneye 007 ( Well, that's enough SpongeBob hate for one blog.) Actually, that's far more than enough, but let's not dwell on the past. Instead, I'm going to shift focus to something I like: Goldeneye. If you don't know what Goldeneye is, or, worse, don't like the game, tell George Wood ( this guy) that he can admit a new member to the Front Loaded Anvils of Terrible Wrongness Club. Wait, we're talking about the N64 version, right? No? What other version is there? Oh, right: the Wii version. That one's pretty cool, too, even if it can't match the N64 greatness.
Actually, that's an extremely unfair characterization of the game, and I hate the gaming media for selling this as a remake of the original Goldeneye 007. OK, so it shares some elements of the original, like toilets in the facility and that one level where you defend Natalya while she's hacking computers with her briefcase shaped/sized hands, but they're also so wildly different that it's just mean-spirited to sell this as a remake. Instead, sell it as a modern reimagining, because that's what it is. The whole affair begins with graying Bond and 006 breaking into a Russian dam. Why are they breaking into said dam? I honestly can't remember. I'm guessing that it's just to piss off Russia, because the first world was really bored during the Cold War. The point is that somehow, this results in Bond discovering the Goldeneye satellite, which does things. Look, I'm not a fan of how Activision tells a story, OK? Even if the story is good, like it is in this game, I can only get bits and pieces of the story, like the following: bankers are the true villains of this game. I am not shitting you when I say that. The main villain of the game (I'm not risking a repeat of my last blog, even if it is physically impossible to spoil a 13 year old game) does what he does because he's pissed at how bankers are all evil and stuff. I can understand wanting to modernize a classic, Activision, but you have to realize that bankers do not make for cool villains.
This is how you modernize a classic: make it like every other game on the market. Remember how the original Goldeneye had things like a watch that could hold all your weapons, or health and body armor? One thing at a time. First, no more watch, which makes the train level infinitely lamer. Instead, you get an iPhone that can hack computers and blow things up. All it needs is a laser and all will be forgiven about leaving out that awesome watch. Seriously, though, a laser could improve this game by a lot, because I don't remember seeing one. All you get are a bunch of pistols, a bunch of sub machine guns, a bunch of shotguns, a bunch of automatic rifles, and a couple of sniper rifles. What's that? You want to strap those to your back and make a jetpack that works by shooting the ground? You can only hold three at a time, though. I bet you'll want some health and body armor, too, won't you? Shit. The modernization criticism falls apart right here, because there is a game mode that allows the traditional health set-up. However, let's pretend that it doesn't exist, because I didn't see the option when I was choosing difficulties. (Speaking of difficulties, they're supposed to give you new objectives to complete, but I got through the levels only completing one objective at a time. The hell?) In that case, you get a cover based regenerative health system. Oh, and there are Quick Time Events. So this game sucks ass and stains the perfect name of a Rare classic, right?
No. Stop thinking like that. If anything, I'm just telling you how incredibly different it is from that one game with the same name. Hell, I actually liked the Quick Time Events simply due to the incredibly rough logic they employed (L for left hand, R for right, and A for doing things (I probably should've used the Wii-mote, since the phone calls would make more sense and I wouldn't feel spoiled by Half Life 2...probably)). That's how you modernize a classic! You know how else you do it? You add some stealth elements. Wait, what? I thought that the game industry stopped adding stealth into games around 2004. Well, like it or not (hell, do both, I don't care), it's here to stay. Actually, ignore my last comment and like it, because it's pretty creative for a stealth section. You know how in games like Metal Gear Solid and...Metal Gear Solid (I've honestly never played a stealth game outside that franchise), the name of the game is slowly sneaking up to people and snapping their necks? There are elements of that in here, but what you really need to focus on is speed. If you shoot one guy in the ass, you better make sure that all those deer slug butt plugs put him down. Oh, and notice how I said "one guy?" If there are other people nearby, they can no longer live. Do all this correctly, and you'll feel as badass as Bond does everyday. Of course, more often than not, you're going to fuck this up big time. Maybe it's because you need to see enemies for them to appear on your radar, making the system pretty useless; maybe it's because in the early levels, the graphics kinda suck and it's hard to see everything you need to see. Whatever the reason, you're going to get caught. This is where the game becomes totally awesome.
You know how most first person shooters before either Half Life or Halo (I think it's obvious that I don't play a lot of FPSes) were all about shooting the hell out of anything that moved? Goldeneye achieves this in spades, which the game then uses for bullets, because that's what it's about. You spend pretty much the entire game just running up to guys and shooting the hell out of them. Sure, you're gonna die a bunch as a result of it, but that doesn't make it any less awesome. Hell, it should make it more awesome, since you've come back from the grave just to kill these guys all over again. What's that? You're out of ammo? Just run up to dudes and punch them in the face for making you waste all your ammo before. I'd say that I killed half the enemies by punching them, but I think that number's inflated by the fact that you use things by punching them. Did the original Goldeneye have an entire level of Captain Prices to shoot down? No? Wow, I can't believe that this game is coming out on top. I can't accept this. Surely, the N64 version must be better. Wait, I know! That tank part was pretty badass, wasn't it? Let's see... shit. That's way more involved and badass than the N64 could ever pull off. Actually, now that I think about it, the Wii version does feel a bit gimped in comparison to...well, anything, really. There are only twelve levels in the game, and I haven't seen anything about an Egyptian temple or an Aztec temple. I also haven't seen anything about using grenades as weapons. Why do I mention this? Because the enemies love to take time out of shootouts to play a game of Exploding Potato. What the hell, Activision? Why would you do something like that? I don't remember Rare pulling this crap off. I remember Rare doing awesome stuff in their games, like...well, like this game, actually.
- Bankers are evil, but they're not very interesting villains.
- Oddly enough, the stealth is pretty good when it wants to be good.
- Duke Nukem would be proud.