Spongebob and Friends
Battle for Volcano Island

Format: PS2

4 005209 091534
Age Restrictions: 7+
25 May 2007

An ancient evil known as Mawgu threatens to take control of Volcano Island, and it's up to our Nicktoons heroes to defeat him. Join SpongeBob, Timmy Turner and Danny Phantom, along with new recruits Patrick Star, Sandy Cheeks and Samantha Manson for all out battle on Volcano Island. Play as SpongeBob, Danny Phantom, Timmy Turner, Patrick Star, Sandy Cheeks, or Samantha Mason. Unlock bonus levels and crazy costumes. Three different game modes: Single Play, Download Play, and Wireless Play. Multi-player mayhem: Join or leave the game at anytime...

If you've played and enjoyed previous SpongeBob games, then you'll pretty much know what to expect from Battle for Volcano Island. However, there's an added twist, not only can you play as SpongeBob, Patrick Star and Sandy Cheeks, but you can also control a number of other Nickelodeon characters including Timmy Turner (Fairly OddParents), and Danny Fenton or Samantha Manson (Danny Phantom) as you race through the levels.

This is a straightforward action platform game, set on a bizarre island in another dimension. You start the game with two playable characters (SpongeBob and Danny Fenton) which you can switch between whenever the mood takes you. While the instructions state that each character may come in handy for solving different problems I didn't find this. In fact if you want you can easily play through each level without changing character once.

The game opens with an introduction with an old crab who warns you about the evil Mawgu who is spreading toxic waste across the island turning the indigenous wildlife into evil, deformed creatures - which it then uses as its slaves. Only by finding all of the nine "chosen ones" will Mawgu ultimately be defeated. As SpongeBob and Danny are the first two "chosen ones" all you have to do is rescue another seven Nickelodeon characters.

As you progress through the levels you encounter plenty of mean nasties that need to be disposed of. You can do this by hitting them or, if you have enough firepower, shooting them with each characters individual special power. Extra fire points, as well as life, are occasionally released when you destroy one of the meanies roaming the levels. Along the way you can hit trees (to release hidden items), climb rock faces (using netting); seek for special items behind destructible walls; and explore the bright, colourful environments (because there is always more than one route to the end of the level).

The biggest problem with games like this is that reviewers come to them without a thought about who the finished game is aimed at. As a game for seasoned gamers, this won't provide more than a moments distraction. But as a young child's game, which it's meant to be, it's a hoot. The chance to play as some of your favourite Nickelodeon characters adds quite a lot to this game - in spirit at least. As I mentioned before it doesn't really make much difference who you decide to play as.

The end result is another colourful, entertaining edition to the SpongeBob line of console games.

Nick Smithson

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