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For each course (track), the player will compete against five computer players to win a trophy by finishing first, second, or third. They will take three laps around each course. The player must also dodge obstacles, such as Jellyfish and rocks, as well as ones laid down by the competitors (see below). When the player runs into an obstacle, their boatmobile receives some damage. If the boatmobile receives too much damage, they will forfeit the race (see below).
There are also UltiMotion minigames in each course, requiring players to do what the activity on-screen says to do (see below). Another minigame is optional for adding health to the boatmobile, similar to the UltiMotion events.
Controls, aside from the motion-sensitive main wheel controller, the game includes:
A - select/confirm, gas/accelerate
B - back, fire weapon (see below), honk Horn
> - found on the clamshell, move cursor right
< - found on the clamshell, move cursor left
(Menu) - found on the top of the controller, pauses the race the player is currently in. The player is given the option to either continue or exit the race. They can also turn the game music On or Off.
The player will also tilt the controller to move their vehicle or to accommodate UltiMotions.
The game features motion controls that involve more movement than regular motion controls such as steering the vehicle. There are two instances where UltiMotion controls are used. The first instance is to replenish the player's health bar if the vehicle had taken damage during their most recent race. The player will need to follow the on-screen prompt to fix the vehicle. There is a bar next to the broken part of the vehicle. The player is given ten seconds to completely fill the bar. Here is a list of UltiMotions the player might receive:
Hammer the Dent (Tilt the controller forward and backwards repeatedly like a hammer)
Tighten the Screw (Tilt the controller side to side like a wrench)
Polish the Engine (Tilt the controller side to side like wiping a window)
Drill Through the Deck Plate (Tilt the controller forward and backwards repeatedly to push the drill further into the boat)
Pump the Tire (Tilt the controller forward and backwards repeatedly like a pump)
(Note that repairing the player's vehicle is optional. Although if another race is started without replenishing the boat, the amount of health remaining on the health bar during the last race will still remain on the current race.) (Player may not have full health if they do not fix their vehicle).
The second instance where UltiMotions are used is during a race. Every track requires the player to push, shake, or pull the controller for a possibility to gain coins. The game will prompt the player with a message saying: "Get Ready To..." the game will then show the required action with an animated controller demonstrating the movement needed to perform. The game will then prompt the message: "NOW!" to let the player know that they can now perform the action. Each area and course has a unique object to pass. All of the commands are listed below:
PULL (Player will need to yield/yank the controller toward them just when they are about to jump off the ramp to flip in the air to earn coins.)
BALANCE (Player will need to tilt the controller side to side in order to keep their balance. The middle section of the obstacle contains coins.)
PUSH (Player will need to push the controller towards the television to plow through the obstacle. Failing to do so will result in Health loss. Unlike PULL & BALANCE, no coins can be earned.)
SHAKE (Player will need to shake the controller to avoid the cracks. Unlike PULL & BALANCE, no coins can be earned.)
Goo Lagoon uses the BALANCE command twice and the PUSH command once.
Kelp Forest uses the BALANCE command once, the PUSH command once, and the SHAKE command once.
Bikini Bottom uses the SHAKE command once, the PUSH command once, and the BALANCE command once.
Sulphur Fields (actually Sulfur Fields ) uses the PULL command once, the BALANCE command once, and the SHAKE command once.
During each race, the Player and Computer players are given a health bar that lasts for the entire race. Once a race is over and another one is started, the player has the option to replenish their health by repairing their boat (see above). Health can be lost during races if Players run into obstacles such as Jellyfish, rocks, or if another player throws a weapon or uses the Shield Bubble at player. The Checkered Flag acts as a speed boost to players, but it can hurt other player's health if the player runs into them. If the player's health bar completely runs out during a race, they will be disqualified with a message saying: "Oh no! Your boat is wrecked!" The player's health will be automatically refilled and the player will be returned to the course selection screen where they can retry the race.
Weapons vary on which character the player is controlling. Bubbles containing weapons can be run over to get one of these weapons:
Shield Bubble - Adds a bouncy shield around the player, making him/her invincible to the other players (as well as damaging their boat) and obstacles for a limited time. Has a different color depending on which character the player is racing as.
Krabby Patty (SpongeBob Only)- Shoot this weapon at competitors to temporarily slow and give damage to them.
Bowling Ball (Patrick Star Only)- Shoot this weapon at competitors to temporarily slow and give damage to them.
Exploding pie (Squidward Only)- Shoot this weapon at competitors to temporarily slow and give damage to them.
Puffer Fish (Mr. Krabs Only)- Shoot this weapon at competitors to temporarily slow and give damage to them.
Purple Beam (Sandy Only)- Shoot this weapon at competitors to temporarily slow and give damage to them.
Green Energy Beam (Plankton Only)- Shoot this weapon at competitors to temporarily slow and give damage to them.
Checkered Flag - Gives the player a sptyeed boost for a short amount of time. Ramming into another player with this deals damage.
Computer players drop character-specific weapons/obstacles randomly, which must be dodged or the player's vehicle will receive damage. The type of items that can be dropped by Computers and the type of character that can drop it are listed below:
Patrick: Banana Peel
Squidward: Tin Gas Can
Mr. Krabs: Ice Cube
Plankton: Bucket of Fish
Coins are another collectible item that can only be collected during races. Coins feature a gold color with a small anchor printed onto it. Coins are just a collectible, as obtaining them does not unlock any car parts or characters. It also does not improve your speed during races. Although there is a coin counter on every course featured on the course selection screen. This counter represents how many coins can be collected on the track. The counter also shows how many coins that have been collected on the track by the player. Unlike other racing games, the coins in the race reset every lap, this means that the number of coins represented on the selection screen are all the coins that can be collected in the 3 laps. The coin amount showed on each course are listed here:
"Frantic Fields" Number of Coins Collected/252
"Balancing Act" Number of Coins Collected/495
"Jelly Jumpin' " Number of Coins Collected/306
"Goo-lash" Number of Coins Collected/309
"Coming Through!" Number of Coins Collected/327
"Perilous Harbor" Number of Coins Collected/342
"Yelp, Help, Kelp!" Number of Coins Collected/342
"Dense & Tense" Number of Coins Collected/423
"Swamped" Number of Coins Collected/261
"Bikini Blizzard" Number of Coins Collected/162
"Snow Joke" Number of Coins Collected/243
"Snow Stormin' "Number of Coins Collected/447
"Sulphur So-good" Number of Coins Collected/354
"Bubble Trouble" Number of Coins Collected/531
"Frantic Finale" Number of Coins Collected/570
Should a player collect all coins on any course, there is no reward. There is also no reward for collecting all coins on all 15 tracks. The coin counter is preferably just a statistic, not an actual completion the game will reward you for.
The number of coins collected in total can be viewed via the "Statistics" section of the Garage/Menu (see above).
All character's vehicle has the same engine sound except Patrick and Sandy. Sandy's is low pitched while Patrick's is even lower.
Computer players sometimes Rubber Band during races to stay ahead of players.
Computers can also hold weapons behind their vehicle and throw them backwards while the player cannot.
Computers can also drive backwards while the player cannot, usually to attack opponents with the Shield Bubble.
Computers can also use multiple items at the same time even though players can only use one item. If a player wishes to use another item, they will need to progress through the race until they come across another bubble set.
Unlike regular players, computers cannot throw weapons forward or receive any Player Weapons like the Krabby Patty, and the Bowling Ball. They also cannot use the Checkered Flag.
The game's description or message after selecting a new character and a new file references the episode "The Fry Cook Games."
Should a player get 1st place on all 15 tracks, they will be presented with a trophy with a golden Jellyfish printed on it with a text saying: "Congratulations! You won gold in every race! You have mastered the Bikini Bottom 500!"
Although this is a trophy, it is not included with all the other trophies in the Garage/Menu (see above).
If a race is already won and is completed again at a lower ranking, the game will save that record. For example, if the player wins first place and then plays the course again and wins 2nd or 3rd, that win will be overwritten over the first attempt.
There are two versions of the controller: One with a green clamshell with the arrow buttons, and one with a light purple clamshell.
Despite the fact that sulfur is spelled "Sulfur", the game spells it as "Sulphur". This is technically still correct, as it is spelled that way outside of North America.
The reason it is spelled that way is most likely because HotGen (The developer company of the game) is based in London.
The player has to win first, second, or third to win the race and unlock the next course. If the player finishes in fourth, fifth, or sixth, the game will show the usual statistics shown after every race, but with a message at the top saying: "Better luck next time!" The player will not be able to progress to the next race until they finish the one they're currently in.
Upon the character select screen, Mr. Krabs' pants are mistakenly colored light brown when it should be colored blue/purple.
The flowers on Patrick's shorts are mistakenly colored turquoise upon the character screen when it should be colored light purple.
Sandy's face is mistakenly colored white when it should be tan.
Despite Plankton being showed in-person on the character select screen and on save files, only his eye can be seen while racing.
If a player chooses to repair a vehicle as Plankton, there is additional space in the vehicle for a driver, although this is never seen while racing.
If a player chooses to repair a vehicle as Patrick, one can see that the Bass Blaster 3000's color scheme is wrong. The boat is Bright Orange and the flame design is Purple when it should have a white design with Bright Orange flames.
Patrick is seen wearing a white undershirt when repairing his vehicle even though he never wears one while racing.
If a player chooses to repair a vehicle as SpongeBob, not only is the color scheme of the boat wrong, but it is an entirely different boat than shown on the box art and the design shown when racing. The boat shown is similar to the Baytona Classic.
If a player chooses to repair a vehicle as Sandy, her vehicles' color scheme is wrong. The vehicle is green when it should be brown/tan.
If a player chooses to repair a vehicle as Mr. Krabs, his teeth are mistakenly colored light yellow when they should be white.
If a player chooses to repair a vehicle as Mr. Krabs with the Hammer the Dent UltiMotion, the small screen on top of the timer displays the boat as green, while the big screen dispays it as blue. Both of these colors are wrong, as it should be colored brown/tan.
Squidward's vehicle is slightly different compared to the look of it on the title screen.
Like other Plug-n-Play games, if the controller's batteries run dead, the game will static and restart to the main menu. This process will continue unless the controller is disconnected, the controller is turned OFF, or if new batteries are inserted.
Despite the clamshell on the controller either being green or light purple, the game displays it as white.
One type of obstacle in the game is three ramps with a pile of Jellyfish/rocks. There are speed boosts placed on the ground before the ramp to gain speed to fly over the pile. Although Computer players can be seen to fall into the pile despite the fact that they clearly ran on the speed boosts.