SpongeBob SquarePants is unicycling one day on Jellyfish Fields, when he stumbles across a statue of a sponge with a golden spatula atop an oven. He asks Mr. Krabs all about the statue. He replies that a long time ago, a city called Palm Bay was ruled by the legendary Master Fry Cook. Just then, the volcano Mt. Kabloovious engulfed the city in grease flames. Years after the disaster, the Flying Dutchman and his first mate stole the Golden Spatula from the ruins. SpongeBob then embarks on a quest to retrieve the artifact and become Bikini Bottom's greatest fry cook. He then journeys to the depths of Goo Lagoon to find the Flying Dutchman's key. Along the way, he helps his friends Patrick, Squidward, and Sandy locate their missing objects, and aids Mr. Krabs in delivering a pizza. After helping them, he gets one of four oven knobs to activate the portal in the statue. Will SpongeBob ever get the mythical Golden Spatula and becomes the world's greatest fry cook?
As SpongeBob, the player embarks on an undersea quest to find stolen golden spatula to become the ocean's greatest short-order cook. Along the way, SpongeBob meets and interacts with many of the show's main characters like Mr. Krabs, Squidward, Sandy, and Patrick. The game uses elements of adventure and side-scrolling gameplay.
The game itself is a platformer game, where SpongeBob can jump and run on platforms, while avoiding enemies such as Bubble Bass and scallops. SpongeBob by default can be hit 2 times, but he has infinite lives. Treasure chests are scattered across the map, which may contain special items such as:
Bubbles- they temporarily stun large enemies and send them off running to the other direction.
Glasses- makes SpongeBob see inside chests without opening them
April Fools!- empty chests.
Mermaid Man Suit- only found in debug mode, makes SpongeBob invincible permanently, but he cannot use another item while wearing it.
First, SpongeBob must find the giant treasure chest underneath Goo Lagoon. Then, take the portal back home, and retrieve the following objects for the following: Patrick's shorts, Sandy's hat, Squidward's jellyfish jelly, and to deliver Mr. Krabs' Krusty Krab Pizza. They will give SpongeBob one out of four oven knobs after completing the task/killing a boss. The bosses are a jungle fish, a cowboy fish, and a giant jellyfish. After getting all 4 oven knobs, SpongeBob will fall into the activated oven, teleporting him to Rock Bottom, and later defeat the Flying Dutchman at the underworld.
The game has received mostly mixed reviews. Frank Provo of GameSpot said "One could argue that SpongeBob SquarePants: Legend of the Lost Spatula is geared toward the younger audience of the TV series, which would explain the game's simplified gameplay and lack of variety. However, while the plot is endearing and the characters will no doubt appeal to the series' fans, there is no evidence to suggest that children would actually enjoy playing a game this unremarkable--let alone adults." Provo criticized the game for its "simplified gameplay" and "lack of variety," but gave praise to the graphics, saying the game "at least looks decent." Jon Griffith of IGN complimented the game as a "decent platformer" with "large levels, multiple objectives, and amusing characters" but criticized it for its password saving system, confusing level design, and difficulty in certain aspects of gameplay.
This was the first official, non-crossover SpongeBob SquarePants video game released.
Despite this, it is not the first video game that SpongeBob SquarePants has been featured in; the first game in which that was the case was Nicktoons Racing released in 2000 for Microsoft Windows and Game Boy Color, even though it is a crossover game featuring tons of characters from other Nickelodeon cartoons.
This is the only official, non-crossover SpongeBob SquarePants video game to be released for the Game Boy Color, or any 8-bit system.
If SpongeBob talks to Plankton after finding the giant treasure chest, he will say: "All I want is crabby patty." instead of Krabby Patty. The words are unusually uncapitalized, and the sentence lacks a necessary definite article.
This game has a special error screen if the game is inserted into the original Game Boy, Game Boy Pocket, Game Boy Light, or the Super Game Boy peripheral for the SNES. The error screen is displayed because these systems are not compatible with Game Boy Color exclusives. The screen shows a picture of SpongeBob's surprised face which is taken from the episode "Hooky." Additionally, this error screen has the name "SquarePants" miscapitalized as "Squarepants."
Due to the Game Boy Color's graphical limitations, some of the sprites are discolored, such as Squidward's white sclerae and Sandy's blue space suit and cheeks.