As SpongeBob, the player embarks on an undersea quest to find the Flying Dutchman's 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 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 SpongeBob SquarePants video game ever to be 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 SpongeBob SquarePants video game to be released for the Game Boy Color, unless you include the crossover game Nicktoons Racing.
This game has a special error screen if the game is loaded on the Super Game Boy or Game Boy Pocket. This is because those systems aren't compatible with most Game Boy Color games. 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" misspelled as "Squarepants."