Spongebob Doom II is a 30 map total conversion that replaces all of the enemy sprites with characters of the show its based off. Not only that but the levels are designed to represent many of its locations such as the Krusty Krab, Squidward’s House, and much more in our journey to fight our way through clones of its cast in order to reach Plankton. We can choose to play as one of three of the show’s most recognizable characters starting with Spongebob himself, Patrick, or Sandy. While it’s not stated anywhere, they do in fact play and handle a bit differently from one another. Sandy can jump much higher than the rest, Spongebob is far faster, and Patrick is the most resilient of the bunch. Their differences are not significant enough that it should stop you from picking whoever you like most, but it is a nice detail.
If you were wondering how we will tackle this onslaught of clones from a cartoon show, well it’s with pure, unrestrained violence. A kid-friendly mod this is not, we will have access to many guns and must fill good old Spongebob with several new holes to progress. Once defeated he will stay on the floor in a bloody mess with other characters such as Squidward losing his head completely when you defeat him. It is all rather morbid in hindsight, though also made comical due to the voice clips ripped from the show that plays when you slay a character. Each enemy only has once sound clip meaning it may grow old after some time since you will be slaughtering them by the dozens. Whichever protagonist you play will only have Patrick’s voice whenever you press the Use key, so if you are the type of player that loves to hunt for secrets and repeatedly press it on every wall, you’ll soon drive yourself mad.
Luckily for us, secrets are usually out in the open as most maps tend to lean towards the slaughter style of game-play instead of exploration, with ammo generally being in places all too clear to see. In fact, many times you do not have much time to take in the scenery of the recreated areas from the show since this map author has a tendency to immediately have a couple of foes right in your face and once you let off a round, most of the map’s inhabitants will swarm towards you. I’ve never thought that Gary the Snail would do me in while I was distracted by the chaingun-wielding starfish but until you know what monster that character has replaced, trust nothing no matter how cute. As the mod progresses and more foes are introduced, the challenge will ramp up as well since the swarm approach does not change and you’ll find yourself dealing with a varied assortment of enemies at once. Learning to prioritize your target and getting them to fight among themselves by causing friendly fire will be vital skills to have.
Most of these slaughter map levels are wide open, giving you plenty of room to move around and dodge, with enemies rarely being placed in hard to reach places. They are typically on ground level and will make a b-line towards you, making most encounters a simple task of endurance until you mow them all down. Some levels do deviate from the nonstop action approach and does feature some good old fashioned key finding & maze navigation. Unfortunately, the weakest element of this mod has to be the level design. I wouldn’t call it bad but it is a bit too basic and a go from point A to point B type of affair, even on the maps featuring more exploration. Sprinkled throughout are multiple instances in where we must make use of our platforming skills to spice things up, so make sure to have a jump key bound. They are usually not too difficult aside from Map 18, which is ridiculously dark with one having to squint to see anything, all while enemies fire at you, and has you jumping from fast-moving production line to production line with an instadeath awaiting at the end of it should you screw it up. Fun.
An interesting addition to this game comes in the form of an absolute ton of weapons to get your hands on. These range from your basic iconic shotgun, a jellyfish launcher, submachine gun and a katana to name a few. You have a ton of instruments of death which is all well and good, but some share the same ammo type and are a flat out upgrade from one another, making switching between them unnecessarily clunky. It is also bizarre that the weapons have three different artstyles to them. Your first is your basic Doom weapons, then you have more modern looking gadgets, and finally, you have stuff drawn with MS Paint. Considering how insane this mod’s premise is in the first place, this isn’t a big deal, though that lack of consistency is not something you’ll get used to. It is both a blessing and a curse, but there is no denying it is a fun experience to test them all out on the multitude of cheerful looking cartoon characters coming your way. You’ll also have inventory items such as grenades, harpoons and first aid spray to use on a moments notice, which mixes thing up from your basic Doom experience.
All the maps are on the shorter side and can be completed in a couple of minutes, making it a decent mod to pick up and play when low on time. As you reach the end, you will receive a pretty cool boss fight with Plankton himself that is very reminiscent of the Hitler fight from Wolf 3D. Oddly enough, it doesn’t end there, and there is still a few maps to go through. These last few maps are where the mod gets a tad evil with its enemy placement, and the last level will have you shimming across small ledges where falling means death. It was a strange end for an equally bizarre mod. Spongebob Doom II has its fair share of flaws, but there is no denying that exploring the plethora of the show’s locations and mowing down its inhabitants is quite fun. There was clearly a ton of effort put into this mod, more so in its quantity than its quality, though is one you should definitely give a shot if you like or even dislike the show its based on.