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Video Game / SpongeBob SquarePants: Lights, Camera, Pants!

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SpongeBob SquarePants: Lights, Camera, Pants! is a 2005 Party Game/Minigame Game featuring characters from the SpongeBob series. THQ and Nickelodeon published the game, and THQ's Australian division developed it.

The story is that producer Gil Hammerstein is producing an anniversary special episode of The New Adventures of Mermaidman & Barnacle Boy in Bikini Bottom, and everyone wants to be chosen to play the starring villain role: the Sneaky Hermit. Players can play as SpongeBob, Patrick, Sandy, Squidward, Mr. Krabs, or Plankton to impress the game's talent scouts and win the lead role.

Each location has one scene, and three minigames (referred to as "auditions") required to beat to star in the scene. Each of the minigames are themed off the location they take place in (such as driving in boating school, or serving food at the Krusty Krab restaurant). Minigames come in two forms: those with teams, or free-for-all. These minigames are usually three minutes, though this time can vary.

Notably, after you've finished the campaign in the console version, you can watch the full 30-minute episode of Mermaidman & Barnacle Boy that you finished! In the PC version you can watch it at any time, selecting actors and props as you like, but you have to unlock them through the campaign first (and the movie itself is a lot shorter).


The game features the following tropes:

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    In-game tropes 
  • Ability over Appearance: invoked Multiple characters can play the same role, just because they earn it. This is rather noticeable, as it can be rather jarring to see a sea sponge, a starfish, or an octopus all play the same role.
  • Acting for Two: invoked In the console version, winning each leg of the audition lands you a role, and winning the audition overall lands you the "Supervillain" role. It's guaranteed that at least one character will be Acting for Two, and it's possible for a single character to get every single role, including the Supervillain and the stunt double.
  • Adaptational Badass: SpongeBob in the show is a horrible driver. In "Floor It!", however, his driving competence depends on how the player or CPU play him, with the result that he may be just as crazy as in the show or an excellent driver.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: The release of this game outside of America forgoes the intense stare-down depicted above in favor of a more cheerful one with SpongeBob and Plankton filming Patrick catching jellyfish and Squidward getting stung by jellyfish. The GBA version also uses this box art in all regions due to Plankton not appearing in that version.
  • Anachronic Order: While the introduction and ending of the movie are recorded at their respective ends, everything between the two is mixed up, so you don't see everything in order until you watch the final product. This is actually similar to how Real Life movies are filmed; see Reality Is Unrealistic below.
  • Artificial Stupidity: If you set the computer characters on Silly (Easy), they will show this in spades. The most blatant example is in "Machine Meltdown", where a team of AI-controlled characters will be stuck in a constant loop of poorly fixing their generator throughout the entirety of the minigame, earning you a clear-cut victory.
  • Auto-Kitchen: In "Machine Meltdown", the Chum Bucket produces food this way. Your objective is to oversee the machines and fix them if they malfunction.
  • Beach Episode: The Goo Lagoon leg.
  • Canon Foreigner: Gil Hammerstein, the hammerhead shark directing the movie.
  • Color-Coded Characters: In the console versions.
    • SpongeBob = Yellow
    • Patrick = Pink
    • Mr. Krabs = Red
    • Squidward = Blue/Cyan/Green
    • Sandy = Brown/White
    • Plankton = Green/Gray/Black/Blue
  • Continuity Nod: This game has a lot of references to previous episodes.
    • The green patties that dock points if flipped and caught in "Flippin' Out" are based on Plankton's patty walker from "Krusty Krab Training Video".
    • The "Rock Bottom" Mini-Game has each character use their own instrument:
      • SpongeBob plays an electric guitar, referencing the climax of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
      • Patrick plays the drums, just as he did in "Band Geeks" and The Camping Episode".
      • Squidward, of course, plays his clarinet.
      • Sandy plays the same acoustic guitar she played in "Texas".
      • Plankton plays an electric keyboard once again.
      • The minigame in general seems to be a recreation of the famous Super Bowl performance by SpongeBob and the others in "Band Geeks".
    • For the scene where the Sneaky Hermit fakes an alliance with Man-Ray and the Dirty Bubble, Gary is badly painted to resemble Larry, a snail SpongeBob briefly adopted after Gary left him for Patrick in "Dumped".
    • During one scene in the climax, Gary is seen with a chimney and a patch on his shell, just like in one scene in "The Great Snail Race".
  • Fishing Minigame: There is a Fishing Minigame (Surf Resc-Goo) where instead of fishing for fish, you fish for random junk to increase your score. This is understandable, since the characters fishing live in an underwater world where fish talk and behave like people and hooks are their equivalent of an extremely dangerous weapon (that can see some use in sporting and recreational purposes).
  • Flat Joy: Squidward. Even his win/success quotes demonstrate a lack of interest.
    Squiward: (in "Floor It!", whenever he hits a speeding ramp) Whee.
  • Floating in a Bubble: In "Surface Tension", if the characters fall into one of the holes, they will be come out trapped in a bubble. Either they struggle to break free by themselves or someone else pops the bubble, earning the latter points.
  • Great Escape: The objective of "Breakin' Out" is to aid as many prisoners as you can escaping Bikini Bottom Jail. There are spotlights alerting robot hands to your presence; if you get caught, all prisoners taken will escape back while you are put in a temporary jail.
  • Guide Dang It!: To get the Make-Your-Own-Movie mode, the Rock-Paper Scissors and Two-Up tie-breaker games, and the gold SpongeBob figure, you need to put away three full gold bars in Loot Scootin'. The problem with this is that you have no way of knowing this, since the game only gives you the vague objective of "Complete more story challenges to unlock", even after you've completed Gold story mode, leaving the player confused if they're trying to obtain 100% Completion.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: The console version has a loading screen between each scene. They don't take too long but they can really break up the action.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • The Rock–Paper–Scissors tie-breaker Mini-Game.
    • Because the Krusty Krab and Downtown Bikini Bottom minigames are all team-based, whoever team wins their auditions will have to resort to rock-paper-scissors to determine the winner. This includes you, since your partner will stay the same throughout all minigames.
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory: Chum Bucket is presented this way. "Charge!", in particular, is set in a Frankenstein-esque work room.
  • Minigame Game: The console version entirely consists of mini-games. Downplayed in the PC version, which is largely an Adventure Game, but still contains a variety of minigames need to be completed in order to progress.
  • Mini-Mecha: Since Plankton would be too small otherwise, he pilots a fish-sized mech in order to participate in the mini-games.
  • Mobile-Suit Human: Plankton uses one throughout the game due to his small size.
  • Off-Model: Mr. Krabs' eyes are the correct shade of green in-game, but yellow in the movie.
  • One-Wheeled Wonder: In "Goo-Ladiators", the characters participate in a battle royale while riding unicycles.
  • The Other Darrin: invoked A role can be played by multiple characters.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Several of the game's collectibles - artwork and action figures - can be easily missed due to how the unlocking system works: each level of story mode (bronze, silver, gold) has multiple collectibles exclusive to it, and moving onto the next tier locks you out of any you haven't found yet with no means of claiming them outside of restarting the story mode from scratch. Thankfully, there's a cheat code that simply unlocks these collectibles automatically.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The PC version contains adaptations of the episodes "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy III" and "I'm Your Biggest Fanatic", in the form of sidequests. Completing them unlocks Man Ray and Kevin the Sea Cucumber respectively, allowing you to cast them in the movie.
  • Prison Episode: The Bikini Bottom Jail leg.
  • Prisoner's Work: "Rubble Rabble" has the characters break boulders in Bikini Bottom Jail.
  • Racing Minigame: There are a few of these, especially in the Boating School leg of the audition.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The Anachronic Order of the recording is surprisingly similar to how live-action movies are filmed in real life: to be more efficient, they're filmed by location proximity rather than chronologically.
  • Rhythm Game: The "Rock Bottom" Mini-Game comes in this format.
  • Rock–Paper–Scissors: Like in the show, two players blow bubbles in the shape of rock, paper, or scissors to see who gets to star in the movie if they tie with another player.
  • Rule of Three: Each area has three auditions (minigames); whoever has the most popularity points while simultaneously matching the quota after said set will win the role.
  • Seahorse Steed: "Seahorse Stampede" has the characters ride seahorses for a game of soccer (or Seahorse Polo, as the game refers to it).
  • Show Within a Show: The New Adventures of Mermaidman & Barnacle Boy.
  • "Simon Says" Mini-Game: "Jig on the Brig" and "Beats Me".
  • The Smurfette Principle: Sandy is the only playable female - Mrs. Puff and Karen are relegated to minigame hosts while Pearl is completely absent.

    The New Adventures of Mermaidman & Barnacle Boy 
  • Affably Evil/Laughably Evil: If SpongeBob wins the role of the Sneaky Hermit, he plays him in this manner. His Establishing Character Moment is this:
    Spongebob: [Evil Laugh] They have arrested Mermaid Man, for my crime! Which doesn't sound fair, really, but... bah! I am a supervillain, and that is what we do! So, I guess I shall go do more... villainous... type... stuff... [scuttles away laughing]
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: How the narrator opens the episode:
    Narrator: Mermaid Man! Forceful! Fearless! ...Regular.
  • Big Bad: The Sneaky Hermit.
  • Big Ball of Violence: How the final battle is depicted in the PC version.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Parodied when Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy burst into Man-Ray's lair to rescue the Damsel in Distress: Mermaidman dramatically declares, "I'll have a burger and fries!" Cue typical eye roll from Barnacle Boy.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: After being introduced by the Narrator as the heroes' "second-most-arch-nemesis":
    Man-Ray: Oh, come on! What does it take to get to Number 1 in this town?!
  • Captain Obvious: After the Sneaky Hermit steals the jailhouse Mermaidman, Barnacle Boy, Man-Ray and the Dirty Bubble are in:
    The Dirty Bubble: I think it would be safe to say that the Sneaky Hermit steals buildings.
  • Chair Reveal: Parodied. As the Sneaky Hermit is soliloquizing in his lair, the camera pans to a chair in front of a desk, which spins to reveal... nothing. The Hermit is actually standing next to the chair.
    SpongeBob as the Hermit: I should really get that chair fixed.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The pepper grinder Mermaidman picks up at the Krusty Krab. Turns out pepper is the Hermit's weakness.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Mermaidman, even more so than in the original show. As an example, upon hearing the siren of a pursuing police car, he thinks it's a song on the radio and starts singing along to it.
  • Deadpan Snarker: As to be expected, pretty much all roles played by Squidward will have this trait.
  • Crossdressing Voices: An in-universe example occurs when the male SpongeBob or Patrick is cast as the Sneaky Hermit, in which the character is portrayed as female as seen in the wedding photo during the lair scene.
  • Enemy Mine: Man-Ray and the Dirty Bubble team up with Mermaidman & Barnacle Boy to defeat the Sneaky Hermit after the Hermit dupes them into leaving their evil lairs unguarded.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: The Dirty Bubble was apparently jailed for "having bad breath in a public place". Makes you wonder whether they were just making up crimes so they had an excuse to put him away.
  • Freudian Excuse: The Sneaky Hermit developed the need to steal buildings after their spouse abandoned them and took the house.
  • Gender Flip: The Sneaky Hermit's gender (alongside its bride) in the wedding photo during the lair scene varies between whoever's playing the role: male for Squidward, Mr. Krabs, and Plankton, and female for SpongeBob, Patrick, and Sandy.
  • Is This Thing Still On?: The announcers have this reaction when they leave the microphone running long enough to pick up their compliments to each other during the Krusty Krab scene.
  • Jaywalking Will Ruin Your Life: What Man-Ray was apparently jailed for.
  • Loads and Loads of Roles: A single character can get every available role.
  • Mondegreen Gag: When the hunter mentions that the Sneaky Hermit must have "A tall building in its sights" we get this gem:
    Dirty Bubble: The Hermit wears tights?
    Barnacle Boy: The permit test bites?
    Man-Ray: Old Hermit was right?
  • Mundane Utility: Man-Ray uses his laser beams to etch "Man-Ray Rules" onto a wall.
  • Narrator: Most of the narration is done by the usual Mermaidman and Barnacle boy announcer, with the main spongebob announcer showing up narrating in the Krusty Krab scene before the Mermaidman announcer shows up and tells him this is his scene. The two respect each other, with the Spongebob announcer praising the Mermaidman announcer's voiceover before they both realize they left the microphone on.
  • The New Adventures
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Man-Ray and the Dirty Bubble at one point try disguising themselves with a pair of Groucho Marx glasses, with fake nose and moustache. It doesn't work.
    Man-Ray: [throwing the glasses away] What a waste of two bucks.
  • Pepper Sneeze: How the Sneaky Hermit is defeated. In the console version, the sneeze is so violent that their tower of stolen buildings collapses, subduing them and returning Bikini Bottom to normal. In the PC version, the sneezing merely weakens them enough for the heroes to subdue them.
  • Poke the Poodle:
    The Dirty Bubble: Oh, let's start with jaywalking. They couldn't possibly catch us twice.
    • As we see Man-Ray etching the graffiti, he's introduced as the heroes' "second-most-arch-nemesis". His reaction shows that he considers his crimes to be the height of villainy:
      Man-Ray: Oh, come on! What does it take to get to Number 1 in this town?!
  • Right-Hand Cat: The Hermit has a snail as a pet, which is most likely played by Gary.
  • Shout-Out: Barnacle Boy mentions "Dr. Octofish", likely a parody of Doctor Octopus.
  • Special Effects Failure: invoked You can invoke this in the PC version, which allows you to choose the props used in each scene. Some of the props, especially the ones you start off with, are very unconvincing.
  • Stylistic Suck: As noted above, you can pull this off in the PC version depending on the props and actors you choose to cast in the movie.
  • Take That!: An in-universe example: when the waiter mentions seeing somebody take a wriggling sack into the Chum Bucket, Barnacle Boy says it sounds suspicious. Mermaid Man agrees... because nobody goes to the Chum Bucket.
  • This Cannot Be!: In the console version, this will be what Plankton says during the Hermit’s defeat if he gets the role.
    Plankton: Not again! This can’t be happening!
  • Un-Canceled: invoked The plot of the PC version revolves around SpongeBob trying to get the Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy movie un-canceled by finding and casting suitable actors, after director Gill Hammerstein was unable to do so himself. Averted in the console version, where Hammerstein is still in the process of casting the movie, and the plot instead revolves around the player trying to get themselves cast in it.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Hermit's weakness is pepper. In the PC version, it makes them sneeze uncontrollably, allowing the heroes to subdue them; in the console version, it makes the Hermit sneeze so violently that their tower of stolen buildings collapses, subduing them and returning the buildings to their normal places.
  • What Are You in For?: Mermaidman asks Man-Ray this. He responds that he got caught jaywalking, to which The Dirty Bubble pipes up that he was arrested for having bad breath in a public place.


Video Example(s):


Lights, Camera, Pants!

Man Ray and the Dirty Bubble decide to team up with Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy to defeat the Sneaky Hermit.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / EnemyMine

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