SpongeBob SquarePants: Legend of the Lost Spatula is a platform action video game developed by Vicarious Visions and published by THQ for the Game Boy Color handheld video game console. The game was released in the United States on March 14, 2001, and in Europe on May 4th of the same year. The game features platforming-style gameplay, as well as many characters from the television series. This is the only 8-bit SpongeBob game and the only SpongeBob video game on the Game Boy Color. A sequel, SpongeBob SquarePants: SuperSponge, was released in November 2001 for the PlayStation and Game Boy Advance.
As SpongeBob, the player embarks on an undersea quest to find the Flying Dutchman's Golden Spatula in order to become the ocean's greatest short-order cook. If SpongeBob gets hit, his clothing falls off. If SpongeBob is wearing a jacket power-up, he loses it when he is hit. If he takes a hit with no jacket, his pants fall off, leaving him to run around in his underwear. If his underwear falls off, he loses a life. Along the way, SpongeBob meets and interacts with many of the show's popular recurring characters like Mr. Krabs, Squidward Tentacles, Sandy Cheeks, and Patrick Star. The game uses elements of adventure and side-scrolling gameplay.
The game has received mostly mixed and mediocre 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.