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Nickelodeon Party Blast

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Nickelodeon Party Blast
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"Nick nick nick nick ni-nick nick nick, THIS GAME REALLY SUUUUUCKS!"
Genre(s): Party
Platform(s): Xbox
Microsoft Windows
Nintendo GameCube
Release: Xbox
NA: October 30, 2002
PAL: December 6, 2002

Microsoft Windows
NA: October 31, 2002
Nintendo GameCube
WW: December 6, 2002
Engine: GODS Engine
RenderWare
Developer(s): Data Design Interactive
Publisher(s): Infogrames
Country: United Kingdom
Series: Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon Party Blast is a 2002 party game developed by Data Design Interactive and published by Infogrames, mainly based on Nicktoons characters from shows like SpongeBob SquarePants, Rugrats, Rocket Power, Invader Zim, etc. It was first released for the Xbox in North America on October 30, 2002 and Europe on December 6, 2002. The Nintendo GameCube version followed in both North America and Europe on December 6, 2002, with a North America-only Microsoft Windows port released shortly after the Xbox release.

A PlayStation 2 port of the game was planned, but was cancelled for unknown reasons, with some possibilities being that the game was critically panned on release.

Gameplay

Players choose from 8 characters from 6 Nicktoons shows, once they pick the character, the player can choose between ‘Blast’, ‘Replay’ and ‘Cup Challenge’ (Multiplayer has a mode called ‘Party Play’), there’s 20 levels to beat with six minigames with a boss at the end of the levels.

Why Why Why Why W-Why Why Why, Why It's Not a Blaaaaast!

  1. Abhorrent graphics, with this game looking like an late PS1 game, or a Early N64 game rather than a Xbox or GameCube game, with loads of exposed polygons, textures that are badly rendered, and character models that are very uncanny to look at, mostly due to the their terrible transition to 3D, especially Jimmy Neutron, with his brick hands and uncanny smiling.
    • Speaking of character models, they are absolutely ugly and atrocious. With the worst offenders being Jimmy, Zim, and Eliza. They look comparable to the ugly character models in Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood.
    • The background characters that appear in some stages are lazy, instead of using 3d models they used stock art instead of making their own 2d character sprites.
  2. The mini-games are very poor and boring.
    • Pipe Challenge: You connect pipes to each other to get points, but it’s hampered due to the slow movement and the AI randomly stealing one of your pipes and replacing it with theirs, or sometimes knocking you to the ground all the time, and this happens a lot.
    • Food Fight: You use food as projectiles to throw at other players and have to stay the cleanest, and it is severely flawed: first off, the control’s don’t function properly, such as aiming where you can’t stay still and aim, instead have to blindly throw the food. And second, the camera is sometimes nauseating, where it tries to keep everyone in the screen, but sometimes when the players decide to move one inch out of the cameras FOV, it sometimes moves in and out repeatedly, screwing you up on where you are.
    • Basketball: You grab a ball then shoot it at the hoops while doing tricks, but the AI make it so difficult, such as them constantly stealing your balls or knocking you to the ground, and the grinding is so poorly implemented, as it sometimes refuses to work properly and it’s very easy to fall due to the poor controls. Another problem is that the camera is zoomed too far out, which makes it difficult to actually tell where you are unless you look closer.
  3. Unfair AI, with them literally having no mercy on you in all of the mini-games, with the biggest example being Basketball (as mentioned above), where they keep on stealing your balls and constantly knocking you onto the ground all the time, which makes the mini-games very unfair.
  4. Excruciatingly loud sound effects, such as the coin collecting sound effect, where you may want to mute your TV before entering a mini-game just so that your ears don’t get obliterated. It’s like the developers accidentally turned the sound effects up way too high and never noticed it during development. You also can barely hear the characters voices due to the ear splitting sound effects.
  5. Atrocious controls, with the controls either feeling slow, floaty, and mostly unresponsive to the point where the mini-games literally get unplayable because of the controls, with the most notable example being Food Fight, where aiming doesn’t exist and throwing objects are wonky.
  6. Sometimes, when there are four characters on the screen moving around the place, the framerate drops significantly for no reason.
  7. There are only six mini-games in the entire game, which is unacceptable for a party game in 2002, since Mario Party on the Nintendo 64 had much more mini-games to offer (105 minigames being the most in MP Superstars), and those games were released a few years before this game, so there’s no excuse.
    • To add more salt into the wound, every level uses the same six mini-games over and over again, just with a different environment and more things to do, but nonetheless, this is still lazy to just reuse the same mini-games that aren’t even good to begin with, instead of having more mini-games for more variety.
  8. Most of the bosses are given cheap advantages just to add some form of challenge. In contrast, some of the bosses are pretty easy, like the juice dispenser in the Rugrats stage.
  9. Some of the voice acting for the characters is poor, as only a few voice actors reprised their roles: Richard Horvitz (Zim), Tom Kenny (SpongeBob and Dog), Shayna Fox (Reggie Rocket), Joseph Ashton (Otto Rocket), and Cheryl Chase (Angelica).
    • Jimmy Neutron is voiced by Lara Jill Miller instead of Debi Derryberry.
    • Tommy Pickles sounds more higher pitched and softer more than his original voice actor from the show. This problem is very noticeable and just shows that Data Design Interactive wasn’t bothered to have a higher budget, so hired people just to take on the roles instead of the original voice actors from the show.
  10. Lackluster character roster compared to Nicktoons Racing, with this game using characters from only 6 Nicktoons shows, which are The Wild Thornberrys, Rugrats, Invader Zim, Rocket Power, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Jimmy Neutron. Compare to Nicktoons Racing's cast of characters with 13 characters from 8 Nicktoons shows compared to 8, so it is ultimately disappointing to have fewer characters than the previous game which was on a fifth generation console rather than a sixth generation console.
  11. Generic and boring music that fails to capture the essence of each respective show.

Reception

Nickelodeon Party Blast was critically panned upon release, with most reviews criticizing the controls, graphics, sound effects, and mini-games/levels.

On Metacritic, the Xbox version has a Metascore of 19/100, indicating ‘overwhelming dislike’ based on 4 reviews. The user score for that version has a score of 3.6 based on 12 reviews.

Trivia

  • This is the first game created on the GODS Engine, the game engine developed by Data Design Interactive, followed by Ninjabread Man and DDI's later games.
  • As said above, a PlayStation 2 version was planned to be released, but it was canceled, possibly due to the negative reception of the game, however, leftovers from that version are in the game files, such as the memory card and the PS2 controller with textures.
  • The proto box art was much different from the final one. Showcasing a different area with Otto from Rocket Power squirting slime at SpongeBob who is screaming, with Zim running from Otto, and a slime-covered Tommy just wandering around, while Jimmy does a pose like he’s planning a big scheme, complete with the original logo before both were finalized.
  • Despite the terrible reception of the game, DDI attempted to make another Nickelodeon crossover game. Fortunately, Nickelodeon turned it down. However, DDI still kept the concept and turned it into Myth Makers: Super Kart GP.

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