Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime Review (DS)
Square Enix, masters of the epic, world in need of saving roleplaying game, have decided to take a vastly different approach with this lighthearted, comical adventure game. Guess what? It works!
Every video game has its bottom feeders. You know, those trademark enemies that are always the first type of baddie you face. For example, there are the rats that always seem to infest the tavern cellars in games like Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance or the lowly Goombas that wind up getting stomped in the very first level of Super Mario Bros. In the Dragon Quest universe, that honor belongs to the slime. However, the slime isn't merely a punching bag for the various heroes and heroines of turn-based roleplaying adventures past and present; it is has evolved into a mascot of sorts for the series, and has been honored in many various merchandising efforts, including stuffed animals and keychains. In 2006, Square Enix took it to the next step by honoring this now beloved icon with its own video game, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime for the Nintendo DS.
Don't expect the kind of deep, epic tale that you'd normally find in a Dragon Quest game. Rocket Slime is a charming little game that tells a charming little tale. You play as Rocket, whose hometown of Boingburg has been invaded, and all his friends and family slime-napped, by a group known as The Plob. So it is up to Rocket to save the day, free everyone and put an end to The Plob and its leader, Don Clawleone. The script is quite funny, with numerous plays on words to be found, and if you're a longtime fan of Square Enix, you'll find even more to like as you come across vehicles like the "Chrono Twigger" in your travels. As much as I like serious, intense plot-driven roleplaying games, it is nice to find a game like this that just makes you want to smile.
There are two main types of gameplay here, and both are immensely enjoyable. The first is a standard, almost Legend of Zelda-like adventure in which Rocket must defeat monsters, obtain treasure, pick up items and solve puzzles using primarily his special Elasto Blast technique, which requires him to stretch out and launch himself at another creature or object. The other mode of play is something called slime tank battles. Early on in the game, Rocket will find something called the Schleiman Tank, which he will sometimes need to use to battle off members of The Plob or other opponents. In this mode, the top screen will show an image of the battle between the two tanks, as well as each of their remaining HP and statuses. Meanwhile, on the bottom, Rocket and his crew roam around the inside of the tank, looking for ammunition to fire and their opponent's war machine. Also, Rocket can leave his own tank and invade the other, destroying ammunition, attacking its crew and ultimately crippling its engines and winning the duel. All in all, the game is great fun, but the tank battles are especially so, which makes it all the more gratifying that the game also includes a local wireless multi-card multi-player version!
Graphics and Sound
It should come as no surprise that the game's look, feel and sound has an incredibly pleasant and rather cute tone to it. The colors are bright and beautiful. The background music is bouncy and cheery. The sound effects are cartoony. In short, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime looks and sounds exactly how you would expect a game like this to look and sound, and that is by no means a bad thing, as it helps maintain that lighthearted atmosphere.
This is by no means your run of the mill Dragon Quest title, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth checking out. In fact, Rocket Slime is an incredibly entertaining, immensely humorous and downright pleasurable experience that gamers of shapes, sizes and tastes should enjoy. The comical tone, enjoyable core adventure-style gameplay, the addictive tank battles and even the occasional nods to previous Square Enix roleplaying classics make this a must-play for just about anyone. Even better, the game is now available for under $20 at most retailers, making it a down right steal, especially if you feel the need to take a break from "serious" RPGs and are just looking to curl up with a game that will allow you to have some fun and enjoy a few giggles here and there.