Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime

Just like many videogame enthusiasts my age, Dragon Warrior (Dragon Quest in Japan) was my first real RPG. I loved every second of it, and it serves as a basis of how I judge almost every game I play today. I say this for a reason because Square-Enix has decided to release Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime in the US. As I am sure you guessed, Rocket Slime is a spin off of the Dragon Warrior series that stars…well, a slime monster as its main protagonist. Will this design stick with gamers? Read on to see what we thought.

Facts and Features

  • Take control of Rocket as he attempts to foil the plans of the evil Plob gang.
  • Rescue 100 different slime monsters from certain doom.
  • Challenge friends with multi player tank battles.

A Slime’s Tale
Slimenia is an island hidden away that is truly a slime monster’s paradise, where the slimes live in peace. Until one fateful day, an evil organization know as the Plob invaded their capital city of Boingburg. They laid waste to the capital, and before leaving they slime-napped, er, kidnapped every slime monster in Boingburg. Well, almost everyone. A young slime named Rocket somehow eluded being captured. Now Rocket must rescue his friends, and defeat the evil Plob, but how will he accomplish this?

Thankfully Rocket isn’t as defenseless as you might have expected. He can stretch himself, and like a rubber band, snap forward in an attack dubbed an Elastro Blast. When Rocket uses this attack, he typically will knock his target into the air. Then Rocket can catch, and carry up to three items, foes, or friends. I know, I know hitting your friends may sound harsh, but how else can you rescue them from the Plob if you are a slime monster? Players can also throw, or even rearrange the order of what Rocket is carrying.

Armed with these basic abilities, Rocket sets out to take on the Plob. After leaving Boingburg, a map screen appears and the player chooses a destination. At first there is only one level, but as you progress through the game, more levels will be unlocked. At first these levels may seem simple in scope, but they hide a subtle depth that will reveal itself later in the game.

Save Your Friends!
Rocket’s primary mission is to save his friends and bring them back to Boingburg. You can do this in two different ways. The first relies on you actually physically carrying them back to Boingburg through the entrance of the level. The latter revolves around throwing them on a cart or a raft. Yes, you heard me correctly. This will automatically carry them, and even Rocket, back to town. You can send items, and even enemies back to Boingburg too, but more on this later.

Next stop, Boingburg!

Tanks! You’re Welcome!
All too quickly, Rocket finds out he is not a match for the Plob. They possess giant tanks, and they love to use them! What is our hero to do? If you answered get his own tank, then you are right! If you can’t beat them, join them. Rocket quickly makes friends with a fellow name Ductor Sid (get it?), and he sets Rocket up with his very own tank, the Schleiman Tank to be exact.

Remember that I mentioned earlier about sending items back to town? Well, what did you think Ductor Sid would include, ammunition with his tank? Come on people, he gave Rocket a rolling death machine! Anyway, every item that Rocket can carry can be used for ammunition, be it a treasure chest, or catnip. Each item has its own properties. For example, you can acquire mirrors that will actually bounce back certain projectiles fired from your enemy.

During tank battles Rocket will actually have to load the cannons with his own abilities. He will have to Elastro Blast the items into the air, catch, and then throw the items into a nearby cannon. Items appear randomly inside the tank. Each item also has a number, and if you fire similar items in succession you will do extra damage. So you will have to use not just your wits, but also your reflexes to do maximum damage on your opponent.

You and your enemy will exchange volleys of items until someone’s hit points on their tank are reduced to zero. When this happens the tank is defenseless, and their opponent is free to go inside their tank, and destroy the engine. This is the only way to completely destroy a tank, and once done their machine explodes into a firestorm of 16-bit era destruction.

Boingburg Reboinged?
As you rescue your fellow slime monsters, Boingburg slowly begins to repopulate. Even enemies you threw on a raft my take up residence here. Shops will eventually reopen, and even some of your fellow slime brethren will opt to help you out in your quest. They may offer advice, or may actually join in tank battles as your crew. You can have them help load the cannons to sabotaging the enemy. Even Ductor Sid sets up shop in Boingburg, now that is service. Later on in the game you will find shops that will retune and customize the Schleiman Tank. You can even find a place where Rocket can get rare items through the use of alchemy.

The difficulty level in Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime can be summed up best as relaxed. There are puzzles to solve, but nothing that will lead players to reading too many faqs on the net. Roaming the numerous levels, saving your friends, fighting enemies, and even the tank battles are not terribly difficult. But just like any hallmark of a great game, the player can choose to make the game easy, or as difficult as they desire. Tank battles in particular can be either mindless, or you can unload merciless combos on your enemy, the choice is completely up to the player.

Slime and Friends!
The multiplayer aspect of Dragon Quest Heroes is a real solid effort. You have a few mini-games that support a single card download. But the real draw is the tank battle. Unfortunately, this requires each player to have a copy of the game, but the options it presents are amazing. You can play as any of the tanks in the game, and players actually use their own inventory they collected in single player in battle. Up to four players can battle it out, and even form teams.

Sexy Slime Idol
Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime looks amazingly bright and colorful. You will find the single player levels look like a typical top down action RPG, where all the action takes place on the bottom screen. The top screen is reserved for a simple map. When in tank battles, the map screen is substituted for a side view of both tanks. Each level is beautifully animated with several characters on screen, and no slow down. However, in tank battles after you defeat your enemy, there is a considerable amount of transparencie issues, but this only lasts for a couple seconds, and is barely even worth mentioning.

The Nintendo DS can produce some really nice audio, and Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime is an excellent example of what can be done. You will find classic Dragon Quest tunes redone, and as well as all new compositions. Sound effects are nice, but the real star is the soundtrack. This is one of those games you might want to wear headphones to enjoy all that is there.

With everything that Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime is, it does have a few blemishes in its design. Many gamers may be turned off from the single player campaign at first and feel that the game is too straightforward. It is only around the halfway mark that the game design really shows its intricacies.

Pow, right in the kisser!

One complaint I don’t understand however is Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime should have offered more touch control. I feel this is a mute point, because the Dragon Quest Heroes design doesn’t lose or gain anything from how you would control it.

Slimy but Tasty!
Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime is a wonderfully original game. I never had a chance to play any of the Slime Mori Mori games from Japan, but if this is anything like those, then we have been missing out on some of the most entertaining games in this generation. I had so much fun playing Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime that my only real complaint is that the experience didn’t last any longer.

— Stephen Smith