Review A Great Game Day 2014- Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime
The game I got with my DS lite back in 2007, is a hidden gem in the DS's massive library.
The Dragon Quest series has been one of my favorite game series since my older sister received Dragon Warrior III for the Game Boy Color for her birthday over twelve years ago. In 2007, I was looking around at a local Target and found a particular game that interested me along with its cover art drawn by one of my favorite artists, Akira Toriyama. At this time I did not have a DS, but that holiday season, I received a DS lite along with said game that caught my interest, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime. Seven years later, I go back and play this game at least once a year, still enjoying it each time.
The Slime spinoff series plays somewhat similarly to overhead Zelda games with you playing as the only slime to not be taken away by a mafia group of Platypuses called the Plob. Rocket Slime is the second game in this side series with the first game (Slime Morimori Dragon Quest: Shōgeki no Shippo Dan, GBA 2003) never being released outside of Japan and as of now, the third game (Slime Morimori Dragon Quest 3: Taikaizoku to Shippo Dan, 3DS 2011) still has yet to be localized. During the game you’ll be rescuing the one-hundred other slimy citizens of Boingburg as well as collecting various items for tank battles, a new feature added to this game. Items you collect can also be used to make even better items to be used as weapons for your tank through alchemy.
Like my Sonic CD review, I'll be looking at parts of Rocket Slime I likeed and then parts of the game I thought brought it down.
The tank battles are the game’s biggest focus and my favorite part of this game where you and an opponent try to blast each other away by getting the enemy’s tank HP to zero, then infiltrating it to destroy the tank’s heart. The game offers a large variety of items you can use for tank battles which range from offensive items like pomegranates and legendary swords to support and defensive items like herbs to restore tank HP and shields to block enemy fire so the best ammo isn’t wasted. Later in the game you gain the ability to have a crew of up to three other slimes or monsters with you during tank battles. Some strategy is needed as you prepare your tank for battles since only thirty items can be equipped and configuring a crew to your liking since each available crew member has different abilities like loading cannons, healing, and infiltrating to name a few. Victory during a tank battle will reward you with a new item or alchemy recipe along with slime. You can always go back and re-fight previously won tank battles as many times as you want to get an item again.
A side quest of the game is the Tank Masters arena where you must win tank battles to go up the ranks to become champion, winning various useful items for your tank’s artillery. Also during the Tank Masters, you can pick which tank you want to use during the battle rather than being forced to use the Schleiman Tank like in regular battles. New tanks you encounter during your journey and Tank Masters can be unlocked and used too.
Other side gameplay content includes a surfing mini-game where you must collect as many coins as you can in the time limit. A DS downloadable version of this mini-game is also available for multiplayer. Also you can paint whatever you want in the Boingburg Castle on a canvas using the DS touch screen. If you have friends who also own a copy of Rocket Slime, you can battle each other in tanks battles with up to four people. I’m unsure if the multiplayer will be affected when Nintendo Wi-Fi is shut down in May, but since it seems to be local multiplayer only, it should still be playable after Wi-Fi closes.
The game’s script is full of cute humorous names and puns, with some slimes adding slime related words to their dialogue like: “It’s goood to see you.” The platypus members of the Plob have mafia/New York/Italian accent to their lines. If you like cheesy dialogue injected with puns, you’ll most likely enjoy the game’s humor.
Rocket Slime’s music was composed by Koichi Sugiyama, the same composer for the main Dragon Quest games and it’s just as excellent as music in them. The game recycles some music from the first game, which I didn’t mind too much since the music was still enjoyable to listen too, and sounds even better thanks to the Nintendo DS’s superior sound capabilities.
Compared to Slime Morimori, Rocket Slime looks more detailed but not by much; mainly just more colors. Thankfully, the game does not use the 3D polygon capabilities of the DS, since most games that use it tend to look unpleasant. Rather, Rocket Slime uses nicely drawn and animated 2D sprites. Since the game came out a short time after Dragon Quest VIII, some references to it are in Rocket Slime and so is the leader of the Monster Arena in VIII, who is the head of the Tank Masters just in slime form with how he delivers his dialogue still kept intact.
The game controls excellently. I have no issue moving my little slime around levels and tanks. Unlike Link, your Slime has no sword but he can stretch himself out and roll into enemies to hurt them. You can also use this to fling items up in the air to pick it up, then throw it at and enemy or bring to town. Also unlike Link, your slime can jump and also hover in the air for a period of time by pressing the jump button again while in air.
The game offers loads of replayability with the side quests and collecting to create the best possible tank. I’ve spent about twenty hours playing the game and still haven’t collected everything or completed the Tank Masters challenge.
Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime isn’t the most challenging game out there. I found it to be a bit easier than Morimori, but I’m not sure how it compares to the third entry since I haven’t played it. The final boss is challenging enough and later tanks battles will test your ability to equip useful items, but the adventure part of the game is easy with stage bosses going down pretty quickly. The main game, if you don’t spend time collecting and making new items, is pretty short and could be beaten in a day or two of you have the time.
If you’re looking for a Nintendo DS hidden gem or a Zelda-esque game with tanks, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime would be an excellent pickup. It’s cute and charming style, a great soundtrack from my favorite video game composer, and fun tank battles all combined with a bit of strategy and collectathoning make Rocket Slime a must have game to me. While it may not be the longest adventure RPG game out there, its unique gameplay addition of tank battles and the ability to find and create new and more powerful tank items makes up for it. The extra content like multiplayer and Tank Masters also keep the game going after beating the main adventure.
Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime scores a 9/10 (Excellent).
9s represent excellence. Any issues they may have are minor or are easily forgiven for what is a fantastic experience.
While I’d love to have the third Slime Morimori game localized, I won’t keep my hopes up for it happening since this game did not sell super well in North America. With the 3DS being region locked, I can’t even play an imported copy unless I get an imported 3DS.
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