Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime review

As I was travelling through the Central Line yesterday, a ten year old kid sitting next to me was staring avidly at my 'not-so-shiny any longer' DS Lite. It was rather rude but maybe all those colourful action happening on the bottom screen intrigued him. Maybe.

He then broke a long standing rule of travelling on the Tube (as well as for an innocent kid) by talking to me. You shouldn't really talk to strangers but I am sure the curiosity got the better of his judgement. Besides a guy playing a game staring colourful little creatures can't be dangerous, right?

"Is that the new Pokemon?" he asked.

"Nope, it is the new Dragon Quest."

"What's that? It looks like Pokemon!"

"No, it is Dragon Quest!"

"What a rip-off! It looks just like Pokemon" he spurred on. (At that point I wanted to twat the little rascal.)

"No... Look, it stars a blue slime. You don't have slimes in Pokemon do you now? There isn't any little yellow critters here too."

"I like Pokemon more" he answered incredulously (noticed how he has already mentioned Pokemon four times, perfect for me setting a record for typing ‘Pokemon’ in a non-Poke related review). Shrugging, he removed his scratched up GBA from his sack and started playing Pokemon Ruby something.

At that point I started to feel pity for the little guy. He had an old school purple GBA from 2001 with a backlit mod. It is obviously a hand me down from his dad, who is probably playing his DS somewhere, or worse - his PSP. Furthermore he (the kid, not the dad) had Pokemon Ruby something game cart, which is like from ten thousand years ago.

It shouldn't surprise anyone for mistaking the game I was playing with a Pokemon game (actually this is game closer to The Legend of Zelda series than Pokemon due to the action RPG elements). With simple and colourful to graphics to match, the title I am reviewing today was always 'asking for it' (the comparison). Design hark to a time (SNES era) where carefree and cheery looking creatures were the order, not those complex Doom-style horror villains that seems to grace 93.6174% of the newer so called 'next-gen' titles today.

Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime is a spin-off of the insanely popular Dragon Quest series. It is the second Slime portable (the first was a Japan only release on the GBA). It stars a Slime (the mascot and one of the easiest enemy in the series) called Rocket, a blue blob who stretches its body to attack other beings, from the kingdom of Slimenia.

One day Boingburg (the city) is attacked by the Plob, who kidnapped all the slimes. Rocket, the only Slime left behind due to mistaken... uhm... identity, must liberate all 100 slimes from a total of seven funnily named locations (e.g. Flucifer's Necropolis).

Like the Zelda series, players has to explore the area and solve puzzles in order to unlock hidden locals. However, unlike later Zelda games however, Rocket Slime adventure portion is extremely easy. On some levels progressing would require you to battle traditional boss (easy) although most would mandate the participation of tank battles (fantastic). Gameplay is as easy as keeping one of your finger squarly above the 'A' button.

I can't help pointing out how much I love tank battles. It involves manning the Scheliman Tank against another a Plob tank. As you advance through the game the tank can be upgraded to enhance its HP level and better weaponry (mixture of weapons/defence). Three slimes can also assist Rocket in tank battles, with each having its own capability.

For example a Slimenian called Holly is adept at infiltrating and sabotaging the enemy tank. Or you could recruit Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan Tokyo Tom who prefers to turn itself into an ammo and launch at the enemy. Similarly some members of the Plob may try to enter the Scheliman Tank in order to create mayhem. While tank battles may sound simple, you will have a wide option of destroying the enemy tank. My preferred strategy usually involves sending Rocket to infiltrate the enemy tank and disrupting their routine while leaving Rocket's assistants to their job of firing continuously.

As I said before, the graphics are simple yet colourful. It doesn't match The Minish Cap in detail, but as far as portable games goes, Rocket Slime 2D sprites is wonderful and works flawlessly with the spirit of the series. Sound is pretty good too with each levels having it's own unique soundtrack.

The game is hilarious and is littered with countless of references/puns to other games in Square-Enix's portfolio including Enix's own Dragon Quest series and Square's Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy series. Dialogues are often comical too. I haven't played a more witty RPG since Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time, and many people knew that was fun.

If there is a problem with the game is the main objective of saving 100 slimes and defeating the Plob is pretty short (roughly 10-13 hours) and easy. You could easily push the game further if you bother improve your stat or to 'gotta catch em' all' Pokemon style. Personally I couldn't care less but even if you won't bother with all the Pokemon inspired stuff you really should at least play the main portion of the game (you know, the saving the slimes and defeating the boss stuff). Go Slime!


Buy now from Play-Asia


Ico said...

Great review. The DS has been sorely lacking in the RPG department but thankfully all this are about to change with this, FFIII and all the other Squeenix games coming out, not to mention the new Pokemon and Zelda! DS FTW!

Anonymous said...

I think, your an anus.

Jon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jon said...

Sir, I think you meant arse (or donkey if you are an American). Thank god you are an idiot.