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NDS Review - 'Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime'

by David Wanaselja on Oct. 17, 2006 @ 12:06 a.m. PDT

Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime is a brand-new action-adventure featuring slime, one of the most popular monsters from the Dragon Quest series. The kingdom of Slimenia is invaded, all slimes kidnapped and so you embark on a journey throughout Slimenia to save your friends and uncover the Plob’s nefarious plot!

Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix
Release Date: September 19, 2006

Ah, the slime. Perhaps the most beloved monster in the history of gaming, this little fellow has been a staple of the Dragon Quest series since the very beginning, antagonizing players for years. He's had his own controller, keychain, plush doll, and numerous other swag items over the years, and now, he's finally got his own game on the Nintendo DS. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime features the blue slime named Rocket, and he's set on rescuing the inhabitants of Slimenia from a sinister group of monsters called the Plob. Part puzzle, part adventure, and all action, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime is an exciting and enjoyable addition to the DS library.

Rocket Slime starts when Rocket and his friends are playing around in an area where they're not supposed to be. One of them has a special flute that belongs in the castle, and they should not be playing with it. Needless to say, they are almost caught with the flute when Rocket's father appears, but a quick-thinking slime shoves the flute down Rocket's throat, turning him into a baseball bat-shaped slime. At the same time, the Plob attack, carting off every inhabitant except for Rocket, as they think he isn't a slime due to his flute-swallowed state. Left alone in his destroyed town, Rocket must embark on his quest to rescue all his fellow slimes from the Plob menace.

As the story progresses, you'll be treated to charming, pun-filled dialogue regarding the Plob and your fellow slimes. There are some groaners in there as well, but most of it is humorous and laced with the type of slime humor you'd expect from a tongue-in-cheek action game. Your slime-mates are also named with appropriately slime-esque names, such as Mother Glooperior. All of this attention to detail and humor really adds to the atmosphere of the game and gives it a lot of charm and character. While the story is fairly typical, it serves the purpose well, and the writing is so good that you'll not care about the clich├ęd plotline.

Once you start playing Rocket Slime, you'll notice how simple the controls are and how easy it is to move around and accomplish your goals. You're basically limited to one button, which controls jumps. When you hold down the button and move the d-pad in a certain direction, your slime will stretch; let go of the button, and he'll shoot off into that direction. This is how you move quickly and attack enemies, or pick up items. Bash into enemies, and they'll fly up into the air, and you can catch them; you can also catch items in the same manner. There is a railcar that passes through all levels, and you can throw items and enemies onto it, sending them back to town for later use. You can stack up to three items on your slime at a time, which makes it easy to collect objects and monsters and dispose of them. The touch-screen is not used in the main game, but you can use it in the museum to paint a picture. All in all, the controls are pretty simple stuff.

The game really excels once you receive your gigantic tank, the Schliemann, since tank battles are the most fun and exciting part of the title. All of the items you collect over the course of Rocket Slime can be used as ammunition in your tank. You'll also receive recipes that you can use to combine items into more powerful things. The monsters you collect can eventually be forced into service on your tank as crew members, and certain members of the slime community that you rescue will help you in your tank and also assist in upgrading it. In the battles, your tank will spit out the ammunition, which you and your crewmates will launch at the enemy, but watch out – they'll be firing back at you, too. When one of the tanks reaches zero hit-points, an attack is launched on the engine room, and you must destroy the engine before the battle can end. It's quite an exciting and fun experience, if just a tad too easy.

Graphically, Rocket Slime resembles a Game Boy Advance title. Its 2D sprite-based graphics are quite colorful and detailed, but nothing too special. Both screens are used during the course of the game – the bottom screen for action, and the top screen for menus and maps. The user interface is simplistic and easy to read, and the animations are smooth and detailed. There are 100 slimes to rescue, and each one is drawn carefully and looks different from each other, at least in color. The town that you inhabit changes over time, and all the slimes you rescue will populate it, along with some of the monsters that you capture along the way. A large number of characters can be onscreen at the same time, too. Overall, the graphics are clean and simple but don't detract from the enjoyment of the title at all.

The sound is just as charming as the rest of the package. The music is so catchy you might find yourself humming the tunes when you're not playing the game. The sound effects for the various monsters and slimes are perfect, and every action has a nice sound effect that goes along with it. I never ever thought to myself that I wanted to turn down the volume because the sound was annoying me, or the music was getting too repetitive. The audio experience that this title provides is just as enthralling as its other aspects.

Although Rocket Slime is almost too easy, it does provide for a lasting experience if you are a completionist. There are 100 slimes to rescue, a ton of monsters to collect and add to your crew, items to make, and your tank to upgrade. This alone will take you quite a while to finish, and when you finally do finish, there is still multiplayer to consider. You can battle against someone else's tank if they have the game, which is a real blast. If you don't have a friend with the cartridge, you can share the mini-game to play, or you can go back and re-battle your previous enemies in tank skirmishes. There's definitely plenty to do here, and the overall experience is pleasurable for the entire time.

Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime is an extremely enjoyable, funny, and lengthy outing that is suitable for everyone. It might be a bit easy for seasoned gamers, but if you're a fan of fun, you shouldn't pass this one up. The dialogue and humor and love that were obviously injected into this title should be experienced by everyone. If you have any friends who own a DS, convince them to get this game, and you'll have a blast with the multiplayer tank battles. Rocket Slime is definitely one of the best games on the Nintendo DS today.

Score: 9.0/10

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