|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Tose||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Square Enix||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Released: Sept 2006||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 - 4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|Review by Darwin||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Darwin C.
Think of Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime as a cartoon shooter with healthy doses of adventure, exploration, puzzle solving, collecting and RPG elements. Yes, its a hodgepodge but it all works and works very well. The overall concept and storyline are hackneyed but its done so well that it all feels new. Im not convinced that the production values are all that great, especially the 2D graphics that could have been rendered in 3D in a lot of scenes. They are similar to the graphics in Advance Wars, and like that game, you get so wrapped up in the gameplay that you dont even give the graphics a second thought. I do appreciate the renderings of the main characters but those old-school, RPG tiled backgrounds take something away from the games uniqueness.
First lets clear up the title. Rocket Slime is the name of the principal character. Hes a gelatinous blob - cute of course - that made his debut as a character Dragon Quest. Rocket discovers that all of his friends have been kidnapped and strewn about the Kingdom of Slimenia by the Plob monsters. To get his friends back and restore peace to his town, Rocket must travel throughout the enchanted kingdom searching for his pals in the various towns to send them back home. This adventure aspect of the gameplay will require that you explore the environment, collect goodies, battle enemies and locate your friends one by one.
Rocket has no arms or legs, so he cant hold plasma blasters, run or double jump on enemys head. Since Rocket is a blob, all he can do is kind of slide and hop around. For defense, Rocket can launch himself at enemies much like a slingshot. Simply hold down the attack button, aim him in the appropriate direction with the D-pad and then let him go. The controls are extremely simple which might give some players the wrong idea that this game is for beginners or wimps (like theres a difference). Keep in mind that the classics like Pac-Man, Space Invaders and Galaga are also all simple to control. Its the content that makes a game challenging. The controls are so basic that the touchscreen isnt even employed. Thats bound to make some players angry and I agree that the game could have benefited by some form of touch control, but its all about keeping things simple. Of course there are all kinds of extra, subtle controls that give the game more depth. For instance, if you hold the attack button down you will charge up Rockets regular launched attack to that of a super attack that will send him careening around the environment like a pinball, mowing down enemies as he makes contact with them. If the characters land on his head, Rocket can carry them around and in turn use them to throw at the enemies.
Tank warfare is arguably one of the games most dominant hallmarks. The tanks are huge and are reminiscent of transformers as they look like giant strongholds that take the shape of characters. These cartoon tanks are large and require the assistance of numerous operators. There are more than 100 characters for you to locate throughout the game and you can use a handful of them to help you work the tank. Youll need gunners, pilots, healers and runners guys that can sneak into enemy territory and do some damage to the enemys arsenal. Up to four characters will be needed to man the tanks which will be handled by the AI. But let us not forget the multi-player mode in which four players can battle it out with tanks of their own. There are lots of tanks to choose from and as in the single-player mode, the AI characters will assist you and your opponents with the operation of your tanks.
Collectibles play a huge role in the gameplay. There are tons of items from the Dragon Quest universe. The tanks can be upgraded with some of these collectibles and you can even shoot some of them as missiles through the cannon. In the four-player mode you can use the collectibles and characters that youve amassed from the single-player mode. This gives you a lot of flexibility and keeps the gameplay fresh. As long as you mix it up a little youll never play the same multi-player game twice. The only downside, and its a big one, is that everyone will require a copy of the game and youll have to be linked together as there is no Wi-Fi feature.
Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime is an easy game to get into and a hard game to put down. Its one thing after another that will keep you entertained for hours on end. Its colorful and nicely animated but the top-down view is getting old. The music fits nicely with the action and the sound effects leave little to the imagination. With so many collectibles, and things to do with them, boredom will be a long time coming.
CCC Freelance Writer