Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime
Platform: Nintendo DS
Price: $34.99 (Buy It!)
Publisher: Square Enix
Reviewed by Gus Mastrapa
October 2nd, 2006
The downside of living in a pastoral village is that there's always a horde of evil monsters trying to kidnap your princess and trash your turnip patch. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime turns this fantasy premise on its ear by populating its Shire stand-in, Slimenia, with the bad guys from another game. For decades, the smiling, multicolored Slimes have punched the clock as dungeon trash in the Dragon Quest role-playing games. This spin-off finds their tranquil off-hours disrupted by a malevolent gang of hoodlums, many of whom they fight alongside during their day job. This scenario blooms from the kind of moral gray area that would make fantasy novelist George R.R. Martin proud, but here, it launches a playful, inventive, thoroughly engaging excursion rather than dreary revisionism.
As Rocket, the game's blue dollop of a hero, players quest to free their kidnapped brethren, collect swag, and stretch out to "elasto blast" wandering no-goodniks along the way. This territory has been plowed nearly fallow by countless games aping the original Legend Of Zelda. Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime successfully erects a monument to old-school adventure not by taking mythmaking more seriously, but by having a laugh with the material.
Beyond the game: Localization, the translation of games from Japanese to English, is often a slapdash affair. Pun-filled wordplay and cheeky video-game references abound in this game's smartly written script.
Worth playing for: Tank battles! All that treasure in your coffers isn't just for looks. During these vehicular brawls, you scramble to shove all your junk into cannons and fire the stuff at your enemies. Frustration sets in when: Your Halo-loving pals may roll their eyes when they catch you obsessing over a game with such adorable characters. Their loss.
Final judgment: When a game so deeply rooted in well-trod, classic turf compels and tickles with such ease, the question is this: Are graphics-intensive game creators chasing down the right rabbit holes?
A.V. Club Rating: A-
I was kinda thinkin' about getting the game, but I think this might have swayed my decision to the definate side of the fence...