Sunday, July 27, 2008

Player Diary: Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime

For those wondering about the lame excuse/reason for the tardiness of this latest player diary, it doesn’t really have anything to do with completing the game in time for the scheduled posting. In fact, I managed to finish the single-player adventure/story “mode” of Rocket Slime – that is to say, I annihilated the “final boss” and polished off the game’s extra “epilogue” content – in roughly 14 hours. While it’s certainly a serviceable (if simplistic) little adventure game, it’s certainly not some sort of existential gaming experience that’s capable of setting the world on fire – and that’s fine. That’s something best left to the Holy Spirit, anyway.

No, the reason I had to delay a write-up of this quaint and cute adventure game had nothing to do with the solo sections. It was the multiplayer features that kept me engaged long enough to once again fall behind my schedule. Don't get me wrong, shirking one's duties is never something to be commended (as St. Paul says, “those who shall not work should not eat”), but it’s a testament to good game design if the multiplayer component of a video game has me playing the single-player campaign again just to boost my chances at winning future multiplayer sessions. This game does just that.

As a video game, DQH:RS takes its cues from the much-lauded Legend of Zelda series despite the fact that the game is set within the world of Dragon Quest. Both Zelda and Dragon Quest are two of the oldest and cherished video game properties in existence, and it’s interesting that this game, which stylistically and substantially speaking is more in the vein of movies like Over the Hedge than anything else, seems to draw its inspiration from games designed with an older crowd in mind.

Alas, I digress. DQH:RS will do quite nicely as a single-player adventure game, even if it is a bit on the kid-friendly side: you play as a ball of slime who needs to save his village from the mob/“Plob”, who kidnap the village denizens (who are also slimes) and reduce it to rubble. Silly slime jokes abound (the village’s nun is named “Mother Glooperior”) as do some references to other Square Enix video games (a Benedict Arnold Platypus named Ducktor Cid, after the famous Dr. Cid character in Final Fantasy video games). Throw these ingredients together, and you've got Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime in a nutshell. But why settle for nutshells?

The real bread and butter of the game is in the tank battles, which do comprise a fair section of the one-player adventure, but really become something unto themselves when you play with others. It’s not nearly as violent as it sounds – “tank battles” bring to mind gruesome images of war and carnage, but here, it’s all about team work and cooperation. Without going into too much detail, it’s awfully fun catapulting dynamite, mirrors, and other silly things from cannons while desperately defending your tank from the onslaughts of interfering interlopers trying to destroy your tank from the inside. It’s hard to relate in words exactly what goes on, but rest assured, it’s well worth it!

File it under “kid friendly games, parent-friendly prices” as well – it’s probably a little hard to find in stores now, but I got my used copy for $12.99. It’s a silly diversion at worst, and arguably at its best as a hilariously fun game well-suited for long car rides and rainy days. There are certainly far worse things – video game or otherwise – that you could spend your money on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Andy, be more positive, Matt has spent more than 100 hours on Rocket to get all the Kaffrizles, Goodie Bags, and Ghosts possible. I've spent 50 hours and, though I don't have 100 Goodie Bags, barely30 ghosts, and less than 5 Kaffrizles, and still don't have all the monsters for my team, I still have loads of fun destroying tanks with spookl'er bombs.

P.S. Andy... How do I get to post this stuff under Martin instead of anonymous!?!