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FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437 Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that.  It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece.  I strongly recommend anyone...

Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime Preview

Tim_Tackett By:
Tim_Tackett
05/23/06
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Action 
PLAYERS 1- 4 
PUBLISHER Square-Enix 
DEVELOPER TOSE 
RELEASE DATE Out Now
E Contains Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief, Use of Tobacco

What do these ratings mean?

A rocket in your pocket.


It’s been over a week since E3 kicked me in the head, and most of my brain functioning has returned to normal. But while many of the three billion games I saw have pleasantly retreated into memory, a few still cling to the sticky part of my frontal lobe.
 
Foremost among them is a confusing bit of DS code from Square-Enix. Unequal parts RPG, puzzle, and action, the bizarre Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime is so wacko it simply refuses to leave my overworked head alone, so I figured I’d share.
 
Check the plot: you fill the amorphous shape of a slime named Rocket. The mysterious ‘cartel’ known as the Plob has kidnapped all 100 of your unique, slimy friends, and it’s up to you to get them back so you can all go kick ass with your huge, slime-shaped tank. That’s about where things run headfirst into gleeful, beaming insanity. 
 
click to enlargeEach stage contains a series of puzzles and slimes to rescue, culminating in a dual-screen battle royale between your tank and an enemy tank. To keep track of it all, the top screen shows the tanks and all the crap flying between them, while the bottom screen sticks with Rocket. Each side has a four-member slime team drawn from that pool of 100, and different slimes are suited for different tasks. There’s some fresh variety, too; I saw a nun-slime, a ninja-slime, and a robo-slime in the first two minutes. And that was before I smoked any weed.
 
The basic idea is to run around the various floors of your tank, picking up weapons that drop from chutes and carrying them to one of two large cannons to be fired at the enemy tank. You can also load yourself into the cannon and crash the enemy’s party for even more fun. Destroying parts of the enemy tank give you distinct advantages in battle (say, setting everything on fire), and blowing the tank’s power core is the only way to win. It’s smart, fun, and absurd.
 
It’s also simple, especially in its control scheme. Considering all the input possibilities with the DS (stylus, face/shoulder buttons), Rocket Slime goes old-school and uses only two buttons for everything. One button picks up nearby objects or drops what you’re holding, while the other sticks Rocket’s, uh, feet, to the ground and lets you stretch and fire him in eight directions. I think the PR guys called it the ‘Elastoblast’ or something similarly ridiculous. When you hit a weapon or enemy with yourself, it flies into the air and bounces around for you to catch, carry, and throw into the cannon. Naturally.
 
click to enlargeWhile single-player Rocket Slime certainly looks interesting, the game really takes off in its four-player, two-on-two battles. I dove into several of these at E3, and despite the fact that none of the rounds I played were against players with whom I share a language, everyone had a blast. The game is so easy to pick up, my international brethren and I slimed around together, all pointing, yelling, and laughing our asses off. The universal language? Slime, of course.
 
Don’t let the cutesy look fool you – this DS critter is an official offshoot of the best RPG of last year and exudes quality out of every oozing pore. If the single-player experience can offer enough action to keep up with the awesome multiplayer, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime could be another must-have in the series. We’ll see what happens when it crawls out of the muck this September. 

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