I never played a Dragon Quest game until I came across this 2005 spin-off. That’s a half-truth, I did play the first five minutes of the original Dragon Quest, but that hardly counts. But unlike all the other games, this one was a real time, action, platforming, adventure game where you play as an ooze with its very own giant tank, saving others slimes from evil platypuses (JAPAN!). Just the concept alone makes me happy.
DQH: Rocket Slime is broken into two major sections, Zelda-like adventure and strategic tank battles. Most of the time you will play through a variety of areas, like mountains, beaches, forests, as a slime. In these parts you use your ability to stretch and throw things as you weapons. Pulling taut and launching at enemies. You can throw anything you can hit, which can turn every item or almost every enemy into a weapon. The major goals in each level are to find and rescue the other slimes, to find tank battles, and to defeat an end-boss for each area. Rescuing slimes is as easy as loading them onto mining carts, literally. But there’s an added emphasis on loading enemies and items onto carts as well, which removes them from the area and gives you bonus weapons for tank combat.
The tank battles are where the game really shines. These are one on one fights between two giant cannons. Before battles it’s wise to make sure the tank is loaded with the most powerful missiles you can find. Then once you enter combat it usually comes down to launching weapons at the enemy while your allies sabotage, or sabotaging the enemy tank while your ally’s fire the cannons. Personally infiltrating is often the better strategy, as you have an easier time keeping the baddies from launching missiles than your team does. However, due to a ridiculous difficulty spike at the end of the game, this tactic will eventually be useless. Just always keep your tank well armed.
DQH: Rocket Slime is a pretty strong game. It has a few balance flaws in the later half, but the overall experience is a lot of adorable fun. By combining two kinds of gameplay it manages to keep a retro charm while not becoming generic or too repetitive. If you can find a copy, I definitely recommend snatching it up.