Dragon Quest Slime Mori-Mori : Attack of the Tales Gang - Staff Retroview  

A-Bouncing We Will Go
by Michael Baker

Less than 20 Hours
+ Cute graphical design.
+ Easily accessible.
+ Lots of optional mini-games.
- Music is largely recycled.
- Some dungeons are variations on earlier levels.
- Quite short.
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The first I heard about Dragon Quest Slime Mori-Mori - Attack of the Tales Gang (hereafter refered to as Slime Quest) was as a small item in Japandemonium, maybe five years ago. It sounded cute at the time, but I didn't give it much thought until its sequel, Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime popped up on the gaming horizon. Nobody I knew had anything to say about it, not even the great DQ aficionado WonderSlime of the Q&A column. Well, I took the plunge, played through the game a time or ten, and here's what I have to say.

First off, this game is about as much an RPG as the Zelda franchise. Not to knock it or anything, but this review would probably not exist if it weren't for the fact that RPGamer already covers Rocket Slime.

The story is simple. An international monster mafia called the Tales Gang (the Plob, in Rocket Slime) has invaded the peaceful Slime Kingdom in search of a fabled treasure. In the process, one hundred slimes have been kidnapped from their homes. Slime #101, the Hero, has the good fortune to not look particularly slimy at the time, and gets away. But for some alterations to the props and scenery, this is almost exactly how Rocket Slime starts, and the similarities continue to mount over the course of the game.

Join me on the chorus, okay? Join me on the chorus, okay?

The game's controls have the dual blessing of simplicity and effectiveness. The A button causes the Hero to jump, bounce, or dig in the sand, depending on how long the button is pressed or where the Hero is. Timing a button press while in mid-jump lets him float for a short time. The A button plus a direction will make him stretch out for slingshot-style melee action. The B button is used to talk to people in town, throw items, or activate a handful of special attack items. Overall, it's not a difficult system to master.

Slime Quest does not test the graphics capabilities of the GBA, but it doesn't have to. The game is just cute and cartoony and doesn't need to be anything else. Each enemy and character (including all 100 slimes) possesses a decent range of motions and exaggerated facial expressions. All sprite animations are fluid, though there is some slowdown when too many enemies are on the screen. The different levels have their own styles, though there are some themes shared between certain levels.

Rocket Slime wasn't a particularly difficult game, so how does Slime Quest compare? Rather favorably, to tell the truth. While any experienced gamer will make quick work of it, this reviewer has it on good word that the average Japanese elementary school student will find some challenge in this title. Healing items are not very common and some of the bosses -- even a mini-boss or two -- may take a second try to defeat. Adding to the difficulty is the day timer, which slowly counts the moments between dawn and dusk. An elite force called the Red Tails comes out at night, enforcing the curfew with a quick Game Over.

Me pound you good! Me pound you good!

Since it's a Dragon Quest spinoff, it shouldn't be a surprise that much of the soundtrack consists of variations on classic DQ tunes. Those who have played Rocket Slime will certainly recognize every tune since the two games share soundtracks. Like the graphics, the music is hardly outstanding but it fits the cartoonish nature of the game perfectly. Sound effects tend to be minimal but effective. For fun, if the Hero hits another slime in town, they shout "bikkuri shita!", a Japanese exclamation, which is perfectly understandable even through GBA speakers.

Even for beginners, this will not be a long game. A veteran who knows what he's doing can get to and beat the Big Boss in almost exactly ten hours. For most people, fifteen hours should be more than enough to defeat the bonus bosses and save all one hundred slimes. The real fun comes in the form of Ducktor Cid's Helpful Monster Shop. When provided with the necessary materials, helpers, or cash, Ducktor Cid can do most anything. From civic improvement (planting flowers), to making fun new items, to urban renewal (localized acts of destruction) -- the Ducktor is in. Three of the game's five mini-games are only available once Cid has finished making them, and the fourth game's higher levels come courtesy of the good Ducktor as well. Someone could easily waste hours gathering materials, raising cash, and playing mini-games.

The Ducktor is In The Ducktor is In.

If you're a Dragon Quest fan in search of some simple fun, then this is a great game. No Japanese skill? No problem. The nice thing about a cutesy game like this is that the language barrier is pretty minimal. While zero knowledge of Japanese may cause a little difficulty mid-game when a certain slime needs to be consulted, overall Slime Quest provides no linguistic impediments to gameplay. Sure, various parts of the story won't make much sense, but there wasn't really much there to begin with. Important stuff, like gameplay instructions and Cid's requests, comes with obvious picture instructions.

In many ways, this game is a perfect choice for importing. It's cute, fun, and easy to play. It doesn't require any knowledge of Japanese to enjoy, and it gets bonus points for being a pretty original Dragon Quest spinoff. Really, what more could one ask for?

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