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    jp's Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime (DS)

    [February 16, 2011 05:22:02 PM]
    I know that this game isn't exactly the sort of place one should go looking for profound philosophical insights. However, I can't help writing about something that did occur to me as I was playing the game...

    This game is pretty unambiguous in how it presents who's a friend and who's an enemy. The bad guys come in early and really do a number on the slime village your character inhabits. They kidnap everyone and lock them up in chests they then take away. It's quite the tragedy, if you think about it. The villains may be bumbling idiots, but they're definitely bad. The strange thing is that when you pick them up and send them back to the village on the train, they become good! In the same way you collect Pokemon, in this game you can collect villains (in fact, you need at least 35 of each kind in order to have a special statue of them appear in the museum!) who then become a part of the village society. It's never really explained HOW this change of heart comes about. Are the villains instantly converted to "good" as soon as they come out of the tunnel? Do they have to go through "re-education" in some dingy basement/torture chamber I wasn't privy to? Did they simply see the error of their ways?

    It made me wonder about what I would call "cartoon evil" (for now, until I read up on what other people have thought and said). It's basically evil that doesn't take itself too seriously. Evil as a lark, evil as a hobby. There's no real substance to it because characters can switch back and forth so rapidly (and without consequences).

    It's still a good game though. :-)
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    [February 8, 2011 11:37:17 AM]
    I decided to call it quits when, after a little research online, I realized that there really wasn't much point in my continuing to play the game after finishing the main story/campaign. I mean, you can collect meaningless things for only so long. Especially when there's no way of telling anyone about the meaningless things you've collected AND these things have no value in the game (gameplay or otherwise).

    I enjoyed the game a lot, especially the tank combat which, to me, was the highlight and main draw. Some of those fights were real nail-biters with lots of tension and a feeling that tactics did matter. So, I played the special league that opens up (sometime? before the game ends even?) for a while to see what it was like. I was hoping for super hard battles but found out I had to start from the bottom. Meh. At this point, I didn't really want to bother with the easy battles just to get to the hard ones...and, once I was focused on the tank battles exclusively I longed for an easier way to customize/prepare my tank for an upcoming battle. The usual "interface" requires you walk around town, go to different houses to do different things (e.g. go to the crafting place, do some crafting, then go to the crew place, change your crew, etc.). At this point I felt they could have done away with the "story context" and just left me with some nice, raw menus.

    Oh, the final battle was really neat as well. In this case the enemy tank had auto-firing my usual tactic of causing mayhem did not work at all. In this case I had to really manage the enemy invasions as well as ammo, so as to make the best use of what ammo I had available and what was being fired at me. (for example, holding on to the reflective mirror in order to use it offensively against a really nasty projectile heading my way)

    This entry has been edited 1 time. It was last edited on Feb 8th, 2011 at 11:39:44.

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    [January 19, 2011 12:09:32 AM]
    Man, I've been meaning to write about this for a while...but haven't found the time.

    At this point, unless there's some major surprise, I'm probably about 85-90% through the game. And it's interesting, fun, and curious. I was expecting something more "involved" in the traditional RPG sense (learn all these stats, min/max your abilities, level up, grind) but it isn't. And the gameplay, or at least the "special" part of the gameplay is quite different... Ok, I need to explain so that I can at least sort it out in my head.

    In this game you essentially:

    1. Wander around a 2D (top-down) environment populated by monsters and stuff. You can knock things over (including monsters) and then carry them around on your head. Some areas have flat train cars on which you than throw the (up to 3) things you can carry on your head at a time. The stuff you picked up is then whisked back to town and becomes part of your inventory.

    2. In some places, you can engage in gigantic tank battles (your tank is "summoned" by blowing on a flute). It's basically your tank against another. Tanks have hitpoints and damage each other by launching projectiles at each other. You have to man the tank. This means running around (inside the tank) picking up ammo that comes out a slide (there are lots of these inside your tank, they don't all dispense ammo at the same time) and, carrying the ammo on your head, throw it into one of two cannons your tank has. The ammo is then fired, and it slowly flies across to the other tank. The other tank does the same. If your ammo collides with the enemy ammo, both are knocked out; and each of your cannons fires in a different trajectory. So, if you see something coming at you from the "lower" trajectory, you can load something into your lower cannon to knock it out of the sky. Different ammo flies through the air at different speeds and causes different amounts of damage. Once the enemy tank reaches 0 hit points, it's "heart room" (think engine room) is exposed and you have to run over to the other tank, and beat up the "heart". It then explodes and you win.

    a. Ammo? So, all that crap you've collected and sent back home...well, that's your ammo! You can configure the types of ammo your tank carries in a special shop, as well as purchase upgrades for it (more hp,basically). ALSO, you can engage a crew...that will "automate" some of the tank management tasks (like collecting ammo and launching it at the enemy. So, there's some strategy involved in setting up your tank with the right (or best) ammo, as well as picking crew members with useful (and complementary?) skills.

    Now, tank battles occur in real-time! Your crew members work in real time and YOU have to fight in real time. Early in the game (before I had a crew), this was pretty hard (and frantic, in a good sense), since I had to run around, gather ammo, and fire it, while trying to avoid getting pummeled by the enemy (who usually had better ammo and a crew....). This was pretty exciting! I barely won a few was close. THEN, I realized that...

    You can also launch yourself (or your crew) via the cannon...if all goes well you actually end up INSIDE the enemy tank...and can wreak havok there. Damage internals, attack the enemy crew, steal their ammo (carry it back to your tank on your head), and more. This only really works if you have crew in your tank to fire on the enemy (otherwise, who'll attack the enemy?)...

    So, what was a frantic game where I always felt underpowered became a game of tense standoffs where I was trying to find the perfect moment to launch myself a t the enemy, wreak havoc and then saunter back. (note that the enemy can also launch itself at you!). However, it got a bit easier...especially with a crew because I could effectively paralyze the enemy offense...and win the fight.

    And THEN I realized that if walked across, I could pummel the enemy tank doors and waltz right in...there's no need to carefully time a self-launch...Brute force worked!

    So, tank battles are fun but they've been getting progressively easier as I find new (apparently dominant?) strategies for playing the game. It became less about managing the ammo, types of ammo and trying to do everything at once, and more about being patient. Hit the enemy hard in the beginning, neutralize their offensive capabilities and then wait for my crew to do the rest...
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    jp's Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime (DS)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Thursday 6 January, 2011

    GameLog closed on: Wednesday 16 February, 2011

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    Quirky, familiar yet different. A little too easy, but entertaining nonetheless.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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