Slime (Dragon Quest)
|Dragon Quest character|
Rocket, a slime starring in Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime
|First game||Dragon Quest (1986)|
|Created by||Yuji Horii|
|Designed by||Akira Toriyama|
The Slime is the mascot of the Dragon Quest role-playing video game franchise. Originally inspired by the game Wizardry to be a weak and common monster for the video game Dragon Quest, Slime has appeared in almost every Dragon Quest game since. The character's popularity led to the appearance of many varieties of slimes, including boss characters, and even emerging as the protagonist of the Rocket Slime video game series.
The Slime has been placed on a multitude of different kinds of merchandise. The Slime's friendliness, limited power, and appealing form have caused the Slime to become a popular character and symbol of the Dragon Quest series.
The inspiration for the Slime came to Yuji Horii, the creator of Dragon Quest, from a role-playing game called Wizardry. "I was really hooked on 'Wizardy,' the PC game, ... There's...slime-looking characters ..., so I got the inspiration from it. I was doodling the slime-looking character and I took it to Mr. Toriyama, who did the character design, and he made it the Slime we see today." Horii said that when it was originally conceived, the Slime was "a pile of goo", but Toriyama's design came back as a tear-drop which they considered "perfect".
In most appearances of the Slime, it is an antagonist, and occasionally a boss. In some Dragon Quest titles, slimes also appear as friendly non-player characters and peaceful inhabitants of cities. Friendly slimes usually greet players with the phrase, "I'm not a bad slime!". Slimes, like many monsters in the Dragon Quest series, have a certain verbal tic, "slurp". Slimes also replace certain words or syllables with the word "goo" (e.g. "human" becomes "gooman"), or other words relating to slime or goo, when they speak.
There are many different types of slimes found throughout the Dragon Quest and Rocket Slime series. These include slimes in different colors, bubble slimes, which look like pools of slime, nautical slimes that wear conch shells, the rare metal slimes, which have high defense, give out large amounts of experience points, and tend to flee from battle, healslimes, which have tentacles, and king slimes, which are very large slimes wearing crowns and come in various versions, such as regular or metal.
The Slime made its first appearance in Dragon Quest as the first and weakest enemy in the game, and has made a similar appearance in all subsequent Dragon Quest titles. In Dragon Quest V, the monster is an easy recruit that learns a variety of magic spells. The Slime is also the protagonist of its own spinoff series, beginning with Slime MoriMori Dragon Quest, a Japanese Game Boy Advance title. It was followed by Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, which was released worldwide for the Nintendo DS, and the Japanese-exclusive title, Slime Mori Mori Dragon Quest 3 for the Nintendo 3DS. These games follow a nation of slimes who are intelligent and civilized, but also cute and somewhat comical. In the North American localization of the Dragon Quest games for the Nintendo DS, joking references and puns are made about slimes. Slime also appeared in three crossover games along with characters from Nintendo's Mario franchise: Itadaki Street DS, Mario Sports Mix, and Fortune Street.
Reviewers have seen the slime as symbolic of the Dragon Quest series in the same way that the Moogle represents Final Fantasy. Dragon Quest creator Yuji Horii speculated that the popularity of the slime may come from its cuteness, how it is easy to defeat, and while the protagonists change in every Dragon Quest game, the slime is always there. GamesRadar speculated that the intense "grinding", or fighting of enemies in the Dragon Quest series exposed players to an abundance of slimes, but a positive association was created by their familiarity. Yoshiki Watabe, producer of Dragon Quest VIII, hypothesized its popularity came from it being a "well designed character", but "simple", being accessible to anyone.
As the most recognizable symbol of the best-selling video game series in Japan, the Slime has been featured prominently in Dragon Quest-related merchandise. It has its own section called 'Smile Slime' on the Square Enix JP shopping website. Slime merchandise includes plush toys, pencil cases, keychains, game controllers, a stylus, and several boardgames including one titled Dragon Quest Slime Racing. In Japan, pork filled steam buns shaped like slimes have been sold. For Dragon Quest's 25th anniversary, special items were sold including business cards, tote bags, and crystal figurines.
The Dragon Quest Slime has received positive reception from critics and fans, being called the "most prolific" of all the "memorable" monsters from the series and is one of the most recognizable characters in gaming. The Slime has also been called cute and charming by several critics, especially when reviewing Rocket Slime. GamesRadar listed it as the most lovable blob in video games, calling them the "equivalent of training wheels" due to how easy they are to defeat typically, but also saying that their weird smile makes players think twice about killing them. They also listed it as a character they wished they knew less about. They stated that while they started out as nothing more than things for players to kill and not feel guilty about, the playable role of a Slime in the Dragon Quest Heroes series made them realize they were more than just generic enemies. In the January 2010 issue of Nintendo Power, the editors listed the Slime among its Favorite Punching Bags, a list including Goombas and Octoroks. They wrote that "The Slimes are just so cute and friendly-looking, it's almost hard to slay them. But you know, a hero's gotta do what a hero's gotta do."
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