It’s just about time for me to wrap up Source Gaming’s Square-Enix “Case For” articles. Now, this is not to say that we won’t visit characters from games like Bravely Default, The World Ends with You, or Chrono Trigger in the future. It’s just a case of there being a glaring series omission in our current crop of Square-Enix candidates. I am, of course, referring to the flagship title of Enix prior to the Square-Enix merger, a series that is only second to Final Fantasy in sales for the company. That’s right, it’s time to talk about Dragons Quest.
Every video game series needs it’s signature goons and grunts. Bowser’s army wouldn’t feel the same without Goombas, after all. In the Dragons Quest series of games, no enemy is quite as iconic as the Slime. Slime is actually the very first enemy you encounter in 1986’s Dragons Quest (Dragon Warrior in the West), and the enemy has gone on to appear in every subsequent game in the series as well as a number of spinoffs. They come in a wide variety of colors and forms, ranging from the elusive Metal Slimes to the menacing King slimes, but they always retain their signature teardrop shape and smile.
Dragons Quest is a long running and very successful franchise. Launching on the Famicom in 1986, a full year before Final Fantasy or Phantasy Star, the original game basically created the Japanese RPG subgenre. The series has sold over 66 million units, and has been the subject of a large amount of spin off material, including 3 anime series, 18 books, 9 novels, and 16 manga series. That is even before you consider physical merchandise and collectibles, such as pencil cases, t-shirts, and lunch boxes, much of which feature Slimes.
Slimes have progressed quite a bit since their humble basic enemy origins. While they are still an enemy type in every Dragon’s Quest game, they can also often be found as friendly npcs and tamable monster types in some of the main line games. In addition to this, players actually take control of a heroic Slime in series spin off Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime. Not only that, but Slime has accomplished all this with no limbs, although he certainly is in good company in this regard.
Reasons for inclusion:
Slimes come from one of the best selling and most influential game series of all time. It’s massive success is especially noteworthy in Japan, a market that the Smash Bros. series has always somewhat catered to. The series is still very relevant, with the 11th mainline entry in the series set to release this year on Nintendo 3DS and Playstation 4. The series selling power does not end with the main series, however, as over half a dozen remakes and spinoffs have been launched within the last two years.
Dragons Quest is a series that began on the Famicom/NES, but unlike Final Fantasy, it maintains a strong connection to Nintendo in modern times as well. This is largely due to the various handheld remakes and spinoffs (such as the previously mentioned Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime), but the last few numbered entries in the franchise have also been featured on or exclusive to Nintendo hardware. Slime himself has also crossed over into the Mario universe on several occasions. The first two were in Square-Enix’s Fortune Street series of puzzle games. The third was in Mario Sports Mix, a Mario sports title where Slime is the only playable character to not have originated in a Mario or a Final Fantasy game.
Although Slimes are basic in appearance, they are a much beloved part of the franchise. Dragons Quest creator Yuji Horii had the following to say about their popularity: “Maybe the Slime is such a popular character because it’s the first thing you fight and is easy to beat while still being cute. Human characters are who you identify with, so it’s harder to see them as your favorite. And of course the human characters change between games, while the Slime is always there.”
Reasons for exclusion:
Slime, while the star of a spin off series, is still a regular enemy type in the main Dragon Quest games. Having a playable Slime in Smash Bros. would therefore be somewhat like having a Chocobo, Moogle, or Cactuar as a Final Fantasy rep in the place of Cloud. To be fair, Dragons Quest does not have as strong of a playable character pool when it comes to choices as Final Fantasy. The only other choice that really comes to mind is Erdrick, a hero whose exploits unify the first three games in the series.
While likely not a huge issue, it should be noted that Cloud is already in the game representing both Square-Enix and the JRPG genre. There is no actual rule pertaining to third party slots, however, so this may have no real bearing on Slime making it into Smash.
What is Smash Bros. without music? Here are a few tracks you can look forward to if Slime makes it in.