First appearance: Dragon Quest (Enix, NES, 1986)
M.O.: Smiling; Running away
Weaknesses: Everything

Profile by Nich Maragos? | March 24, 2011

Youíre never going to die, going up against a Dragon Warrior Slime. But there will come a time when you wish you were dead.

Letís do some math.

A Slime has 3 Hit Points, more or less -- HP totals tend to vary a bit in Dragon Warrior games -- but it will always leave you 1 Gold Piece richer and 1 Experience Point wiser. Those are precious commodities in Dragon Warrior games, especially the first, where the essential gameplay is entirely about making your hero wealthier and more experienced. When you first start the game, you need 23 Experience Points to get to level 3, and since everything else in the game will kill you quickly, youíre going to earn those 23 points fighting Slimes.

You start the game with 120 Gold given to you by King Lorik, with which the best weapon you can reasonably hope to outfit yourself with is the Club. With a Club in hand, dispatching a Slime will probably take no more than two rounds, during which you might sustain a point of damage. Two, if youíre unlucky. With 14 Hit Points to start with, this means roughly every 10 battles itís wise to spend 6 GP to visit the Inn. Your net gain, if youíve been fighting Slimes all this time, is 4 GP.

Level 3 is the easy part here, mind you. The 23 Experience Points you need to reach level 3 will never go away, not even if you die, although you have to really work at it to die at the goopy pseudopods of a Slime. Youíll be at an appropriate level to leave the Brecconary region long before you actually do. Because your real barrier for exit is the 340 Gold Pieces it takes to outfit yourself with the best gear you can buy: one 180-GP Copper Sword, one 70-GP Leather Armor, and one 90-GP Small Shield.

Never mind level 3 -- youíll be at level 4 before you can afford even the cheapest of these. And hereís where the Slimes really start to get under your skin: around that time, they know whatís up. They know they donít stand a chance against you. Theyíll start running away. Every one that escapes is 1 more Gold Piece you donít add to you coffers; 1 more Experience Point you wonít add to your store of knowledge. You could go fight other monsters, but raw levels wonít do the job alone. Youíll need either better armor to withstand their blows or better weapons to end the fights before they can go badly. And for either of those things youíll need to kill Slimes.

One copper sword's equivalent of Slimes.

Eventually, of course, youíll be off the treadmill. Youíll be ready to leave the Brecconary region and go grind on new, interesting monsters which give better rewards and donít run away quite so often. And on and on until the endgame, where youíll have raised all the money you need for the very best equipment money can buy: a Flame Sword, a Silver Shield, and Magic Armor. But even with all those Gold Pieces behind you... even once youíve gone one better and found the legendary equipment of Erdrick himself... you still donít have a chance of beating the Dragonlord until youíre at least level 20. Youíre likely to need to grind out three or four levels before you reach those lofty heights. And what, do you suppose, is the single best monster in the game for purposes of gaining the thousands of necessary Experience Points?

The humble Metal Slime, naturally: punchline to the karmic joke that is the heroís quest.

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