Alisia Dragoon is an action game developed by Game Arts, with support from the animation studio Gainax, who handled the artwork and storyline. The game is recognized as one of the few early titles which presented a female character in a leading role, capable of defending herself without male help.
In the original Japanese version, Alisia is the daughter of a sorcerer, who has imprisoned the main villain, Baldour, in a cocoon and sent it into outer space. Her father was in turn tortured to death by Baldour's followers. When the villain crashes back to the planet and begins to awaken, Alisia sets out to defeat him and his followers.
The American and European versions of the game used a different story Alisia as a gladiator who champions the cause of the people with her four pet companions. Her task is to eradicate the evil monsters and the source of their production - a "silver star" that has crashed to Earth. The character design for Alisia was changed to match this story; she was redesigned to look like a golden bikini wearing female barbarian instead of an anime styled big-eyed heroine.
Her main attack is to shoot lightning from her hands. A power gauge drains as she attacks, and replenishes when the player stops attacking. The gauge determines how strong the attacks are. Storing energy until the gauge is full results in an attack that damages all enemies on screen, followed by the standard lightning arc and a weaker lightning attack. Attacks become sporadic as the gauge depletes fully.
Alisia also has the support of four different dragons which she can unleash one at a time. Each dragon has a unique attack and HP bar. The Dragon Frye spits fireballs, and the Boomerang Lizard hurls boomerangs. The Thunder Raven emits a thunder blast that affects enemies across the screen, and the Ball O' Fire burns enemies on contact. Alisia can choose which dragon will follow her at any given time, or can choose to battle alone. The chosen dragon will travel alongside Alisia in the level, automatically attacking enemies.
Alisia and her dragons can level up and improve their abilities by collecting power-ups. These enhancement items are hidden throughout the first seven stages. The various power-ups can heal Alisia and her monsters, increase their maximum life bars, improve their attacks, or grant invulnerability for a certain period of time.
When a dragon loses all their life, they are removed from play until a Revive power-up is collected. If Alisia loses all her life bars she can continue, and the game is over when the player runs out of continues.
Alisia Dragoon contains 8 levels, each ending in a boss fight. After the game is over, a status screen shows a rank based on the overall performance of the player, which includes the number of kills, the power level of Alisia's attack, and the frequency the pet monsters are used.
Alisia Dragoon sold poorly in Japan because of the low adoption rate of the Genesis at the time. The game was released by Sega in North America and Europe, where it did slightly better, but Sega did little to push the title and it was not well known even though it was well accepted by critics.