Title : Alisia Dragoon
Publisher : Sega
Genre : Platformer
Players : 1 Player
Release Date : 1992
Estimated Value (as of today's date) : $20-$30
Okay, I admit it. I'm a sucker for awesome box art. I'm one of those people who WILL judge a game by it's cover so let's just take a look at this one. An amazon-esque woman zapping the sky with lightning bolts from her fingers? Um, yes please? A Dragon blowing fire behind her? YES! Hordes of enemies charging forward to kill her? Uhhhhh, YEAH!
All done in a style that's reminiscent of Frank Frazetta and Boris Vallejo?? Damn, I'm sold.
This was one of those games for Sega that I've been trying to get a hold of for ages. When I was a kid, the only opportunity I had to play this game was at a friends house. Now this kid must have owned every system and every game because his basement was filled from floor to ceiling. I really wonder where he is now, because I'd love to know if he still has all those games.
So I can rob him of course.
This game was a traditional platformer, but what made Alisia Dragoon stand apart from the rest was the fact that you were actually controlling a female protagonist. Finally! And she's a bad ass one on that. This was a really big deal, considering that there were not many female lead roles in games during the 8-bit and 16-bit era. Think about it. Before Tomb Raider's Lara Croft you had Alisia Dragoon, warrior princess. Although in Japan, Alisia was portrayed as a sorceress, while in the US she was a bad ass barbarian woman.
Regardless, let's rock this game out.
So here we are, a warrior faced with saving the world from an evil darkness that has killed her father and aims to destroy the rest of humanity. You can't ask for a more basic good vs. evil story, but it works. In terms of game play, you aren't looking at anything revolutionary, as it's a standard left to right platformer requiring you to slay your enemies and jump irritatingly long gaps. The game has roughly 8 stages, with a boss at the end of each stage.
Simple enough formula. So how does it different from every other game out there?
Well, let's talk about your attacks first. Alisia doesn't have traditional weapons. No, she shoots freaking lightning bolts out of her hand. The attacks also track toward the nearest monster, but you can't just spam it. The more you fire your bolts, the more energy you use which depletes your lightnings strength. It's all about conserving your attacks and making sure they count. Especially if you keep your bolts fully charged, you'll be able to unleash a special attack that incinerates your foes.
Another element added to this game that makes it somewhat unique, is the fact that you have allies in the form of monsters following you around to assist you in your quest. These monsters are basically just side kicks that help kill enemies and defend you from attacks. You've got a few different ones to choose from including a dragon that shoots fireballs, a lizard that hurls boomerangs (yeah, I don't know.), a raven that shoots lightning bolts at enemies, and a ball of fire that, you guessed it, burns enemies.
As you start the game, you may feel as if your characters are a bit weak and overwhelmed. Fear not, as there are special power ups hidden throughout each level of the game allowing you to strengthen up before you face the last boss in an epic duel to the death.
Speaking of bosses, the bosses in this game are some of the most bizarre ones you can expect to see in a fantasy styled platformer. I mean just take a look at that thing? What the hell is that supposed to be!?
Besides appearances, they are also insanely difficult. Well, scratch that. It's not only the bosses that are insanely hard, this game is relentless in its assault against you. The game is highly reminiscent of those quarter-eating arcade games. In fact, I never beat this game myself. I watched my friend beat it, but I could barely get through half the game without running out of time. Even playing it now it's still just as difficult.
This game had a lot going for it, and it still surprises me to this day that it received such a lackluster reception when it was first released. In fact, not many people even know this game exists. I guess you could call it a hidden gem, but some inner circles no of it's absolute epic-ness.
Here you've got a game with fluid controls, a great "attack" concept, superior visuals, and a soundtrack to die for. I mean why wouldn't this game be deserving a sequel. But unfortunately, this is all we got. Hopefully, one day (Fingers crossed), this game would be remade for some of the downloadable consoles.
Now, I'm off to go search for my own copy.....where did my friend live again?