This is the first in a series featuring games with prominent female characters, oftentimes the protagonist. Some you’ve heard of, some you haven’t. Some I might write, some might come from others. But they do exist.
You know, with all the charges of games not having strong female leads and Gamergate and all that stuff which I’m not getting into now, I’m reminded of one of my all-time favorite games:Alisia Dragoon. I loved the character not because she was a strong female, or because she represented diversity. I loved her because she was – and still is – a badass.
And it’s a shame the game’s been forgotten. Hopefully, I can rectify that.
But first, some background. 1992. The Genesis vs. SNES wars are ongoing. I was in the Navy, a seaman stationed onboard the USS Ouellet (FF-1077) out of Pearl Harbor. Unlike most my age, I had little interest in drinking or hitting the town, and it would a year or two more and another duty station before I was.
Well, in my case, I went to the Navy Exchange and plunked my hard-earned dollars on a Sega Genesis. And afterwards, i went over to Jelly’s in Aiea (back when they were across from Tower Records and when they had games and Radio Free Hawaii was on the air) and picked up the first of many games (that wasn’t Sonic the Hedgehog, which came with the system.)
I’d had a chance to play on the demo console in the store and was hooked. Here was a character who rocked: she had familiars to help her in her battle, and she faced waves of enemies coming from all directions ages before Dynasty Warriors made that cool. And she did it with anime grace and poise, something that especially appealed to me, since I felt at the time like I was the only squid in Pearl who liked anime (in Hawaii, no less!)
But most of all, she was ferocious.
The story, as Giant Bomb puts it succinctly, is thus:
Alisia is the daughter of a powerful sorcerer who imprisoned the evil Baldour in a cocoon and sent it into outer space. Her father is later tortured to death by Baldour’s followers. Eventually the cocoon comes crashing back down to the planet and Alisia sets out to defeat Baldour and his followers.
Unfortunately for her, though, the Super Famicon was defeating the Megadrive in Japan, while over here in the US, Sega didn’t believe that anime had much of a future in the states, so they redrew her as something hanging around the offices of Heavy Metal.
Ultimately, she would be thought of as just another forgotten character in the past, and even nowadays, when retro is in vogue and all manners of games from the past are getting new leases on life via remakes, Alisia is stuck in time, forgotten by the world. Even the property owner, Game Arts, continues to bring back its big hitters from the past: Lunar, Silpheed, Grandia, and even lesser knowns like Thexder and Gungriffon.
But not her.
But if I had the money, I’d buy the IP and give her a reboot worthy – if Lara Croft can have one, why not other strong femalesr?