The game is played from an isometric viewpoint. Players can execute simple sword slashes as well as using the four magic elements, move freely, jump, and push objects. Gameplay is a mix of action, puzzle solving, and platforming for the most part, with the usual role-playing staples like towns, shops, equipment, and spellcasting. The player controls Sir David as he travels through an assortment of dungeons, battling creatures such as 'slime', solving puzzles to advance and saving those who were kidnapped.
An evil wizard named Ragno Roke is angered by the queen's rejection of his marriage proposal. He decides to reawaken the evil demon Ramiah to get revenge. Sir David is offered to come over to Green Row after his journey. He has not been there for a long time and was waiting to return. However, the king informs David that townspeople have been disappearing. The king tells him to search for the missing people. By the end of the game, David confronts both Roke and Ramiah. Roke tells David that he does not need the life of the missing people to revive Ramiah and that his own life should be enough. Upon Ramiah's defeat, Roke dies and the missing people come back.
Mean Machines Sega praised the graphics and unique mixture of gameplay elements. They criticized that the game is often too easy and dull, and compared it unfavorably to Beyond Oasis (referred to by its European title, The Story of Thor) for longevity, but nonetheless gave it a very positive assessment, calling it "A superlative arcade adventure with great playability." The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly praised the graphics, but all but one of them gave the game an overall negative assessment, saying that the perspective severely hinders visibility, the combat is clunky, the lack of story makes the game less involving and creates difficulty figuring out where to go next, and there is too much of an emphasis on puzzles. A reviewer for Next Generation said that the game design reflected Treasure's experience with action games, but that the non-action elements such as the puzzles and storyline are overly shallow, and the isometric perspective creates control difficulties. He concluded, "Light Crusader is still one of the more exciting and graphically pleasing Genesis titles that has come out recently, but this is by no means a RPG." GamePro's The Unknown Gamer commented that the graphics and music are impressive in parts, but that the game is less challenging and complex than most RPGs, and that the player character maneuvers poorly, "with nowhere near the range or fluidity of movement of Ali in Beyond Oasis." However, he concluded, "In the end, Light Crusader gets a passing grade because of some cool bosses and interesting puzzle challenges."
- "Light Crusader". SEGA. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
- "Review Crew: Light Crusader". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (76): 42. November 1995.
- GamesMaster, issue 33, pages 56-57
- Consoles +, issue 46, pages 98-100
- "Light Fantastic". Mean Machines Sega (35): 13. September 1995. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
We goofed with our Light Crusader review last ish. Instead of the paltry 80% we scored it, it should have read 89%. That was down to a production error.
- "Light Crusader". Next Generation. Imagine Media (12): 195. December 1995.
- Player One, issue 56, pages 88-91
- Sega Pro, issue 49, pages 60-61
- "Light Crusader". Mean Machines Sega (34): 62–66. August 1995. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
- "Light Crusader". GamePro. IDG (88): 138. January 1996.