Legend of the Ghost Lion looks like a Dragon Quest clone. You use a menu to open chests and to talk (though you don’t need it for stairs.) Graphically, it looks a lot like Dragon Quest games, and musically it sounds a lot like the Dragon Quest games. The game came out in Japan in 1989, but Kemco didn’t bring it to the US until 1992.
The game, however, is not as conventional as it seems. First of all, there’s the female heroine. Many RPGs in that era did not have female heroines, so it’s rather rare to have a game designed around playing a young woman. Secondly, there’s unique names for almost all the basic building blocks of the game. You gain hope to level up, courage is your hit points, and dreams are your magic points. You can’t grind for levels. Instead, fragments of hope are scattered around the world, and you collect them to level up.
Your heroine can fight with weapons (which you use like items,) but most of the game involves calling on various summons and using their skills against the enemy. This makes the game play like she is a summoner, picking the order to summon defense and attack.
The actual game is pretty conventional, but the novelty of the differences are pretty interesting. The main weakness of the game is the inability to level up. You end up grinding with no improvement to your abilities to gain money for healing items. If you guessed correctly, those items will let you get to the next fragment of hope to level up. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time and need to grind for more items.