Dragon Breed brought numerous innovations to the shoot-em-up category, both in its fantasy setting and its unique gameplay mechanics. The player controls King Kayus, on a mission to save his kingdom from the King of Darkness, Zambaquous (who was released by the people in a Brexit-like moment of bad judgment). Kayus rides atop Bahamoot, a serpentine dragon whose body can be used as both a shield and a weapon. Kayus fires a crossbow, and holding the fire button causes Bahamoot to release fireballs of increasing power, while picking up power-ups changes the dragon's color and weapon. Though not the most complex shoot-em-up of its time, Dragon Breed's dragon riding mechanics and occasional platforming sequences made it stand out from the crowd.