- Joystick: Use the joystick to direct Gil in any one of the four cardinal directions. (Diagonals are not possible).
- Attack: Press the attack button to draw your sword, displacing your shield to your left. Your sword stays drawn for as long as you hold the button down. When you release the button, you sheath your sword and your shield returns to the front. The Attack button is also used for items. If you are standing in front of a wall while you possess the pickax, pressing the Attack button will utilize the pickax instead. Use this button carefully.
- In the arcade version, after you've lost a game you can continue it provided you insert more coins. To do this you must press and hold the Attack button while pressing the 1 Player Start button within 30 seconds of losing the previous game. Then the game will enter Continue Mode and let you choose which floor to start from, between 1 and the floor number where you've lost the previous game. Press the Attack button again to continue to your game.
Gil is the destined hero of this game. He has been charged by the goddess Ishtar to ascend the Tower of Druaga and rescue the maiden Ki from the demon Druaga. Not only must Gil use his sword and shield to navigate through the labyrinthine floors of the tower, he must use his wit and memory to reveal the locations of the treasures contained on each floor, some of which are absolutely necessary for Gil's success. Gil is patterned after the Gilgamesh of Sumerian legend.
The maiden Ki is actually a priestess in her own right, but has unfortunately been captured and rendered powerless by the demon Druaga in order to lure the greatest warrior in Ishtar's realm into his trap. Ki goes on to be a tremendous asset in Gil's future adventures, but first she must be rescued from Druaga's grasp.
The demon Druaga kidnapped Ki in order to lure Ishtar's greatest instruments of good into his trap so he can dispose of them forever, and lay claim to the world. In order for Druaga's plan to succeed, Gil must die. Should Gil survive the climb through all 60 monster ridden floors of the tower, he must face Druaga himself. Without the proper equipment and enhancements, Gil will be no match for Druaga's brutal destructive strength.
Ishtar, unable to meddle directly in the affairs of mortals on earth, can only sit by helplessly and watch as Gil answers her call to service. Once she charges Gil with her instructions, the rest is in Gil's hands. But Ishtar will return to aid the reunited duo another time.