- : Use the joystick to direct Black Tiger in four different directions throughout the game.
- / : Press left or right to make Black Tiger walk in either direction. Also held while jumping to make Black Tiger jumpin that particular direction.
- : Press and hold the down direction to make Black Tiger squat. Also hold down while on a climbing pillar to descend.
- : Press the up direction to make Black Tiger climb if he is holding a pillar. Hold the up direction while jump to gain additional height.
- : Press the first action button to make Black Tiger attack. This consists of swinging his chain whip, and tossing out a set of three daggers in different directions. The daggers can only be thrown as long as Black Tiger is not poisoned.
- : Press the second action button to make Black Tiger jump. This can be used in conjunction with other joystick directions, such a up to jump higher, left or right to jump diagonally, or even upward diagonally to jump farther than usual.
- : Press the Start button to begin a new game, or continue from where you left off once you've inserted enough credits to play.
You take control of the lone warrior known as Black Tiger throughout his mission to seek out and destroy the three dragons who have brought misery to his people. He will have to travel through eight regions in order to complete his journey at the lair of the third and final dragon. Equipped only with some armor, and his chain whip weapon, you must battle through hordes of enemies in a fight for survival.
Black Tiger is in good physical condition and is capable of jumping around quite well. He can leap up, or to the side in either direction. If you hold the joystick up while jumping, he will jump higher. You can use this added boost in height to reach various platforms, or jump across gaps that would be impossible for Black Tiger to survive otherwise.
Black Tiger is highly skilled with a couple of weapons, including his chain whip, which is outfitted with a variety of weapons at the end, based upon the strength of the whip. Stronger whips can be purchased from shops. In addition to swinging his whip, he can also simultaneously toss out a trio of daggers that fly outward at various angles. However, he must be in healthy condition to throw the daggers. If he becomes poisoned, he loses the ability to throw daggers until he becomes healthy again (or loses a life and returns to the game.)
Black Tiger relies primarily on armor to protect him. Armor comes in a variety of levels, and stronger armors can be purchased in shops. Every time he is struck by an enemy, the armor will take the damage and drop in level until the armor is down to level 1. If the armor is struck at level 1, it will be destroyed, and Black Tiger will take damage directly. However, Black Tiger has a vitality bar of his own, which will extend upon achieving particular scores. A second vitality bar is added at 20,000 points. A third bar will be added at 120,000 points, a fourth bar is added at 220,000 points, and a fifth bar is added at 320,000 points. No further bars are added beyond the fifth.
Note: These numbers are different for Black Dragon. The scores needed to achieve new health meter bars appears to be 20,000, 200,000, 400,000, and 600,000.