- or : Press left or right on the direction pad to direct Raphael in either direction. Hold these directions to guide Raphael as he jumps or falls through the air. Up and down are not used in this game.
- : Press the A button to make Raphael jump in the air. Raphael jumps higher when you hold the button down. Raphael can jump to a maximum of twice his own height.
- : Press the B button while pressing left or right to make Raphael stab with his dagger in either direction. Pressing B alone will not result in any action, you must also input a direction. Raphael will stab for a short duration before sheathing his weapon. During this time, Raphael remains stationary.
- : Press Start to begin a new game, or to pause and unpause the game in the middle of the action.
- : Press Select to bring up the map screen, provided that you have collected the map.
The Sub-Menu provides you with options to help you in case you have created a situation that you are unable to recover from. To access the Sub-Menu, press the or buttons on the second controller. This will pause the game, and bring three selections up on the screen:
- Reset: Choose this option to reset the current room to the state it was in when you arrived. Choosing this option will cause you to lose one life.
- Back: Choose this option is you feel that you have used a key incorrectly and opened the wrong door. Choosing this option will cause you to lose one life, and place you back in the previous room, restoring its state to the one it was in, before you entered it previously.
- Game: Choose this option if you would simply like to close the Sub-Menu, and return to the game. It does not start the game over from the very beginning as the instruction manual states.
Raphael is the prince of the neighboring country who came to rescue Princess Margarita from her confines in Grocken Castle. Raphael has two abilities. One is his exceptional jumping talents. Raphael can jump very high and very far, and he will need this ability to survive many of the traps present in the castle. The other is his dagger, a shallow weapon that has little reach, but exceptional killing power. If Raphael stabs at some enemies, he can remove them from the screen, but not every enemy is vulnerable to the effects of this dagger.
Two fairies have been captured by the Devil and imprisoned in the Grocken Castle, in separate sections of the castle from the Princess. Red keys are in incredibly short supply throughout the castle, and the princess is imprisoned behind two red doors. If Raphael rescues a fairy, they will provide him with "the Keys of Love."
The beautiful Princess Margarita is the helpless maiden who has been captured and imprisoned in Grocken Castle by the Devil Mephistopheles. She waits desperately for you to rescue her. The game the moment that you reach her. How many of the castle's 100 rooms will you have to explore in order to save her?