- : Use the direction pad to guide your helicopter through the air. You can fly the helicopter in any of the four cardinal directions, as well as each of the four diagonals.
- : Press the A button to launch one of your secondary weapons (missiles or bombs). With a few exceptions, you may not launch another weapon until the first one disappears from the screen.
- : Press the B button to fire your primary guns. Tap the button to rapidly fire multiple shots.
- : Press the Start button to switch the orientation of your helicopter from facing right to facing left, or vice versa.
- : Press the Select button to pause the game and bring up the configuration screen.
You pilot this helicopter throughout each of the five missions to rescue missing soldiers. The copter can maneuver in any of eight different directions (see the Walkthrough page for a note about scrolling). The copter contains two different weapons systems, armor, an engine, and an air-to-ground rescue system, all of which can be upgraded by invading enemy depots.
At the start of the game, the copter begins with the most basic equipment. With normal armor, the copter can only sustain approximately three shots before succumbing to the effects of damage. At this point, parts of the copter will be on fire, and the copter will slowly descend to the ground if not piloted to fly higher up. A fourth shot will send the helicopter crashing to the ground in flames. As you obtain improved armor, the durability of the copter will improve, allowing you to take more hits before there is any noticeable effect on your performance.
Any time the helicopter crashes, you lose one life. You start the game with five helicopters in reserve. If you destroy the entire fleet of helicopters, you are permitted to continue from the start of the last stage you were exploring, but you will lose all of the hostages you rescued, as well as any upgrades you obtained, and you must re-obtain them. You may only continue your game three times. After that, it is permanent game over.