- D-Pad: In the Sega Genesis, SNES, Sega Master System, Sega Game Gear and Nintendo Game Boy versions of the game you must use the D-Pad to make Spot walk left and right, as well as climb up and down; however, for the Commodore Amiga one, you must use a joystick instead. In the MS-DOS version, you must use the arrow keys by default, but they are redefinable (along with the keys for attacking and jumping) on the options screen.
- : In the Sega Genesis version, you must use this button to make Spot throw "Cool Shots" at his enemies; for the SNES version, it is replicated by , while in the SMS and Game Gear ones it is replicated by , and in that Game Boy one it is replicated by . In the Amiga version, you have to use the joystick's button - and in the MS-DOS version you will have to use by default, but it can again be changed on the options screen.
- : In the Sega Genesis version, you must use this button to make Spot jump; in the SNES version, this is replicated by , while in the SMS and Game Gear ones it is replicated by , and for the Game Boy one it is replicated by . In the Amiga version, you must push the joystick up while Spot is not holding onto a rope - and for the MS-DOS one, you will have to use by default (but it can again be changed on the options screen).
- : In the Sega Genesis, SNES, SMS, Game Gear, and Game Boy versions, you can press this button to pause the game; however, in the Amiga and MS-DOS ones you must use instead. The game shall stay paused until you press (or ) again, at which point play will be resumed.
The protagonist of the game; obviously depicted as monochrome in the Game Boy version, he is on a mission to save his eleven (eight for the SMS and Game Gear versions, as the fifth, seventh, and eighth levels are omitted from them) imprisoned friends by collecting the "Cool Points" that are scattered around the levels (by default, he must collect 60 of them on "Normal" skill level, but on "Easy" skill level he only has to collect 30, and on "Hard" skill level he has to collect 90). Once Spot has collected the required amount of Cool Points the text "FIND CAGE" will appear on the screen, at which point he must find the cage in which his friend is imprisoned - and if he gets a total of 75 (on "Easy" skill level), 85 (on "Normal" skill level), or 99 (on "Hard" skill level) Cool Points, the text "BONUS LEVEL" will appear on the screen (meaning that once Spot finishes the current level, he will proceed onto a bonus level where he will have the chance to collect a bonus letter for a continue). Spot's energy is indicated by a sticker of his face; every time an enemy hits him, it will peel off the screen (but it can be reapplied by collecting beakers of 7UP, which were changed to ones of Virgin Cola in the EU versions). If the sticker peels off the screen completely Spot will die and be resurrected at the last checkpoint he passed - and he'll also die instantly if he falls into a pit or into water, or runs out of time (but it can be extended by collecting stopwatches, and you also won't lose a life if you ever run out of energy or time in a bonus level).