- Joystick or Direction Pad: Use this control to direct Arthur throughout each stage. You can make him run to the left or to the right by pushing the control in either direction. Hold the controller down to make Arthur crouch underneath high attacks. There is a delayed recovery to crouching, which can be canceled by tapping up. Use up or down to instruct Arthur to climb ladders. In the Famicom/NES-based versions of the game, there is no recovery to crouching. However, crouching and immediately pressing left or right will lock Arthur in the crouching position. To release crouch, you must either allow the controller to come to a neutral position, or press up to cancel it. Be aware of ladders if you choose the latter option.
- Fire: Press the fire button to shoot your weapon. You can place up to either two or three instances of your weapon on-screen at once, depending on which you have equipped. Press fire while crouching to throw a weapon low to the ground. Rapidly tap the direction you are facing, while standing, in tandem with the fire button to increase your rate of fire.
- Jump: Press the jump button to make Arthur leap into the air. Use in conjunction with left or right to make Arthur jump in a particular direction. Note that a Jump in this game is a 100% commitment; there is no reversing or manipulating a mid-air jump.
- 1-2 Players: Press either button to begin a one or two player game.
You control Arthur throughout his quest to reach Astaroth's chamber at the top of his guarded castle, and rescue his love, the Princess PrinPrin. Arthur can run and jump, as well as throw a number of weapons at his enemies. Arthur cannot withstand the attacks of the monsters very well, but his armor will protect him from one hit. He begins each stage and each new life with a full set of armor on, as depicted to the left. However, if he is struck while wearing the armor, the armor will fall to pieces, and he will be left to fight against Astaroth's legions in nothing but his boxers, as depicted to the right. While in this state, if just one enemy touches him, Arthur is doomed and loses one life. It is possible to find and collect armor when Arthur is without any, but they are usually hidden from sight.
This is the damsel in distress, Arthur's one true love, that was kidnapped by Astaroth one night while Arthur and PrinPrin were relaxing in a cemetery. In order to rescue her, Arthur must fight through the hordes of Astaroth's minions and reach the top chamber of Astaroth's tower in order to face him in battle. But Astaroth knows just how strong and determined Arthur is, and sets up a trap for him that transports him back to the cemetery as soon as Arthur defeats Astaroth the first time, so the princess is forced to wait twice as long for rescue.
As Arthur fights against Astaroth's minions, they will occasionally drop new weapons for Arthur to pick up. When a monster drops a weapon, it falls to the floor. Arthur must walk across it to pick it up. If you do not want Arthur to lose his current weapon in favor of another, make sure that you jump over the new weapon. Each weapon has a different property.
Throughout the game, you will encounter some enemies that carry pots with them. If you shoot an enemy carrying a pot, the pot will fall to the ground and break, revealing the contents inside. It can be one of three things: a weapon, a doll, or one of the princess' accessories. Any weapon can appear, although certain weapons will only appear after certain levels. The axe will only appear from stage 2 on, and the shield (or cross) will only appear from stage 3 on. The doll or accessory that can appear depends on the stage that you're on.
Items appear in a particular order, as follows:
Every fourth time this cycle initiates itself, the first doll encountered will always be the 10,000 point King doll.
The remaining items fall under two categories: items that are normally exposed and arranged in specific positions throughout each stage, or they are hidden items that you can only make appear but jumping or passing through the correct positions.
|Fixed||Collect the coin to earn 200 points|
|Fixed||Collect the money bag to earn 500 points.|
|Defeat the stage boss||Keys appear as soon as you defeat the stage boss. They fall from the sky and open the door to the next stage. If you are not wearing armor when you collect the key, your armor will automatically be restored.|
|Every 22nd out of 28 pots||This 10,000 point King doll is your reward for repeating the item emergence cycle (described above) a total of four times. When the fourth cycle begins, this valuable doll can be collected.|
|Hidden||There are five extra sets of armor hidden in the game, particularly after difficult sections when you are likely to need them. You must walk, jump, or fall through the proper place to make them appear, and they will only appear if you are not wearing armor at the time.|
|Hidden||This special icon is hidden in other early Capcom games, such as 1942 and SonSon. Like the armor, you must walk, jump, or fall through the correct position to make a Yashichi appear. If you manage to find one and collect it, you will earn 10,000 points.|