- : Use the direction pad to control King Kong. He can move in any one of eight directions, but he can only punch in four.
- : Press the A button to make King Kong jump. Use the direction pad while jumping to direct his jump in mid-air.
- : Press the B button make King Kong attack. King Kong will either punch, or throw giant rocks, depending on the current setting. He can only attack in the direction that he is facing.
- : Press the Start button to begin a new game, and to access the subscreen in the middle of the game.
- : Press Select to toggle between King Kong's punch attack and rock throwing.
King Kong may look small on the screen, but in comparison to the other objects around him, he's actually quite large. The game's perspective is a very high bird's eye view. King Kong can walk around the screen in eight directions. If he walks to the edge of one screen, the next screen will scroll into view, as long as King Kong is permitted to travel in that direction. King Kong has a life meter and a collection of rocks to throw. At the beginning of the game, he begins with 100 hit points and the ability to store up to 20 boulders. Throughout the course of the game, you can collect items which increase his maximum hit points and boulder storage by 100 and 10 respectively, in every world that he visits. Be sure to take the time and search for them. In the beginning of the game, and at the start of every new life, King Kong walks slowly. If he collects agility potions, he can increase the rate at which he travels up to three times. King Kong is an excellent jumper, and his jumps travel at the same speed at which he can run. Being as large as he is, King Kong can use jumps to attack enemies and demolish structures. King Kong may also opt to throw rocks instead of punching his enemies, but only if he has some stored up. There is another power-up that increases the strength at which King Kong can throw rocks. King Kong will lose a life if his life points are reduced to zero. He can also die in other fashions, such as fall off the cliffs in the cloud stage. If King Kong loses all of his lives, the game is over. King Kong can earn extra lives by finding certain items, and for every 10,000 points that are collected.
The subscreen shows various bits of information concerning King Kong and your progress through the game.
- The remaining number of lives that King Kong has.
- Life Max
- The highest amount of life points that King Kong can store (maximum: 999)
- King Kong's current level of life points.
- Rock Max
- The highest number of rocks that King Kong can carry (maximum: 99)
- King Kong's current amount of rocks being carried.
- The number of keys collected so far in the game. Eight are needed.
- The identity of the current World that King Kong occupies.
- The currently held high score in memory.
- The player's current score.
- Punch or Rock
- Press to toggle the arrow between these two options. Which ever choice is selected is the attack that King Kong will use when returning to the game.