- : Use the direction pad to control Takamaru and guide him in any of the four cardinal directions. Takamaru cannot move diagonally.
- : Press the A button to throw a projectile if there are no enemies within sword-range of Takamaru. If an enemy is close enough, pressing the A button will make Takamaru swing his sword instead.
- : Press the B button to activate Takamaru's special techniques; Either the Inazuma lightning attack that destroys all enemies on the screen (and reveals any hidden items), or the invisibility technique that allows him to run around unharmed for a short period of time. This only works if Takamaru has any technique uses left.
- : Pauses and unpauses the game.
- : No use.
The status bar is present at the top of the screen throughout the game. It indicates the following things from left to right, and top to bottom:
- The number of lives that Takamaru has remaining.
- The player's current accumulated score.
- Which secret technique Takamaru is currently in possession of, invisibility or Inazuma lightning.
- How many ammunition scrolls are remaining.
- The amount of health Takamaru has remaining, one to three bars.
- The amount of time that Takamaru has to complete the stage.
- Which castle Takamaru is currently up to, with the first on the right, and the fifth all the way to the left.
Takamaru is the skilled swordsman that was sent to investigate the rumors surrounding Murasame Castle and its surroundings. Takamaru's sword skills are nearly unrivaled and he can brandish his sword, strike an opponent, and return the blade to his belt faster than a man can blink an eye. He is also deadly with thrown weapons. He can strike an enemy with a throwing knife from far awat. Takamaru can upgrade his throwing knives to balls of flame or windmill swords, but he can only throw them if he has ammunition enough to throw them. Takamaru can also access two secret techniques, invisibility or a flash technique that defeats all nearby enemies. Takamaru can withstand three hits from the enemy before he falls. The white pillbox can heal one of Takamaru's wounds. Takamaru knows that he has a mission to fulfill and failure is not an option. He must discover the entrance to all four surrounding castles, free the princesses held inside, and defeat the Daimyos for the power balls that they possess.
Inside each of the castles, the daughters of noblemen are being held captive. They sit patiently, imprisoned in their rooms, hoping for rescue. If you locate a Princess in the castle, collect it, and Takamaru will be granted an extra life for his good deed. Takamaru must be very careful, however, when performing a rescue. The object of rescue may turn out to be an angry spirit instead of a Princess.
Scrolls are dropped from several defeated enemies. They add 10 to your ammunition count. As long as you have ammunition, you can throw balls of fire or windmill swords. When you run out of ammunition, you will return to throwing knives. The maximum amount of ammo that you can collect at any time is 255.
Tanooki is the Japanese name for a member of the canid family. They resemble raccoons, but are more closely related to dogs. They have been a frequent element in Japanese folklore for a long time. Around Murasame Castle, they provide Takamaru with essential support. Takamaru can collect alternate weapons like the fireball and the windmill sword from the Tanookis that are found either around the castle grounds or inside the castle. Some Tanookis are invisible and Takamaru must swing his sword near an invisible Tanooki to make it reveal itself. Invisible Tanookis provide Takamaru with secret techniques such as the Inazuma lightning, and invisibility. Tanookis must be touched or swung at to make them drop their items.
The good spirits of Japan have left gifts hidden throughout Edo for Takamaru to find. These gifts will aid him by granting him special abilities. But Takamaru must find these gifts first in order to utilize their contents. They can be hidden anywhere, inside or outside of every castle. Their position will always remain the same through each game that you play. If you find an gift box, remember it's location well. There can be anywhere from zero to two gift boxes per screen. The maps provided by this walkthrough will reveal the location and contents of each hidden gift box.