- : Press left or right to direct the player in either direction. Push up or down to climb or descend a ladder. Note that the players can walk from one side of the screen to the other in either direction on any floor.
- or : Press to swing your hammer at whatever is behind you (into the screen.)
- : Pauses the action in the game.
- : Not used during game play.
Mario and Luigi
You control one of the Mario brothers. Player 1 controls Mario, and player 2 controls Luigi. The brothers' goal is to demolish every destroyable object in each building. They wield a hammer that they use to destroy walls, bricks, and ladders, or to ignite bombs. Mario and Luigi can run in either direction, and climb up and down ladders. They remain in the foreground of the stage throughout the game, and they can cross from one side of the screen to the opposite side. The brothers lose one life every time they collide with an enemy gotchawrench or eggplant soldier. If they are standing in front of a bomb when it explodes, or on a destroyable ladder as it's being destroyed, they fall to the ground stunned, but do not die.
Foreman Spike has a sore spot for the Mario brothers, and is determined to make them look bad by getting in the way and generally being a nuisance. He always walks around in the background, although he is not shaded over like the other enemies that occupy the background. If he has the opportunity, he will smash a wall or destroyable ladder that Mario or Luigi is on the other side of, causing them to fall to the ground, but you can do the same to him. Hit the wall that he is standing behind before he can do the same to you, and you will cause him to tumble down to the floor.
These animated wrenches are a direct threat to the brothers. Each color behaves differently, but their touch is equally deadly. Red gotchawrenches are the slower of the two, but they are a bit smarter. They analyze where the brothers are located, and try to move towards them in the shortest path possible. The purple gotchawrenches are faster, but dumber as well. They tend to move much more randomly, just getting in the way. When any of them encounter an open door, they cross over to the opposite layer. So gotchawrenches in the foreground will pass in to the background and vice versa.
Wrenches aren't the only animated objects on the demolition site. Eggplant men are wandering around as well, and they are just as dangerous to touch as gotchawrenches. They are a little more mindless, walking along until they encounter a ladder or a barrier. If they find a ladder, they will automatically climb or descend it and continue on in the direction they were walking. If they hit a barrier, they immediately turn around. They move at a fairly good clip, but they are rather predictable. Stay out of their way and you'll be fine.
Note: Wrecking Crew is not the only Nintendo game where Eggplants are a dangerous foe. Eggplant Wizards are found in Kid Icarus.
After spending a good amount of time in a stage, fireballs begin to appear. The show up on whatever level Mario or Luigi happens to be standing on at the time. Then they cross the screen in a wave like pattern that is similar to the green fireball from Mario Bros. When they appear, begin to move off the level, or if it's safe to do so, cross over to the side of the screen that the fireball appeared on. Whatever you do, don't stand still.
- Fireball jumps to the music beat. It's also possible to dodge the fireball by moving underneath it when the fireball jumps. It's quite a difficult maneuver.