The controls consists of an eight way joystick and two action buttons for shooting and jumping. When the character jumps, he curls into a somersault instead of doing a conventional jump like in other games. The joystick controls not only the player's movement while walking and jumping, but also his aiming. During side view stages, the player can shoot leftward, rightward or upward while standing, as well as horizontally and diagonally while walking. The player can also shoot in any of eight directions, including downwards, while jumping. Pressing the joystick downwards while standing will cause the character to lie down on his stomach, allowing him to avoid enemy fire and shoot low targets. When the jump button is pressed while crouching on a higher platform, the player will drop down to a lower level.
The player's default weapon is a rifle with unlimited ammunition that can be upgraded into one of four other guns. These can be obtained by destroying the pill box sensors and flying item capsules containing them, or by defeating the red-clad guards in the enemy bases. They consist of a machine gun, a laser gun that shoots a powerful beam, a fireball gun that shoots its rounds in a corkscrew pattern, and a spread gun that sprays bullets in five directions. There are also three auxiliary power-ups that only appear in certain areas when the player is armed with his default gun: a rapid bullets upgrade that increases the firing speed of the player's shots, a barrier that makes him invulnerable for a limited period, and a bomb that wipes out all onscreen enemies. With the exception of the machine gun and the laser gun, each item comes in the form of a Falcon-shaped symbol marked with a letter representing its function (F, S, R and B).