The original arcade version is an interactive movie and shooter game, where the player watches scenes as the helicopter flies by the conflict zone. The game screen is represented by the helicopter's cockpit, and the player controls a crosshair that can be moved to aim at the enemy forces. The game features a joystick and two buttons: one Machine Gun and one Missile. The game can be played with 1 or 2 players. In certain moments, the voice of the pilot's commanding officer helps the player out with completing each mission by firing at enemy forces and dodging both enemy fire and natural surroundings, by pressing the joystick or directional pad in the correct direction and at the right time. If the pilot makes a mistake, the anime sequence shows the Cobra helicopter blown up and the player loses a life. If all lives are lost, the "Game Over" screen shows the Cobra in smoldering ruins and its pilot is presumably dead from the crash.