The player controls the hero, who is called Black Tiger, with an eight-way joystick and two action buttons: one to jump and the other to use the hero's whip. Black Tiger is a mighty warrior armed with a powerful weapon. His mission is to destroy the three fierce dragons that are terrorizing the kingdom. He can collect stronger weapons and armor during his journey, but he can only attack in the direction he faces.
Black Tiger can collect zenny coins and ancient treasures by destroying urns. He can also revive a frozen shopkeeper, who may offer to sell him extra weapons, armor and vitality.
This video game provides examples of:
- Body Armor as Hit Points: Black Tiger starts off with armor that can absorb three hits before breaking, and can buy armor that can soak even more hits. Once his armor breaks, Black Tiger will just be in his loincloth and any hit will kill him instantly.
- Bottomless Magazines: Black Tiger's flails will shoot out unlimited number of daggers that fire out as quickly as you hit the button.
- Epic Flail: Black Tiger's weapons are a variety of chains mounted on a handle and these flails shoot out daggers. One of these flails even has a fireball for a head.
- Fictional Currency: Zenny.
- Interchangeable Antimatter Keys: Black Tiger can use them to unlock doors and treasure chests.
- Invincible Minor Minion: The Spinning Skull is indestructible. You must maneuver around it.
- Market-Based Title: Black Tiger is actually the game's North American title. It was originally called Black Dragon in Japan; strangely, in Japanese mythology, the dragon is the natural enemy of the tiger.
- Protagonist Title