You play Chuck Norris, on his way to rescue somebody from a monastery in Japan. Chuck has six minutes to get to the monastery. The game begins in a vertically scrolling overworld, with two paths and grass. If you step into the grass, you lose time at a much faster rate. As you walk down either path, you are ambushed by Mooks, and taken to the fight screen.
In the fight screen, you face three enemies, one at a time, who run back and forth and throw shuriken (throwing stars). If an enemy hits you, he knocks you down, and you become a sitting duck for a shuriken. If a shuriken hits you, you lose time and are sent back to the start of the path. You have three moves: punch, kick, and block. These enemies block the upper part of their body, so you defeat them by kicking. The block can protect you from shuriken.
Having defeated the mooks, you continue on the path. You get to a point where the two paths meet; this is a Checkpoint. You receive a new belt, showing the progress of your training, and another minute. The path once again splits, this time in three. Only one path is correct; the other two are blocked by fallen trees. The correct path is randomly determined, so this is a Luck-Based Mission. You'll face another ambush on each path, and this time the enemies block low, so you punch them.
Having made it past mooks and fallen trees, you get to another check point. This time, in addition to your belt and minute, you get a new move, the Somersault Superkick. This move replaces the block, and works against enemies regardless of how they're blocking. Which is good, because enemies are going to start blocking either high or low.
And so it goes until you reach the monastery. Inside, you face a Multi-Mook Melee of Ninjas, who start turning invisible, and their shuriken just knock you down. The more of them you defeat, the longer they stay invisible, until poor Chuck can do nothing but wander around a seemingly empty room, taking shuriken from bad guys who appear out of nowhere. The game ends when you run out of time. You never get to rescue whoever it was you were after.
Chuck Norris Superkicks provides examples of:
- 3/4 View: The overworld is a mix of Top-Down View gameplay and Side View sprites. The combat screen is an elevated side view.
- And Your Reward Is Clothes: You start with the beginner's White Belt, then progress to the Orange, Green, Purple, Brown, and Black Belt.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: Chuck Norris beats his way past dozens of Mooks without ever wielding a weapon.
- Beat 'em Up: A very simple example, with only three moves.
- Boss Room: The monastery is the final room in the game, and there you meet the "boss", an endless army of mooks.
- Character Level: Two: Punch/Kick/Block (White and Orange belts) and Punch/Kick/Superkick (Green to Black belts).
- Checkpoint: Where the paths come together briefly.
- Downer Ending / No Ending: Rather than rescuing the hostage, you always lose to a bunch of ninjas right before reaching him.
- Everything Fades: When you hit an enemy, he flies backwards, then disappears.
- Excuse Plot: You're here to rescue somebody, but it doesn't matter, and you can't rescue him anyway. Just beat up as many mooks as you can before time runs out.
- Game Over: The game ends when you run out of time.
- The Ghost: The hostage, referred to in the manual as a "famous leader".
- Inescapable Ambush: No matter which path you take, you'll be ambushed and taken to a fight screen.
- Instant 180-Degree Turn: Chuck and his enemies all turn around instantly. This can make for some nasty surprises when a mook you're sneaking up on suddenly turns around and throws a shuriken at you.
- Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Fallen trees block all but one of the branching paths. You'd think an athletic guy like Chuck could climb over a tree, but no.
- Invisible Monsters: The Ninjas in the monastery gradually become invisible for more and more time, until they only appear to throw a shuriken your way.
- Invisible Wall: The left and right sides of the screen, and the top and bottom of the fighting areas.
- Luck-Based Mission: Two or three paths, only one not blocked by trees, four times.
- Mooks: Three or more per battle screen, and an endless stream of them in the monastery. The manual gives them various Japanese names: Yakuza, Dorobo, Ronin, Tengu, Goemon, and Ninja.
- Multi-Mook Melee: The monastery is an endless stream of bad guys.
- Painfully Slow Projectile: Shuriken travel across the screen so slowly that you can easily dodge them.
- Palette Swap: Different enemies are just the same sprite with different colors.
- Pinball Scoring: After defeating the first three enemies and gaining the Orange Belt, you have 10,300 points.
- Scoring Points: The only point of the game, since you can't rescue the hostage.
- Stock Ninja Weaponry: One-pixel shuriken, thrown at you by the bad guys. They don't kill you, but they cost you time.
- Timed Mission: Six minutes, plus an extra minute for each belt earned, for a total of 11.
- Wutai: The game is set in the present day in a pastiche of rural Japan.