A one or two player sideways scrolling platform shoot-em-up in which two cops, by the name of Tony Gibson and Raymond Brody, fight gangs of criminals over six platform-strewn stages. Each stage centres around a specific criminal activity, such as bank robbery or smuggling. The ultimate goal in Crime City is to find the King-pin ‘boss’ characters that await the players at the end of each level, and arrest them.
The game’s heroes start each level armed with a pistol, and extra weapons become available as players progress through a level. Both the pistol and additional weapons have only a limited amount of ammunition, and if players runs out of ammo, they will only be able to punch or “somersault attack” into attacking enemies. Each stage features numerous background items that can be used to attack enemies, such as wooden barrels, boxes and hanging lights. When shot, some criminals drop packets of illegal drugs, which can be picked up for bonus points.