Gameplay is similar to that of all combat flight simulators. The player controls an AH-73M Thunderhawk attack helicopter through a variety of missions around the world. Generally the main objective in each mission revolves around destroying a particular target, but often other factors are involved, such as time limits, stealth and allies that need protecting.
Just before the beginning of each mission, it is possible for the player to heavily customise the weaponry on their AH-73M, ranging from missiles and machine guns to rockets and cluster bombs. Depending on the selection of weapons and the mission at hand, this may either help or hinder progress through the mission.
The game ends if the player completes the final level, if the helicopter is destroyed during a mission, or if three demerits are awarded to the player during the game. Demerits are awarded when the player aborts a mission by flying out of the mission zone.