The game is set in a futuristic setting where intergalactic space traveling is a popular innovation for people on Earth. The two protagonists are space bounty hunters who hunt pirates and gangs between two different planets, Earth and Aster.
Top Hunter is a sidescrolling action game. Player 1 controls Roddy and Players 2 controls Cathy, who can jump, punch enemies, extend their limbs to grab enemies or pull chains, and perform a variety of special moves with joystick motions, in a manner similar to most fighting games. The player can also throw objects, use guns, or hijack large bipedal walkers during the levels. Each levels end with a boss that must be defeated to complete the stage.
Similar to Fatal Fury , Top Hunter features a plane-jumping system: the game field is divided in two lanes between the background and foreground, which the player can jump between at any time to attack enemies or avoid traps. The two fields are not always at the same elevation and one of them may be blocked off at certain points.
At the beginning of the game , the player can choose between four different world (Forest, Wind, Ice, and Fire). After all of the initial worlds are completed, the game moves to the final stage on Captain Klapton's battleship.
The Japanese version has five secret endings unlocked by finishing off one of the boss in the final stage's boss rush with a specific special move, followed by defeating Klapton with a special move too. A fifth "special" ending is unlocked by defeating all five bosses in this manner. This was removed from the western versions.
The four starting planets have three levels each. In MVS mode, the player plays through two stages of each world; the first planet selected will have the first stage, then the third, and every subsequent planet will have the player play through the second stage, then the third. On the AES and CD versions, the player through all three levels of each planet.
Like many games on the system, the Neo Geo CD version features a rearranged soundtrack.
- Snow Gorilla
- Sly (Boss of the Forest Planet)
- Misty (Boss of the Ice Planet)
- Mr. Bigman (Boss of the Wind Planet)
- Dr. Burn (Boss of the Fire Planet)
- Captain Klapton (Final Boss)
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