Players proceed through each level, defeating enemies and collecting gems (hearts in previous games) to power special weapons (in this game, the axe, boomerang, and holy water). Each stage is sectioned into chunks, and has a sub-boss battle in the middle, with the big boss battle at the end.
Some items will increase the power of the characters' weapons. Some portions of the game split into different paths, depending on which character is chosen. John is able to swing past huge gaps with his whip, whereas Eric must use a different route by performing high jumps by using his spear.