Rescue: The Embassy Mission is a short NES game, involving 4 different types of gameplay segments as the player attempts to rescue hostages and eliminate the terrorist threat.
In the opening cutscene, terrorists take an embassy hostage. The player controls 6 SWAT team members infiltrating the embassy to rescue the hostages within. The player sets two separate difficulties (dubbed Rank and Mission), determining variables such as enemy reaction time and the presence of innocents who can be injured by the actions of the player. Regardless of the settings, the goals of the story and geometry of the levels remain the same.
The player starts controlling the three snipers on the team. In the first segment, the player must maneuver the individual snipers to the entrances of the buildings surrounding the embassy to take up their sniper posts. The first sniper must make it to the closest sniper post, the second the middle point and the third to the farthest point. If a sniper is killed during this segment, the next sniper attempts to make it to his sniper post, with the last sniper point becoming unavailable to the player. To reach the points, the player must avoid the terrorist’s searchlights. The player can roll using the a and b buttons, go prone and crawl with the down arrow and take cover in doorways, windows and other objects using the up arrow to avoid being spotted.
Once the snipers are in position, the player can take control of the snipers again. The perspective switches from side scrolling to through the sniper’s scope. The player can eliminate terrorists who happen to be near the windows. Reducing the number of terrorists inside the Embassy, makes further gameplay segments easier. The directional pad moves the aims the rifle, a and b fire. Each of the three sniper points have a vantage point on a different side of the embassy.
In the third gameplay segment the player takes control of the assault team, who have been dropped off on the roof by a helicopter. Individually the three assault team members must rappel down the side of the embassy and enter through a window. The player can enter on any of the three floors. The player uses the up and down buttons to carefully descend. Pressing down causes the player to descend, but if the player descends to far without catching the rope, the team member will fall and die. The up button catches the rope and climbs upward. If the player encounters a silhouette in the window and crosses that window, the rope will be cut by that terrorist. These silhouettes are the terrorists that can be eliminated by the sniper, the player can switch to the sniper at any time to eliminate a suddenly appearing enemy before crossing that window. When the player reaches the desired floor, the a and b buttons are used to break through the window.
The final gameplay segment is in the first person. Individually the assault team members make their way through the three floors of the building, eliminating the terrorists. Movement is handled through screens. The player can better understand the character’s position through a minimap. Up on the direction pad always moves one screen forward (including through doors and using stairs), left and right turn left and right one screen. The a and b buttons fire the weapon. When a fire button is continuously fired, the direction pad can be used to aim the gun as the gun continuously fires. In certain difficulty settings, the hostages will appear in the map and can be shot by the assault team. At lower difficulties, everyone (terrorists and hostages) appear on the minimap. The game ends when all terrorists are eliminated.
On most difficulty settings, the player views an ending cutscene rating the player’s performance in the mission. The number of hostages and team members who survived are tallied and a newspaper article detailing the casualties is displayed.