Fatal Rewind (originally The Killing Game Show) is a platform game where the player must jump, fire, and climb around scrolling levels, with the added feature of slowly-rising deadly liquid from the bottom of each zone.
The protagonist, Carl, is part of an underground group working to overthrow the 21st Century Government Inc., an oppressive collective. The "holo" (holographic) TV station KGS (Killing Game Show) broadcasts a single program, which pits surgically modified "criminals" against HALFs (Hostile Artificial Life Forms). Carl has been caught by 21st Century Government Inc. and forced into the gameshow, where he must fight through 16 "Pits of Death" across 8 moons.
A joystick controls Carl, who must destroy enemies, pick up weapons and items (by briefly crouching), and escape each Pit of Death. Each pit includes DOLL (Deadly to Organic Life Liquid) which slowly raises as gameplay progresses. DOLL can be avoided with a wall attachment feature. Failure to escape before the DOLL catches Carl results in an instant replay, so that the player may improve.