Summer Carnival '92: Recca is a classic scrolling shooter set in space, played from the overhead perspective. The game is notable for pushing the graphical limitations of the Famicom's hardware.
The game's normal mode consists of four level, which, once completed unlocks a much harder 'second quest'.
The player's ship, Recca, must navigate numerous enemy waves per stage culminating in a large boss encounter. To aid the player Recca may collect power-ups and option units that appear after defeating on screen enemies. Finally, Recca can store plasma energy by not firing its weapons. Plasma energy will build up over time indicated by a meter on the bottom of the screen. This forms a barrier in front of Recca which can absorb enemy bullets, however enemies can still collide with the player and destroy them. This energy can be launched creating a large explosion that can destroy enemy units and projectiles.
There are five power-ups that can be equipped by Recca altering the mechanics of its shot. By picking up multiple of the same power-up in a row their power and effects will increase.
- Vulcan (V) - A spread shot upgrade that makes bullets fire in a wider arc.
- Laser (L) - A penetrative shot upgrade that allows bullets to continue through enemies.
- Beam (B) - An almost straight power upgrade to Recca's shots. Bullets travel straight forward, similar to default shots, but do more damage.
- Five Way (F) - Lowers firepower but shoots bullets in five directions around Recca.
- Homing (H) - Bullets will now track enemies upon being shot (normal mode only).
There are five option unites that can be equipped by Recca giving the player various types of shields that will absorb enemy bullets and provide additional firepower. By picking up multiple of the same options in a row their number will increase.
- Option B - Flies behind Recca and will fire backwards.
- Option C - Moves and faces in the opposite direction Recca is traveling.
- Option R - Rotates around Recca automatically.
- Option F - Stays beside Recca's side and fires forwards.
- Option S - Moves and faces in the same direction Recca is traveling (normal mode only).