The player controls a helicopter and has to guide it across a scrolling terrain, battling obstacles along the way. The ship is armed with a forward-firing weapon and bombs.
The ship has a limited fuel supply, which is depleted over time. More fuel can be acquired by destroying fuel tanks in the game.
The game is divided into ten sections, plus a finale, each with a different style of terrain and different obstacles. There is no intermission between each section; the game simply scrolls into the new terrain. In the finale the player encounters a base where the goal is to capture the treasure, and escape.
Source: Wikipedia, "Super Cobra," available under the CC-BY-SA License.