Manpa Sikjeok-pyeon is based on the Chinese Ming Dynasty story of Yi Zhi Mei ("Iljimae" in Korean), a mysterious thief who steals from the rich to give to the poor. The story involves the search for a magic bamboo flute that alone can put an end to wars. The material, however, is treated very loosely, with added characters and locations (including futuristic ones) that have little to do with the original tale.
The game is an arcade on-rails shooter with an over-the-shoulder pseudo-3D view, similarly to Space Harrier. Unlike that game, all three controllable protagonists are confined to the ground. Their main method of defense is shooting at enemies, but they can also use melee moves with a chance to evade enemy attacks. Stages also contain obstacles, many of which can be destroyed. Power-ups include weapon upgrades, autofire, and health-restoring food. If a player collects a special ticket in a stage he gains access to a store, where all these items plus upgradeable super-attacks can be bought. Stages usually end with a boss battle. Cooperative two-player mode is available.
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