Among the classes included for the various characters in The Rise of Cobra include Commando, who does well at close range, Heavy Weapons, who possesses extraordinary shooting skills, but does best from a distance, and soldier, who is a balance between the two. The classic "Yo, Joe!" battle cry is in the game, being used as an invulnerability power-up when the G.I. Joe character gains access to the Accelerator Armor, allowing them to be undamaged while attacking Cobra troops and vehicles.
The Nintendo DS version is a top-down arcade-style shooter that re-uses assets from the finished but unreleased Gauntlet DS.