The game was first released to arcades in 1987, by Taito Corporation in Japan and by Romstar internationally, and subsequently ported to various consoles and Japanese computers.
In terms of gameplay (there is really no story), Twin Cobra is a typical Vertical Scrolling Shooter. Players' helicopters take off from carriers to wreak destruction on enemy helicopters, tanks, cannons, airplanes, gunboats, and so forth. Players have a choice of four primary weapons plus bombs that inflict massive damage within their wide blast radius. The primary weapon can be changed by collecting orbs that change color as they float around the screen. These weapons, and their colors, are:
- Red: Missiles (default).
- Green: Machine gun.
- Blue: Spread cannon.
- Brown: Multi-directional homing weapon.
A sequel Twin Cobra II was released in 1995.
- Color-Coded Multiplayer: The cooperative 2-player mode of Twin Cobra gives the first player a red helicopter and the second player a Palette Swapped blue helicopter.
- Difficulty by Region: The Japanese version forces the player back to a Check Point upon dying.
- Endless Game: The arcade version loops after level 10.
- Every N Thousand Points: The exact number of points required for an extend depends on the difficulty setting.
- Hard Mode Filler: Stages 6 through 10 are the same as 1 through 5 with different, much harder enemies and bosses.
- Spread Shot: The blue weapon.