In Goldrunner, a vertically scrolling shooter, earth has to be evacuated because of the damage caused by environmental pollution. Unfortunately the space ships have to pass through the world of Triton - and the inhabitants are unfriendly. So the obvious solution is to destroy the rings, huge space stations. A full frontal attack is without a change of success because the rings have to be destroyed from within. So the player is chosen to man a small space ship to do the job.
Every ring has a certain amount of energy which has to be reduced by destroying everything inside. Of course the Tritons won't give up without a fight, but touching the enemies won't hurt the space ship (it hurts them): the only way to die is by touching enemy mines (the ship can take up to five hits) or by flying against a high, indestructible building (instant death). The ship also has a turbo boost function and between levels there are bonus rounds which are used to rack up points for the high score list.