MK Special Forces features five levels, each containing about three sub-levels. Each level is in a different location: a warehouse, canyons, sewers, tunnels, and the Outworld. You start out in the warehouse of the Black Dragon, Kano's evil crime squad. Your mission objectives are sent to you via a personal communicator which flashes at the bottom left of the screen. In the first level, your mission is to infiltrate the Black Dragon's warehouse and recover the nuclear warhead stolen from the Special Forces. Throughout the levels, Jax has to find keycards and jewels, hit switches, move boxes, climb ladders, and piece together access codes in order to progress. Furthermore, Jax will have to be on the lookout for cracks in the wall, which can be blown out by using detonator explosives. Along the way, completing specific tasks will gain in-level checkpoints, returning your character to the checkpoint area if you die within the level. After completing a level you are given the opportunity to save your game to a memory card.
The game has a "Sports 'Virtual' Arena" atmosphere to it. The player is transported to a 'virtual' arena where he does battle with other opponents.
The game does have a Smash TV atmosphere; however, it was unintentionally designed that way.
The rendered head on Ed Boon's webpage is the in-game announcer; who has an over-the-top personality and spews corny game show-esque commentary during gameplay.
There are 8 characters to choose from a typical MK style select screen. At this screen you can enter a 3-digit code followed by the pound sign for game-altering effects, like Big Head Mode (123#).
Players run around surreal arenas while picking up health, weapons, ammo, and cash. Each arena has its own unique theme. For example, there is one arena with a 'cartooney' '70s Austin Powers look. There are classic FPS weapons like a grenade and rocket launcher, along with unique weapons. For example, there is a giant megaphone weapon that uses soundwaves to harm victims.
Each round of play lasts for 3 minutes.
If a player collects $2,000 in one round, the game awards the player a power-up bonus. The amount of money collected also decides tie breakers if two people have equal frags for first place at the end of the round. Furthermore, the money you accumulate throughout the entire game can unlock hidden characters.
Some hidden characters are: Sub-Zero, Scorpion, The Announcer, Grid Man (a model made up of a grid pattern), a burnt body (results from the flamethrower weapon), three cheerleaders, plus many more.
Your 'health meter' is at the top-center of the screen, while dying will show the scoreboard. There is also an on-screen radar, showing the location of opponents relative to your own position.
There are 4 cabinets networked together at Gala West; however, the maximum possible number of linked cabinets is 6. You could have just a single cabinet; however, it is doubtful this will be anywhere. Larger marquees adjoin two cabinets. The cabinet is a standard 25" Midway upright arcade cabinet, modified slightly.
The game's control panel layout is a flight-style joystick on the left-hand side, with a telephone-style keypad in the middle, and a trackball with a thumb button on the right-hand side.
The joystick controls the player's movement, either FORWARD, BACKWARD, STRAFE LEFT, STRAFE RIGHT.
The thumb button on the joystick is used for JUMP, and the trigger is for FIRE.
The keypad is used for entering a 10-digit pin number for your keeping your statistics and records.
The trackball controls your turning and targeting, allowing free-look aiming.
There is a 'special moves' button by your trackball-hand's thumb. Examples of special moves in the game are, teleportation, invisibility, run, hover, and other attacks like a flying kick.
The start button was going be used as a 'change view' button from first-person to third-person, but has been scratched. The game will be third person only.
Multiplayer simply consists of players in an arena trying to score the most 'frags.' You
start out without any weapons. The only attack your character can perform is to throw an opponent from close-in range, this is only temporary. This results in the opponent being hurled to the floor, dropping their weapon for you to pick up.
In single-player mode, there is a tower based system like Mortal Kombat. In each level, you have an objective to complete, while being opposed by other in-game players. Right now the only objectives are to kill so many enemies within so much time. This may change, it's not finalized yet. There are a current total of 10 towers.
There are plans to implement a 'shooting gallery' type game to be added into the towers or used for practice when waiting for the next multiplayer match to begin.