Akira is an adventure game that roughly follows the events of the movie. Kaneda, the heroic if impulsive leader of a futuristic motorcycle gang, is frequently at odds with his lieutenant and best friend Tetsuo due to the latter's lack of self-esteem and envious feelings towards the charismatic Kaneda. When Tetsuo is taken in by Japanese scientists and inadvertently receives immense psychic powers, he goes on a rampage that results in the near-annihilation of the city of Neo Tokyo.
As with many other Famicom adventure games, the player is simply following a linear plot that requires they talk to the right NPCs and solve environmental puzzles in order to proceed with the story. They have a selection of text-based commands with which they can use to progress the game.