The peaceful Chop Kingdom is suddenly facing a invasion from the forces of the Iron Mask Republic. The Kingdom's resistance force develops a set of new high tech ships which come equipped with the autonomous Ironclad Robot for support. The ships are then sent to fight back the invaders.
Ironclad is a horizontally scoring shooter where the player can choose between three different ships. There are no lives, as the player have a life meter which can be replenished by picking up the corresponding item. When the life meter is completely depleted it's game over. The player can also pick up items to equip different weapons and power them up. Unique to this game is that the player's ship won't receive damage when colliding to terrain or enemies, only being damaged by the enemies attacks.
The main mechanic of the game involves the "Robot", which works similarly to the force pod in the R-Type games. The A button is used for shooting, and holding it will charge the Robot's power up to three levels. When the button is released, the Robot is tossed at the enemies, causing high damage. The B button is used to detach the Robot or reattach it to the main ship. While the robot is detached, it will cause collision damage to enemies as well as shoot by itself. While the Robot is attached to the main ship, it will block enemy shots but detach automatically after taking enough damage. The C button will use a screen-clearing bomb which will consume the Robot's power, only being usable again after picking up a power up for the Robot.
The game features branching paths, much like in the Darius games. After clearing a stage, the player can choose between two different stages to play next. There are five different final stages, though the player will always face the main villain Grim as the final boss. Each of them will lead to a different ending, with the game having five in total.
- Bristol mk.0
- Type: Fighter
- Speed: 3
- Shot: 2
- Power: 3
- Fokker G.VII
- Type: Sniper
- Speed: 4
- Shot: 4
- Power: 2
- Rogozarski 2
- Type: Bomber
- Speed: 2
- Shot: 3
- Power: 4
- L-Arm: Equip weapons to the main ship.
- Blue (beam icon): Shots a powerful frontal blast.
- Green (missile icon): Shots homing missiles.
- Red (flame icon): Shoots fire blasts around the ship.
- R-Arm: Equip weapons to the Robot.
- Green (drill icon): The Robot launches a forward drill attack after charged.
- Purple (saw icon): The Robot shoots various buzzsaws after charged.
- Red (mace icon): The Robot spins spiked maces around him after charged.
- Ironclad was originally developed for the Neo Geo MVS system, however this version was cancelled and the game would later be released for the Neo Geo CD console. The prototype MVS rom was used for the Wii Virtual Console port.