Eliminator Boat Duel is a ruthless one on one boat racing game that can either be played against the computer or a human opponent. The races take place in such settings as open water, the bayou, and even industrial water districts. Each boat race consists of several sections. First, there is the starting line -- where you can expect a $2000 fine for a false start -- which begins with a brief side-scrolling race with split-screen background scrolling, a common characteristic of later NES titles. The primary sections of the races are a mixture of top-down racing and 3rd-person racing from a perspective behind the boats. The top-down sections are the most involved with numerous threats to avoid such as alligators, sharks, and whirlpools that will turn you the wrong way. There are also ramps to jump off of, people in need of rescue, nitro speed boost powerups, and raw cash bonuses to collect. The 3rd person segments have less detail and distraction but move much quicker as the 2 players vie to stay within the flags, collect speed boosts, and hit the occasional ramp. Speed boosts are collected along the way and can be used at the player's discretion to gain a much-needed edge at any point during the race.
A race finishes back in the side-scrolling view. If the boats come through too close together, the bikini models on the sidelines act confused and request a slo-mo replay, which the game subsequently provides. Prize money is then awarded with which the players may use to repair and upgrade their boats with faster engines, tougher hulls, and better steering.