Criticom is a one-on-one fighting game where 8 diverse fighters from across the galaxy vie for a crystal artifact. The game features a sci-fi backstory that involves mystery and intrigue surrounding the crystal and each of the 8 fighters is given a unique storyline to explain why he or she is so interested in the artifact. Among the colorful characters are a giant lizard man named Gorm, a ninja lady named Yenji, a killing robot named S.I.D., and a mysterious vampire-like creature named Demonica who places little value on clothing.
The fighting action takes place on a round, elevated platform. Each fighter begins the fight with a full power meter and one power meter refill in reserve that is activated when the primary meter is depleted. Thus, there are no rounds. The fight runs until one fighter is knocked out (no more power in their meter), one is knocked out of the arena (or steps/jumps out), or the time runs out.