Frenetic is a traditional vertically scrolling shoot'em'up. The action moves through eight levels, set both in space and on the ground (with such environments as a jungle planet and a water world). While most levels have a technological theme, some feature organic enemies and backgrounds, reminiscent of games like R-Type or Xenon 2. Going with tradition, each level has a huge end boss.
The player's ship can collect a variety of power-ups: lasers and missiles, shooting to the front, the back or the sides. Speed-ups and shields are also available. Power-ups are revealed by destroying certain enemies or special bonus capsules, and several are given to the player for free at the start of a level. The weapons can be upgraded by collecting the same power-up several times.
The game features a two-player mode, with two ships moving against the aliens at the same time.