It's hardly 'Street Fighter II' tough, A punches, B kicks and C blocks. The fights are essentially a button bash till one fighter's energy is reduced to zero. But death isn't always the end. Every downed soldier can be rescued if there are enough medics available. These are earned at the end of each battle depending on how well the player did.
It was furious, funny, frantic and true to the game’s name, chaotic. ‘General Chaos' is clearly meant to be played with friends and some mechanics within the game are designed to aid the losing player. For example during a cost fight, a fallen combatant will sometimes pull a gun and instantly kill the victor. It seems random but many speculate it's far more likely to happen for your trooper if you're losing the battle.
Similarly both the Scorcher and Launcher's attacks will sometimes randomly cause an instant death. Other soldiers will have their guns jam and be totally vulnerable in battle. There's no warning and no way to avoid it, though again, these sorts of things seem more likely to happen if you're winning.
Unless the soldiers are engaged in a fist fight no one has any idea how much energy a team has left. Sometimes the computer soldiers seem to be bullet sponges while your players die in a single hit. Given that Colin had a history of designing arcade games it isn't entirely surprising that 'General Chaos' consists of short blasts of frantic gameplay. It's not even a shock that sometimes you seem to lose through no fault of your own; after all arcade owners didn't want games to last too long as that meant less money being pumped into the machine. "The Operator" according to Colin, "wants the player off the game as soon as possible".