This game was originally planned as a port of the ZX Spectrum video game 'Stop the Express' (later released for the Commodore 64 and MSX), which was released by Sinclair Research Ltd in 1983. 'Stop the Express' only contained the first train level; 3 levels were added for the release of 'Challenger'. The game is uniquely constructed, where the levels consist of a side-scrolling platform game, a top-view scrolling shooting game, and a fixed-screen action game. The game was also unique for its 100-screen map, which was extensive for its time. The title character, Challenger, is an archaeologist who seeks to rescue the princess, Maria, from the hands of the evil boss, Don Waldorado, in the land called Pleasio Land. The setting of the character as an archaeologist is an homage to the Indiana Jones franchise.

The player controls the main character, Challenger, and must head towards the goal in each level. The player can attack by throwing knives, but some enemies are invulnerable to this attack, and require a power-up item or the assistance of a hidden character to defeat. In levels 1, 3, and 4, touching any of the enemies results in a loss. The player can jump in the side-scrolling scenes, and can also duck by pressing down on the keypad in the first level. A life gauge is used only during the second level. The player receives damage whenever they touch enemies, and loses only when their life gauge reaches zero. There is no jump button for the top-view level, but the player can venture across the island to search for items. A timer is displayed on the upper right corner of the screen during all of the levels, and the player also loses a life when this timer reaches zero.