You play Pitfall Harry searching for the Raj diamond, his niece Rhonda, her cat Quickclaw and a variety of treasures somewhere in the Andes. Poisonous frogs, eels, scorpions, bats and other hazards get in the way.
Pitfall II is the sequel to Pitfall!, the original platform game. Gameplay has remained pretty much the same, with each screen presenting a side view of obstacles to get past, and potentially treasures to collect. The landscape is more maze like, with a variety of paths and dead ends to search. Along the way there are checkpoints the player will encounter in the form of red crosses. When the player dies, Pitfall Harry will be sent back to the most recently crossed checkpoint. The score is reduced based on the distance travelled to get to the cross.
As he explores Harry can collect gold bars which give him a 5000 points award. His total score acts as an energy reserve. If the score is reduced to zero then the game ends and the player must restart from the beginning.