Saturday, 27 July 2019

Game 110: Inca (1992) - Introduction

By Ilmari

Every family has its weird uncle, and mine was no exception.

I’d really like to know, if anyone can guess the relevance of
this beginning with the game I am supposed to be playing
I was probably ten or eleven, when my parents were forced to visit the said weird uncle and I was taken along. While they were busy trying to engage in some polite conversation, I explored my uncle’s enormous library, filled with, among other things, Peanuts books, just like the one in the picture above. Suddenly, my uncle entered the room, noticed what I was reading and said “Wouldn’t you like something less childish” and placed a bluish book on my hand.

Even if you can’t read Finnish, the name of the author might suggest where I am heading

I thanked my uncle and followed my parents who were happy to stop this visitation short. I wasn’t that enthused about the book, which looked dead boring, but I did skim it through at the backseat of our car. Suddenly my eyes were glued on a picture of an ancient Mesopotamian image of a person wearing - as my uncle had circled out - what looked like a modern wristwatch.

If you see it, you gotta believe it!

My interest was instantly piqued, and I started to actually read the book, and with that finished, I had to visit our local library to find more of its kind. The author with the impressive name Erich Von Däniken presented what to a school kid seemed like incontrovertible evidence of extraterrestrials visiting Earth in distant past and influencing early human cultures. Who wouldn’t be convinced by an interpretation of visions of Old Testament prophet Ezechiel as describing a landing spaceship?

I mean, you can find pictures of the whole thing on Internet!

Sadly, as I learned later, although von Däniken influenced his generation a lot, he was more a teller of tall tales than a respectable scientist, and despite all Stargåte fans wishing otherwise, there’s still no proof of aliens ever landing on our planet.

Von Däniken was especially keen on finding supposed evidence of alien visitations from South American cultures. Take, for example, the Nazca lines - enormous drawings on the soil of Nazca Desert in Southern Peru, which can be clearly seen only from a very high altitude. Von Däniken’s suggestion was that the earliest lines were a simple airstrip used by visitors from space. When the travellers left to their starry home, the locals missed them and copied the airstrip, eventually turning simple lines into gigantic pictures, meant to entice the travelers to return.

It does look spacey
(By Diego Delso, CC BY-SA 4.0,

And another “proof” - an inscription of a person who is clearly flying a rocket

Von Däniken’ s theories did not pass the gates of proper science (although who cares of proper science in this day and age, when anyone can just pop their crazy ideas in Youtube and people will take it seriously), but they did become a staple of B-class scifi. I am pretty sure, although the manual does not say it loud and clear, that they are also behind Inca.

European game box has the air of respectable history…

...while the American goes straight pulp!
The framing story tells about Huayna Capac (a real ruler of Incan empire), who hid the true treasure of Incas, before Spanish conquistadors could find it - it was not gold, but knowledge. 500 years after his death, a mystical figure, El Dorado, was supposed to renew the Inca civilization and reclaim its ancient knowledge. Judging by the fact that the game has been described as a cross between adventure game and a space simulator, I predict that the hidden knowledge is the secret of space flight and that in the game the Incas were visited by aliens.

The company behind Inca is none other than the gem of French adventure gaming scene, Coktel Vision, and we see some familiar names on the credits - it was created by Pierre Gilhodes, the designer of Gobliiins, while the game project was managed by Muriel Tramis, the driving force behind lot of what was released by Coktel Vision.

I am rather apprehensive about the space simulator part of the game. I really sympathised with CRPG Addict, when he admitted that he is no good in anything calling for quick reactions. I have the exact same issue with action games, and as I’ve mentioned before, simulators are my pet peeve - my brains just can’t connect the cockpit view with where the plane is heading, what’s happening outside etc. If there are lot of these simulator parts, chances are this is going to be a very quick “Lost”.

Oh well, enough procrastinating. Make your guesses and possible bets and I’ll start to warm the engines of my Inca spaceship!


  1. Oh, you're going to have fun with this then. I've never gotten past the title screen due to some trickery with my CD copy and DOSbox, but the way the manual describes it implies there's a lot of space combat. Not only that, but ground combat too. Making it the first FPS/Adventure hybrid by about a year if I'm not mistaken. The manual also says nothing about aliens, and I think its more of a weird mystical thing.
    I think this is probably going to get a 40 rating. Also, is the "Playing a game being blogged with the reviewer" still a thing? 'Cause if it is I'm going do that.

    1. Still a thing! This looks like fun.

      My guess is 45.

    2. Indeed, it is, as Joe said.

      Yes, manual suggests a lot of combat of all sorts. I've started playing early and I'll leave discussing the details later, but it has been--- difficult.

  2. I very vaguely remember this game from back in the day, and I mostly remember two things: 1) the graphics were right out of that early 90's aesthetic where there was some really muddy compressed FMV stuff mixed in with 3D models consisting of maybe five or six polygons each, and 2) the interface was pretty confusing (of course, I was like ten years old at the time, so who knows how bad it really was?). I'm going to say 39.

  3. I remember having this game in the 90s but never played it again after two or three times. I remember some awful action and simulation sequences. I was going for 38, but since it is based on a culture of a fellow country, lets get it to 42

  4. I'm gonna guess 38?

    I've never heard of this one, so it should be interesting at least, I hope you enjoy playing it!

  5. I am rather apprehensive about the space simulator part of the game.

    I predict you will not have a very good time, then...

  6. I'll go for 34. As a Spaniard, I felt intrigued by its premise of "Incas fighting Spanish Conquistadors... IN SPAAAAAACE!", but when I had the chance to play this game, I found it quite bad.

  7. The setting looks interesting, but sounds like too much action for an adventure game. 36

  8. I will give it a low expectation at 32, despite one of my favourite games of the era being a space combat/adventure game simulator in the form of Star Control 2.

    1. Star Control 2 is miles ahead of Inca for enjoyability.

  9. I will guess 35 because I'm feeling optimistic.

  10. This is such a gem, a unique game. I played it, along with its sequel several times, and every time I find it more charming.

    My score is 51.

  11. Hm. Intriguing concept. Possibly subpar execution? I suspect I would not do well with the simulation/combat aspects either. I'll guess 36.

  12. As a fan of Von Däniken, my interest is piqued. I may have to finally give this game a chance after decades of avoidance. Looks pretty wild, but it can't be very good, can it? My guess is 31.

  13. Obligatory:

    Guessing 47.

    1. Actually, lowering guess to 37 after looking a tiny bit into the game.

  14. I have greta memories of Inca 2. It was the game that came bundled with my cousins multimedia set, and so it was my first FMV game. Loved it back then.

    The boat on the cover of the American version looks more like a Portuguese Carrack instead of a Spanish galleon. Can any history buff confirm my suspicions?

  15. I remember this being touted as one of Sierra's worst games, I'm in the minority in that I like action sequences in my adventure games, but I'm in the majority in that I think 90's FMV blows many chunks.
    I'll say 30

  16. Inca is very much "inspired" by Star Wars. One of my friends actually gave me the "Sierra Originals" disc for the game a while back.

  17. Wanted to play this one but didn't get the opportunity back in the day.

    Looks like 31 isn't taken, so hey, I'll go with that.