Friday, 9 August 2019

Inca - Devastated

By Ilmari


I wonder how a Shoot’Em’Up Addict could retain the interest of readers through couple of posts? “And then another orc came running from the left. And I shot it! Another one followed it. I shot that one, too! And yet another, blast, good riddance to orc number 45! I was almost ready to move to the next level, when I left my guard down and a stray bullet hit me. I tried loading, but then I remembered I had forgotten the whole saving business. Next thing you know, I had changed into my skeet gear and imagined I was shooting the game disks into small pieces.”

Ever since I decided with Inca that I wouldn’t hesitate to cheat myself out of a trouble, the spaceship simulator part hasn’t really made me nervous, since there’s always a “Get Free from Jail” path to follow. Thus, I had even expected the next spaceflight sequence. This time, I got to shoot a bunch of red enemy ships, and surprisingly I managed to complete the sequence. I must be learning something, I thought to myself.

After the battle it was time to go back to Inca headquarters and a roast with Huayna Capac, who insulted me for being young and incompetent and suggested I couldn’t have succeeded, if the quest hadn’t been so easy (I guess he heard I had skipped the toughest parts). The conversation didn’t last long and it was off to killing another red squadron.

I almost congratulated myself after sending the final red ship to an afterlife, when the computer informed me of a yet another fleet, consisting now of green ships, with better shields than the red had had. Needless to say, I died almost instantly, and last save point was way before my first battle. So much for learning and back to cheating, then.

After avoiding the battle I entered the mothership of conquistadors. Most appropriately, it looked like a ship around the time of Spanish conquest of South America (I suggest not thinking too much how it can fly through space). I instantly met Aguierro, the leader of the Spanish. I had a chance to shoot him couple of times, but eventually I was captured and locked.


Next you’ll insist that you are my father


Are these chains made of gold?

Back to adventuring! The only thing I could really interact with was a barrel. Removing a cork from the barrel opened up a small hole, through which a pile of gunpowder dropped on the floor. Cork also interested a small rat, and when I threw the cork to the rat, it ran away and someone beyond the screen threw a golden pot to me (I assume he was aiming at the rat).

I also tore a label from the barrel and used it with the pile of gunpowder to make a primitive explosive. All I needed was a trick for lighting it. I pulled the gold chain, which opened up some hole and let a beam of light in the room. Then I just had to use the pot to reflect the beam of light and…


...BOOOOM!

I was now capable of walking around, although still locked in a small complex of rooms. The barrel was still there, and the game text indicated it was too heavy to move. Checking out my surroundings, I found some barrels full of precious stones, gold and two keys. The keys opened two cupboards, one of which contained a hatchet and a bag, while the other cupboard contained a cannon ball, which I couldn’t pick up, and a broken board.

I could use the hatchet to open up the barrel of gunpowder and the pot to transfer some powder from it to a bag. Still, the barrel was too heavy. After a while, I decided to take the bag to the cupboard with a broken plank. Sure enough, the bag straightened the plank and the ball rolled a few inches, revealing behind it a cannon sponge (in other words, a long stick with a softer ending). I used the sponge to push the barrel aside, thus opening up the rest of the ship.

So far this section had been the highlight of the game, with real adventure game puzzles. This couldn’t last for long, and I had to endure yet another maze full of shooting conquistadors. This time the last checkpoint had been just after the puzzle sequence, so the section was fairly tolerable. Unlike in the previous maze, there were now rooms with only one conquistador. The single conquistador stood in plain sight, not trying to hide anywhere, and if he was just standing, my shots were reflected from his armor. I had a chance to hurt him only when he started to aim at me and showed his armorless profile.

At the end of my wandering through the ship I found a heavy door with two rings. After few attempts to open the door, two hands grew out of the wall.


Trust me, this gets weirder

One of the hands was holding a candelabra, while the other had a crucifix. I took these items and gave them gold and jewels in return. Door opened and I stepped into…


...heaven??

It was time for random clicking again. Crucifix opened up what looked like a shell, but what the game described as font (that’s the place where holy water is placed).Within it I found a censer (that’s a thing meant for burning incense), which I could put on the pedestal with candelabra. As a result, the gargoyle face at the top right corner started spilling water on the font.

I was able to take a candle from the candelabra and light the incense in cencer. This interested heavenly folk, and Saint Peter appeared. I filled a cup with holy water and gave it to Saint Peter. He became a bit too excited.


Ultimate failure for Incas - baptism

Becoming baptised sent me all the way back to the two doors, and I had to repeat the whole sequence again. This time I turned down the Dosbox speed and checked whether I could do something in that brief period of time before the apostle would wash away my sins. Indeed I could - I took Saint Peter’s key and used it to unlock the door.



The final room was filled with a huge cross. Touching the different parts of the cross in the same pattern as when doing the sign of cross transported me back to my spaceship.


Obligatory love interest?

I drove to a new planet and met Accla, the sun virgin. She told me that conquistadors had desecrated their moon, Paracas (in real life, a town in Peru) and were just attacking the planet.


These skeletons are never explained. Fruits of Spanish invasion or more ancient remains?

The battle with the Spanish was a similar canyon ride as I described in my previous post. It was this time not so clear what they were trying to achieve by flying in the canyon, but it was still as impossible as earlier. Hence, I cheated my way out of it.

After the fight was over, Accla took me to a secret crypt, although I could not enter it, because only the Sun Virgin was allowed to approach the mummified remains of ancestors.


As if I would voluntarily go any way near these creepy bodies

Accla handed me a blue gem, which had the power to control matter, while the gem I found in the previous post had the power to control time. I am a bit puzzled, why the Incas cannot use the power of the gems to ward of the conquistadors (nor for that matter, why they did not use them to beat the original conquistadors). Or are the powers of the gems exaggerated?

On another note, Accla told me that if I were to fulfil my destiny, I would also get her as a prize. Rather quick romance, you say? Well, it seems to be more of an ordained prophecy than love at first sight, which makes this scene somewhat creepy.

Only one gem to go now! I hope I can wrap this thing in the next post.

Session time: 4 h
Total time 12 h

13 comments:

  1. I think a Shooting Addict would probably get more interest by not just talking about what he's shot. Probably something related to level design.
    Capac also gave me crap, if I remember correctly.
    Baptism has a p, by the way.
    So, El Dorado is supposed to be the player, and Accla is supposed to be the player's bride, yet adventure games had a fairly decent amount of female gamers back in the day. The whole baptism part isn't weird compared to what they were thinking here.

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    1. "Baptism has a p, by the way."

      Indeed it has. Thanks for pointing out the mistake!

      "So, El Dorado is supposed to be the player, and Accla is supposed to be the player's bride, yet adventure games had a fairly decent amount of female gamers back in the day. The whole baptism part isn't weird compared to what they were thinking here."

      That is weird, but it's something Inca shared with lot of adventure games of the period. Just looking at games we've played from this year, "male protagonist - potential female love interest" is a trope shared by:

      Hugo III
      Dune
      Police Quest remake
      Fate of Atlantis
      Quest for Glory 3
      Spellcasting 301
      King's Quest VI
      Amazon: Guardians of the Eden
      Batman Returns

      In comparison, I think there's only two games where the gender roles are completely turned around: Dagger of Ammon Ra and Fascination.

      In addition, in Leather Goddesses 2 you can choose either of the two options, and I guess one could say that Nippon Safes also lets you experience both sides of the equation (if Doug and Donna have some sort of chemistry with one another).

      And now I wonder, when (if ever) we'll meet first example of an adventure game protagonist having a romance with a person of their own gender.

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    2. Yes, but in most, if not all of those you're playing a distinct character. The game doesn't say in the manual, YOU actually are so-and-so and the character is supposed to represent you. The characters in those games have their own personalities and so forth. El Dorado is literally supposed to be the player as described in the manual.
      I'd also add that Emanuelle game to the other pile. I don't know if that was played on this blog or not though. Didn't Lost in Time, also by Coktel Vision, have one of those, or did I misremember the thirty minutes I played of that.

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    3. I'd still say it tells something of the industry and to whom they targetted their games that there are so few games with clear female protagonists (in 1992).

      As for Inca, I am not really sure whether El Dorado is meant to be the player or a distinct character. The manual starts by speaking about "you", but then later describes El Dorado (in the list of characters) from a 3rd person perspective. Game itself is also ambivalent - you never hear El Dorado's voice, but you do see something like his face. In any case, El Dorado seems meant to have a distinct age (young), ethnicity (Inca heritage) and, I guess, gender (someone with more knowledge of Spanish could confirm this, but isn't El an indication of male gender?), so he's definitely no blank slate. Confusing, I admit, and not really a sign of good game/manual design.

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    4. It's been long since I played Emmanuelle (and I definitely don't want to do it again), but true, there the manual is clearly written as if you are the protagonist. Then again, judging by screenshots from the blog, Mario in the game seems to call the protagonist with a definite name (Marc-Henri) - I don't remember if you got to choose your own name or not, so I am not sure whether there's a contradiction between the manual and the game here, but again, it's confusing.

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    5. As for Lost in Time, there the protagonist is definitely a distinct character (Doralice, who might be the same character as the one in Fascination).

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    6. Oh, I was referring to Emmanuelle and Lost in Time as one with a female protagonist with a male love interest, apparently I was wrong about Emmanuelle as one with a female protagonist.
      As to El Dorado, checking a different manual, it just says that you are El Dorado in generic language. I seem to recall the jewel case's manual saying you in capital letters, but I don't remember where I put it. The age and ethnicity could be handwaved away. The guy calling you young is five hundred years old and you could just have been hidden from the Spanish. The manual does seem to want to imply you are the protagonist, but we don't have the original French manual, something could have been lost in translation.

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    7. Ah yes, my bad, I read your quote about Emmanuelle and Lost in Time wrongly (and yes, despite its name, Emmanuelle - the game - does not have a female protagonist, but a male one, who is looking for Emmanuelle).

      I suspect we won't be getting to a definite solution, but an interesting viewpoint is suggested by the title sequence of the game. There we are told the names of the actors of the various characters (e.g. "Ivan Bono is Aguirre") and the sequence ends with "You are El Dorado". That might be seen as comparing you with an actor assuming the persona of El Dorado (I know, it's still weird, if you are not male).

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    8. In fairness, I haven't actually played Emmanuelle, so I just assumed she was the lead.

      Oh, that's why, I forgot about that part in the intro sequence. I distinctly remember an all caps YOU are El Dorado and there it was.

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    9. "El Dorado" is grammatically masculine, yes.

      I always interpreted it as that I, the player, was taking on the role of El Dorado.

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  2. Everything about this game is super freaky weird. The only explanation I can think of is that the grand french tradition of super freaky weird comics heavily informed the designers.

    That or drugs.

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  3. I suppose that the "Aguirre" villain it is based in the historical Lope de Aguirre, an Spanish conquistador "best known for his final expedition down the Amazon river in search of the mythical golden Kingdom El Dorado."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lope_de_Aguirre

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