In this action adventure game, the player takes on the role of the son of a mystic, destined to fight the spiritual evil which ravages their homeland searching for gold. What they do not expect is that the player character's knowledge is his true treasure, and he uses this to defeat them.
The game is themed after the conquest of Inca lands by the Spanish, but despite these anachronisms it's decidedly metaphorical, or at least in the realm of science fiction, in its depiction of this conflict. The ultimate enemy is Aguirre (Lope de Aguirre, presumably), a leading figure during the real historical time of the conquistadors, but here he is painted as an arch villain that must be overthrown.
The Inca religion is referenced, and in the full audio version of the game, a dialect of Quechua is used for the voice of the player character's father and spiritual leader who sets him on this quest to defeat the Spanish. The game features an image of the player character as an animated version of a ceremonial golden mask, there are references to the Incan god of the sun, Inti (which is still a given name in some Quechua cultures), as well as displaying other symbols used in Incan iconography, and featuring the Nazca lines in an opening cinematic. Presumably many of these professions of Incan ability are visualizations of some superstitions suggesting the Inca had technology in advance of modern humanity, including the Nazca lines as runways for spaceships as current pseudoscientists would suggest.
The deep space sequences are an arcade style of space travel with constant speed and limited movement, as the object the player is trying to reach slowly gets bigger. There are also trench sequences just before infiltrating enemy bases which are stark references to the trench sequence in the first-filmed Star Wars movie. The enemies, and the player character, use spaceships to travel between the stars.
All of these science fiction elements only seem to justify the action in the game, though, and don't seem to have direct relevance to the theme, other than to suggest its metaphorical aims or pseudoscientific suggestions of advanced Incan technology.
The game has several stages with different playing styles which must be defeated in order to advance, most of which are arcade-style action games, but some of them are adventure-style puzzles involving item combination, matching symbols, and button pressing.
Both in space and on the ground, the player has beam weapons which can destroy obstacles or disintegrate foes. Destroying obstacles, enemy spaceships, and enemy spaceship blasts to prevent the player's spacecraft from being destroyed. Trench sequences are merely a more confined version of space combat, where the player races toward the entrance of the complex they're nearing, having to fight off enemy rocketships to prevent the player's ship from being damaged.
When on the ground, the player solves puzzles by using inventory items and manipulating the environment. These make up the true variety in the gameplay and each of these sequences are unique in their execution, unlike the arcade sections.
Beyond these puzzles are 1st person mazes where gun-toting conquistadors pop out firing destructible shots. The player has to kill the conquistadors to progress.
Eventually the player will escape a space galleon, visit the Maya, and find Aguirre.