Sydney Hunter is a simple geologist doing a survey of the topography in Central America one day, when he spots a Mayan Pyramid in the distance. Feeling compelled to investigate, Sydney heads right for it. He climbs to the top, steps inside, and is trapped when the door shuts behind him. With no other options, Sydney decides to go and explore this ancient ruin.
While he's doing this, the Mayan deity Kukulkan steals the Mayan Calendar "Haab" and scatters it throughout multiple temples in the pyramid, hoping to stop the end of the cycle, and the resulting five days of bad luck that are supposed to come of it. Problem is, by doing this, Kukulkan has put time at risk of freezing for all eternity. So, now Sydney needs to confront the Mayan Pantheon, defeat them, and reassemble Haab before it's too late.
Sydney Hunter and the Curse of the Mayan contains examples of:
- Call-Back: When Sydney first gets stuck in the pyramid, one thing he hopes not to encounter is another "Sacred Tribe". He says he still has nightmares about his last encounter.
- Character Name and the Noun Phrase: Sydney Hunter (character name) and the Curse (and the noun) of the Mayan (phrase).
- Crystal Skull: There are many scattered throughout the game. They're needed to open the doors to the temple.
- Dem Bones: Ah Puch, the God of Death, is a skeleton.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Most of the bosses in the game are the Mayan Gods, not just Kukulkan, but others like Chaac and Ah Puch.
- Dismantled MacGuffin: The Haab Calendar was split apart by Kukulkan and scattered throughout the temples. Sydney needs to find them and reassemble Haab within five days to undo the curse and keep time from stopping forever.
- Giant Spider: The spiders in the game are just a head shorter than Sydney.
- Head Hat: Some of the Mayans wear animal skulls on their heads.
- Hyperactive Metabolism: One way Sydney can recover health is by eating food.
- Lock and Key Puzzle: There are plenty of bone doors in the game that require a skull key to open them up.
- Retraux: The game is presented in 8-bit format.
- Save Point: These take the form of statues with a cauldron in front of them. Lighting a fire in the cauldrons allows you to save the game as well as restore Sydney's health.
- Side View: Like the ones before it, this is the view of this game.
- Translator Microbes: Parodied. When Sydney first enters the pyramid, he tries talking to the locals, except he can't understand their language. Once he gets the Shell Of Wisdom, he can hear their words in perfect English. He thinks this means the shell works, except the Mayan near the beginning of the temple of Chichen Itza reveals it's just a regular shell, the Mayans can speak English fluently, and that they just like messing with outsiders.
- Whip It Good: Sydney starts out the game with a whip. It can break pots and walls, and defeat small enemies, with a single strike.
- You Dirty Rat!: The first enemy Sydney Hunter encounters are rats. They can be defeated with one strike of the whip.