"A thousand centuries ago, the human adventure began"

The situation of the Hero

Brief historical survey

Game handling

Tips and tricks

Version release/Greetings

Situation of the Hero

Dawn rose on the land of the Light Footed, 100 thousand hears ago.

Torgan awoke and stretched his young and powerful muscles. Calmly he attached two leather bottles to his braided vine belt, collected the sharp pointed assegais, grasped the heavy stone axe and tried it for a moment before tying it to his side. He was then ready to face the day.

With gnarled hands he rubbed his face, still striped with ritual paint, the uncounsciously stroked the wolf's teeth necklace lying on his chest. The warm and familiar touch of the ivory made his mind wander slowly back to the events of the evening before. He saw again the garish light of the fires where the sweet scented herbs were burning, the painted faces of the warrior seated in a circle and himself, standing before them, anxious, waiting...

The venerable tribal chief, Hognor, the approached and traced out with red clay the signs of force, courage and wisdom on Torgan's cheeks and forehead whilst murmuring the ritual formulas.

All the men then began to chant a slow recital to appease the spirits of the dead hunters. Their voices were not as many as before, as many men of the tribe had fallen in battle, or not come back from distant hunts.

Torgan knew the tribe was sick and hungry. Everyday, the children suffered from terrible diseases from eating unknown plants, and were dying in atrocious suffering. For several seasons the persistant drought had dried up the land and yellowed the meadows. The big game, wild ox and bison, had disappeared and food was becoming increasingly scarce.

Hordes of wolves descended from the north and the bears left the mountains. The hunting territories, until then sufficient, were becoming too small. The law of force was replacing the ancestral law in violent batles between neighboring tribes, especially with the bloody and fanatical Mad Hyenas.

The number of hunters dropped in each affray, and this is why many of the young, who until then had only picked, had to leave prematurely for the hunt. How many of them could hop to survive these terrible trials ? For Torgan, it was the moment he had awaited to prove his valor : he knew that to conquer, he had to find aliases among the neighboring tribes, choose courageous hunting companions and possibly tame wild animals.

Halting this train of thought, Torgan went with a firm step to the Village Fire where Hognor was already giving his orders.

Brief historical survey

100.000 years ago, in what was to be later called Southwestern Europe, lived Homo Sapiens  (recently call Homo Sapiens Neandertalensis) , a close cousin to Homo Sapiens (Homo Sapiens Sapiens).

Small in size and sturdy in appearence, the Neandertal survived from hunting and picking.

His environment (biotope) was very similar to ours : hardwood and pine forests and the north, moors or savannahs in the more arid areas.

The Neandertal was far from being a primitive. Although sometimes cannibalistic, as certain remainders of meals might indicate, he buried his dead, used fire and stonecutting was already known 2 million years ago.

It can be assumed that the social structure was based on the tribe; certainly with cleary defined hunting territories. The internal volume of the skull was very large (sometimes larger than of the scientists who measure it), thus assuming a high degree of  intelligence, and therefore a rudimentary articulated language.

At that time survival depended on hunting, the search for water points, medicinal or nutritive plants and the cutting of the weapon from flint. And here the Neandertal was the fruit of an evolution which adapted him splendidly to his environment. It would be pointless to try to live in a perpetual hostile world and it is probable that the recent power of language available to Homo Sapiens enabled him to make allies and start up "adult" discussions, whereas a more primitive hominidae would have taken to arms.

Game handling

On the screen, you can see a menu bar and a window.
Most of the menu options are shortcuts for the game actions.

The main window is divided in several parts.
In the lower part are the game actions. By clicking on the left window, you choose the action to be performed. A window opens on the right and let you precise the action.

You can make the option list scroll in a window : move the mouse above or below the chosen window.
The mouse cursor changes into a hand pointing upwards or downwards. Pressing on the mouse button scrolls the text.

The main actions and subactions are :

Obtains further informations on the game, allows to load or save an adventure, to define a character or to perform various setup operations.
Defining a new character starts automatically a new adventure. You can name him, choose whether he is to be a man or a woman, select his characteristics : agility, strength, charisma (ascendency over others) , vitality and apearance of your character.
This feature is reserved to registered copies of Sapiens. If your copy isn't registered yet, you'll always play with a middle character named Torgan.

The character setup is very important and can change completely the game. You can share a set of units between several characteristic (agility, strength, charisma...). The maximum value of each characteristic depends on whether your character is a male or a female : a female can have less strength but more agility and charisma.

Here is the meaning and the influence of these different values :

Agilityaffects the character speed during a fight. A very agile character will be handled easier.

During a fight, the  strength affects the damages inflicted to your opponent when you strike him.

With a high level of charisma, you are able to charm a friend and convict him to come with you, to convince him to make a worthwile deal, to pacify an enemy or to tame an animal.

The vitality defines your fitness. The more vitality for your character, the longer life for him.

The health defines the character capability to endure his opponent's blows, and the water and food hardship.

Thanks to strength and agility, you'll be better in fighting. But thanks to charisma, you'll charm other characters or even wild animals. A wolf or a bear can be a very powerful alias. If you convince another character to come with you, he'll hunt and fight with you. Little advice : avoid to handle him too roughly, he may not let himself be pushed around.

The preferencies allow to define the requested music type and sound effects, and the secnd player control mode. If the second player is defined as 'automatic', his movements are controlled by the computer. Otherwise, an second human player can control the second character via the computer keyboard, with the keys '8' (up), '2' (down), '4' (left), '6' (right), '1' (change weapon) and '3' (strike).
Remark : if you tame an animal, it will always be computer-controlled.

During the game, it can be very useful to save the game current state in order to retrieve it in case of infortunate death of your character. However, it is only possible to perform this operation once a day (in the game time, of course !).

Indicates the present state of the character : during the game it is necessary to check if he is hungry, thirsty, tired, injured or is in good health. Moreover, this is to remind you your strong and weak points. At the top of the screen, the quotas selected when defining your character appear.

Objects and plants are to be found on the ground these are discovered progressively with the movements. They can be gathered up to be used, processed or even consumed.
To do so, you must select the TAKE option, the list of objects available the appears.

The objects in your possession can be abandonned when they are no longer useful, for example meat which is rotten, or broken flints.

Provides for communication with other humans. For example, "Good hunting" breaks off a friendly conversation. You can insult a person to make him fight, but beware, his tribe will not appreciate it if one of its members is knocked down. A prepocessing person can be attracted by gifts (see next option) and a suitable word. In this case, the two characters will continue the adventure together, but the main character will always conduct the dialog.

It may be used to coax a friend, or to calm down an enemy. It is then necessary to use this option to offer a gift suitable to the situation. When the other character is prepared to make an exchange and the rules are observed, GIVE is used to exchange objects.
A little advice: each tribe has its own preferencies and it may be an advantage to discover them : in fact, a gift without value for one way prove to be inestimable to the other.

is divided into four suboptions :

In LANDSCAPE view, the mouse placed to the right of the central position makes you turn to the right. Likewise the rotation to the left. The mouse moved forward will move you forward, and the mouse moved backwards will stop you. Press the spacebar to turn the map on and off. Press the mouse button to exit from the landscape view. You can also use the arrow keys of the keyboard to move.

LATERAL VIEW : In landscape, the character moves rapidly, but to take the time to observe it is possible to move from box to box. To do so, choose the lateral view movement. You can then see the character walk, bend down, grasp a weapon, throw an assegai or strike.
If you meet another character while in landscape view, the lateral view is automatically displayed. In case of fight, it is highly advisable to give your blows standing : the impact will have the more force.
The mouse UP, DOWN movement obtains standing up and bending down, RIGHT-LEFT turning round, the button strikes. To change weapon, use the Return key, and the Esc key to exit this view. It can be easier to use the directions keys of your keyboard to move tour character in this view mode. Use the spacebar to strike
The four symbols placed on either side of the viewing window indicate the state of the character and by their pulse speed the degree of breathlessness. Two people on each side can fight simultaneously.
Beware : a character too out of breath can no longer strike.

accomplishes a complete survey by showing a perspective view. You can halt at any time by pressing on an action key.

provides an aerial view of the landscape, the arrow indicating your position and direction. You can zoom, raising or lowering the mouse. Press on the button to exit.

Maintain good health.

From flint it is possible to produce assegai blades or stone axes. To do so, the flint must be cut as close as possible to the ideal shape (in dotted line). First of all, you must place the cursor on the point of impact selected, then proportion the force of the blow by pressing short or long the mouse button. When you consider the work finished, click on the icon on the left of the viewing window, or press the "Esc" key..


Tips and tricks

1- Don't be too aggessive
In the Sapiens game (just as in the real life), you must talk before striking. So, avoid the confrontation as often as possible.
Introduce yourself ("Say" "I am..."), and kindly break the conversations ("Say" "Good hunting"). Coax the persons you speak to by giving them some gifts ("Give") and ... avoid the insults !
If you fight against the member of a tribe after introducing yourself, all the tribe will know your name...

2- Respect your chief
Your chief (the first character you meet) is powerful and thin-skinned. He presupposes that you know him and he'll be offended whether you ask him his name. On the contrary, ask him what he wants, he'll indicate you the ordeal you must succeed to gain his respect. But he is very demanding, and when he wants you to bring back food, he means a great quantity of meat...

3- Keep an eye on your physical state
Hunger, thirst, and tiredness have to be avoided. Don't forget to take some water skins to carry the water you find, some assegais to hunt the rabbits, and some ointment and medicinal herbs to tend you.

4- Learn your environment
Learn the springs locations, the hunting territories full of rabbits, the gloomy plains where wolves are on the prowl (to be avoided by night), and the other tribe's camps.
Be attentive and diplomatic, and soon you'll know the Sapiens territory like the back of your hand.

5- Don't neglect the manual work
Even hatchets and assegais break from time to time... So, it should be a good idea to make some weapon in advance from pieces of silex.
A precise movement and a well-controled power are essential to complete this work.
Little advice : to make a good cutting, the outer limits of the cutted shape must be as close as possible to the dotted line. By the way, don't forget to trim the both ends thank to two violent strikes !

You can send us suggestions, remarks and questions on E-MAIL :
or consult our Web pages on
and find there the latest releases of our shareware programs for Macintosh and PC.

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The team in 1987, from left to right :
Gilles Soulet - Musics
Olivier Guillion - Assembly language
Didier Guillion - C language and drawings

-06-1986 : First version for Thomson and Amstrad
-09-1987 : Atari ST version and IBM - PC CGA mode.
-04-1996 : Version 2.0 for Windows 95 and Macintosh
-10-1997 : Version 2.2 with more help and explanations
-09-1998 : Version 2.3 adapted to the new hardware configurations
-05-2005 : Version 2.4 adapted to the new hardware configurations
-04-2017: Version 3.0, new version for macIntel, new features, Sapiens is now freeware

We wish to thank here :

Jean-François 'Jeff' Cassan, Main Beta-tester
Philippe 'Gang of touched' Fernandez
François Broussey