User review spotlight: Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (DOS)

Sanitarium (Windows)

Published by
Developed by
Released
Platform
Teen
ESRB Rating
Genre
Perspective
Theme
79
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
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Description

Not much is known about Max Laughton at first, but it is clear that he is conducting a particularly important research and is close to reaching his goal. Eager to share the good news with his family, Max hurries home in his car. However, somebody has evidently tampered with the vehicle; failing to control it, Max gets in a serious accident and loses his conscience. When he wakes up, he finds himself in a strange tower resembling an asylum, surrounded by insane people, the shrill sound of alarm driving him mad. Max cannot remember anything from his past and is feverishly trying to escape this place. But just when he thinks he has succeeded, he is taken on delusional, horrifying trips through his subconsciousness, unable to distinguish between reality and hallucinations.

Sanitarium is a point-and-click adventure game, best described as a psychological thriller. The game is divided into nine chapters, each taking place in a different location and having its own distinct atmosphere. It is not always clear if something is happening on the grounds of the sanitarium or in the delusional mind of the protagonist. In most chapters the player controls Max himself, though in the more surreal areas drawn from his memories the role of the protagonist is given to other characters, real or fictional.

Both movement of Max and picking up items are done with the mouse. Puzzles are mostly inventory-related, with a few machine and lever puzzles. There are also a few action sequences, but even when the player dies, the game can be continued without any penalty. Talking to various NPCs will teach the player about their bizarre surroundings. The plot unfolds as Max's memories are gradually restored and the player finds out more about his past and the nature of the research he was dedicating his life to.

Screenshots

Sanitarium Windows Genetic experiments
Sanitarium Windows Title screen
Sanitarium Windows You can choose between those three incarnations of Max in the final chapter
Sanitarium Windows Nearing the end of the game. In this most bizarre place, visual characteristics of all the previous stages are combined

Alternate Titles

  • "Шизариум" -- Russian spelling
  • "סניטריום" -- Hebrew spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Could deformed sisters torture cyclops in a Mexican morgue?.. אולג 小奥 (171558) 4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars
An interesting, but unfortunately very eclectic experience plumifrons (95) 2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars
A bizarre graphic adventure with great potential. One of those games worth a remake. Dr. M. "Schadenfreude" Von Katze (590) 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars
Awesome unique game keeping the dying adventure genre alive. kbmb (399) 4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars
One-line summary not available *Katakis* (37838) 4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars
Has some big problems that get partially forgiven because of it's unique-ness. Zovni (9350) 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars
A true adventure game underdog with a great, unique but rather short story Electric Penguin (4) 4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars
Sanitarium is much more than a game, it's an obsession Ricardo Ramirez (2) unrated
Chilling, psychological thriller Terrence Bosky (5234) 4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars
Insane... Adictively insane Sam Tinianow (98) unrated

The Press Says

Just Adventure 1999 A 100
Tap-Repeatedly/Four Fat Chicks Dec, 2002 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Jeuxvideo.com Jan 11, 2010 17 out of 20 85
Game Revolution Aug 01, 1998 B+ 83
GameSpot Jun 04, 1998 8.2 out of 10 82
PC Zone Aug 13, 2001 7.9 out of 10 79
Power Play Jun, 1998 73 out of 100 73
IGN Aug 12, 1998 7 out of 10 70
PC Action Jun 17, 1998 58 out of 100 58
Alternative Magazine Online Nov 29, 2011 5 out of 10 50

Forums

Topic # Posts Last Post
problems installing sanitarium 4 kate moss
Sep 14, 2010

Trivia

Bugs

Initial shipments of Sanitarium came with a game-wrecking bug that would cause the player to get locked out of buildings in level 2. A patch is available that corrects this, but there are still reports that it appears infrequently.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • April 1999 (Issue #177) – Best Adventure Game of the Year (together with Grim Fandango)

Related Web Sites

  • Crapshoot (A humorous review on PC Gamer)
  • Postmortem: DreamForge's Sanitarium (A postmortem of the isometric adventure game, Sanitarium, on Gamasutra. The article is written by the game's writer, Chris Pasetto, and deals with the origins of the game's concept, pinning down an engine, their relationship with their publisher, and several other elements that arose or had an effect in the creation of the game (Dec. 4th, 1998).)
  • Sanitarium Hints (These hints provide gentle nudges before the final solution is revealed, helping you solve the game without spoiling it for you.)
  • Windows XP Setup (Inferno's help file to get this game to run on your WinXP system.)
faceless (395) added Sanitarium (Windows) on Dec 15, 1999