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.
Not an American user?

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 You can choose between those three incarnations of Max in the final chapter
Sanitarium Windows The fearsome deity is getting electrocuted by purple energy in this maze...
Sanitarium Windows Chapter 2 is the highlight of horror. You are standing in front of this sweet-looking elementary school...
Sanitarium Windows The chapel

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 (171461) 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* (37840) 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 (9351) 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

Tap-Repeatedly/Four Fat Chicks Dec, 2002 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
Playback 2006 10 out of 10 100
Computer Gaming World (CGW) Sep, 1998 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars 90
Power Unlimited Apr, 1999 8.6 out of 10 86
JeuxVideoPC.com Jun 18, 2005 17 out of 20 85
Gamesmania 1998 85 out of 100 85
Game Revolution Aug 01, 1998 B+ 83
Adventure Classic Gaming Oct 20, 2006 4 out of 5 80
GameStar (Germany) Jul, 1998 73 out of 100 73
Adventure Gamers Sep 11, 2003 3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars 70

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