This game features the most original plot of all time: bloke wakes up in a mental asylum, doesn't know how he got there, can't remember his name, his face is covered in bandages, and it's down to you to retrace his past and reveal his true identity. Standard fare, clearly, but underneath that predictable exterior lie a few surprises for would-be adventurers.
Max, the hero of the tale, visits many weird locations in his search for his inner self, and some of the places he comes across are genuinely disturbing. The village full of mutilated children, for example, plays host to some of the most warped character graphics you will come across in a PC game: a boy with two mouths, a girl who's been horribly disfigured by one of the main characters in the game, and a town full of children with various limbs missing (or added) are some of the delights of one of the early scenarios.
Ironically, the in-game dialogue is pretty tame given the horrific visual appearance of some of the characters, and indeed Max (your alter ego) manages to sound both naive and stupid whatever the subject up for discussion. It is perhaps for this reason that Sanitarium is never truly offensive or shocking. The disturbing nature of the game's main theme and the "tasteless' graphics are offset by the main character's naivety, and the general feeling that the scary folks in the game aren't for real, but instead are convenient place-holders whose main purpose is to help unfold the plot and point you in the direction of your next big quest.
Sanitarium is not an adventure game classic; moving the main character about can be a chore, and there are some throwaway arcade combat scenes that don't quite fit in with the rest of the game. However, it tells an intriguing tale, the graphics are very impressive, and decent point-and-click adventures are a bit thin on the ground these days. So this could be your last chance to get into a 'true' adventure in the conventional sense. Try it you might like it.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP