|Sanitarium (c) ASC Games|
Addons: Music  & Video 
Reviewed On: P200MMX, 64mb RAM, #9 Motion 771 (2mb), Monster 3d
Finally, a good game to really dig your teeth into. Sanitarium is a very stylish, very cool and dark adventure game, where you are trying to find your identity and figure out the mystery of the world you are thrust into. This game is highly addicting and the plot evolves very nicely.
Graphically, this game is quite impressive, combining stunning pre-rendered backgrounds with well-animated and large characters. All the environments are very atmospheric and conducive to the gameplay. The framerate is decent, however there is a slight "load" at certain areas of the environment where the camera moves towards the center of the new area. The video is very well done, they look like a movie, and help the story line quite a bit. The whole look is very smooth, and you will find it draws you into the game. Very well done.
The sound is also great, especially the speech. The voice acting is unusually professional and well done, taking a feature that is usually laughable in most games (Resident Evil etc) and turning it into a valuable tool. The quality is comparable to that of Monkey Island 3. The sound FX are nice, there aren't very many, but the ones that are there are of high quality. The music is also quite atmospheric, and nicely subdued. As with the graphics, the entire sound package seems very polished, and carefully planned to suit the atmosphere.
The plot of this game is quite interesting, and it is for that reason you are motivated to keep on going, to see how things progress. You wake up in a sanitarium, with absolutely no recollection of who you are. The quest for identity is not a unique one, but when combined with the other elements and mysteries of the world, makes for a very interesting and captivating game. The puzzles start out quite easily, and for the most part knowing what to do is not too big a problem. For instance, there is a collapsed bridge. When you click it, it says "This bridge is collapsed. You need a stone of some sort to place across it." This gives a very nice difficulty curve, with the puzzles getting more difficult progressively. I doubt many gamers will get frustrated with obscure clues and items to find, which is a definite bonus. The game has a lot of atmosphere, the whole game oozes mystery and a constant uneasiness. One of the few problems I have is the slow pace that the main guy walks at; it takes quite a while to walk from one end of an area to another, and for impatient gamers like me, it seems like an eternity. If there is a run command, I haven't found it yet. As well, the way you use items isn't immediately obvious, the item usage interface takes a _little_ time to get used to, but once you figure out it's no problem. The game is long, and a blast to play. Obviously there is little replay value, but that's a problem with adventure games, not this game itself.
Overall this game is a welcome addition to any adventure game fan's library; the slick graphics and sound, coupled with an absorbing story line, makes for a great gaming experience.
Graphics: 18 / 20
Overall Rating: 89 / 100
**NOTE: You need the original 3 cds to hear the speech**
Wow, this game is huge. I asked a few months ago if this was going to be released but people answered no and said it was unreleasable. This game is 3 CDs, a very large game. Razor somehow managed to bring it down correctly though, also leaving the sound-fx in. And the next day 2 addons were released for it, the music addon and a video addon. I don't think a speech addon will be released because it is probably too large and probably doesn't compress either. Having 2 addons and the game with sound fx is lucky considering its large size.
A good thing was that this game had subtitles, if it didn't we probably wouldn't have seen this game released. What they meant in the .NFO about the speech corresponding with the subtitles was that the subtitles don't just pop up out of nowhere, they work with the wav files and display as the speech goes on, if they made the wav's to zero bytes than the subtitles wouldn't appear at all. This game compressed pretty well, it installs to 600mb and is only 68 disks.
Sanitarium consists of 80 characters according to the box text, and 3D rendered environments. The 3D environments in the game look spectacular, a good example of a pre-rendered 3D environment game would be Diablo. Sanitarium has very good graphics and some pretty cool sounds. The pre-rendered 3D characters are completely smooth and if you get any problems then you can just change the performance meter under options (see the readme.txt for more on this). There is also a very detailed options menu in the game for your needs.
I was really amazed when I first played this game. You start off in this dungeon-like place which is really a crazy house. It seems that the character you control has lost his memory, he doesn't remember who he is, where he is or why he's there. His face also seems to be bandaged, because you can't see his face when you talk to other people. At first you spot this crazy guy who's just repeatedly banging his head on the wall and you can see some blood spatter where he's banging it.
The sound fx to this game are awesome, when I walked near the headbanger, the sounds got louder and louder and more detailed. And when you talk to characters you get to ask them questions that are provided to you: after you finish saying Hello to the person, a box appears with questions you can ask. Also the menu has a really awesome ghostly voice for each time you move your mouse over an option. It's creepy :)
Sanitarium's environment is pretty big, so you won't be able to finish this game easily and the game is more exciting and challenging that way since you're walking into newer territory. You also have an inventory in this game which you can carry items in, etc. I haven't spotted any weapons in this game, but I haven't played it too much yet, so I'm not sure if it has weapons or not. But I know there are definitely puzzles in the game which you must solve from gathering items and using them in places.
Graphics: 17 / 20
Overall Rating: 83 / 100