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Review AdventureDex Retrospective: Sanitarium

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Crooked Bee, May 27, 2014.

  1. Crooked Bee wide-wandering bee Patron

    Crooked Bee
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    Tags: DreamForge Intertainment; Sanitarium

    It's been a while since we posted any AdventureDex content, hasn't it? In this review, esteemed community members Deuce Traveler and VioletShadow cast a look back at DreamForge's horror adventure game Sanitarium (1998). Here's a snippet from the full review:

    VioletShadow: Sanitarium is in many ways about discovery and this is reflected on the amount of puzzle-solving one must do; there was a lot of it. For the most part, puzzles were intuitive and well integrated into the story. Many were inventory-related, with some machine and lever ones as well. Disappointingly, their difficulty ranged from easy to medium so experienced adventure players will most likely be underwhelmed by the lack of challenge. I appreciated a few puzzles that required paying attention to what other characters said or details in the environment to be solved.

    There were a couple of action sequences which involved using an object on enemies while avoiding their attacks. These weren't much of a challenge, as failure meant the character was 'reborn' and free to try again without losing any progress. My favorite puzzle was a maze, which tends to be a headache in many other adventure games but in this case was nicely challenging and fun to complete.

    Deuce Traveler: Some of the puzzles in the beginning were so simple that the game nearly felt like a visual novel where you are focused more on reading dialogue than gameplay. The difficulty picks up a little bit more after the initial chapter, but never really becomes challenging to a player who is willing to click on everything he or she sees, or use every item in the inventory on every object and person in the environment. There is a lack of real death in the game, which reduces the tension of the experience. A limited inventory and smaller, contained locations reduced the amount of actions you had to employ to solve the puzzles. This is definitely one of the easier adventure games I have ever played. Your enjoyment in solving puzzles won't come in feeling how clever you are in defeating them, but instead their bizarre nature. For that reason, I enjoyed some carnival challenges the most.

    [​IMG]

    VioletShadow: Now, as for the interface it isn't awful, but has several flaws that may frustrate players to no end. Firstly, sometimes the character must be standing in a certain position to be able to interact with objects and maneuvering him until he is at the right place can take several tries and become a minor annoyance. Secondly, click/hold RMB to slowly walk didn't work that well and the character often ended up moving in the wrong direction. This takes me to the next issue: stairwells. *Screams*. Whenever the character walks in the wrong direction and gets close to a stairwell, he will go into the 'stairwell animation' and you have to wait for him to finish walking up or down. Many stairwells in the game plus awkward movement controls equaled lots of frustration for me.

    Deuce Traveler: Heh. I didn't find the interface nearly as rage-inducing. In fact, I thought it was beautiful in its simplicity. If I had issues with anything, it was the lack of solutions to puzzles. There was always a certain item that had to be used in a certain way to progress, which admittedly is a frustrating staple of such adventure games. For example, I couldn't electrocute a creature with jumper cables, but had to find an artifact to use as a conduit. Said artifact was in a small pool of water and looked to be within easy distance of an adult arm, but the game forced me to locate a fishing rod in order to retrieve the object.

    Unfortunately, the pathfinding in this game is nearly non-existent, so when I try to talk to someone the game often tells me I can't reach him or her to do so, even if I am standing next to them. This is because the game's animation requires the conversation to occur at a different angle from where I made the attempt.​

    Read the review in its entirety: AdventureDex Retrospective: Sanitarium
     
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  2. StaticSpine Arcane Patron

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    A very good game!
     
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  3. Humanity has risen! Arcane Patron Repressed Homosexual

    Humanity has risen!
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    Only the village scene was good, all the rest was pure trash and it only got worse and worse. The whole game should have revolved around the village. It's obvious that it was made by a bunch of drooling fratboy programmers who wanted to feel "cool" by creating a Jacob's Ladder kind of universe but it just ended up being a project where they threw around every "cool" idea they had without any consistency or coherency. The only reason it became kind of a cult classic is because of how barren the adventure games market already was in 1998.
     
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  4. Sordid MCA/Prosper Hybryd Arcane Patron

    Sordid MCA/Prosper Hybryd
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    Sanitarium also shows that isometric games easily can have much more IMMERSHUN than fpshit.
     
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  5. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Its a lovely game - the story was simpke but very well told and matched up with the unique visuak style so well.
     
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  6. PowerTorment Io-Interactive Patron Developer

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    I love this game. I think I have completed it 3 times with a few years in between. It felt fresh every time.
     
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  7. Jaesun Fabulous Moderator Patron

    Jaesun
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    Great review. :salute:

    Love this game <3
     
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  8. J_C One Bit Studio Patron Developer

    J_C
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    The review is spot on, this game is a very nice adventure.

    And HHR is a faggot.
     
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  9. HiddenX The Elder Spy Patron

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  10. Tramboi Cipher

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    I have to agree with HHR that the village is the best part.
    But I love the whole game, especially the circus.
     
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  11. Deuce Traveler Prestigious Gentleman 2012 Newfag Patron

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    The superhero comic part later in the game was complete cheese when it came to the hammy acting, but since I'm familiar with Silver Age DC, I still enjoyed the heck out of it. :)
     
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  12. StaticSpine Arcane Patron

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  13. MicoSelva Prestigious Gentleman Monstroterratum Furiosum Patron

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    Thanks for the review, bros. I've played this game a long time ago, but only finished the first chapter, because it kept crashing on me afterwards. I think the time is coming to give my GOG copy a chance and finally complete it.
     
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  14. Darth Roxor Prestigious Gentleman Wielder of the Huegpenis

    Darth Roxor
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    I honestly can't understand how anyone could possibly say that Sanitarium doesn't completely fall apart in the middle (Grimwall+, with the only exception being the morgue + cemetery map), in fact even going as far as saying those levels are still great. Grimwall just felt terrible to me, Olmec was a neat idea but the execution was also far from good, and the final "fusion of heroes" had a neat map with various connections to previous levels, but on the whole it was also kind of dumb.
     
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  15. Humanity has risen! Arcane Patron Repressed Homosexual

    Humanity has risen!
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    Exactly, how can anyone say it doesn't devolve more and more into corny, incoherent mumbo jumbo? What was even going on as the game progresses? Generic protagonist who is so generic and boring so no one remembers him gets "various delusions", which is a good pretext to make incoherent, unrelated levels that have no link between one another (to insert all the "cool" ideas the fratboy designers had).

    This was rubbish and it fell apart very quickly.

    Make no mistake, if you think it is an excellent game, YOU are the f*****, not me.
     
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  16. markec Twitterbot Patron

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    Despite some flaws and certain segments being quite weak it still managed to be very memorable game.

    Great review guys, hope to see more!
     
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  17. Gakkone pretty cool guy eh Patron

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    A flawed game but damn if it doesn't have its awesome moments. And not just with the creepy stuff, the part in the mansion is just: :cry:
     
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  18. SuicideBunny (ノ ゜Д゜)ノ ︵ ┻━┻

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    while the game certainly has flaws, as all games liked by the 'dex do, there is no possible scenario in the entire universe where you are not a, if not the, faggot.
     
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  19. Brother None inXile Entertainment Developer

    Brother None
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    Sanitarium is the shit (at least until the haunted house). I hear there's an excellent LP on the Codex for the curious.
     
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  20. VioletShadow Sensate Patron

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    As I originally mentioned, the game does suffer during the last third, but I wouldn't say it completely breaks apart after The Hive because I still consider the Morgue, The Maze and The Gauntlet to be good levels. Even if two specific levels dragged on a bit (The Hive, The Aztec Village), they didn't feel "disconnected" because at that point it is already pretty much obvious what's going on and why the character is having delusions about those things. Yeah, some of the stuff in the game was a bit corny, but overall I was genuinely touched by the character's suffering.

    Gakkone The Mansion was one of my favorite parts... might have shed a tear or two :cry: I'm glad to see several others also enjoyed the game! we are not the only two weirdos Deuce

    I had a very enjoyable time playing this game and a pleasure, as always, to co-game with my friend Deuce Traveler, exchange thoughts and write the review. Looking forward to our next game.
    :brodex:
     
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  21. Dr Schultz Scholar

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    Maybe bacause - given the protagonist back story - there is no f***ing need of a f***ing thematic connection between levels :asd:? The whole story arc DOES work as a introspection process and the single scenes are perfectly explainable as transferences.

    Having said that, not all the scenes have the same quality. Town and Circus are hands down the best parts of the game.
     
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  22. corvax Augur

    corvax
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    Pure nostalgia trumps any flaws this game may have. The pumpkin patch will always be with me...and the kids playing hide and seek. Ahh, wouldn't it be nice to relieve some of those games for the first time
     
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  23. VioletShadow Sensate Patron

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    Ahh, the hide and seek and the...secret weapon. :obviously:
     
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  24. Daemongar Arcane

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    For me, I could play Sanitarium anytime and enjoy it quite a bit. They at least tried to do something creative and different, and the story held it together quite well.

    Well said, they tied it up. It may have suffered from that, but overall they kept the game While I thought the puzzles were reasonably easy, most of the solutions made sense when you thought about it. Compare that to some other adventures where even when I use x on y, I just can't figure out why I would have thought of that to begin with and end up using random items on random items. There was some of that for me at the end of the first act (I'm pretty bad at adventure games) but most of all they gave the player a chance.
    Even my favorite adventure of all time (Sam & Max hit the road) had some spring you use on a hand and ... a ball of twine or something... madness.

    Fond of The Mansion, The Innocent Abandoned, and The Laboratory. I could live without ever going through The Hive again.
     
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  25. SCO Arcane In My Safe Space

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    It may have been easy but it was still harder than the nushit (like memoria :negative:)
     
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