Once Upon A Time - A Look Back at Sanitarium
Have you ever played “Sanitarium?” If not, you’re missing out on one of the best psychological thrillers ever to hit the PC… or console for that matter. The game saw its release in 1998 and was developed by ASC Games. In it, you follow protagonist Max, who awakes from a car accident in an insane asylum with amnesia, and is given very little answers as to why he is there. As the player, it is your job to help Max find out who he is and why he finds himself in his current situation.
The greatest thing about the game is the atmosphere. Each level is drastically different but equally twisted from the last, and it even spans different time era’s and has you playing as different characters. From Max’s sister to a mighty Aztec God named Olmec, you’ll be constantly trying to sort out the twisted web of lies that has led Max to his current predicament.
The game plays similar to “Diablo” since you’ll constantly be pointing and clicking, however, there is a limit to the action that Max actually sees. I only recall a couple of times in the game where enemies actually tried to damage you, otherwise, for most of the game, you’re racing against the clock. The story is phenomenal and the soundtrack fits the game better then any other game I’ve ever played.
It offers some truly great scares, and the people and characters you meet in the game will leave a truly lasting impression. One character, named “Mother,” kidnaps kids and punishes them by putting them in the “pumpkin patch,” a place where crows will peck out their eyes or a scarecrow mutilates their face. You will ultimately take down “Mother,” but when you meet her you may be surprised as to what you see.
You can watch the trailer below, and you should check out the game if your ever get the chance. You can get it on eBay for around $20, and it’s completely worth it. I bought it upon its release and every couple of years I break it out and play it all the way through just to remind me of why I loved it so much. It never disappoints, and if you like psychological horror/thrillers you’d be a fool not to give it a try.