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Old 09-05-2010, 12:48 PM   #41
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Feel free, of course, to discuss the matters from the first chapter further. But let's also move on to...


Chapter 2: The Innocent Abandoned


Where the first chapter were knee-deep in Poe-like gothic macabre, now we suddenly and inexplicably pay a visit to a little town that could have been imagined by Stephen King. What happened to its inhabitants who disappeared... and what happened to those who didn't?

We'll give ourselves a full working week again, but this level is five or six times longer than the previous one, so it should be okay. Stop playing as soon as Chapter 3, "The Courtyard and Chapel", starts. We'll be beginning the next chunk on Saturday, September 11th.

Three remarks to new players before we start.

For one, do install the patch if you haven't already. You'll have only a very short segment to replay, and you'll reduce the risk of frustration at later stages. I myself had no problems until halfway through chapter two, and then - see my previous post.

For two, there is one pixel hunt in this chapter that got many players (me included) stuck, where one, and only one, of several objects of the same type is pickable. Knowing what it is might spoil part of a puzzle, so I'll leave it to you to decide whether to learn specifics:

Spoiler:
You can take one of the stones from in front of the church.


Finally, due to non-linearity of this level, you might actually confront the villain of this part too early, which doesn't cause a dead-end or anything, but is (IMHO) quite anticlimactic to the whole mystery of the town. Stumbling upon this path requires both certain luck with the puzzles and exploring things in non-obvious order - it is in fact only now, in the third playthrough of the game that I discovered this possibility. But still, it is possible, however unlikely, so I am mentioning it. If you are really paranoid about such things, and don't mind my stifling your freedom of exploration just to avoid it, feel free to read my somewhat-spoiling advice:

Spoiler:
Don't enter the Pumpkin Patch until you think you did everything you could everywhere else.


Have fun, and post your thoughts and impressions along the way.
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Old 09-05-2010, 03:39 PM   #42
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Crap I'm too slow on this - now I have 2 chapters to get through . Ok, I'm starting now, catch up time!
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Old 09-05-2010, 06:15 PM   #43
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It's okay Sughly; I'm behind too. But I'm having a very busy real and gaming life right now, so I'm only putting what I remember. Don't wait up for me. lol
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Old 09-05-2010, 06:41 PM   #44
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Ah well, I caught up already! Had the day off today so I went over to GOG and just got up to chapter 3.

What can I say... loving it so far, definately! I've always heard the game titled mentioned here and there but never paid attention, so I'm glad this playthrough got me into it.

The setup in chapter one is really intriguing. I can't help but think there is some real delusion to all this, but it could just as easily be something akin to the conspiracy theories mentioned earlier as well (what with his discoveries now being hidden as delusions). And yes - that head banging, my god... the sound effect is just cringe-worthy. A nice soft mushy thump

Chapter two was great! The puzzle you listed as taking a while AFGNCAAP... that stumbled me the longest
Spoiler:
I was spending ages trying to replace the rope that one of the kids mentioned was cut from the bell, and that skipping girl had the perfect substitute!


The whole mother thing was just perfectly eery and unsettling. Really loving the dialogue system and the length you get from each child. I like how things become fleshed out as a reward for conversation in a not too overly long way, very well done (such as the Max reveal). While I'm on that topic I'm also loving the cinematics - for such an old game I think they hold up tremendously well! Very impressive. Sad to hear the company died out afterwards...

Ok that's probably enough for now. I have more to add on my thoughts towards character and story, but I'll reserve it until I've read a few posts from others on this chapter...
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Old 09-05-2010, 09:03 PM   #45
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I remember finding that hard to find object AFGNCAAP mentioned only because my cursor happened to be in the right spot when my finger got twitchy.

Actually, I'm glad the older graphics keep you from seeing clearly how terribly deformed the children are. It would be a lot harder to play this segment if you could.
Spoiler:
Especially when Max digs up the secret weapon.
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Old 09-06-2010, 04:26 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luna Sevithiainen View Post
The 'delusions being part of the story' thought made me think of something. If we assume that our main character may not be delusional, why are we so certain the others are? I mean, granted, they sound a lot more delusional and all like the main character, but if indeed our main character is sane, and he, in all is sanity is seeing the things he does in this first chapter, including a talking angel... If he, in his sanity, sees that, and relays it to others, would they not consider him delusional as well?
Or alternatively, could it be that the other inmates had been there so long that they started to sound delusional, yet that there is still truth in what they are saying, even though it may have come to sound like delusional gibberish over the (possibly) years they have been captured in the tower?
That's a very good summing-up of the situation as we're seeing it at the end of the first chapter.
Quote:
Has he been there for some time? I must have missed out on that bit then...either way, even if he has been there for some time (let's assume that, what with Step's remark on the colour of his trouwers before the crash, he has actually been an inmate for some time), the crash could have easily caused the amnesia he is experiencing now, which sort of makes it logical that his mind is blank.
The video you see in the control room implies he's been here for some time before (the doctor talks as if he's escaped a number of times in the past but has really injured himself this time) The crash then led to the loss of memory that makes the whole place seem new to him.

Quote:
And why was he so stupid to drive so extremely fast that made him get in the crash, knowing he had such important info to share? Was he so eager to tell it? Was he followed? Was he pushed of the road? Did someone of the unknown bad guys somehow take over the wheel, and most importantly, the gas pedal?
My computer has gone up the creek so I can't check myself but I'm pretty sure that, while he undoubtedly was going too fast, there were other factors at work in the crash. Nothing concrete at the moment though.
Quote:
Something else I've been wondering...in the intro someone of the (I think) staff asks "what to do with that one", to which someone else replies to "leave him, that's the bastard that stole my car". So that would be the reason to specifically leave our main character for dead, but what about the other inmates? Had they done something against them as well, that they could easily be left behind, to die in the tower cells? Or was it normal to leave the inmates, and does our main character have a special status, belonging to a group who usually would be saved, unless of course when they do something bad like stealing a car?
I get the impression that the orderly we hear in the opening isn't the most caring of individuals. Whilst he leaves the main character for a specific reason (the bastard stole his car) he sounds like the type that would leave the others because he's more interested in saving his own neck than the inmates. (maybe they required persuading to move and he couldn't be bothered)

My computer has gone belly-up so, while I hope to get it fixed shortly I'm not going to be able to take as active a role as I'd hoped. However, having replayed very recently I should still be able to do some discussion from recent memory so we'll see how it goes.
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Old 09-06-2010, 06:32 AM   #47
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Interesting. Can you explain why it isn't both of those things? Because to me it's clearly direct control movement despite employing only a mouse (and I actually used it in at least one conversation as an example that mouse-based interface and direct control aren't mutually exclusive). Telltale has started using basically the same method recently (just with left click) as an alternative to keyboard and gamepad, and I had no doubt it is direct control, as well. And I have no idea why you wouldn't call the view isometric.
Now you've made me doubt myself!

1. To me this isn't quite direct control. Essentially you are using the mouse to click on an area which the player will then walk to. Now granted, that is a slightly misleading thing to say, in that you have to hold down the mouse button, and to some extent guide the path of the character, but it is not the same as arrow keys or WASD direct control.

In other words, the control scheme is, to my mind, much more similar to the classic Point & Click style than it is to "direct control" style games ranging from Pacman to modern day FPS.

The difference is in the clicking on a point on the screen to move to, even if you might well keep moving that point. You click somewhere and the character follows to that point (or moving point).

Whereas in what I would call "proper direct control", i.e. arrows/WASD/console controller, you are propelling the character to move in one direction out from where they are, not to follow to a particular position, but to move in that direction so that character is "leading" rather than "following". Or perhaps moving out from where they are rather then following to where you want them to be. You are making the character physically move out one way, rather than asking him to move to a particular point.

Having said that, I do accept (as previously said) that this game has the "feel" of direct control to some extent.

I don't know if I have explained it very well and am quite happy to accept other opinions as equally valid!

2. Isometric screen. I may well be wrong about this...

What springs to mind for me with Isometric screens are games like Civ 2 with tile by tile movement, or Diablo, made up of those particularly shaped isometric tiles. Sanitarium (and this is the bit I may be wrong about) gives the feel of being isometric, that "diagonal on" feel, without strictly being made up of these tiles at the precise angles.

As I say i'm now not quite so confident of the statement and will accept abuse and frying pans from all if this is so!

(Apologies for the length of post).
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Old 09-06-2010, 09:28 AM   #48
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I wont be able to make it until the next deadline since I'll be away on a course Tuesday to Friday.
Hopefully I'll have access to a computer (I don't own a laptop) at the hotel so I can read your impressions.
Happy gaming!
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Old 09-06-2010, 10:02 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by stepurhan View Post
The video you see in the control room implies he's been here for some time before (the doctor talks as if he's escaped a number of times in the past but has really injured himself this time) The crash then led to the loss of memory that makes the whole place seem new to him.
I am going to give a longer reply later on, but I just had to comment on this: is the doctor telling the truth? How do we know? Yes, he claims like you have been there for some time, and that you have tried to escape because of your delusions, but how can we be completely sure that the doctor is telling the truth and that he is not just leading us to believe we have been there forever?
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Old 09-06-2010, 02:35 PM   #50
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But why would we assume the other inmates of the asylum are real? Max is hurt pretty badly, it's his head that's bandaged so it's not too farfetched to assume he has a brain injury along with lacerations to his face and maybe burns. Not to mention that he may be doped to the gills for pain...or some other reason. He's lost contact with reality, that's for sure, but his brain is trying to right itself, so while Max is pretty sane compared to the rest of the inmates, "Max" may not be whole, he may be just the controlling persona struggling to maintain control over his fragmented mind, to figure out "what's going on". The other inmates may be delusions and/or parts of him.

Just thinking.
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Old 09-06-2010, 04:04 PM   #51
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I loved this part of the game. It's probably the strangest environment I'd ever witnessed in a game (until later on, of course ). However, there's a cut-scene I can't quite remember...I think it happens after you complete Chapter 2, but DON'T READ THIS UNLESS YOU'RE PAST CHAPTER 3, just in case:
Spoiler:
I think there was a scene with two doctors walking down a hallway, maybe discussing the main character? I can't remember what was said...but I think something led me to believe that the main character was a doctor, too?
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Old 09-07-2010, 01:00 AM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luna Sevithiainen View Post
I am going to give a longer reply later on, but I just had to comment on this: is the doctor telling the truth? How do we know? Yes, he claims like you have been there for some time, and that you have tried to escape because of your delusions, but how can we be completely sure that the doctor is telling the truth and that he is not just leading us to believe we have been there forever?
That's one of the things I like about games like this. Where we're dealing with Insanity/memory loss, you can't tell what is real to any extent, which means that what you're seeing can range from complete reality to complete delusion! Everything is up to be questioned initially and (hopefully) we'll get clues and part explanations further on to illuminate!

For this reason i'm trying to keep as open a mind as possible at this stage as to what is real, what is delusion and what is lies.
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Old 09-07-2010, 05:33 AM   #53
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For this reason i'm trying to keep as open a mind as possible at this stage as to what is real, what is delusion and what is lies.
I'm doing my best to follow this sentiment! But my mind keeps creating insane theories of one extreme to the other - also an interesting by-product of this game so far
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:46 AM   #54
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Hey there!
Would it be too late to join in?!
I have plenty of spare time at the moment so wont take me long to catch up hopefully
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:56 AM   #55
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Join in, it is an extraodinary game you shouldn't miss!

Finally, i survived chapter 2, even if i had to be resurrected a few times at the pumpkin patch.
It took me a few trials to understand that I had to KILL the ravens!
Wasn’t it creepy how Max kind of melted into the ground to be resurrected again?
Creepy and unsettling – that’s what this chapter was to me.
It was all about children and how to save them. Mother tried to save them – but appearently took the wrong direction.
Max tried to save them – but did he succeed? After the destruction of mother, the town was empty. The last child, Mary, waged her strange tail (or was it a root?) while Max went into the light.
What about the light? Who is Sarah (mentioned by Max’s mother? Why the pumpkins? Is the car in the rocks Max’s car? What is the angel? So many questions we can discuss now.
My most pressing question is: was this chapter about the aggression in families – in Max’s family?
We have mother, who takes care of the children, after she experiences their pain and sees one of them, Carol, dying. She wants to help them by separating them from their parents (as she comprehends it: the aggressor) and transforming them into something different (as she comprehends it: something better).
Mother is the meteor that came from outer space. Children of abused family often can’t get help in the family. They need help from outside, from someone strange to the family. The reverend described mother/the comet as a heavenly anger: this she really was.
The best way not to get beaten is to be “invisible”. So is it really a game these children are playing? And why is it so important to win it by using a secret weapon?
And what about being transformed into a plant: abused children often get very passive, quiet and resile – like plants. It is an active strategy to survive for children.
The abhorrent transformation of the children can even seen in connection with sexual abuse: it is a common strategy of children to save themselves from further assaults by making themselves ugly and unwanted.
So “mother” was a surviving technique of the children. But after the situation changed, the abuse being over, mother became a danger herself. And had to be destroyed if a normal live should be resurrected.
Why did I never see all this in my past two times I played this game? It was a very intense experience.
This is the third time I play Sanatorium and, due to my bad memory, I have no clue what will happen and how all this will end. What a blessing!
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Old 09-10-2010, 11:14 AM   #56
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OK, I've finished Chapter 2.

Definitely a bit more to get stuck in with this time!

After talking up how much I was going to keep an open mind I completely failed during this chapter! So here's my thoughts so all of you who have played before can laugh at how wrong I am! Just don't tell me yet though!

We have the revelation that the player character is called Max (presumably at least) and the memory (if that's what it is) is a childhood one. Possibly just because of the children around him or possibly because his childhood itself is important in understanding Max and what is happening to him. Max's mother says something along the lines of "Sarah will see you now" which makes her sound like some kind of doctor ("the doctor will see you now") or possibly psychiatric nurse?

The setting in chapter two is a world apart from the tower in chapter one in terms of colour and life, but still retains that strange and horrible feeling. The children around are all deformed, and we learn that they have been disfigured by an "adult" (or, well, alien called "mother") trying to change them into something they are not. I may be wrong but this smells of symbolism to me and reinforces the idea that something happened to Max in his childhood which is relevant.

The thing doing this to the children is a monster, trying to warp them into something not natural and I guess this could be symbolism for adults trying to change Max as a child from what he felt to be natural.

It is interesting how quick Max is to resort to violence and killing things when confronted by danger, it is his first plan of action (crows/scarecrow/mother) and he apparently has no difficulty in doing so. Perhaps something he is used to doing?

The chldren themselves are interesting too, none of them seem to be fazed by the dead bodies around them and the digging up of their dead friend. Perhaps they have just been changed by "mother" and perhaps this is indicative of something within Max. Having said that, he does seem disgusted by the death around him, and although he loses no time in digging up the dead girl, he does seem disgusted by it.

On the whole, I am persuaded that this is a delusion. The crashed car is remniscent of the earlier cutscene in which Max apparently crashed a car, although he does not appear to have any particular feelings about it being there and so out of place.

Anyway, enough from me for now.

[I should say that I'm going to be away for a week with possibly limited gaming time/access but will try to play on with everyone else.]
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Old 09-10-2010, 11:42 AM   #57
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wrong direction.
Just got it from GOG
Been wanting a new game and not played this one yet
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Old 09-10-2010, 11:30 PM   #58
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Just got it from GOG
Been wanting a new game and not played this one yet
GOG's probably wondering why a sharp incline of Sanitarium sales have suddenly come about (sharp incline as in... 4 or 5).

Was interested to see all the symbolism and metaphor people are discussing. I hate to sound dull but I didn't think to even look that far into things yet. I guess I've been taken into a bit of a literal take on everything, with the excpetion of course of the car which did ring some alarm bells.

I'm trying not to keep myself guessing really and enjoy the ride for what it is, which probably explains why I haven't looked too deep yet. I am thoroughly enjoying everyone else's take on things though
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Old 09-11-2010, 07:22 AM   #59
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Ok just finished chapter two so I am now more and less caught up so here is my take on everything so far:

The interface is very very different from anything I've used before and at first I struggled with the movement and interacting of characters/items however I soon got used to it. But as previously stated I think this really added something to the game play as it was new and different and somewhat unsettling just like the game and setting itself. I do like how once you have used an item it disappears from your inventory so you don't end up cluttered with useless items which I have found irritating in many of the adventure games I have played in the past.

I think the voice acting fits in very well with the game as we, well as a first time player I , have as yet no concept as to what is reality and what is delusion so what may seem strange in reality (the man hitting his head on the wall) in Max's world it may seem quite normal especially if he has been around this kind of behaviour for a while.

As for the graphics I am finding them quite charming and think they add to the creepiness somehow, if this was made today everything would be crystal clear but I think the slight ambiguity helps intensify the confusion surrounding the events. I am glad I wasn't the only one who spent quite a while trying to work out if Max had a ponytail Saying this I am someone who loves a good old pixelated game

Now into the story, I tried to just keep an open mind but couldn't help myself trying to figure it all out

After the first chapter my thoughts were that maybe he did crash and was found by the people at the asylum and taken away by them before anybody else found him and 'tests' were carried out on him; sort of using the people in the asylum like human guinea pigs for whatever reason. Then as the angel came to life I started to wonder just where his mental state actually was.

During the second chapter my mind was wandering all over the place, I will put this into spoilers just to be on the safe side:

Spoiler:
At first I thought maybe the children’s parents were taken away by the people at the asylum and the characters we met in the first chapters were the children’s parents. Once I found the bodies in the schoolhouse I then just didn't know what to think! I then started to wonder if maybe Max was Jebbah and his actions caused him to be put away for mental evaluation. Making my way through the pumpkin patch and encountering the pumpkin man I then stared to wonder if this was a delusion or some sort of repressed memory playing itself out in a bizarre way.


So as I get onto chapter three I have a few theories but still totally confused but loving it! I haven't found any of the puzzles too trying yet, I did have a problem with
Spoiler:
realising where the secret weapon was
but that’s really it so far.

Overall - Think it’s a fantastic game so far that I hope keeps getting better and definitely very different from anything I've played before. The interface has its pros and cons but it’s not unmanageable. Sorry for the long post but I had catching up to do
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Old 09-11-2010, 07:58 AM   #60
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Ok just finished chapter two
THAT was incredible fast. It took me 3 days to complete chapter 2.
And i have to admit: i used a walkthrough two times.
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