Sanitarium (1998)

by Nish
5 minutes read


Sanitarium: A Descent into Madness

Sanitarium (1998) is a psychological horror point-and-click adventure game developed by DreamForge Intertainment and published by ASC Games. The game follows the story of Max, a man who wakes up in a near-deserted sanitarium after a car crash with no recollection of who he is or how he got there. As Max explores the sanitarium, he begins to experience strange and disturbing hallucinations, and it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between reality and madness.

Sanitarium is a masterclass in psychological horror, creating a deeply unsettling and atmospheric experience that will stay with you long after you finish playing. The game’s visuals are suitably eerie, with a muted color palette and distorted, dreamlike imagery. The sound design is equally effective, using ambient noises and unsettling sound effects to create a sense of unease and paranoia.

The gameplay in Sanitarium is fairly standard for point-and-click adventure games. Players control Max as he explores the sanitarium, interacting with objects and solving puzzles in order to progress the story. However, what sets Sanitarium apart from other games in the genre is its focus on psychological horror. The puzzles are often surreal and disorienting, and the player is constantly left guessing what is real and what is a hallucination.

The story of Sanitarium is complex and multi-layered, and it is up to the player to piece together the truth about Max’s past and the events that led him to the sanitarium. The game’s multiple endings add to its replayability, as players can choose to experience different aspects of the story depending on the choices they make.


  • Max: The protagonist of the game, Max is a man who wakes up in a sanitarium with no memory of his past. He must explore the sanitarium and piece together the truth about his identity and the events that led him there.
  • Dr. Morgan: The head of the sanitarium, Dr. Morgan is a mysterious and enigmatic figure. He claims to be helping Max, but his true intentions are unclear.
  • Nurse Sarah: A nurse at the sanitarium, Sarah is kind and compassionate, but she seems to be hiding something.
  • Mr. Smith: A patient at the sanitarium, Mr. Smith is a paranoid schizophrenic who believes that the world is out to get him.
  • Mrs. Jones: A patient at the sanitarium, Mrs. Jones is a catatonic woman who has been in the sanitarium for many years.


  • Identity: Max’s journey of self-discovery is at the heart of Sanitarium. As he explores the sanitarium and interacts with the other patients, he begins to question who he is and what his place in the world is.
  • Reality vs. Illusion: Sanitarium constantly blurs the line between reality and illusion. Max’s hallucinations are so vivid and realistic that it becomes difficult to tell what is real and what is not.
  • Mental Illness: The game explores the theme of mental illness in a sensitive and nuanced way. The patients at the sanitarium are all suffering from different forms of mental illness, and Max’s own descent into madness is a powerful and disturbing portrayal of the effects of mental illness.

Critical Reception

Sanitarium received critical acclaim upon its release, with reviewers praising its atmosphere, story, and puzzles. The game was nominated for several awards, including Adventure Game of the Year from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.


Sanitarium is considered to be one of the greatest psychological horror games ever made. It has been praised for its innovative gameplay, its disturbing and atmospheric visuals, and its thought-provoking story. The game has inspired a number of other psychological horror games, and it remains a popular choice for fans of the genre.


Sanitarium is a must-play for fans of psychological horror games. It is a deeply unsettling and atmospheric experience that will stay with you long after you finish playing. The game’s complex story, memorable characters, and innovative gameplay make it a true classic of the genre.

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