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Sanity: Aiken's Artifact

Score: 100%
ESRB:
Publisher: Fox Interactive
Developer: Monolith
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action


Graphics & Sound:

Eye candy! It was the only phrase I could think of to describe the graphics of Sanity: Aiken's Artifact. When you first start, you might be under the impression that you will be playing a turn-based RPG by how the environments are set up. Your view of the game is from about 20 feet above the main character, Agent Cain. That is where the similarity ends, because unlike an RPG, you control Agent Cain like a 3rd person adventure game. Your view camera has two settings, Follow and Manual. In Follow mode, your camera will automatically spin around behind your character when he moves and in the Manual setting, you must move the view yourself. Follow is the default view and for good reason. Sanity: Aiken's Artifact really shines when Agent Cain uses his talents. When throwing a fireball on an enemy or sending a cascading field of stars down on your enemy, each effect is full of detail and particles so you have realistic smoke, fire, lighting, and even reflections in glass.

The sound track during the game concentrates on the environment with realistic surround sound explosions and environment noises. When at your menu screens, the music track is a fresh hip-hop mix with lots of bass straight off of any urban radio station. During the credits, you will even be treated with the track, 'Sanity' by Ice T, who does the voice acting for Agent Cain.


Gameplay:

Like I said before, graphically, Sanity: Aiken's Artifact starts off looking like a turn-based RPG, but don't let the looks fool you. You are playing an action game, and action is what this game delivers. You portray Agent Cain, a psionic agent in the 21st century. During an experiment to unlock the unused portion of our brains by the use of a serum, things started to go wrong. Subjects in the experiment would start to go insane because their brains could not adapt to the new powers or 'talents'. Cain was different because he was given the serum while in the womb, so his brain was able to deal with the talents and keep his sanity longer. Able to control these talents and his sanity, Cain joined a police force formed to deal with psychotic psionics called the Department of National Psionic Control, or the DNPC. There is a lot more to the back-story and many more characters in the mix, you need to discover that on your own. You, as Agent Cain, are on a mission to control psionic criminals.

Through integrated movies, you are given your missions along the way. You will start off the first mission with the fireball talent, which I have found to be very effective. Be warned: you cannot continuously use your talents without it affecting your sanity. You will be able to keep track of your sanity and your overall health through the in game interface bar. This bar will also give you the ability to talk to headquarters amd flash your badge or gun (which you will need to do with certain characters to get the required information). You will also be able to choose which talent you will use against your foes, which range from rednecks to psionic controlled ghouls. To fight them off effectively, you must be quick and keep moving all the time. You remember the saying, 'a moving target is harder to hit'. After you have destroyed an enemy, there will sometimes be a power up vial to increase your health or sanity. Every once in a while, an enemy will leave behind a new talent. The levels, of course get more intense as you go along. There are some spots in the game that you must have talked to a certain person or have a certain talent before you can progress further in the game. Don't ask me how long it took me to get through a certain spot.

Sanity also has multi-player options for over the Internet or over a local network. The game performs the exact same way in the multi-player games, but they are geared more as deathmatch games, rather than having a storyline to follow.


Difficulty:

I was surprised to find no difficulty setting you could change. This means that the game is going to start off easy and get harder along the way. I prefer this type because it allows you to improve over time and not just play a completely easy game or an extremely difficult one. A few words of advice, SAVE YOUR GAME OFTEN! It might take several tries to defeat a group of enemies and you don't want to have to start off at the beginning of the level every time, do you?

Game Mechanics:

Sanity: Aiken's Artifact has a very simple but very effective mouse and keyboard interface. You have various pointers that mean different things, and to move Agent Cain, you click and hold on your right mouse button in your environment and Cain will move toward that spot. If that spot is far away from Cain, he will run and if it is right next to him, he will walk. To fire your weapon or use any of your talents, you point your pointer on who you want to fire at and click on your left mouse button. You can also control your character by the use of your keyboard. I know everybody will appreciate the easy interface, because it will allow you to concentrate on enjoying the game.

-Wickserv, GameVortex Communications
AKA Eric Wickwire

Minimum System Requirements:



Win95/98, PII300Mhz, 64MB RAM, 8MB Direct 3D compatible video card, 4x CD-ROM, 400MB hard drive space
 

Test System:



GX-450xl running Windows 98, 256 RAM, Creative Sound Blaster 64CPCI with Boston Acoustic Digital Media Theatre, STB Velocity 4400 with RIVA TNT chip, DirectX 7, 32 Mb RAM, 6X24 DVD-ROM.

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