Haunted Halls: Green Hills Sanitarium Game Review
Explore a decrepit and otherworldly mental asylum in Haunted Halls: Green Hills Sanitarium. Your boyfriend has gone to the asylum to investigate odd happenings, and you haven’t heard from him in a week. Now you have to face your fears and go look for him. Solve intricate puzzles in this psychological mystery. Rescue asylum inmates from their fears and find your boyfriend in this creepy Lovecraftian hidden object adventure game!
Haunted Halls: Green Hills Sanitarium is a psychological thriller in the form of a hidden object adventure game. The story concept is similar to the recent hit Batman: Arkham Asylum game, where you have to enter a mental asylum and face a whole host of creepy and disturbing scenes and characters. The story and setting also contain elements similar to H. P. Lovecraft’s macabre science fiction horror stories. Slimy tentacles and eyeballs are plentiful in this game! Needless to say, the game might not be suitable for the younger crowd.
The story in Green Hills Sanitarium begins with you driving to the sanitarium, after a week of not hearing from your boyfriend Tim. Tim had gone there a month earlier to investigate odd happenings, and had constantly communicated with you until a week ago. Worried, you set out to visit the place and look for him (for a change, the girl has to go rescue the guy!). Odd and creepy things start happening once you arrive at the mysteriously deserted building, and you soon become entangled in a thrilling mystery that seems to have been born out of somebody’s nightmares.
As mentioned above, the setting in this game is pretty twisted, and is probably not appropriate for children. There are depictions of both physical and mental torture, as the asylum inmates are made to face their greatest fears. An inmate who is afraid of water is trapped on a barrel, the only dry thing in a room full of water, eels and broken pipes with water gushing out. Similarly, an inmate with a fear of creepy-crawlies is stuck in a room full of ants, spiders, worms and other assorted creatures that make your skin crawl.
It is said that a good piece of entertainment should evoke emotion. Green Hills Sanitarium certainly does, although it is definitely not the warm-and-fuzzy sort of emotion! Playing the game will engulf you in a world that’s creepy and bizarre. In addition, the artwork and sound effects complement this atmosphere very well. The art has a painterly feel, in the style of the early 20th century, with an element of darkness that is very Lovecraftian. This is enhanced by the haunting soundtrack and the creepy noises coming from things like skittering bugs and slithering tentacles.
The gameplay here is of the interactive hidden object adventure variety. Like other games in this genre, you adventure through the many locations in and around the asylum, interacting with various things around the place and picking up objects that could prove useful in solving future puzzles and obstacles. Progression through the game is controlled via obstacles such as locked doors and obstructed passageways that are only accessible once you have solved the required puzzles in the previous areas.
Some of the objects that you interact with in the game will require you to fix a problem, such as gathering some piping and a wrench in order to get a water tap running. Examining other objects will either trigger a hidden object scene or puzzle. The hidden object scenes will require you to find objects strewn about the scene, some of which are crucial items that are needed to solve other puzzles. These hidden objects are very well hidden, providing you with a decent challenge in finding them.
The puzzles and minigames will also present a satisfying challenge. They run the gamut from those requiring logical problem-solving to those that test your pattern-matching and perception skills. They aren’t straightforward, but can be skipped if you’d rather continue on with the story instead of spending hours pulling your hair out trying to solve them. This story can also be experienced by reading your journal which contains scraps of notes and a developing story that is revealed as you achieve the many milestones in the game.
Haunted Halls: Green Hills Sanitarium is more a visit into a demented mind rather than an adventure game. Be creeped out of your skin and satisfyingly frightened as you explore the inner sanctum of the asylum and a twisted nightmare. You will like this game if you liked previous psychological games such as the Redrum series. The basic version of the game is not out yet, but you can get the Collector’s Edition of the PC game which includes exclusive content such as bonus gameplay, a built-in strategy guide, an exclusive soundtrack and more.