Ah, with Halloween fast approaching it's time to turn to escape games with a more atmospheric nature. How about a game set in an eerily empty hospital? How about one with mysterious strangers and deadly zombies? How about Endless Anesthesia?
Developed by Game2p, Endless Anesthesia is the perfect escape game for this spooky season. Be warned now, there's lots of blood and destruction, and nasty creatures that would like to eat your face. However, if you feel you are up to the challenge, then, well, let's begin.
After a lovely series of pencil drawings that explain... eh, not so much, but they certainly set the atmosphere for what is to come. When the opening scenes end you awake on an operating table in a hospital that is suddenly devoid of patients, health care workers, janitorial staff... basically, everyone is gone. At least, almost everyone. Explore the room and the floor you are on, get the elevator working, meet a mysterious guy who will give you a gun and a fighting chance, then explore some more. Can you get out before the things get you?
Navigation through the game can be a little tricky in spots. When you are in a room there are bars and arrows at the edge of the screen allowing you to turn right, left, go back, etc. It is in the hallways, however, when things can get a little confusing. When you leave a room and enter a hallway you will always be at the head of the hallway, no matter what room you enter and leave you will always be at the head of the hallway. Once you realize that it is easier to remember which door leads to which room.
Inventory control is simple and intuitive. Simply grab an item from the inventory bar at the top of the screen (remember to hold down the mouse button) and use the item where needed. There are hotkeys for the flashlight and the gun, putting them in your hands quickly when necessary (and it will be necessary). There is a handy cursor change to a hand when you hover over objects that can be manipulated or taken, reducing much of the pixel hunting.
Analysis: Yes, the plot is a familiar one. Think 28 Days Later or any other recent zombie movie. Despite that, Endless Anesthesia is quite a fun challenge. Be warned, however, there is some shoot'em'up involved. You can die in the game if you're not careful, so be careful. Oh, and avoid the third floor until you are armed.
The artwork in Endless Anesthesia is not, perhaps, the sharpest or most detailed. Especially in the floor you first wake up in there is what seems like an endless sea of white, black, and gray, with only small touches of color (mostly from, well, blood). When you meet up with the mysterious stranger, however, and begin to find your way to other floors, more color seeps in. The game itself is a curious combination of pencil drawings, basic black and white, and even some touches of almost anime-like color cut scenes. The odd jumble only adds to the atmosphere of the game, enhancing the creepiness and paranoia. Eerie music and spooky incidental sounds only add to the experience. However, a mute button and the ability to save would have been a nice feature.
It almost feels like an opportunity was wasted here in not adding more detail. Although there are three floors to explore, some rooms seem to have no function other than as a dead end. More puzzles and more challenge would have made the game even better. Still, Endless Anesthesia is fun, atmospheric casual gameplay. Arm yourself, take a deep breath, and get ready to escape!