Sanity: Aiken's Artifact

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Sanity: Aiken's Artifact
Sanity Aiken's Artifact cover.jpg
Developer(s)Monolith Productions
Publisher(s)
Producer(s)Gary Sheinwald
Derek Fialho
Designer(s)Kevin Lambert
Garrett Price
Programmer(s)Toby Gladwell
Brad Pendleton
Artist(s)Matthew Allen
Writer(s)Kevin Lambert
Garrett Price
Composer(s)Guy Whitmore
EngineLithtech 2.0
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
Release
  • NA: September 26, 2000
  • SEA: October 7, 2000
  • EU: November 3, 2000
Genre(s)Action
Mode(s)Single-player, Multiplayer

Sanity: Aiken's Artifact is a 2000 action video game developed by Monolith Productions and published by Fox Interactive. The game's lead character, Agent Nathaniel Cain, was voiced by Ice-T.

Gameplay[edit]

Sanity used a 3D engine to create a top-down view similar to Gauntlet. Instead of weapons, the main character used various "psychic" abilities, called Talents, both offensive and defensive. The abilities were represented by individual "cards"; the game shipped with a poster showing over 100 individual ability "cards".

The talents were categorized in to 8 different groups, or 'Totems' in which, each talent behaves like their respective totems. For example, Sun totem has Star blast, Star shower and Sand Pit abilities, which can be linked to the Sun. The Totems were:

1 - Fire - (Founded by Cain)

2 - Sun - (Founded by Priscilla Divine)

3 - Illusion - (Founded by Adrian Starr)

4 - Science - (Founded by Dr. Aiken)

5 - Demonology - (Founded by Elijah Krebspawn)

6 - Death - (Founded by Ajani Namdu)

7 - Storm - (Founded by Abel)

8 - Truth - (Founded by the Children of Tomorrow)

Each totem has a Shield ability, which were stronger from the top to bottom, the Shield of Truth being the strongest. There are a total of 80 Talents, which can be gathered along the span of the Single-player game. The multiplayer game has some more talents added to it.

"Booster Pack" Expansion[edit]

Sanity: Aiken's Artifact had the option to purchase/download add-on various "booster packs" from Monolith's website to unlock additional in-game ability cards, a concept inspired by Collectible Card Games such as Magic: The Gathering. Free "booster packs" were also included with various game magazine CD-ROMs shortly after the release of the game.

Plot[edit]

Several decades before the game starts, a world - renowned genetic engineer named Doctor Joan Aiken discovered an Artifact from the middle East, and used it to find a way to utilize the unused portion of the human brain via a serum. The serum would give the user psychic abilities, or "talents", which could manipulate the world around them, for example levitating or shooting a bolt of lightning. Talents were split into collections called totems, and each Psionic specialized in the use of one totem, others even founding their own. Aiken became the founder of the Science totem.

But the initial Psionic booster serum proved to be unstable and drove the recipients insane as they used the Psionic abilities. Therefore, it was theorized, (and later put into effect), that the injection of the serum in the fetal period will make the children's brain adapted to the exhilarating effects of the serum. Even still, some radical Psionics misuse the power and start terrorizing the civilization. This gave rise to the creation of the Department of National Psionic Control (DNPC), which had field agents, who were Psionics themselves, to control the acts of terrorism. But some carelessness, or misguided use of these abilities resulted in endangering the lives of innocent by-standing civilians. One such incident is why Agent Cain was suspended from the DNPC (Cain was the creator of the Fire totem, which will be revealed in a later part of the game). These incidents gave rise to the aggression control chip, implanted in the Agents' brain to control the use of Psionic abilities on innocent civilians.

A new research of Aiken Pharmaceuticals aimed to make the use of Psionic abilities without having any effect on the Sanity of the person. This experiment was started among a group of children, called the Children of Tomorrow (CoT).

When the game starts, Cain has just been suspended from the DNPC following an incident with Priscilla Divine, leader of the Eye of Ra (a radical organisation who wish to destroy the CoT project for ethical reasons) and founder of the Sun totem. He is eventually recruited back and tasked with infiltrating the Eye of Ra, who have been operating under the guise of a psychic hotline, and apprehend Divine. He is assigned with a controller, Frost, who observes Cain's activities in the Field. During the mission, he meets with a child from the CoT group, Manda, who warns that a darkness is approaching and it is up to Cain to stop it. Cain eventually gains access into the Eye of Ra. Once he is inside, he gets a call from a secret agent, asking Cain to take down Priscilla divine at all costs. Cain refuses to do that, and later after further infiltrating in to the Eye of Ra, he apprehends Priscilla Divine, who asks Cain to fight with her, against the actual enemy, that is Aiken Pharmaceuticals. Cain declines her offer and tries to capture her, but could not, so he brings her down. Just before Cain is about to deliver the final blow, Priscilla says that her "death doesn't matter" and that "Golgotham will destroy us all".

He returns to the DNPC to find that they are protecting another CoT, Bobby from unknown forces. Bobby and the other CoT can use their psionic abilities without having any effect on their sanity whatsoever. Abel, who is the brother of Cain and the founder of Storm Totem, breaks in, lets some of the inmates loose, and tries to kidnap Bobby, but Cain manages to hold him off until the DNPC arrive and use Psionic suppressors, forcing him to flee.

Cain is later told that a shipment of Aiken's test serum from when the labs tried to make the serum suitable for adults was stolen. The magician Adrian Starr, founder of the Illusion totem, is a suspect, and Cain is instructed to visit and question him. During Cain's search for an entrance, he helps a Voodoo collector, retrieve a skull from a church, who then asks Cain to visit one of his friends, (with the premise that they both have some things in common). Once he visits his friend, he is Ambushed, and Cain meets with Golgotham, who seems like a Powerful psionic. Golgotham asks Cain to join him so that they can welcome his Master to the world. Cain refuses, and immediately Golgotham summons Priscilla's Monsters. Cain fights them and resumes his search for the Theater's entrance. In between this, he is again contacted by the Secret government agent, who wants to meet with Cain. During their meeting, the Agent says that Cain did a good job eliminating Priscilla Divine, and provides him with a talent, which gives him access to the Theater. When he visits Starr, he first refuses to answer his questions, saying that he has to prepare for the magic show. Then Cain infiltrates the Grand theater, and finds himself among Starr's showgirls, and fights them all, only to be captured and made to participate in Starr's Gameshow. After hurdling all the obstacles,he finally meets with Adrian Starr, only to learn that he wasn't responsible for the break in. Adrian also suggests Cain to visit Aiken Pharmaceuticals, so that he might get some answers from there.

Now, Cain goes on to pay a visit to Aiken pharmaceuticals, and before entering the facility, he encounters Golgotham again, who puts forth his earlier request again, asking him to join him to welcome his master. After Cain refuses, he summons Priscilla's monsters and Adrian's Showgirls. After fighting them he enters Aiken pharmaceuticals, mingles with a Tour group, breaks away from them, and helps around some scientists and engineers with their daily duties. During this time, he is contacted by the Secret agent, who asks him to keep all his investigations to himself so that the reputation of the Pharmaceuticals isn't tarnished. After a while he discovers a deeper level of the facility and accesses it. There, he discovers the Children of tomorrow, and learns that he was also raised in foster care at Aiken pharmaceuticals when he was a child. He is also warned that only he can stop the coming darkness, and to do so he will need the Artifact that Aiken discovered, which is with Aiken at her secret lab. To gain access to Aiken's secret laboratory, he acquaints with a prisoner who has a keycard for accessing her office. After getting it, he enters the secret lab, via an elevator and confronts Aiken, accusing her that she is the reason behind all the terror attacks, by creating Psionics. Aiken pushes this accusation away, and proceeds to demonstrate her newest invention, the Brain circuit, which helps her channel the psionic abilities of another person using a virtual imagery of their brain. She uses Priscilla's brain and summons Sun monsters. After defeating them and destroying the brain circuit, Cain asks about the whereabouts of the Artifact that she discovered long back. She answers saying that it was stolen from her, by one of her associates Dr. Elijah Krebspawn. Aiken also reveals that Cain and Abel are her scientific creations, and they were indeed raised in Aiken Pharmaceuticals. Enraged with this fact, Cain attacks Aiken and a battle ensues. After a while Guards appear in the lab, making Cain escape from the facility with the help of Frost.

To obtain the artifact, Cain now goes to Krebspawn's mansion, in hopes of acquiring it. Krebspawn settled down as a professor in a university, and changed his name. Cain enters Krebspawn's mansion, and learns that the artifact is still with him. But, as Cain requests that he hands it over to him, Krebspawn refuses and traps Cain in a dungeon. Cain tries to escape the dungeon (i.e.) Catacombs, which is filled to the brim with Monsters and demons. Cain learns that Elijah Krebspawn is the founder of the Demonology totem. During his trials for escaping the catacombs, Cain encounters Golgotham again, who warns him of the impending doom, and summons the monsters, showgirls and Aiken's robots this time. After defeating them, Cain finds a way to escape the Catacombs. Now, he enters a room which is a puzzle, and Cain solves it, and discovers the fabled Artifact. The artifact is a Floating head in a jar, that can speak, which has answers to all questions. The head was sent by its master, the Sanity devourer, a powerful entity who can consume planets in an instant, to equip a race with power, and when the race is powerful enough, the head will notify him, so that the devourer can devour all the sanity off a planet. But the head isn't interested in being shut off from all other people, so it is not interested in summoning the Sanity devourer to earth. But, the head warns Cain that Golgotham needs the head to summon the Sanity devourer, because, in doing so, Golgotham will be rewarded with Unlimited Knowledge, power and will be sent to do the devourer's bidding. Krebspawn appears saying that he is keeping the head safe and reveals that his associate Garland Troy became Golgotham, wanting to achieve infinite knowledge by destroying the head. Learning this Krebspawn hides the artifact from others, but now Cain wants to take it back to the DNPC headquarters, and Krebspawn refuses. Now Cain is left with no option than to take Krebspawn down.

Once Elijah is dead, Cain leaves the mansion to be rewarded with a baseball bat over the head by one of the Bone Priest's men. They take the head and they already got ahold of Bobby, and they are on the way to deliver them to the Bone priest. Cain is dumped in the streets with his Badge, Gun and cellphone taken from him. The city is overrun with Zombies, awoken by the Bone priest (who is the earliest known recipient of the Psionic Booster serum, and the founder of the Death totem), with the help of the Skull, Cain helped retrieve before. Fighting his way through the City, equipped with only the Psionic talents, and with the help of some civilians, Cain gathers his personal effects back. After acquiring his cellphone, Cain gets to know that the Bone priest hijacked the transport carrying Bobby and kidnapped him. He also stole the brain circuit from Aiken pharmaceuticals. Cain now makes his way to the Barge of the Bone priest, which is considered his stronghold. Along the way he encounters Golgotham again, who says that Cain cannot stop the motion of wheels set in action. And now Golgotham also summons Zombies along with the other monsters. Cain travels through the Waterfront to reach the barge of the bone priest. This was where Cain previously encountered Abel and had a fight, with the use of Psionic powers, which made him lose control, and create a firestorm, which caused the death of 11 civilians. This was one of the incidents which suspended Cain and also made the use of Aggression control chip mandatory to all agents. Finally, before reaching the Barge, Cain meets up with Agent Strassburgh, a fellow agent in DNPC, who plans to apprehend the Bone priest. At one point, Cain is separated from the group, in need of lowering a bridge to gain access to the port. At this time, Cain's psionic powers are temporarily suppressed by Zombie masters. Strassburgh then encounters these masters, but is overwhelmed by them. After taking down two of them, Strassburgh is killed along with the squad. With vengeance in his heart, Cain accesses the Bone Priest's Barge. Cain then comes to know that the Bone priest, Ajani Namdu, has already sent Bobby and the Head across the river to Golgotham. Then both of them have a showdown, in which Cain defeats Ajani. He then heads across the river, learning that there is a Power plant and a Meat processing plant across.

Cain heads to the power plant, whereas Frost has sent agents over to the Meat plant. Cain meets up with Golgotham again, who tells Cain that he has the Brain circuit with him, and once he has Bobby and the Head, he will be unstoppable, and then he summons all kinds of monsters from across all totems. This made Cain realize that Bobby and the Head are still safe. He then enters the power plant, and is ambushed by Abel, who traps Cain in a crusher kind of a machinery. It is up to Bobby now to rescue Cain, who is also in the power plant, with the head. After finding a way through the power plant, Bobby finds out where Cain is held and tries to rescue him but Abel appears and tries to subdue Bobby. But Bobby succeeds in freeing Cain, but he is stopped by Abel, who then escapes with Bobby and the head, and heads over to the Meat plant.

Cain follows them to the meat plant and meets with the sergeant who is in charge of infiltrating the meat plant. Cain enters the meat plant, only to discover that Golgotham has reanimated Bulls, meant for slaughter, in to Psionic warriors which can use psionic abilities of all totems, except Fire, Storm and Truth. Fighting his way through the meat plant, Cain gets another call from the Secret agent, asking him to retrieve the Brain circuit, Bobby and the head in one piece. Cain finds another lair under the meat plant and enters it.

After entering the lair, he finds Aiken, who has arranged a combination of Brain circuits with all 8 totems and their respective powerful users' animated brains, with the exception of the Fire and Storm totems, telling that Cain and Abel are the most powerful users of the totems respectively. She also places Bobby and the head in one circuit for providing unlimited Sanity. She then reveals the truth that, for creating Cain and Abel, there was a necessity for parents who provide the necessary reproductive fluids. Aiken provided the egg, thus establishing the fact that Aiken is the Mother of Cain and Abel. Just then Golgotham appears and says that the family reunion is just short of Abel, which proves that Golgotham is the father of Cain and Abel. Aiken tries to stop Golgotham, but Golgotham is already standing in the brain circuit, so he is immune to all Science totem attacks. So Golgotham suppresses Aiken and kills her by shooting the glass floor, upon which she was standing, thus letting her fall in to the lava below. Cain, enraged by her killing, attacks Golgotham and defeats him by destroying all the brain circuits. Just as Cain thinks he has saved the world from Golgotham, the head says that what Cain defeated was just a projection of him. Suddenly, the original monster that is Golgotham rises from the lava. Cain fights that monster too and saves the world, again. He then escapes out of the Meat plant with Bobby and the head.

After getting out, all three receive a warm reception from some agents, who are working with the secret agent. He congratulates Cain for saving Bobby and the head, and takes them from Cain's custody. Shortly after leaving the place, he orders the other agents to kill Cain. Promptly, as Cain calculates his fate, Abel makes an entrance, and kills all the agents, while Bobby seeks cover. Abel expected a thank you from Cain for saving him from the agents, but Cain says that he should not have killed them. So, a battle ensues, in which, Cain pushes Abel off a ledge into the Dam below. Abel releases a fury of Storm attacks and meets his demise. And so, the head and Bobby is safe in the hands of Cain, thus saving the world from the Sanity devourer.

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic73%[1]
Review scores
PublicationScore
GameSpy83/100[2]
IGN8.3/10[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sanity: Aiken's Artifact Review - Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  2. ^ Wu, Jonathan (September 25, 2000). "Sanity: Aiken's Artifact Review". GameSpy. Archived from the original on September 22, 2009. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  3. ^ "Sanity: Aiken's Artifact Review". IGN. September 25, 2000. Retrieved 2008-09-14.