American McGee's Alice (PC) review
"After finding your first weapon (the Vorpal Blade), it will become quite clear that you're not just in Wonderland for sightseeing. This becomes even more clear when you are attacked by one of the Heart Queen's guards. "
Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland is thought of as a classic for all ages. It's strange and quirky nature intrigues many readers, and it is very clear that Lewis Caroll had quite an imagination. In fact, in many aspects, his most famous work is very contoversial. There are certainly a lot of people who believe that his book was meant to be interpreted in a different way; a deliciously twisted way. It is often believed by certain people that Lewis Carroll himself was quite an insane genius, and had a very dark, disturbed mind. This game is for those people.
In American McGee's Alice, you play as a teenaged Alice. After the very nicely-done opening cutscene, Alice finds herself falling back into wonderland, once again, except... Nothing is quite as it should be. Immediately, you will notice that both the Chesire Cat and the White Rabbit look strangely different, one might even say... freakish. After having a bit of a chit-chat with the Chesire Cat, you're allowed to roam free in Alice's fully 3D, atmospheric world. At first, it is not quite clear what your task is, but, if you just follow your nose, you'll soon find out.
After finding your first weapon (the Vorpal Blade), it will become quite clear that you're not just in Wonderland for sightseeing. This becomes even more clear when you are attacked by one of the Heart Queen's guards. After slicing 'n dicing his head clear off of his body, you'll realize that this game is quite a bit more than just a pleasurable trip back to wonderland. As you progress through the game, meeting new characters, collecting new toys, solving strange puzzles and of course, uncovering more of the game's twisted plot, your task will become all the more clear to you.
Alice plays not-unlike a fantasy Tomb Raider. Alice can jump, dangle from ledges, strife, push switches, and wield a variety of demonic weapons. The game is mostly comprised of exploration, puzzle-solving, baddie-stomping and character-interaction. Oh, and what characters there are! Old favorites like the White Rabbit and the Chesire Cat will be around for you to chat with, but you'll also meet a variety of new, delightful characters. The whole game essentially just feels like Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland with a very disturbed twist. It's not that the game is frightening, it's just that the game is quirky, in a very dark way.
For example, the first sign of dementia in this game is the few drops of blood down the front of Alice's dress. And she most definitely looks ready to chop some stuff up with that big ol' butcher-style knife. And about the knife... It's only the first of a grand array of fiendish ''toys'' you will gather throughout the game. Others include razor-sharp throwing-cards and demon dice. All of the weapons are creative, and have some connection with the original book.
Battles aren't the main focus of the game, but EA does know how to make fighting good! Sure, there are minor camera-angle and control flaws while you're fighting, but they did a good job. With all those cool weapons at your disposal, you're guarantee to love mauling all of those strange demons found in Wonderland. Interesting but simple puzzles are thrown into the mix, just for some variety, and they serve their purpose well. They're not overwhelming, and they make the game more enjoyable. And the exploratory aspect of the game couldn't have been done better. Each area is unique, and they're designed in a way which makes them all just feel way more unique. Because this is Wonderland, walls are crooked, doors are out of proportion, backgrounds are very odd, and there will be strange little creatures running around everywhere. Gotta love that!
Overall, Alice has great gameplay. You just play through it, you never need to worry about repetition or the game getting boring! It's all just so unique and creative that every second is sure to be a blast.
Ah! The bliss! EA has done a fantastic job of adapting Lewis Caroll's Alice in Wonderland into their own demented freak show. The whole game is done in a distinct and unique style, reminiscent of no other game on the planet. All of the environments are wonderfully detailed and lighted, as are all of the character models. It should also be noted that (if your PC is good enough) the game runs at an incredible speed, with insanely high resolution and smooth animation.
The game is also filled with dazzling effects, such as weird swirling portals everywhere, and some really huge 3D areas. All were done with a sensational attention to detail, unlike anything I've seen thus far.
After stepping into Alice's world, one of the first things you'll notice is the sound. The music is EXQUISITE. As you wander through Wonderland's vast 3D environments, you'll be haunted by strange, eerie and dark tunes, written by Chris Vrenna, the founding member of the Nine Inch Nails. All of the music fits the game perfectly, setting the desired mood which would only come with a game of this caliber.
The voice acting is great as well. The most talked-to character in the game, Chesire Cat, has one of the best voices I've ever heard. It's very mischievious, humerous, sarcastic, witty and a bit evil. You'll know what I mean when you try the game. Alice herself has a very entertaining british accent, and all the other characters also have interesting and well-done voices. If there's one thing I'm sure of, Alice is perrfection in the sound department. No doubt about it.
Probably the most flawed area of Alice, isn't even all that flawed. It gets the job done, but can get a tad annoying in parts. It controls like your average first or third-person game. The mouse controls the camera, and the crosshair, while you use the keyboard to control strafe, forward and backward. Spacebar is jump, and of course, there are a few other little commands here and there. But overall, it's average, and it isn't quite tight enough for my liking. Even with the mouse-sensitivity way up, controlling Alice can be a bit clumsy, and in parts, you'll just get really pissed off. But that's ok, because games tend to do that. Overall, it ain't bad, but it could use some work.
Ok, this is another one of those games where you play through it once, and probably don't play through it again. It's a wonderful journey, but after you complete it, there's not much reason to go back, except to beat it on each difficulty.
While the storyline really isn't all that complicated or deep, it gets the job done in the sense that it blends perfectly with the gameplay and atmosphere of the game. It's all loosely based on the original Alice in Wonderland and the nostalgia factor will definitely add to the experience. As in the book, you follow the White Rabbit all through a bunch of different areas, but to what ends? Well, I guess you'll just have to find out for yourself, now, won't you?
Ah, what a game. This is what you'll be thinking after playing it, for an hour, heck, maybe even after the first five minutes. You'll love the music, the graphics, the atmosphere, the characters, the plot, the gameplay, the weapons, the enemies, the voice-acting, and pretty much everything else about the game, that is... If you're not totally insane. Never before have I seen a game such as Alice, which loosely-bases itself on a book, but twists everything so it's all the more interesting. It's spooky, it's quirky, it's humorous, it's mysterious... It's all these and a dozen more. If you really want to know the true excellence that is Alice just go ahead and buy it.
Staff review by James Gordon (Date unavailable)
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