Monday, June 27, 2011

American McGee's Alice

So yesterday I finished the first Alice game in American McGee's twisted series. If I must say so myself, it was quite fun and really messed up at the same time.

The world of Wonderland is really a twisted, demonic and darker version of it's former-self in this game, but for the better. It gives of a really creepy feeling and actually gets you scared at some points (like in the Hatter's domain). It really does a good job of giving you the scares at the right time, and does a brilliant job of giving off an eery feeling without shifting too far from the feel of Wonderland. You still feel that you're in Wonderland, but just in it's dark depths. The enemies in the game are also designed in such a way to think "What the hell happened to this poor soul?". The enemies are darker incarnations of themselves which, sometimes upon killing, are decapitated or cut in half and starts to gush out blood. The designers really went all out with this game.

Another factor that contributes to the overall feeling of the game is, of course, the music and sound effects. The music gives a good horror feeling to the game without it steering too far from the feeling of being in Wonderland. It sounds like something that would be in a kid's show or daycare for babies, but creepier and more haunting, which added to the environments, gives up lots of scares. The sound effects also contribute greatly. Alice jumping and letting out a semi-demonic grunt really sticks with you throughout the game.

For gameplay, it takes some getting used to, but it really starts to grow on you. Alice is an adventure-horror game, but it contains a lot of elements from an older third-person shooter. The glow-y crosshair in the centre of the screen adds to this feeling. It feels weird to jump from platform to platform with this and the constant camera behind the character, but it doesn't ruin the game, and as I said, it grows on you.

Throughout the game you will pick up various weapons that contribute to the overall feel of Wonderland (both the normal, happy Wonderland and the twisted). Your initial weapon is the Vorpal Blade in the shape of a chef's knife, but later on you start picking up more weapons such as a deck of cards used as a ranged weapon and a crochet mallet. One of the weapons that contributes to the darker elements of this game is the Diabolical Dice: which, upon rolling, gives you a chance to summon a demon of different shapes and powers. There are a lot more, but I won't give them away.

I think the thing I like best about the game, is the underlying symbolism and meanings. This Wonderland isn't just twisted because the designers decided for it to be. This Wonderland is the twisted version it is because of Alice's own twisted and scarred mind. It symbolizes her own inner demons that she has to face from certain points in her life (which I won't spoil). At the end of the game she finally overcomes her demons and Wonderland becomes it's happier, more colourful self again. I think that this game's ending has a message for us all.

All-in-all, Alice is a good game for a game released in 2001. It's a good game even by today's standards(except for graphics, which are good for a 2001 game). Solid gameplay and it does it's job to give off a haunting feeling.

Baka Approval Rating (BAR): 9/10



  1. Hey cool blog

    Followed +1

    -Gnarly Sheen

  2. Very interesting post!

  3. can't wait to play this game

  4. Just picked it up, hopefully it's as good as you describe.

  5. It is sooo psychedelic! i love it.

  6. character design, background, madness, it's a wonderful game

  7. Seems like an awesome game, the newer version doesnt seem to hold a candle to this one.

  8. never actually played this game
    I thought about it and I might give it a try if I find some time

  9. I've heard about this game for years, but never played it before. Looks like I'm going to have to :)

  10. My friend actually said he enjoyed this one more than the new one.

  11. Good review. I was always interested in this game.