Are You Mad?
If you were fortunate enough to play American McGee’s Alice in 2000, then you know how much fans couldn’t wait for a sequel. Rumors flew after the original, PC-only game’s release, but they never came to fruition, until now. Come June 14th, fans will be able to return to the twisted version of the classic novel in Alice: Madness Returns.
Taking place 11 years after the original game -- the same time span between the two games -- we return to find Alice has been in Rutledge Asylum after witnessing the death of her parents in a fire that took her home but left her alive. This tragedy from Alice's past still haunts her, even though she was released from the hospital, so she sees a London psychiatrist. Alice still has hallucinations from seeing her parents burn to death, and she returns to Wonderland in the hopes of escaping the pain. Unfortunately, her madness has taken over Wonderland again. What was once nice and beautiful when she left the last time after defeating the Queen of Hearts, has now become distorted. Alice must once again make Wonderland right, which will also help herself in the process. However, as she goes through the land, it starts to look as if the fire that killed her parents might not have been an accident.
- The twisted world and creatures of Wonderland should make for great gaming fodder -
In Alice: Madness Returns, Alice alternates between the twisted world of Wonderland and her own life in late-nineteenth-century London. Wonderland is not an escape this time but a place for Alice to relive and explore her memories, so that she can find out the truth about her parents’ death once and for all. Each memory is a clue in the overall picture to help Alice solve this mystery that is making her crazy. Each memory is also a segment of the game. They are all distinct, with some just being snippets and flashes, while others will be more involved, Victorian-themed areas to fight bad guys.
Since Wonderland is a representation of Alice’s mind, the deeper into her troubled psyche we go, the darker the atmosphere becomes. In the beginning of the game the colors are bright and somewhat cheery, but later on it is so dark you will wonder what level of Hell you have entered. Alice’s dress will change as well, starting out as the blue and white everyone knows from the book and movies, but later it becomes crimson, marked by suits from playing cards -- the original game had Alice in a black, white, and red dress as well.
The game features third-person action with puzzles. Weapons in the game have been changed to reflect Wonderland. American McGee’s Alice fans may remember her Vorpal Blade, which makes its return. Alice’s hobby horse is a mace this time around, a Teapot Cannon will shoot explosive blobs of tea at enemies, and a Pepper Grinder is a crank-operated machine gun. Alice will have to use these to get past enemies and find collectibles in the game. Alice will also be aided by returning favorites such as the Chesire Cat, Mad Hatter, and the White Rabbit.
- The action-based combat features an ecclectic and curious mix of weapons -
Since enemies are vulnerable in different ways, Alice will have to try different combinations to defeat them all. She will also have to learn defense to survive. The creatures look very evil in Alice: Madness Returns, but that is to be expected with her mind warping everything and the effects of the leftover rage from the Queen of Hearts still tainting areas she once inhabited.
Releasing on Windows PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, Alice: Madness Returns looks to be just as good and terrible as the original. The wait looks to be worth it, and I, for one who thinks this game can’t release any sooner, think it will be.
I have been gaming since I was in high school, before it was acceptable for a girl to do it. I have been a writer for even longer. It's only natural the two would combine. I prefer RPGs, action/adventure, and strategy games, but I also play dancing, sports titles, and shooters.
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