Review by Nivla

"A character from a children's literary work has never looked better"

Well, my days as a gamer are far from over. In fact, they are only beginning. But I can honestly say that I have seen a lot in the industry. When it comes to games, I’ve seen the good, the bad, the weird, the new, the just plain horrific. When I came across Alice, in Electronics Boutique, I was fascinated. It was a character from a literary work from children. But something wasn’t quite right about the cover art. Alice was holding a bloody knife. How can that be right?! Well at that moment, I was hooked, even before I saw the screen shots. I liked it almost as much as I was surprised at the concept of the main character. But when I finally got to play this game, I must say, even the most seasoned gamer will be amazed at what the gaming industry produced. It combines all the elements of a game to make it near perfect!

Shortly after returning from Wonderland, Alice’s place of residence suffered an untimely demise. This memory, playing like a broken record inside the mind of Alice, eventually drives her insane as she is admitted into a mental asylum. After spending some time in the mental institution, her presence is required back in Wonderland, as she is summoned back there. She discovers that the Queen of Hearts have taken over. She then begins a quest to reclaim Wonderland.

What I like about the story is that it uses the original Alice in Wonderland story line to it’s full potential. Along the way, Alice meets new and old friends alike. But many people familiar with the cast of Alice in Wonderland will notice that their attitudes and the way the speak has changed dramatically. However, their relationship to Alice is as memorable as ever. The story is very good. However, it is far from perfection. There are many loopholes to the plot. You will notice that there are long periods of time where the story doesn’t advance, and senseless violence takes it’s place (whether that is a good thing or not is up to the desecration of the player).

First of all, the engine is very similar to typical first person shooters (this game, however, is not a first person shooter). Since we are on the topic of perspective, I might as well go into that. For those who have played Syphon Filter, the camera is very similar if not identical to that. The camera is placed behind Alice at all times. As she moves, so does the camera. This has many advantages, as well as disadvantages. First of all, the player gets a clear view of Alice’s attacking field. However, when Alice is attacked from behind, it is hard and very time consuming for the player to swing Alice around to face the other way. In the harder difficulty levels, this can prove costly to her life. This game works like an cross breed of adventure, and first person (well, not really first person) shooter. Alice explores the now deformed Wonderland as the story progresses, and fights the henchmen of the Queen of Hearts as they come. The melee weapons combine slasher movie type weapons to weapons out of a children’s book. Alice’s primary weapon is a knife. But she gets more comical weapons such as a deck of cards. A bad thing about this game would be the load time. Even on powerful computers, this game can load slowly.

The most faulty thing from this game is the challenge. The game is separated into four difficulty levels. The easiest difficulty level is too easy. The next difficulty level is so much harder than the first. This proves to be very frustrating for a lot of gamers, having to make that big jump. However, overall, the challenge is quite balanced throughout the whole game. The learning curve is very smooth, and the scaling difficulty is not steep. The controls are good, but it’s not extremely good. The game combines the keyboard and the mouse for movement. However, there are a couple of buttons on the keyboard that are very spaced out, and in the heat of battle, this can be very costly. But overall, not bad.

The graphics are the best part of the game, I must say. All the locations from the game is made with great detail. A player can easily get lost in the beauty of the scenery. The textures of objects are very smooth and realistic. The lighting is also very well done, creating the perfect shadows. A bad thing about the visual aspect of the game is the camera. Sometimes in tight spots, the camera can be stuck in a very bad position. If that happens, the players can easily lose control of Alice. The audio is another bright part of this game. The voice acting will grasp the player’s attention first. The voice acting is absolutely wonderful. The voices for the characters are provided for by very talented actors/actresses. The sounds are another great part about the audio. All the sounds sound like they would in real life. From foot steps to slashes from a knife.

The fun factor is above average, but could be a whole lot higher. The game’s action gets repetitive after a while, and it gets fairly tiring towards the end. But overall, the fun factor is fairly good. The replay value is average. After you finished the game, the only thing left to do is to increase the difficulty level. There are very little secrets in the game.

Overall, I think this is an excellent game. With only a few flaws I would say this is one of the best games of the year. I would recommend it to anyone.

FINAL RANKINGS
Gameplay: 9
Challenge: 8
Controls: 8
Graphics: 10
Audio: 10
Fun Factor: 8
Replay Value: 6
Overall: 9


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 05/22/01, Updated 05/22/01


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