Review by Lord Zero
"Did you ever wanted to know what happened to Alice?"
When I was small, I used to watch Disney's version of Alice in Wonderland hundreds of times, over and over again, always fascinated with the colors, the ideas, and the hidden meanings of the characters on the movie. Years later, I grew up, lost the movie somehow, bought it again for my little sister, lost it again, read the books, and finally grew lucid of the mess Disney did with the original tale.
So it was natural that I would be excited over the prospect of a new Alice tale. American Mcgee's (Former level designer for id) Alice is a new look of Lewis Carroll's colorful books, indeed with darker colors, which has became a cult hit in the last years.
After ''Through the Looking One'' (The second book written by Lewis Carroll), Alice comes back to her castle, and Dinah, her cat, accidentally, well, sets the whole building on fire, killing everyone in there except our Alice. Alice is obviously affected by the death of her parents, and she eventually goes insane and is locked up into an asylum, alone with her nightmares. She grows and turns into a black-haired teenager freak.
Since Wonderland is a creation of Alice's infinite imagination, it suffers the same fate as its creator, and turns into a twisted land, where the Red Queen has finally managed to control every single place of it, and her already cruel nature has destroyed the land. Alice returns to this, her secret haven, to find it subjugated, and with the often useless guidance of her friend the Chesire Cat, begins to chase down again the most annoying character in the tale, the White Rabbit. Only this time is to set her land free of the Queen's grip.
The graphics in Alice are very well done, with the familiar landscapes turned upside down in order to accommodate Alice's new tastes. Some levels are certainly beautiful such as the Valley of Tears, and the game has some of the most amazing water effects I've ever seen.
The game isn't, however, detailed as it could have been. With such a potent 3D engine, they could have put some more attention to the blocky characters.
The designs of the game are definitely one of the finest points in the game. Starting with our now in high boots Alice and ending with the grotesque Duchess, the whole cast of characters is based loosely on the original cast off the book, but with such a warped transformation that sometimes you will be confused. The characters have experimented changes that usually suit their personalities, but if you haven't read the books or at least have a faint idea of them, you will miss half the joke.
The music is provided by Chris Vrenna (ex-Nine Inch Nails), with the aditional help of Jesicka (ex-Jack Off Jills) on the voices. Heavily industrial influenced stuff, which is, in my opinion, good stuff.
The sound effects are convincing but not groundbreaking. They really fail to grab anyone's attention, but are enough to recreate the game. The conversations between characters are, though, a good point, and Alice's voice is one of the most originals I've ever heard. Not to mention badass.
The game itself is actually very playable but not impressive. You will have to guide Alice into several stages until you finally beat the Red Queen. While the game offers several spin-offs such as a chess game and water levels, the game is very linear and there is little room for actual exploration.
The controls are frustrating, and is difficult to evade the enemies. Jumping is difficult and sometimes you just die out of some random feature, which can get the worst of the most tough players. Furthermore, Alice's weapons are not very useful most of the time, and some enemies can pummel you at will while you try to hit them. They are very interesting though, and funny to watch if not worthwhile.
The enemies aren't very smart but they can kill you, unlike most other games.
The camera and the level design are fine. The Levels are huge but very limited, and the camera very few times bothered me. The levels are indeed beautiful but sometimes I wished I could have more room to get out of the way.
REPLAY VALUE 5/10
Erm, this game has little to no replay value. There are few secrets but the game is pretty long and can last for a few plays.
Excellent but flawed game which can make you a new fan of the books. Don't overlook it. And don't say there is more than one way to skin a cat. The Chesire Cat will thank you.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 05/04/03, Updated 05/04/03
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