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American McGee's Alice

by Mish.

I have just recently picked up and participated in the most peculiar game, American McGee's Alice. And speaking of American, that guy is pretty cute…and smart too because this game kicks hardcore ass

"I have not seen astounding character modeling since FAKK 2 myself, but this is up there."

In case any of our readers have not checked out the big list of children's' classics, this game is based on the stories Alice in Wonderland and Alice- Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll. Basically, you play Alice Little (whose father, happens to be the co-author of the most well-known Classical Greek Lexicon…that's right folks, she was a real girl). One thing to keep in mind with this game though in comparison to the children's tale-Alice is a little grown up. One night, the voices of wonderland awaken her, warning her that her house is on fire. Fortunately for Alice, she survives, but her family perishes and poor Alice winds up in an asylum, still traumatized over the death of her beloved parents. Out of nowhere, Wonderland beckons to her for help seeing as the Queen of Hearts has wrapped her evil fingers their world. So here she is, saving Wonderland again.

Her movements in the game are slick and smooth and as Tristan would say: 'sweeter than candy!!' (Yes, I too have been playing too much SSX on the PS2-refer to the Giants review). She jumps, swims, runs, climbs and many other things. She acts very natural; she rocks back and forth on her heels when listening to others and she has a really cute Brit accent, which in my opinion, adds to her character. Overall, she just looks great. I have not seen astounding character modeling since F.A.K.K. 2 myself, but this is up there. Her face (when you can see it since the game is viewed from the third person perspective) is really, really well done. I was originally afraid that they would release American McGee's Alice and lo and behold, it would be a 'Lolita' situation…a sexy young girl on an adventure. But she's innocent enough for being a knife-wielding teenager.

The game is fun. I only have one thing to bitch about: some parts of the levels blow. Some of the puzzles and the adventure-roadblocks required ridiculous repetition and even I have to admit that some of them have been done before despite this game's fabulous level design innovation. But would someone tell me why was I talking to a f*cking moose-like animal in tighty-whities??!? There is good absurd and stupid absurd-can't win em all I guess… The levels' appearances though are sinfully yummy. They look just as great as Alice does. The colours, textures and graphics are stellar; lots of trippy colour morphing. Bright, bold, beautiful. No complaints on the graphics front at ALL.

"The levels' appearances though are sinfully yummy...they look just as great as Alice"

Besides the good o'l underwear moose though, the other characters that you encounter are crazy! The ones that freaked me out the most were probably the phrenology kids early in the game. Their crying intermingled with their laugher haunted me and kinda gave me the heebie-jeebies while playing at night in the dark. However, by far, the coolest looking character is your companion throughout the game-the Cheshire cat. (not to mention the voice acting…sweeet. -Ed.) The tribal tattoo markings on its body are a nice detail and his grin is perfectly fitted for his character. Great stuff. There are many enemies pitted against Alice as well, but one of the more common ones you deal with are the Card Guards (pun intended) which might get somewhat boring to face after a while for those who live and die by enemy variation in a game.

Alice is also kind enough to sport some really cool weapons. Take the demon dice. I once threw them in a room full of baddies and ran behind a wall as the screams I heard echoed around the corner-that was the last that I would hear of any enemy in that room. And remember in the original Alice tale they played croquet with the flamingos? Well that is one of her weapons here except it is a magically-charged croquet mallet. Very cool. Also, she uses killer toys such as jacks (with the ball), a jack-in-the-box and so on. Each weapon has two firing options: primary and alternate. In Alice it would seem that primary fire is for more hand-to-hand combat situations and alternative fire is for long distance shots.

Honourable mentions must certainly go to the sound and music. During game play, I was always aware of the music, which was primarily created by, Chris Vrenna, the ex-drummer and co-founder of Nine Inch Nails (one of my personal faves!). It had a certain quality about it that freaked me out, but very very nice. As well, the sounds were very cool, very realistic-water splashed, rocks fell, acorn bombs exploded. The voice acting was well done; the accents were cool.

I did not want to admit it, but although it is a great game with lots of cool stuff to look at, most of this type of gameplay been done before. It is like a generic gift with really great wrapping and trimmings. But over and above all that, I enjoyed the game immensely and I was bouncing with anticipation as I installed this treat. And to be honest, the main thing holding this gift together is the wrapping and that's really what makes the game-the visuals...but along with the warped tale presented, it's worth the pennies.


FINAL MARK

Insane level design...i mean that in a good way.

Graphics and sound power this game...gameplay doesn't necessarily-but sometimes a game can get away with that.

85%

 

The level design in this game is so kick-ass it isn't funny...the gameplay isn't as innovative though.

 

The Cheshire Cat gives his advice....listen

 
The Phrenology Kids i was talking about...damn you can't kill 'em!

 

You play as Alice, but you must also shrink down to a tiny size in order to complete a series of levels.