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American McGee's Alice (Windows)

85
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  BJ Hoskins (10)
Written on  :  Sep 01, 2003
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Summary

Painting the roses red…with blood.

The Good

I always enjoy it when someone takes an otherwise harmless children’s story and exposes all the grotesque potential that lies underneath, which is what Mr. McGee has done with Alice In Wonderland.

Using an updated Quake III engine and 3rd-person perspective, to say that this game is disturbing would be a dreadful understatement. Wonderland has become a dark, malicious, and misshapen land, which now makes even less sense than it did when Alice went there the first time. The vibe given off by the scenery in the game is not unlike that of Clive Barker’s Undying; very little light and a seemingly never-ending night. All of the characters from the original story are present (even the Mock Turtle), and it was a joy to roam around and see how they had changed due to Alice’s insanity (the Cheshire Cat now even sports a large earring). Also, gamers in my age range (20-25) may find a few things to remind them of console gaming in the late 1980’s. The gameplay itself was quite retro in many respects, and reminded me very much of the old side-scrolling jumping games like Super Mario Bros. or The Lost Vikings, except rendered in 3D. This game could’ve easily come out 15 years ago on the original NES.

The Bad

I honestly don’t have any real complaints about Alice, other than there were times that I thought it was too easy and helpful almost to a condescending level. So even if you’re fairly new to gaming, I would still advise you to play it on the hardest difficulty setting, since you’ll find the most challenging gameplay there. Also, the replay value is virtually nonexistent, but for a game like this it’s to be expected.

The Bottom Line

Many people have complained that this game is devoid of replay value (true), has wonky control (true), is too easy most of the time (true), and is a throwback to old console gaming (true yet again). My advice is to check your brain at the door, and take this game for what it is; a twisted and creepy good time in a familiar setting. And since it is now priced between $7.99 and $9.99, it’s a very good deal.

Now, will someone please make this into an animated movie?