American McGee's Alice

aka: Ailisi Mengyou Xianjing
Moby ID: 2703

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 83% (based on 65 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 146 ratings with 11 reviews)

Lewis Carroll goes all goth n' gore.

The Good

Alice has been living for some years in an orphan house, laying immobile on her bed, staring at the ceiling with empty eyes. Pressed against her chest, she has a stuffed bunny rabbit, the only thing to survive a fire to which she lost her house and her parents.
One stormy night, the rabbit suddenly speaks: "Save us, Alice!"
Next thing she knows, she's falling through the rabbit hole, down into her own mind, into the Wonderland.
Alice will find a dark parody of the fantastic place she loved so much as a child. She's asked to save the Wonderland by its tormented inhabitants.

Soon enough, she'll learn her own sanity is at stake.

First, I assume you live in planet Earth, meaning that at least ONCE in your life you read, someone read to you, watched Disney's cartoon, or by any other mean know about Alice In Wonderland.

Legend has it that Alice In Wonderland is a story that Lewis Carroll made up on the fly, dedicated to a girl he loved —Alice Lidell—, and it was meant as a timekiller for spring walks in which he allowed himself to level with the child within himself. Or maybe the guy was a clever pedophile and used the funny stories as a bait to lure his prey in. It depends on who you ask, you know how people is, what with the internet and all.
In any case, Alice In Wonderland eventually became a classic bedtime story, and it's considered by some as a masterpiece in absurd humor as well; so much so, that Carroll wrote a sequel of sorts called Through The Looking Glass, in which he puts a much stronger emphasis in the absurd, with a more intellectual-ish storytelling.

American McGee is, according to my researches, either an amazingly talented artist and one of the masterminds involved in the design of the monster hit game Quake III: Arena, or a pompous self-absorbed snot who designed a couple of mediocre levels and got fired from id. Again, take your pick.

American McGee's Alice is a 3rd-person perspective action game based in the Quake III engine, with lots of shooting, a healthy dose of jumping puzzles, a moody, dark atmosphere, and lots of references to both Carroll's stories.
These stories are especially loved by pseudo-intellectual teenagers all over the world, like, artsy goths and such, which makes McGee's version like a wet dream come true, what with the grim-looking red-haired Alice wearing a blood-stained apron, and holding a knife with a blade as long as her own arm, and all.
Most fights end up with more or less explicit shots of gore that, while admittedly gratuitous, don't feel all that wrong in the general atmosphere. It's certainly the only choice you'll ever have to slash a poker card in half and watch its guts coming out as it sprays blood all over the floor, I can tell you that much.

Even though Alice works fine as a regular action game, I strongly suggest to get a nice edition of both Carroll's classics (you can find them everywhere in the internet) and read them before playing the game, to catch all the funny references. It's worth it.

So, the game.
The first thing that SHOCKED me about Alice is the visual aspect: The graphics are simply superb, enough can't be said on this matter. Everything from the sweet background image of the main menu, all the way to the design of the bizarre last boss, is the true definition of eye-candy.
The environments are stuffed with fancy special effects and all kinds of small details that bring to life one of the most imaginative gameworlds I've ever seen. Every level is radically different from the previous one, and they all look equally good. Often times, I found myself just wandering around aimlessly, only to enjoy every little detail around.

It's worth to mention that I played this game in a PC equipped with a Celeron 366 CPU, 128MB of RAM, and a TNT2 M64 video card, and with all the details set at top, the game performs quite smoothly, stuttering only in a couple of really crowed fights.

The characters match the gameworld perfectly. Take for example the Cheshire Cat, with his sickly thin body, his abnormally long neck, and his pirate earring; or the freaky children that wander around at the skool, sporting different metallic torture devices attached to their heads, with their constant and disturbing laughter.
Much like it happens with the backgrounds, almost every single living character that shows up is a work of art in its design; the bosses deserving a special mention for their impressive and threatening looks and, often, their massive size.

Regarding gameplay, the best part would be the combat sequences, not only because the control interface is simple and smooth -after all, it's Quake III from a 3rd person perspective, with the added attractive of a smart crosshair-, but the weapons are really original, and a pleasure to watch in action; they're all hand-made toys, twisted to have some lethal effect or other, including a deck of cards that explode in contact and a jack-in-the-box that summons small fire-spitting flying demons.

The jumping puzzles, on the other hand, while at times are presented in rather imaginative designs, for the most part are forgettable --if not plain annoying.

The voice acting, at least the spanish dub, is really good. Considering how lame spanish voice acting usually is, this cast was a pleasant surprise; even more so considering the game's story is not that relevant.

The music tracks exhale a strong feeling of magnificence and melancholy, which works great to support the dark and oppressive atmosphere the graphics depict; with some particularly strong moments, like the Lake of Tears.

The story is presented with in-game graphics cutscenes, and while it's not ground breaking Pulitzer-material, it's certainly enjoyable, especially with the aforementioned voice acting; and even more so when it starts becoming clearer that the characters of the stories are mirroring people Alice knows from real life, and the whole adventure is revealed as a metaphor of her own fight to regain sanity.
The conversation with the Caterpillar has to be one of my favorite moments in the game.

The Bad

The main complaint I have about this game is its linearity.
I enjoyed playing the game, and I'm pretty sure I WILL play it again soon, but I definitely would have liked a more appealing challenge, maybe in the form of puzzles, or even some adventuring to do (and no, running errands for some Papa Smurf lookalike does not count as "adventure").
Basically, all you have to do throughout the game is jump from platform to platform, swing on some ropes, climb some ledges, and -of course- kill pretty much everything that moves. Every now and then you'll be dealt a tete-a-tete with some large, bad-ass foe, which you'll have to spank for a while in order to move on.

Rinse and repeat.

The enemy AI doesn't exactly shine, and fights are only a challenge when you're heavily outnumbered, and in a couple of boss fights.
The platform puzzles can get quite annoying since Quake III was clearly not designed for this kind of gameplay, and getting Alice to land and stand on certain especially small platforms can become too tricky to call it "fun".

The levels give a first impression of being gigantic worlds with lots of paths to explore, but this is yet another title that fools you on that regard, quickly revealing itself as a strictly one-lane ride. There's always the one path to walk, and there are just a few secret areas, that aren't that secret either.

If you missed any of the dialogues, it really doesn't matter, since the story is purely cosmetic. The dialogues play in cutscenes with no player intervention, and they won't be of any real help. You don't even need to remember anything that was said; you just wait for them to shut up, and then keep doing your jumpin' n' shootin' thing.

One final personal quirk: I didn't like the part they gave to the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. It's true, their scene is very effective in its attempt at being disturbing, but those are by far my favorite characters in the original story, and I think they would've deserved something better, something that made them truly memorable --like they did with the Cat.

The Bottom Line

I loved this game. It's all linear, the enemies are really dumb, the platforming can become infuriating, and whether you follow the story or not won't make a difference in the end; but I really enjoyed playing it.

If nothing else, the graphics alone are worth giving this title a try, characters and gameworld are well-designed and they're different enough from one another as to assure you will never get bored with the views. Also, the game performs incredibly smoothly, even in the lowest-range PC.

The story, while practically useless, is enjoyable, and those who own both books -or at least remember the stories and the characters- surely will enjoy this därk version.

Bottom line, the game is fun to play and nice to look at, and following the story adds a whole new dimension. It successfully managed to get me to play all the way to the ending without losing interest at any moment. Once I finished the game, even though the final animated sequence is honestly awful (which is especially sad, considering how good the intro is), I felt satisfied. What else can a gamer ask for?

Windows · by Slug Camargo (583) · 2006

Alice the Homicidal Maniac

The Good
In the opening cutscene, we learn that Alice’s life has gone downhill since her initial forays into Wonderland. Orphaned by an accidental fire, Alice is now institutionalized in a catatonic state brought on by survivor’s guilt, clinging to a button-eyed white rabbit. But as Alice’s mind has changed, so too has Wonderland. The Red Queen has turned malevolent. Her Card Guard has imprisoned the people of Wonderland. The Mad Hatter has become uncomfortably curious about clockworks. And it’s up to Alice to make things right again.

American McGee’s Alice is a wildly inventive game that plays as a third person shooter, more arcade than adventure. American McGee’s Wonderland, is Carroll’s world reflected by a funhouse mirror. Familiar characters are stretched and twisted. White Rabbit embraces his rodent side. You can see the Card Guard's ribs beneath their garb. Alice notes that the Cheshire Cat has a touch of the mange. Alice herself has had a gothic makeover—dark hair, dark eyes, and a blood splattered outfit (with runes?). The locations are breathtaking, ranging from a sinister Skool to a chessboard city and even a bug’s eye view of the world.

What comes across, as far as level design, is American McGee’s respect for Alice’s world and his Burtonesque ability to turn it on its head. The Skool, for instance, is logically illogical including rooms that seem adjacent but are really floors apart. And everything moves. The sky in the Chessworld moves overhead. The buildings in the first levels seem to dance. The environmental effects add realism to the surreal.

As I mentioned, at its heart, Alice is an arcade game. Unlike the acrobatic Ms. Croft, Alice’s moves are simplified. But she can still swing on vines, cling to ledges and hoist herself over obstacles. With abundant jumping puzzles, the designers have kindly added ghostly footprints to indicate where Alice will land. Alice’s weapons also have a targeting reticule (which almost automatically aims).

Speaking of weapons (called toys), Alice begins the game with the Vorpal Knife. This is the only weapon that doesn’t deplete Alice’s will (the equivalent of mana, magic, etc.) and it remains useful throughout the game. Later on Alice acquires diverse toys such as the piercing playing cards, the flame throwing jack-in-the-box, and the Demon Dice. Most weapons have a primary and secondary attack option and each one is visually impressive. Toys reappear throughout the game and every time Alice reacquires a toy it grows in power.

As I mention above, Alice has to keep track of her Sanity (a red life bar) and her Will (a blue mana bar). Power-ups appear throughout the game and she can collect essence from her defeated foes. In addition to the toy and life power-ups, there are several special power-ups available for the observant player.

But what would this game be without enemies. In addition to figuring out which former friends are now foes, Alice also has miniature Jabberwockies, Snarks, and rogue chessman among others in the villains’ roster. Finally, Alice has several bosses to deal with. These bosses can be incredibly challenging and (for the most part) it’s up to Alice to out-battle them rather than figuring out the “trick” to beating them.

Lastly, while some reviewers have emphasized that this game is style over substance, I have to disagree mainly because the style is the substance. Not only does McGee offer us a twisted version of Wonderland and the characters, but also the game twists in on itself. You can’t tell me after seeing the resolution of the White Queen level that there isn’t more here than candy for the eye or music for the ear.

Bring on American McGee’s Oz! (or Narnia-- wouldn't that be interesting?)

The Bad
Is there anything I didn’t like about this game?

The graphics were great, except for the somewhat blurry ending.

Voice acting was pretty good, except for a few characters.

The Bottom Line
A wicked romp through Wonderland.

Windows · by Terrence Bosky (5397) · 2003

Wonderland gone REALLY bad

The Good
American McGee's Alice is a fascinating game - at least it is for me. But where does this fascination come from?

The first and foremost thing about this game is its atmosphere and style. In my opinion it's sheer genius to expand the nice Alice in Wonderland story into a tale of death and murder, blood and torture, and pure paranoia - a tale for grown-ups. But it is one thing to have a good idea, and something completely different to make a good game of it. But here, the designers did.

The level designs and graphics all resemble the "known" Wonderland, but this time a Wonderland gone really bad. The game throws levels at you that vary from stunning beauty to mind-twisting surreality. This alone kept me playing, just to see what crazy stuff the designers had up their sleeves, yet. And I wasn't disappointed when with the conquering of the heart queen's castle near the end game, another visual blast was waiting. The enemy and weapon design also fit well here, both adding to this wonderful dark and paranoid atmosphere this game delivers.

Speaking of enemies, I really liked my cannon fodder, as no two enemy kinds are the same to kill. There are the lava monsters that are fluid and easy to kill when they come out of their lava pit, but turn to stone and, therefore, get harder to kill by the second. There are those little devils that just take one hit, but come in hordes. There are those fish pests that charge at you while swimming and throw acid and lava when you're standing at the shore. And the list goes on. Every enemy kind is well thought out and has its strengths and weaknesses to be discovered. And when you found out how to kill them more or less easily, they will team up to make your life harder again. The same goes for the boss fights, pure adrenaline.

Speaking of weapons, those all are Alice's toys gone dangerous. There's her cards, her cricket bat, her jack-in-the-box, her dice, and so on. They all kill the enemies in two different modes, can be used short or long range, are toys of single or mass destruction. It's part of the fun to try out all these funny goodies and see what they can do to your opposition. And you should know your weaponry well, as there will be fights that are impossible to win with one weapon, but easy going with another one or a combination of them.

The Bad
Some things hinder this game from becoming a true classic, though.

If you put aside the covers of cool design and style, a linear action platformer is left for you to play. A good one, that is, but somehow the actual gameplay can't really keep up with the presentation. The level designs vary in quality, top notch levels make room for huge mazes with spawning enemies that are an exercise in anger management. Furthermore, the cool background of Alice freeing her own fantasy world of her problems and sense of guilt isn't developed well within the game. Here and in those enemy-ridden mazes you will most painfully notice that the developers of this game have a history of developing 3D shooters.

The controls sometimes annoyed me, especially the jumping didn't work as expected, more than once it wasn't clear to me whether Alice can grab hold of an edge in front of her or not. Falling down into nirvana too often is the result of all this.

Last thing, fighting enemies it's sometimes not obvious whether you're doing damage or not. Especially when battling the centipede boss monster, I spend half an hour throwing everything at him until I finally looked up in a FAQ that there's a special area where he can be hit.

The Bottom Line
I love this game, no doubt about that. But still, I sometimes dream about it done right from start to finish. With a good storyteller to develop Alice's problems, with a huge Wonderland for Alice to roam freely, maybe with an RPG-like experience and questing system. The sky was the limit...

But heck, a sequel is in the making, let's see what they'll do with this legacy.

Windows · by MZ per X (3017) · 2010

Impressive as a visual experience but ultimately shallow as a game.

The Good
Well, even though the main idea is not really that original (taking Alice in wonderland and giving it a bizarre/dark twist) the game manages to stand out as a truly original experience. I guess that on it's own is a remarkable feat worth mentioning, yes it may be a platformer, but you ain't never seen a platformer like this. Of course, all the credit for the uniqueness of the game goes to the superb level design that combines weird curves and angles, radical lightning, psychodelic visual illusions and bizarre architecture to make a unique and beautiful gameworld. Such bizarre levels have been made before, most notably on Thief: The Dark Project (which seems to have had a major, let's say, "influence" in this game) but now you have a complete game filled with bizarre landscapes and places to visit.

Furthermore the Quake Arena engine, while not used to it's maximum extent, delivers some gorgeous graphics and effects (like mirrored corridors, etc.) which run surprisingly fast on rather wimpy computers like my own and allow you to see some of the best art in a 3D platformer in full glory.

The use of bizarre weapons and items also help the game stand out on it's own, with several original items like a set of deadly jacks or a deck of cards, each with two different firing modes. The enemies are also a breath of fresh air, from the super-cool massive bosses to the over-grown chess pieces that you encounter later on.

The game stands out on several other areas like sound with excellent voice acting that fits each character like a glove, good controls, etc. (this is after all an EA game, so you know you can expect a nicely produced package).

Lest I forget, a clever addition to the game is the inclusion of a jump targeting indicator to help you judge those nasty jump puzzles. It was about time somebody thought of something like that!

The Bad
Despite all the hoopla about the level design and the novel graphics, enemies, etc. the game is not a lot of fun to play. It is essentially a completely linear action platformer, and that gets old. Fast. Most good platformers add a host of secrets and bonuses to encourage you to explore the gameworld around you or extend the original adventure, not so in Alice. For as spectacular as the gameworld may appear to you, you are forced to move linearly from place to place following a single path towards the endgame.

But everything would be ok if that path was fun to play through, right? I mean, Out of this World wasn't exactly an exercise in non-linearity... Well, the problem is that Alice never seems to know what kind of game it is. You sometimes get inspired jump puzzle sequences, but a lot of moments in the game include Quake-like shootfests. And that's the game's biggest flaw, that it thrusts you into a massive amount of combat in a game that isn't really about that. I couldn't help but think that A. McGee just couldn't resist bringing some of the good ol' gameplay mechanics from his days on id and that stops the game dead. The inclusion of a Quad damage-like power up is a proof of that, as is the rather annoying tendency to place mazes filled with enemies towards the end of the game (be prepared to kiss that original level design goodbye every now and then pal!!).

Also I know originally you were supposed to be able to summon the Chessire Cat to fight by your side, but since that was removed I seriously question the point of keeping the "Chessire help" option. I mean, he's super-suave and all, but what's the point of wasting valuable cd space on generic one-liners that never help you??? It's like if Jedi Knight had a "Yoda" key which would allow you to listen to 4 or 5 generic words of wisdom...Next time add a text-only REAL tip system or nothing at all.

The Bottom Line
A rather poor gameplay experience masked under a beautiful if sometimes inconsistent level design. I guess this is one of those game you have to play just so you can experience something truly new and unique (at least when it comes to graphics) but the game is by no means a masterpiece, and I wouldn't recommend it except if you found it on a bargain bin.

Windows · by Zovni (10504) · 2002

Incredible design but think what it could have been

The Good
The artwork and twisted imagery of the game is wonderful. It really brings the world to life. The characters range from the amusing to the terrifying. The level design is great. The Quake 3 engine is perfect and the graphics are extremely good. The soundtrack as well is haunting and operatic, making it absolutely perfect for this game.

The Bad
It could have been so much more though. Despite the gloss and style, it's just a platform game. Not that there is anything necessarily wrong with that you understand. But it could have been something really amazing if the game measured up to the presentation. Falling off the same damn ledge the same damn time really can annoy you. Make sure you're good at platformers. The game also gets repetitive pretty quickly, And the voice acting is varies from great to lame. Alice is OK, the turtle is diabolical, The Chesire Cat is very good. But it's a pity they couldn't all be good because it's a serious game really

The Bottom Line
Glossy, beautiful, imaginative game made by experienced programmers. Although far too shallow to compete with the best games, still enjoyable. Just don't expect Deus Ex or anything.

Windows · by Shazbut (163) · 2002


The Good
When I first started the game I did not know exactly what to expect. First I was impressed by the graphics. Not only they are technically good, but the artists in this are awesome. Especially the menu background image of Alice in the mental hospital is awesome. Awesomely disturbing. And that is the best word to describe the whole game. Everything you see is sick, perverted, twisted, warped or otherwise odd. Mr McGee must be at least a LITTLE mad to do something like this. Weapons in the game are totally different than any normal point-shoot weapon ordinarily seen. And the music is excellent. It fits perfectly in the game. Also the voice acting is, for a change, good.

The Bad
The voice acting, while it is good, is clearly recorded a line at a time. You never get a real feeling of a conversation. And there is a certain part where you just keep getting the feeling that you are playing "a bug's life" with your little brother. The plot is also very linear, making replay value nonexistent - especially when there is no multiplayer option.

The Bottom Line
This game is pretty much different from anything else. So weird it makes Silent Hill feel sane and so twisted that Undying looks like a cute childrens game. Definitely worth a look - if you are up to it.

Windows · by Aapo Koivuniemi (41) · 2002

Would you like some tea with that?

The Good
People who read the stories or saw the movie (which I assume is everybody) know that Wonderland is rich with characters. The Mad Hatter, The cheshire Cat and of course the Queen or Hearts are all wondrous examples of interesting characters. McGee saw the opportunity to have lots of interaction with characters and jumped straight for it, creating an adventure in which you truly get to know the people around you. Psychonauts also did this and both games harvest the fruits of their labor, a game like Alice in which you regularly talk with other characters fascinates me more than anything else, sure there are dozens of games where you see characters talk in cut-scenes, but I prefer the Navi-like approach to how the Cheshire Cat works in this game a million times better.

Wonderland can be described as a place where everything is weird and unpredictable and it's nice to see that the conversion to a more horror-themed world has not done any harm to that fact. Whether I am watching Alice paint trees in the Disney Movie or fighting my way through the Wonderland Forest in this game, I always feel like I am somewhere new, somewhere where everything is unpredictable. Behind every corner could be another weird contraption or some kind of uncanny creature.

This game set out with the goal to make something disturbing, did it succeed? Yes, very well in fact. While I wasn't scared, there were times when I had to smile at how well the game succeeded. Death animations are a very satisfying example, the first time I took my knife to a card-soldier and cut off his entire top-half was quite amazing and unexpected. The game is also very clear on the topic of death and often main characters would be killed like they were nothing at all, no build-up, no silent hints, just one quick move and they are done for. Area design can also get rather freaky and at one point I was walking through a hall seemingly made of Human flesh. Good stuff.

A lot of games have the problem that their characters move insanely slow, something that might seem like a nitpick, but I always get rather bored when I need to traverse long areas and Marcus Fenix is taking his sweet time to do it. Resident Evil is also a great example and Raz was also very slow unless he was levitating. I usually don't hold it against a game, but here I feel like praise is deserved. Alice runs and quite fast too, this makes it less painful to platform around with her and it gives the game a good sense of flow.

She also uses several interesting weapons that gradually get better as you progress in the game. At first you get to handle a petty little knife and a set of cards, none of which are likely to kill the final boss for you. Later on through you will get the Ice Rod which freezes enemies and the Diabolical Dice which spawns very strong demons into the field. Most weapons really fit the Wonderland-theme and especially some of the later weapons clearly displayed the fact that American McGee used to work on a Quake game.

A nice balance between platforming and fighting keeps the game entertaining to play for me. Very long sections in which I either fight or jump across platforms usually bore me, I need a bit of variation to keep myself interested. In Alice you might be climbing up a hill while enemies hurl boulders at you, once on top you fight your way through some of the bastards before having a conversation with a character and leaving for some more platforming. The two elements are also nicely combined, so it doesn't feel like the game is pulling a big lever every time you need to switch and instead everything mixes seamlessly.

You know what makes Alice in Wonderland my favorite Disney movie? The Cheshire Cat, oh damn I love that pink bastard. I already mentioned that he functions as a Navi-type character in this game, meaning that he follows you around on your adventure and gives you advice or insight into the story. The voice-actor they hired to take care of everybody's favorite kitty is also really enjoyable and you can just hear the pleasure in his voice. With some genuinely good writing backing it all up, we get one of my favorite characters in all of video games.

The Bad
While the weapons are very much entertaining, the combat clearly wasn't meant for it. The game runs on the Unreal Engine, which as far as I know is more of a shooter-affair and not really meant for a platform adventure game. This results in very poor hit-detection and even when you hit an opponent it's very hard to tell if it did actual damage. Enemies don't really flinch whenever you hit, but only about 1/10 times and at all other times you are left wondering if the weapon is working. This makes combat rather clunky and a dodgy aiming-system doesn't help fixing that either.

Platforming is also rather imprecise and Alice tends to slip a little bit. Whenever I had to go through a platform-section, I would decide beforehand at which points I would save real quick before continuing because falling halfway through a huge climb can be very aggravating. When the problem is not slipping, it most likely ends up been falling through platforms, something I experienced a lot when standing on the edge of something.

Talking about saving a lot, that didn't function too well either. The save-system is very standard, but there is no way to override old saves, every time you save it makes a new file. At first I didn't realize this, so before I even grasped what was going on I had thirty save-files and I had to delete every single one of them by hand. Auto-saves are also rare and suffer from this same problem.

I don't really like games that are too open, especially when I end up getting lost or worrying endlessly if I am missing out on some kind of secret, but Alice does it wrong on the entire other side of the spectrum. In this game there is barely anything to explore, it's a strictly linear path with adventure ahead of you and dead enemies behind you. Even if there is a side-path or you find a hidden area, it can only contain the basic power-ups. I remember that in the sequel to this game there were a few collectibles which fleshed out the story some more, that would have spiced up gameplay a bit in this title too.

The Bottom Line
Some of the more observing readers might be wondering: "Why do you like this game, while you absolutely hated Zelda: Fallen Sage?" and that's a perfectly good question. Both these games do the same thing, they take something from my childhood and give it a mature re-imagining. Where Alice shines though is that there are also more comical and enjoyable moments in this title, such as the commentary provided by the Cheshire Cat, whereas Fallen Sage was an endless river of depressing events. This game ends with a very uplifting cut-scene that makes you feel like you truly conquered the obstacles you were faced with and Fallen Sage ended with a plot-twist leading up to an unnecessary boss-fight which completely ruined what would otherwise be a sweet ending. This game also does the conversion to a mature story right and we get to help Alice overcome her sense of guilt, thus addressing the subject of depression and traumatic experiences in a mature fashion, instead of more melodrama like in Time's Menagerie.

Who is this game for you might ask? Well, I keep seeing a lot of Goths play this game and many teenagers who grew up with the story seem to like it as well. If you are interested in a game that truly captures the style of the classic PC-platformer, then either this or Psychonauts would be a good choice, depending on what kind of atmosphere you are looking for.

Windows · by Asinine (956) · 2012

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?

Windows · by BJ Hoskins (9) · 2003

Alice for those who fell out of Wonderland a long, long time ago.

The Good
Put away your hash pipe, please. You won't need it to get a rush out of this game. American McGee's Alice plays like Dr. Seuss' worst nightmare, and perhaps, like Lewis Carroll's wildest ambitions. For anyone who's ever read the book, a whole new element comes to the character of Alice by playing this game. It could be viewed as a continuance of where "Through The Looking Glass" left off. Let's get down to business.

Built on the Quake III game engine, Alice takes that sharp system and pushes it to the max, with many effects unfound in Quake. If you stop drooling at the graphics, you'll notice the characters. Alice, now auburn haired and green eyed, wears an upside down horsehoe necklace and blood spatters on her apron. They never do come out. Guided and bemused by the Cheshire Cat, a scrappy looking feline with words of wit and wonder, she pursues the White Rabbit but becomes caught up in many different subplots.

Alice takes a brilliant new approach to what really is a third-person shooter game. An amazing story, mostly conjured up with help of the old books, and creatures and settings that are realistic (and fing scary enough) to keep you up nights. It doesn't get much better.

The Bad
There are a few more interactions that would have been nice to see, such as the choice-system seen in the old Windows game Titanic. You would choose what to reply, and based on that, your fate would be decided by the creatures you interacted with. That would require an expansion onto likely a second disk, but it would be worth it, just to give the player's mind a little more to chew on.

The Bottom Line*
Let's face it, kids who loved Alice In Wonderland, Disney-style, are not up for American McGee's Alice. If you're light hearted on blood and violence in your games, Alice will not be a favorite. But for those of you who like to do things the old fashioned way with a demonic twist, Alice is your meal ticket.

Windows · by The Cheshire (5) · 2003

Style over substance... but that's not COMPLETELY bad...

The Good
Everyone agrees that this game's LOOK is amazing, and a real winner. It's a fantastic experience just to wander around in, to experience. If every game's world was this... amazing-looking, immersive... well... real life would seem remarkably dull.

The Bad
...but aside from that look, that style, that flash and thunder... everything else about this game is straight out of some other game. Throw-the-lever puzzles, find-the-pixel puzzles, figure-out-the-sequence puzzles, and the ever-popular jumping puzzles. LOTS of jumping puzzles.


And then, once you get past the puzzles, it's fragfest time, as you hack and blast your way through a horde of enemies, culminating in a face-off with a level boss.

...and then you start all over again on the next level, with the last level boss's weapon in your arsenal. Can you say "Mega Man?"

Aside from some very original scripted sequences, it's really more of the same.

The Bottom Line
In many ways, this game could be described as "3-D Goth Super Mario On Serious Drugs."

On the other hand, if you LIKE Mario-style 3-D platformers... well... it's great.

Windows · by Dr.Bedlam (55) · 2002

A truly magnificent gaming experience

The Good
There are many things to like about this game. First off, the graphics are just drop-dead gorgeous. The scenery is as spaced out as one would expect from a game with a knife-wielding Alice. From the lush outdoors to the spooky buildings, the graphics are always a pleasure on the eye. Secondly, the levels are great. Every level has its own unique graphics, and design, giving the player the feeling of being totally immersed in another world. One of the best levels, for instance, is one where the surfaces of the walls are like mirrors, reflecting other walls. Thirdly, the controls are great: it doesn't take very long to learn how to move about and fight. Finally, the game's difficulty slowly increases as you get more used to controls and gameplay. For instance, the first few levels pits you against cards that die with one or two hits. Later however, you battle rooks and knights, each of which attack in different ways, and require a different amount of hits to dispatch.

The Bad
The requirements of the game are a let down. The first time I played it, I reached a point after which none of the game's sprites would show up. So everything was white, except for the levels. This made playing difficult. Of course that was because my video card was a stinky one. After getting a new system, however, the game screams to be played. Also, at times, the controls can be over-sensitive. This is esp. frustrating when negotiating jumps: sometimes you jump onto a platform, only to land near the edge. Desperate to avoid falling off, you quickly move back, only to accidentally run off the back.

The Bottom Line
The gameplay is good, the voice acting is great, and the graphics are superb. This game will definitely appeal to fans for 3rd-person perspective 3D games, and maybe even the RPGers (I mostly play RPGs myself). Words cannot describe how great a gaming experience this was, esp. since I'm playing it for the umpteenth time.

Windows · by willyum (1019) · 2002

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Jeanne, Alsy, Scaryfun, COBRA-COBRETTI, GTramp, Kabushi, Big John WV, Solid Flamingo, Wizo, gukker, Đarks!đy ✔, Patrick Bregger, Sciere, vedder, Tim Janssen, Cantillon, CalaisianMindthief, Zeppin, ingapseu, Emmanuel de Chezelles, eradix, ti00rki.