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Wonders and Terrors

  • Aug 19, 2004
  • by
Poor, poor Alice. Your parents killed in a fire, you are now trapped in an insane asylum with only your madness to keep you company. Even your dreams of Wonderland have become corrupted by a fractured mind, old friends becoming terrifying menaces and familiar places now dank and mysterious. What was once a place of wonder now becomes a life-threatening journey into your own psychosis.

Clever, wicked Alice, filled with malice, to bring all your new toys into Wonderland with you. From the simple knife (for hacking or throwing) to a lethal deck of cards to an explosive Jack-in-the-Box to the devastating Blunderbuss, the array of toys with which you defend yourself is simply delightful, in a dangerous sort of way. Your foes are many, and of a wide variety, including the brutish Card Guards, malevolent chess pieces, frightful Imps, a giant Mad Hatter, the twisted Jabberwock, and even the Red Queen herself. It's a good thing that you came to this new Wonderland prepared for some deadly play. There is much of it to be had.

But, dear Alice, don't you know that all your old friends are here as well? There's the old Rabbit, of course, as obsessed as ever with his pocket watch and his tardiness. And the Caterpillar, who seems to have descended further into his own addictions. And even the dear Cheshire Cat is here, accompanying you on your journey always ready to offer his toothsome grin and a word of wry advice. Your friends may be a little more twisted, a little more frightening than before, but they're all still here. At first, anyway.

This isn't the Wonderland you once knew, Alice. It has become beautiful and terrible in your absence. Once-peaceful landscapes are now frightening and treacherous, slightly maddening in their off-kilter perspective. Voices, once comforting and friendly, are now laced with a tone of threat and malice. Music, once sprightly, is strange and otherwordly. You must be constantly aware of your surroundings, as you can be suddenly attacked from almost anywhere.

This is a fight for your sanity, Alice. For your very life. Be careful, be strong, be brave... and you may just escape this strange new Wonderland with your mind intact.

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More American McGee's Alice reviews
review by . November 14, 2001
One of the most engrossing aspect's of the Alice pc package hasn't even been mentioned yet. Included with the game is a small 20+ page booklet that is the journal of Alice's asylum doctor. It is a near daily record of the changes in Alice's condition, and the eerie happening's around her. I enjoyed reading it nearly as much as playing the game. Alice, like most have said already, is a stunning game with gorgeous graphics. I have a 750 mhz processor, asus motherboard, and voodoo3 3d card, and it …
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Rich Stoehr ()
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I often hide behind a pithy Douglas Adams quote or maybe some song lyrics. I guess it makes sense that much of what I share is reviews of things I like (or don't).      People … more
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American McGee is best known for his work on shooters likeQuake III, but he split off from id Software recently and his first effort isAlice, a twisted romp through his own version of Lewis Carroll's Wonderland. The trick is that Alice, now older, is the lone survivor of a house fire that kills her family. She's stuck in an asylum and must regain her own sanity by returning to the madcap Wonderland she visited as a child. She's a darker person now, and, perhaps consequently, Wonderland is correspondingly dark.

The Queen of Hearts cruelly rules the land, the White Rabbit is tattered, the Cheshire Cat sports a pirate earring and a mangy, emaciated look, and the Mad Hatter is even madder than before. Alice, armed with her characteristic politeness, athletic ability, and a large knife, must venture through this dark Wonderland righting wrongs while thwarting the Queen and her army of playing-card guards.

The game itself uses an over-the-shoulder perspective and has Alice running, jumping, and swinging from ropes like a younger and primmer Lara Croft. Controls are easy to use and aside from difficult jumping puzzles and an odd problem where Alice slides on surfaces, the game is easy to play. Wonderland here is dark, like a Tim Burton film, but still easily recognizable to fans of the classic novel. If anything the game is woefully linear--there's only one path and therefore no need to replay the game after you've finished it. The result is a game that feels more constrained and ...

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