I absolutely love fractured fairy tales. I think the easiest answer to why is because I think every story has several different tellings and due to things like the Christian coalition and coddling our children in hopes to not “traumatize” them, we only see one side of the story. Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” is a story about a child who escapes into a world deep in her imagination but the story was a very frightening one. However, companies like Disney capitalized on the madness in a humorous ridiculous way instead of really exploring the “madness” of it all, and this story of madness became a story of silliness.
…Which is why I think I love American McGee’s Alice so much.
I recently picked up a copy of Alice: Madness Returns which is the sequel to 2000’s American McGee’s Alice in Wonderland. If you buy the Xbox 360 or PS3 version, you also get a copy of the original game (I greatly suggest picking it up and playing it – while outdated, this is still a fantastic quick play through).
I am only on chapter 2 and will have a much more comprehensive review later… but a few things I’d like to note:
While Alice still has her original blue dress with the white apron – which she starts in at the beginning of each chapter, Alice also gets a new dress as you progress through the chapters. This one, the siren/mermaid dress is by far my favorite so far, though it is the second chapter’s dress and I am only on the second chapter. Each dress signifies the theme of that chapter (siren dress = water level).
There is a lot more to do in Alice: the Madness Returns. The original game is a fun quick platformer which would take maybe 6 hours at most to complete. There isn’t any huge “replay” value in it which was remedied in its sequel. Travel through the world and find all of Alice’s memories, pig snouts for the Duchess (didn’t I kill that bitch?), answering riddles, and find the mysterious bottles. Even as watchful as I tried to be, I still missed 3 memories (out of 26) in chapter 1, a few pig snouts, and a few bottles. I didn’t find a single radula either… The chapters are long though, which makes me wonder, as I have not tried it yet, how much of the chapter you have to play when just searching for these items. That could definitely be tedious (Chapter = 1 to 2 hours).
These are just my initial thoughts… More to come. I’m excited to see what new characters pop up since most met their demise in the first game.