American McGee Alice

American McGee Alice

Take your faithful knife and carve your way through pandemonic Wonderland
4.2  (6 votes)
Rogue Entertainment

This particular incarnation of Carroll's Alice is rather loose, somewhat bizarre - and yet brilliant. The events of this game take place several years after Alice's return from behind the looking-glass. Alice fails to warn her parents about the fire she has accidentally started, which results in their agonising death. Having survived the fire herself, Alice depresses herself with guilt and is taken to a lunatic asylum - where she finds a gnawing need for Wonderland again and discovers that Wonderland is tainted by her own mental disorder. Alice sets off to slay all the monsters that have taken over Wonderland, hoping to heal her real self.

While this game is basically a hop-and-kill arcade, it is quite seldom that you get to think about the similarity of your jumps and victories. Almost every little detail is intended to echo the grim surreal background suggested by the story. You will play the role of Alice, armed with an awe-inspiring knife and wearing a blood-stained pinafore, carving her way through a fortress of doors, chesslike lands and an asylum full of mirrors and wheelchairs. You will dispose of several packs of playing cards, each of them bleeding and running in circles screaming in agony. Cheshire Cat will give you sound yet vague advice, and Jabberwock will exasperate your guilt with outrageous psychoanalysis before trying to stamp on you literally. To crown it all you will be constantly haunted by delirious eerie music - beautiful melodies woven of toy sounds and yells, which will make you want to laugh of joy and hysteria at the same time. You might accuse this game of somewhat outdated graphics (considering its making use of the slightly improved 'Quake 3' engine), but this colourful Wonderland, with its vivid inhabitants, fanciful places and grotesque irony, is more than enough to animate your own imagination - making it depicture everything the exact way it should look.

Do not hesitate. As wise Cheshire Cat would say, 'Pursue Rabbit!'

Jørgen Walters
Editor rating:

Review summary

Pros

  • Incredible level design
  • Charming enemies
  • Ingenious dialogues with a spice of macabre humour
  • Fantastic music by Chris Vrenna

Cons

  • No longer officially supported
  • Mostly useless weaponry
  • Gameplay strategies are quite monotonous
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