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Traveller In Playtime - American Mcgee's Alice


American Mcgee's Alice is a horror action-adventure title developed by Rogue Entertainment and published by EA on PC in 2000. It was also bundled with it's sequel on 360 and PS3 in 2011. The game is a sequel to the original Alice stories, set a number of years afterwards in which Alice has endured psychological trauma following her family's death in a fire. As a result of this, the Wonderland she knows has grown dark and dreadful and you as the player must traverse it to mend her ailing mind.

Alice, Reborn In Fire

As far as edgy reimaginings go, American Mcgee's Alice certainly stands its ground. It makes Wonderland a representation of Alice's mind, which is not far off from the source material. So naturally, once she goes slightly mad, it all goes to hell.

The story is an excuse to revisit characters from the books under a new light to either fight them or have a little talk. There's also some new material woven in pretty nicely, often to make things that extra bit horrific or weird.

You journey to slay the Red Queen and save Wonderland, hitting up a good amount of places on the way. Though surprisingly, there is a decent amount of cohesion between areas, in spite of what one would think.

The highlight of the adventure lies in the writing, especially between Alice and the Cheshire Cat. They both display a healthy helping of snark and wellspoken-ness which makes for some terrific dialogue. Alice walks around Wonderland showing no fear and is ready to talk down just about anything. It's always fun to run into someone new and see how Alice will interact with them.

When The Remarkable Turns Bizarre, Reason Turns Rancid

The version of Wonderland on display is a delight. It's dark, dreary and overflowing with malice and blood. Characters are often reinterpreted as being extremely bloated or with cogs for body parts, making for some really memorable encounters. It's not especially scary, but it's rad as hell.

The enviroments are varied, but never let up this oppressive atmosphere the permeates the air. I will say that I find the soundscape just a bit lacking, save for the awesome soundtrack. Outside of enemy noises and Alice herself, there is very little going on, which is a missed oppurtunity. And the noises used when jumping and taking damage feel a bit cheap to my ears and keep me from getting truly immersed.

When Is A Croquet Mallet Like A Billy Club?

Combat is overtly present in the game and jumps between being a formality and an annoyance. You control Alice as if you were playing a third-person shooter, letting you strafe and aim at your leisure.

You have a decent selection of weapons, all of which feature alternate attacks, which is always welcome. The Croquet Mallet has a regular swing and the ability to shoot croquet balls, for example. Most attacks use Will (magic) as ammo, but you don't really have to be conservative for the most part. The war combat economy is rather lethal. That is to say, you die and burn through Will rather quickly, but most enemies die fast and they always drop both health and Will.

However, certain enemies are overtuned (or downright broken. Fucking mushrooms!), making certain sections a bit of a slog, especially since it's hard to gauge if an attack will stun an enemy. Not even the borderline broken Ice Wand will take you through every encounter. Sometimes, you just have to hang back and abuse the incredibly cheap Jacks to get by.

And since there are no upgrades to find save for new weapons, it's very tempting to run past enemies, which signifies a bad combat system. Or rather, an okay combat system that the game leans on way too much.

There are also extremely rare (like, 10 in the whole game tops.) timed power-ups, but they are either useless, or don't last long enough to feel worthwhile. It's evident that the game is rather thrown together gamedesign-wise

When The Path Is Problematical, Consider A Leap Of Faith

In spite of featuring loads of jumping around platforms, you'll notice that I didn't call this a platformer. My reason being that the game doesn't really have enough actual platforming mechanics. You can jump and swing on ropes, that's about it. And I think the game doesn't even use these two mechanics for anything interesting.

Platforming is simplistic, but very janky. I always judge a platformer on how easy it is to traverse small platforms. In this game, it's quite infuriating and only acceptable thanks to the quicksave. There is an auto-jump feature of sorts, but you can only use it for short stand-still jumps, making it useless for the game's many running jumps. The game really is a unique blend of ideas that maybe shouldn't go together. Taken as a whole though, it's engaging, somewhat frustrating and really cool.

Final Judgement


- Welcome to my world, Enjoy your stay, But always remember, There is no return.

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About Kerrik52one of us since 3:12 AM on 02.28.2016

Greetings, one and all. I'm known as Kerrik52 around these parts and I'm Swedish dude with a bachelor's degree in computer science.

I play a lot of games, even the bad ones if they have something interesting to offer. I then write about them on this site for you all to read. I've written stuff about about a lot of genres, but if you need recommendations, I suggest my From Software Retrospective and my "Let's Bitch" series about the Souls-games. At present, I am mostly writing reviews, which is a fun exercise.

I also have a little Youtube channel bearing my name that mostly contains videos related to my blogs.

I'm mostly a character action game and JRPG player, but I try to keep my gaming diet varied. Here are some games/series I love:

Souls Games
God Hand
Resident Evil 4
Tales of
Ratchet & Clank
King's Field
Devil May Cry
Legacy of Kain
Spyro the Dragon
Shin Megami Tensei
Legend of Heroes
Ape Escape

I have a very low standard for movies, but I have some favorites. These include:

The Secret Life of Walter Witty
Pooh's Grand Adventure
Scott Pilgrim VS the World

The last TV shows I watched were House, Mythbusters and Fringe.

Anime on the other hand, is something I watch a decent amount of. I like:

Black Rock Shooter
Fist of the Northstar

I don't read very much anymore, but I like Asimov and Lovecraft.

Music-wise I'm an apostle of Dio and the German power metal scene. Other favorites include:

Gamma Ray
Iron Savior
Freedom Call
Axel Rudi Pell

Go ahead and share a piece of your world with me and I'll pay back in kind. Don't be deterred if I answer you in a wall of text though. I just can't help it sometimes.