Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Alice Madness Returns Review

I checked my blog over the holidays and saw the old one for Revenge. This one was not here. I argued that I had posted it sometime in December. The cat told me to shut up and that I'm crazy and have no concept of time or reality and daydreaming. 

Alice: Madness Returns and American Mcgee’s Alice

Let me tell you how much I loved the original American Mcgee’s Alice. I had an original boxed version, the brown one with the extra case booklet (which is still a fascinating read, you must know). I bought it at a time when I did not have much money. Alice from Lewis Carroll’s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass and madness, especially in women, is a huge interest in my life (along with a bazillion other unoriginal girls in the world, I know). And here was a game, that looked somewhat scary, with Alice as the original character, and she is undeniably MAD. I brought it home and popped it in the disk tray of my computer...and my computer could barely run the title screen. It was possible to play a bit, but it would randomly crash or glitch non-stop. Ugh! But I LOVED it. I had AMA dreams that were bloody and knifey and wicked. In the end though, it was impossible to finish the game.

I searched so many “fixes” for have a computer with a criminally low amount of RAM, but even all the fixes in the world could not upgrade my video card. My life was the image of tragedy. Needless to say, it was a LONG time before I could scrape together the money for more RAM and a better video card (and looking back, I should have just bought a new computer). But I did it. And then...it was borrowed, and someone borrowed it from the first person, and it was lost (or stolen, or sold, who knows). And I was left with diddly-squat, and told not to be mad. Err....ha ha, very funny. It was another stretch of ages before I got my hands on another copy...and then my computer could barely run it. But it did! And I was obsessed. I played it over and over and didn’t sleep to play because, really, who needs to sleep? Kids at school knew I was obsessed and liked scary games (though nothing about it is really that scary). I was badass. Sort of.

And I desperately wanted a sequel, on a console (I was beyond tired of trying to get computers to run stuff), with more storyline other than Save Wonderland! I’m not going to say how many years it was, but it wasn’t until 2011 that I finally got a sequel...

Alice: Madness Returns         

To be blunt, it was better than I ever expected it to be. The world is much more macabre than the original and more dark in story.  

On Normal, the game wasn’t particularly challenging. I rarely died, and while I wasn’t keeping track, I am certain that around 95% of my actual combat related deaths was from the boss where you have to learn to use the umbrella. I died over, and over...and over and over...on some of the platform jumps. Luckily there is not any kind of repercussions for dying. In a way, I think that made me less careful and made me rush.  

Stuff That Irked Me:
The controls aren’t perfect...but I don’t feel the need to gripe endlessly about the controls like other sites have, particularly because I did not find them that bad.

DON’T, under any circumstances, press any buttons while the Executioner is teleporting you. I wondered if I was supposed to dodge it, and when I teleported and the gamed loaded in the new area, I wasn’t in it. The area’s pink wormy tongue things were moving, but the camera was stuck. Luckily I could reload from right there exactly and Alice actually showed up. But there was that sickening moment when you think, I bet this ruins my save file.

When I first started the game, the denizens of London bothered me with the heavy use of stylizations. Alice looks normal and pretty realistic (her eyes are GINORMOUS) but other people have some weird appearances that remind me of Tim Burton, but in a realistic setting, they just do not mix well.

The cut scenes that are in the illustrated/pop-out book style. Why could those cut scenes not be uniform with the other cut scenes? They are BEAUTIFUL, but why? I would rather see the in-game graphics, which are also BEAUTIFUL. Having too many different styles is jarring.

Mild Spoilers...
Stuff That I Pleased Me:
The ending that takes place in the real world. It is not a hyper reality scene that I thought it would be. It is emotional, powerful, and low key. I expected her to pull out a knife similar to the Vorpal blade and just go nuts. But no. What she does do is absolutely stunning. She walks up, does one simple thing, even though she is not terribly strong, and that is it. 

Changing dresses. Yes, I like costume changes. It’s just...I get bored with looking at the same character all the time. I also did not mind buying the pack, though I hesitated because though awesome, they had special traits that I believe is somewhat akin to cheating, but the game was not that hard to begin with. I wish you had the option of turning off the special traits and just have the costume, though.

American McGee’s Alice

I got the DL for the original game and you know what...it really did not live up to my expectations. The controls are horrible and it really just did not age well. I still love all of Cheshire’s banter, though. I am glad it was free, because I still have my disk to play on my computer.  

Stuff That Irked Me:
Dear god, the controls! Why did the transition to the controller suck so badly!? There are just some things that work only half of the time, like grabbing ropes. I now officially hate ropes.

The first game could have used something extra, even some different costumes, at least. There are oodles of youtube videos of modded Alice costumes, so it is possible to do.

I’m looking forward to playing Alice: Madness Returns on Hard mode and collect all the memories. American Mcgee’s Alice probably won’t be revisited for a while, especially because I played it last summer on my computer. Oh...and I REALLY want the Vorpal blade t-shirt from the Alice2store (http://alice2store.com/alice-apparel/alice-ladies-apparel/ladies-vorpal-blade-tee).  

 Edit: I unlocked all achievements for this game probably within the next week. It was not hard, even on Nightmare difficulty. It was my first 1000. I also found a store in RL (I know...I WENT OUTSIDE THE HORROR!!) that sold a Madness Returns Wallet. Epic love.  

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