ALICE: MADNESS RETURNS
PS3 (also on Xbox 360, PC)
curiouser,” Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll might
cry upon espying what American McGee’s done with his creation –
should he not have departed this mortal coil some 113 years ago.
We reckon he’d dig it though. Yep, we’re not in Disneyland anymore
(phew, if we heard one more chorus of ‘It’s a Small World’ we’d have
bombarded the place with ‘Dip’), in fact this even makes Tim Burton’s
take on the universe appear decidedly meh.
All the familiar characters crop up, but not how you knew them as a
kiddiewink. We don’t recall sweetie-pie-innocent-blondie Alice being
decidedly psychopathic and lugging about a massive, bloodied knife,
or the deliciously evil-looking Cheshire Cat sounding like Alan
Rickman on snarky pills. We’re talking dark, twisted and fucked up.
But you’d know that if you’d played the original Alice some
11 years ago (which is generously included here, in a
Alice: Madness Returns is possibly the most
splendiferous-looking game we’ve ever seen. Lush landscapes make way
for bizarre steampunk-like areas and so much more, plucked straight
from the dreams and nightmares of those with infinitely more verdant
minds than us. Little touches – the way Alice’s hair gently flumpfs
back into place after embiggening, for example - are stunning. Ah,
but beauty’s one thing – how’s it play?
Well, there are five ‘chapters’ – but don’t freak at a content
paucity, as each one’s huge, with a capital ‘uge’ (erm, so ‘hUGE’
then?). Third-person platforming’s the go and, like the original, it
can be frustrating with bodgy angles causing cheap deaths and mucho
ARGH. Combat becomes pretty repetitive with limited moves and
adversaries, and puzzles are fairly rudimentary. But it’s gorgeous!
Alice: Madness Returns is every goth girl’s
squirmy-squirmy-ooh wet nightmare. Make of that what you will; we’re
all mad here...