張貼於：04 月 26 日
When American McGee's Alice[en.wikipedia.org]
came out in 2000, it was one of many shots in the arm that gaming received back then (the original Half-Life
and Deus Ex
to name a couple), showcasing the idea that videogames could aim for higher and higher levels of creativity and ambition. The mythology of Alice, Lewis Carroll's inquisitive young heroine thrust into a psychedelic kaleidoscope of strange yet unsettlingly familiar characters, has changed hands and changed costumes many, many times since Carroll penned Alice's Adventures In Wonderland[en.wikipedia.org]
and Through The Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There[en.wikipedia.org]
at the end of the 19th century. I personally love the original story and that's pretty much where my head first goes when Alice is mentioned. I don't think the gentle whimsy of Carroll's writing can ever be matched when it comes to the denizens and riddles of Wonderland. But even the malevolent nonsense of the poem "Jabberwocky"[www.jabberwocky.com]
, for example, never saw anything like American McGee's vision of Wonderland. The original game took many of the story's elements and twisted them up in fantastically demented ways and delivered the New and Improved Alice to us with flashy, blistering combat and a dark tone that was most certainly a product and an extension of the 1990s with their Hot Topic meets The Crow
meets The Matrix
mélange of gothy, trendy edginess. I'm not knocking that (okay, I am a little) because God knows I was cheerfully invested in it myself back then, but it is what it is. So, with that out of the way, enter Alice: Madness Returns
I can't really talk about the story too much without spoiling anything, but this isn't really a spoiler if you happened to notice the actual title of the game, so let's just say our gal Alice is, in fact, nuts. Insane in the membrane. Mad
, you could say. And as she winds her way alternately through a dirty, dark London skid-row and a troubled, hurriedly collapsing Wonderland on a quest to solve a mystery and save her sanity, it becomes obvious, like in the first game, that as bonkers as she is, there are crazier -- and scarier -- things about, oh yes. Which is of course the main draw of a game like this. How bizarre can we get? Well, let's see. There's steampunk taxidermy gone horribly wrong, various ill-thought ways to use baby dollheads, an impressively grotesque and bloody take on The Walrus and The Carpenter, an entire level that feels like the drug-addled fever dream of M.C. Escher and Wes Craven locked in some padded cell together, and I think you even walk through a giant mouth at one point. And not in a Disneyland kind of way. Concerning the neverending search for weird ♥♥♥♥, Alice
delivers whole-heartedly. (Imagine me saying that while holding a pink, veiny, pulsing heart while twitching and grinning insanely.)
As spectacle, it satisfies. I loved the originality of the levels and the many, many weirdnesses it serves up. I won't say anything about the story because, no real way around it, it does take a second place to the gameworld, the atmosphere, and the characters, but it doesn't help that it's really not all that great to begin with. It doesn't do anything necessarily wrong, and the voice acting is pretty good (especially Alice's), but it doesn't really do anything amazingly right, either. It's pretty much what you'd expect if you've played the previous installment. Disappointing, a bit, but whatever. Again, the story can be excused for taking a backseat to the visuals just because of the game that it is.
Combat and gameplay... oh boy. Good points: melee feels GREAT. I want a Vorpal Blade in real life. I never got tired of dancing and blitzing that blade through the air. It's great fun. Other weapons are good too, in varying degrees, but sending Alice dodging through enemy attacks to be able to slash viciously back at them and then dodging away, in a beautifully animated burst of indigo butterflies, never ever gets old. Ranged combat? Not... so... great. Irritating controls requiring quick-switching targeting modes that also partially disable your camera make for some very frustrating battles, especially ones involving tons of airborne and ground enemies at once. No, sir, I do not like it.
But then again, the Vorpal Blade is really, really sweet. So it's a mixed bag. And that honestly sums up my overall feelings on the game because while, like I already said, the levels are visually fantastic and new, the levels are also INCREDIBLY long and drawn-out. I mean, I like getting a lot of game for my money, but there's a point where you can almost hear the devs running out of ideas for a certain level or world and sad to say the game just sails right past that point into exasperated tedium. But that's me. Your mileage may vary, and very possibly will.
In the end, this has everything you'd expect from a concerted effort to take your childhood and turn it inside-out and sideways and then tell you to kill it and smash it and blow it to shreds. As Alice herself might say, "Curiouser and curiouser! And completely covered in blood."