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Alice Madness Returns

version: pal (uk) - year: 2011 - developer: spicy horse - publisher: electronic arts - format: ps3, blu-ray - condition: mint - rarity: common

Interestingly, Alice Madness Returns comes only boxed. The instructions are on the disc istelf. EA is going green! At least though, new copies of the game come with a code to download American McGees's Alice.

 

Wonderland looks simply outstanding

 

The game was developed by Spicy Horse, a company based in China.

 

Here is another pic to enjoy the view

 

Alice and the Vorpal Blade. In this sequel, weapons can be upgraded up to a maximum of four levels.

 

The artwork is impressive. When Alice dashes or when she gets killed, she turns into a whirlpool of butterflies

 

Some background elements come back from the original game, duly redesigned

 

The Pepper Grinder weapon is very useful and is empowering. Here, shoot the Tea-Pots in the eye first to incapacitate them then finish them off up close

 

In the last part of the game, new gameplay is introduced to spice things up like some 2D sections, some pinball-like levels and some Godzilla-type destruction!

 

After eating a magical cake, Alice becomes huge unleashing her anger and frustration over the Queen's army!

 

Bong or shisha?!

 

When low on health, Alice can turn invincible and super powerful for a limited time

 

The cards look a lot beefier in this sequel

 

Hey, this could be a Castlevania level!

 

Emo Alice looks obviously a lot different from Walt Disney's own interpretation

 

 

Review - Direct sequel of the PC-only action game American McGee's Alice, Alice Madness Returns continues the story from where it was originally left off, and in the process it brings revamped graphics and gameplay while the excellent composer Vrenna returns for the musical score.

On paper, this sequel should be a lot better, and for the first half-hour or so, it will certainly appear to be the case.

The setting of Wonderland is richly decorated and comes to life with plenty of colors and details while the controls are simply flawless in terms of responsiveness and intuitiveness. Alice herself is gorgeously designed. When falling or when underwater, her hair will beautifully and naturally move like waves for instance. It's the little details like this one which initially blew my mind away. That's a big step forward compared to the prequel.

The weapons are also very distinct one from the other and each are required to be used to defeat specific foes.

Unfortunately, after the first impression which is truly great, the game's levels start to feel unnecessarily drawn out and repetitive.

No matter how tight the controls are or how good the combat system is, there is little that will break up the monotony of the first three levels.

Considering how long each level is and considering that there are 6 levels in total (the last one being very short though), many players may feel bored before they even reach the end!

You should also bear in mind that the platforming action is demanding, meaning that some sections will require several attempts to be passed.

Linked to this, the weird check-point system doesn't help. Sometimes, falling off a platform will set you back only a minute or so while other times and depending on how you die (i.e. if an enemy kills you or if you fall off a platform), you may end up being sent back at the beginning of the entire section! This can obviously become quickly irritating as a bit more clarity in the check-point system would have been welcome.

I also noticed a drop in the quality of the graphics in some of the latter levels. Some areas still looked nice and distinctive while others looked rather poor and unrefined with murky textures and a muted color palette. Also, the "sickness" of some of the characters and enemies you end up fighting in the Dollhouse level was a bit too much in my opinion and not really needed.

To give a different feel to the game, the designers opted to basically get rid of boss fights except for the final level. This is a bit of an anti-climax though because some clever boss fights may have been a good idea to increase the variety of the gameplay. Instead, you'll get to what looks like a boss after each level and some cut-scene will advance to story without a single blow being exchanged...

Despite the highs and lows, Alice Madness Returns ended up being an entertaining game. With the exception of the seasonal Mario and Ratchet & Clank releases, there aren't many action platformer out there and this one can count on a distinctively beautiful gothic look.

Bottom line: Alice Madness Returns is a decent sequel and is certainly worth a play-through if you can cope with the pacing issues. 7/10


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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