Preparing for Alice: Madness Returns

Back in March, I was stationed on the Children’s floor of the local library that I work at, tasked with tidying up the shelves and making sure the place was orderly. I always admired it because the majority of the books I enjoyed from elementary school well through high school were aptly defined as children’s books. While I never could read everything I set my mind to back then, I always walked past a certain title that made me wish I were a kid again, with no responsibilities, free to leisurely read. Before Harry Potter took the position of the most important children’s book of our generation, that title was firmly held by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

I checked it out immediately, and made a habit to read a couple pages a day since then. I finally finished it last night, and I not only enjoyed it for the literature it was, but I believe its going to be very important in terms of understanding the context of the upcoming game based upon it.

Alice: Madness Returns is the sequel to 2000’s American McGee’s Alice. Both games take the original plot from Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass in a decidedly darker direction… And darker is putting it lightly. Wonderland, the utopia as it was shown in the books, is corrupted by Alice’s mind, twisted into a bloody, grotesque, evil incarnation. It’s inhabitants also morph to reflect these changes; The Cheshire Cat goes from a plump, jolly feline to an emaciated feral beast with pierced ears. The Mad Hatter, constantly dining with tea and a pastry, regresses into a green-skinned fellow who spends his time experimenting on the other hapless denizens of Wonderland, taking them apart and replacing their body parts with machinery…

…This isn’t Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter, and this isn’t the Wonderland any of us were taught in grade school. These are just a few differences, but you get the picture.

Although Alice: Madness Returns is clearly an action adventure title, I think it’s very important to not only take into account the game play elements, but also the atmosphere and the storyline. Many game reviews will either praise an action game’s storyline if it’s good, or hastily push it to the side and not weigh it as much if it’s bad. For this game, I think both sides will be important to take into account. Not many games draw directly from the world of Literature like Alice does, so I think this game will definitely be a treat.

Alice: Madness Returns will be dropping on June 14, 2011.