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American McGee's Alice Review
2000-12-12 Erik Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4

Some of you may be scratching your head at this point.   "That wasn't a review," you may be saying,"In fact, you ended up asking me what I thought." 

Uh huh, that's right.  I'm trying to prove a point: I didn't play a whole lotta Gunman Chronicles.  But more than that, things aren't always what they seem.  For instance, those of you anticipating that a game will come with American McGee's Alice are in for a big fucking edgy transgressive expectation-subverting surprise.   There've been reviews lately - and mind you I've read these reviews - that freely admit to the utter lack of decent gameplay in Alice, yet excuse it on the grounds that the game has "atmosphere and story". 

Here's the story, straight from the manual:

[American McGee's Alice's] brains have been pasteurized!

Now [Alice's] super Superego is all that stands between [Alice] the Megahero and [Alice] the fruitloop.

[Alice's] Superhero Superego must seek out the golden udders of lucidity that lie deep within [her] cow struck cranium.  Will [she] find the magical teats in time?  Or will [she] teeter off the edge of sanity?

To make things worse, [Alice's] churning imagination has released the cream of evil villainy, and they are hellbent on preventing [her] regaining [her] mental balance.

For those of you currently nodding your "American McGee #1 Genius" foam Pope hats, I'd like to point out that that almost perfect summary of Alice's edgy plot comes courtesy of the Earthworm Jim 3D manual.  Other than replacing the words "Earthworm Jim" with the word "Alice", I haven't touched it.  You can thank McGee's actually probably quite brilliant publicists that we won't all be not watching Wes Craven's Earthworm Jim 3D next Christmas.   And you can thank me for the crazy wording on that sentence.

American McGee's
Crazy Door

So basically, McGee mooshed characters created by Lewis Carroll onto a plot dreamt up by one of the programmers who worked on the worst of the Earthworm Jim games, mixed it all up with the kind of acute, disturbing insights into mental illness you'd get from listening to Pink Floyd's The Wall, then sprayed everything with blood.  Then made the doors all cockeyed.  As an example of some of the upsetting imagery you'll find in Alice, here's a screeshot of the Mock Pig floating over a concentration camp's barbed wire fence across a sky made of stretched tendons:

crazy boob straw

American McGee's Monster Chiller Horror Theater

Oops, that's actually a screenshot from Earthworm Jim 3D.  I promise I won't fool you like that for the rest of the review.


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