Alice has returned, and it won’t be pretty. A few of you may remember the cult game American mcGee’s Alice, which was a dark and sadistic representation of Lewis Carroll’s classic novel; this is the sequel to that. Ten years have passed since the first game and yet Alice is still wearing her same Blue and white, blood-stained dress, as the trailer shows, while she walks down the dusky streets of Victorian London.
She is drawn toward a display of marionettes where she sees some familiar characters having tea. Her dead parents suddenly appear in the reflection, standing solemnly in front of a fountain that is now spilling blood. Before we know it, the display bursts into flames, and she’s yanked into the inferno by a swarm of tentacles. This sets us up for the demo, which places Alice in the Vale of Tears, a beautiful landscape with floating islands, discarded dominoes, and extra-large mushrooms to jump across. This area highlighted the platforming aspect of the game, and we see that Alice can leap as well as double jump to higher ground.
In the next area, Alice comes across a hovering purple potion labeled “drink me” that pours an endless amount of fluid into a lake. She drinks this, of course, which then causes her to shrink, giving her access to new areas as well as the ability to see messages scrawled on the walls. During EA’s presentation, McGee said that in this world, Alice is an idealized version of herself. A more beautiful, stronger, and more confident woman who is able to defend herself physically and mentally. As distorted as everything is already, she brings her own madness into the world, so as her surroundings begin to degenerate, her sanity starts to go as well.
Alice is given some new weapons to help her on her journey into madness. Other than brandishing her deadly vorpal blade, she can now wield a pepper grinder like a machine gun. This allows her to fire a stream of deadly bullets of some kind, while keeping a safe distance. McGee mentioned that each enemy is like a puzzle, and the only way to destroy them is to find their weakness and exploit it. You’re also given a hobby horse and a teapot at some point, but it looks like we’re going to have to wait to see how they work in battle.
Check out the video for yourself:
Like in the previous game, there is a mix of exploration and platforming along with the combat, where you may need to hit switches to reveal a path to the next area. The game is linear, so there’s no chance of getting lost, but you will need to wander off the beaten path of hidden objects and collectibles.
We’re looking forward to being able to play the game, as there is no hands-on demo yet, also the build was still in pre-alpha. Alice: Madness Returns is set to come out in 2011 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.