Sorry, I have a thing for memes… it was either that or “Alice? Who the Fuck is Alice?” which isn’t even from my generation. Gots to keep my audience in mind! Anyway… yesterday my preview of Alice: Madness Returns went live on Strategy Informer. This is one that escaped my attention, mainly because it’s the sequel to a game that was released back in 2000 – so way before I even had gaming as a proper hobby, let alone a possible career path.

You can read my official preview here, if you like, but I’m not really here to talk about the game as opposed to what the game represents. I’ve always liked re-imaginings or re-interpretations of things, even original stories that take place in familiar settings, or anything that craftily links to established worked. I’ve never been able to pin down why, but I’ve always found it to be… clever, I suppose. It’s the realisation, that moment when you go “Oh right!” that I really enjoy… much like how I enjoy the twists in thrillers.

American McGee’s re-imagining of Alice isn’t the first alternate telling of that particular tale I’ve encountered either. I can’t remember if it was bought for me, or I picked it up on a whim, but I have a book called the Looking Glass Wars by a guy called Frank Beddor that’s really interesting. Alyss (Alice) is actually a princess in Wonderland, when a coup by her aunt forces her to flee into the ‘real’ world, only she’s not sure how to get back. It’s quite interesting, actually, especially Beddor’s interpretation of Wonderland and it’s key features (The Mad Hatter, for example, is actually some kind of awesome ninja/assassin bodyguard who’s main weapon is his top hat… a bit like Oddjob, I suppose.)

A nice touch is when Alyss, frustrated that no one will believe her, confides in a Reverend, who then writes it all up as Carroll’s actual tale, and there’s a point about mid book where Alyss, and even the reader, starts to doubt whether or not the few chapters at the beginning of the book were even real, or whether it was all in her head. Apparently Beddor wrote two more books after that, Seeing Redd and ArchEnemy, which I have yet to read… might go pick them up, as I haven’t had any new books in a while.

Alice: Madness Returns looks interesting though… gameplay wise it feels a little bit like Zelda, and the art style is suitably twisted and depressing. What really interests me though is the fact that the fire which killed Alice’s family (and thus led to the events of the first game), may not have been an accident, and the main story of the game revolves around you trying to figure out what happened. Judging by some of the promotional material I’ve seen, I bet she did it.

But yeah… bit of a random tangent today. I’d recommend that book to anyone who’s interested in that sort of thing, and those of you waiting for Madness Returns, it looks like it’s going to be as good as you hope it is.

Until next time…

P.S. By the way, I worked out that, in Madness Returns, Alice must by like 30 by now, or close enough. I can’t remember how old she’s supposed to be in the original tale, eight? Nine? But the first game takes place ten years after that, so 18, and now this game takes place elven years after that, making her around 29. Kinda odd, isn’t it?

  1. Holly says:

    Of all the details in the Wonderland universe, both Carroll’s and McGee’s, it would seem her age is the LAST detail to start questioning, lol. ;)

  2. Well I think it’s quite important :P

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