Wednesday, May 18, 2011

American McGee's "The Art of Alice: Madness Returns"

I was able to download a copy of the new book, "The Art of Alice: Madness Returns", by American McGee from NetGalley. This book is about the newest Alice game, "Alice: Madness Returns", which releases on 6/14, and contains artwork from pre-production through to the actual scenes from the finished product.

I played American McGee's first "Alice" game many years ago, and I fell in love with the amazing visuals and dark feel to the game. I have always loved "Alice in Wonderland", and a game where you can be Alice, a little grown up, and kick some acid-trip creatures' asses - well, sign me up!

Seriously folks, that game was unreal. I didn't stop until I had defeated it, and afterward I only wanted more. And this is coming from a person that is not really a gamer. The scenes, the music, the colors, all gave it an eerie feeling and one that resembled a nightmare dreamscape.

The premise of the game was that her parents had died in a house fire, leaving her an institutionalized mental patient. The Wonderland in the game is her version of it, albeit from her sick mind. The creatures in the game are reminiscent of Lewis Carroll's famous book, but with McGee's own twist. The White Rabbit, The Cheshire Cat, The Queen of Hearts, are all involved, but have a much different look and presence. Her goal is to save Wonderland from the reign of the evil Queen of Hearts.

There are nine levels which take you through rivers, woods, an asylum, a chessboard, and even what's left of her old house. The villains you will battle run the gamut from the insane children, the Jabberwock, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, and, of course, the Queen of Hearts herself in what can be described as a Lovecraft-inspired setting.

From my description it's not hard to see why I was so enamored by the game and the masters who made it.

When I heard about McGee making a possible sequel, well, I can hardly wait! The book was primarily the art from the upcoming game, and let me tell you, it's fantastic! Alice has changed, not drastically, but in the right direction. McGee has his own studio, Spicy Horse, who partnered with EA, who published the original game. McGee and his uber talented team at Spicy Horse have made pure magic with this sequel. The illustrations in the book are breathtaking, and awe-inducing. The savagery and emotion are easily felt through many of the darker images, while the depth and artistry pops in others. Alice is no longer institutionalized in this game, however, repressed memories are the culprit for the return angst. Her discomfort and symptoms return in a heightened fashion, and she goes back to Wonderland out of her need for comfort. This Wonderland, again, is influenced by her deteriorating mental state. She also suspects the fire that killed her family may not have been accidental. This new game boasts a seedy, dark, London, which she must maneuver in order to make it through the game.

I highly recommend fans and newbies to the games to peruse this fantastic book, and to play the game, if you get a chance. I know I will be in line to grab the newest one as soon as it becomes available. You can see more about the game here, and visit American McGee's website. Keep watching here on my blog to see my future review on the game.

If you played the original, or are simply wanting to play the new one, let me know. It's always nice to hear from you! Join in the madness...

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