So now we've debunked the atmosphere and story, which
leaves the gameplay exposed to the light. And floating towards the light, because
its so inert and moldy that I think its dead. There's a public misconception that we
don't like jumping games. It may be because of something we said in the KISS or Rune reviews.
Regardless of what inspired the idea, it isn't true. We love jumping games.
We love Mario 64, Donkey Kong 64, Banjo Tooie 64, the entire Spyro 64 series - all the
greats. What we hate is precision jumping in first-person
games. So if you've decided we're simply biased against Alice's style of play, then in
your face, loser.
The problem is, Alice looks a little bit like a Mario game and controls a
little bit like a Mario game, but it's really a shooter. For those of you whose
noses are shoved too far up the PC's ass to still see daylight, console jumping games have
evolved to the point where they're now deeper than most PC action games. Banjo Tooie
on the 64 includes a huge, huge world that requires a lot of thought to successfully
navigate. Between them, its main characters have over forty different ways to
interact with the environment. Alice has about four. Also separating Alice
from most modern console platformers is its utter lack of exploration. It's strictly
linear and virtually secretless.
Which is all fine for a shooter, but Alice fails at that as well.
The enemies are brainless and the battle action is about as deliberate, passionless, and
audience-unfriendly as you'd expect from the world's first pretentious art-house
The graphics are crisp and the characters have some clever animation, but,
Jesus, I expect that at this point. They hired a professional Anthony Hopkins
impersonator to deliver all of the Cheshire Cat's fake-o profound lines. His
dialogue sounds like Hannibal Lecter reading aloud to everyone from the secret diary you
wrote when you were thirteen, which is actually the most terrifiying concept in the game.
The music is by someone who - according to the manual - knows Trent Reznor.
I decided to test
American McGee's seemingly infallible edgifying system by pitting it against the one thing
I couldn't imagine ever making me sad or scared, Seanbaby's Bowtied Duckfoot Adoracubbies.
I contacted Sean himself and asked him if he'd be willing to try to create an
adoracubby that somehow illustrated the grim horror of mental illness. He said he
needed me to give him a definite malady in order to capture the spirit of thing, and I
told him that I was really just looking for a non-specific crazy, ala Pink Floyd's the
Wall or Nine Inch Nails the anything.
"I'm still not sure what I can do to make these things
horrifying," he told me.
"Look," I said, "spurt some blood all over
one. And dressing it up in a little dracula suit certainly can't hurt."
Two days later, he sent me this:
Upon first seeing it, the sound I made was an inhuman mix
of "awwwwwww" and a choked gasp of terror. So there you have it,
conclusive proof that nothing in this world is so pure that it cannot be subverted by the
Twisted Genius of American McGee.
For more information about Adoracubbies and to possibly win
an Adoracubby prize package, enter the official Adoracubby coloring contest.