American McGee's Alice

by Wencke Schuncken

Most of us, if not all, are familiar with either the Alice's Adventures in Wonderland novel by Lewis Caroll and/ or seen the popularized numerous film and television adaptations. In the year 2000 however, Alice turned up in a third-person action PC video game in a considerably more macabre rendition of Wonderland.

American McGee's Alice is something else for sure... “Sweet” Alice is the main character in the PC game and portrayed as an older, dark-brown haired girl with emerald green eyes. She was orphaned when her parents were killed in a fire caused by her cat Dinah. It was too hard to keep her head clear and afterwards she tries to commit suicide, falls into a catatonic state and gets institutionalized in the Rutledge Asylum for treatment.

Years later, the (famous Wonderland) White Rabbit summons Alice to aid a radically altered Wonderland, now under the despotic rule of the Queen of Hearts. When she's able to save the creatures from the tyrannical Queen, she not only saves Wonderland, but also her own sanity. To help Alice, Cheshire the cat, guides her throughout the game with cryptic comments. (read: to give hints to gamers who already lost track in this wonderland).

Alice's feelings are responsible for her twisted mind. Therefore she meets characters that are also twisted and certainly different compared to the original novel. Some characters like the Cheshire Cat and the White Rabbit are helpful; others like the Queen of Hearts and Mad Hatter trying to make life even more miserable, first by taking away those whom Alice attached to and then taking her down with them.

Alice, you sure knew how to turn a virtual twisted world upside down which already was upside down in our minds, filled with sweet memories of the original Wonderland novel / movie. We hope, one day, that your psychic disease will be cured, but is there any chance to get a videogame sequel first with another absurd adventure?