Alice: Madness Returns Shots Are (Yes!) Mad

Cloud computing, right there

I’ll just do a little checklist here. We’ve got enormous teapots pouring out molten metal, a glutinous tar baby, Alice poking around a Victorian imagining of the Orient with a unicorn on a stick, and a Chesire cat who’s stayed largely unchanged from how he appeared in the first American McGee’s Alice even though he was killed in that game. Spoiler!

It’ll be swell if this game is good, both because we’ll be able to have fun poking through these wonderful environments, and I’ll be able to use “Carroll Singing” as a headline. Screens after the jump.


  1. James says:

    It does look very good, but I will forever associate Alice with a review (given by an old roommate) of the gameplay…”Jumping jump, jump!”

    Maybe it was the delivery, but if you played it then you probably understand to some degree why it’s accurate.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      It was good jumping though.

    • Yorick says:

      I agree. I never had a problem with the gameplay in Alice. It wasn’t groundbreaking, but it was a solid third person action/adventure/knife-throwing-thing. It had a steep difficulty curve near the end of the game though, around the Red Queen’s maze.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I’ve got to admit I got stuck and gave up on the original. The environments were great, apart from the gameplay it was fantastic. I’ve always found third person platformers to be really difficult so it’s probably my problem as opposed to the games.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      I got to the final boss in the original and stopped after dying a certain number of times. It was too difficult. Maybe not too difficult in absolute terms, but definitely too difficult to waste hours trying to essentially figure out a way to unlock the endgame cinematic when I’ve already played through the entire game. I finished the damn thing already, give me my prize and let me go on to do other things!

      That was the exact moment I realized the “old school gamer” in me is dead. Evolution FTW.

    • HeavyStorm says:

      Jumping jump, jump, but the most beautiful jumping ever…

  2. heretic says:

    looks great and demented, I like.

    I really appreciate games that have funky design, Bayonetta was awesome in that respect, where did they get the inspiration for all those monsters!

  3. Serenegoose says:

    ….I’m a terrible person. The first thing my eyes gravitated towards was the fact that she’s wearing a variety of different dresses in the screenshots, and then I oo’d at them some.

    Eye of Sauron teapot? Who cares. flowery black dress with a big bow on the back? INTERESTED.

    • James says:

      Are you a female, or just…interested in dresses?

    • Serenegoose says:

      If I wasn’t, I’d be arrested, sent to jail, and shot! Maybe not even in that order!

      Always hated the term female though. I’m also a homo sapiens sapiens too! Doesn’t it sound so clinical to you? Maybe it’s just me.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      I nerded out a bit at her range of pinafores too, actually. Surprised I didn’t mention it in the article.

    • cytokindness says:

      “I shan’t have to wear a pinny, shall I?”

      I <3 all the voice acting

    • Stense says:

      Got to say, my first thought too was ‘Oooh, pretty dress’.

      The screenshots look wonderful too, which is nice.

    • James says:


      I actually went with “female” specifically because it was the most neutral gender label I could come up with. I think fem… wome.. gi… whatever you want to call them are humans, too. I don’t know that of course, but I strongly suspect it the case.

      What terminology would you prefer?

    • Serenegoose says:

      Woman is a favourite of mine. Easy to remember, few syllables, little connotation. But it’s too easy to hijack this sort of nonsense, and it wasn’t my intent when I only desired to make a joke, or observation. This whole speaking for everyone really isn’t me, unless I became the borg when I wasn’t looking – it happens.

      I am generally glad to see that I wasn’t the only one who ogled the dresses though. :D

    • Land says:

      Goose! Are you ever coming back to Aggramar? :-(

    • Moonracer says:

      actually, when I saw all the dresses I figured we can expect outfit DLC. *yay*

    • Serenegoose says:

      Cynics everywhere. For a shining, glorious second I’d actually seen a sort of gleeful future where we could see this sort of customisation as a good, even expected thing, that we’d be encouraged to invest in the characters that we played as enough that we’d see their visual design as much an expression of their character and personality rather than just an eyecatching model that remained unchanging forever.

      Everyone else sees DLC. At once I feel guilty for feeling superior to that cynical outlook and naive for not wishing to believe it myself.

    • pandora says:

      The thing is, I’d rather want a built-in dress editor, so that I can channel through it all the love I’ve got for the character and dresses, and then share them! So dlcs are my enemies. (And I also want a collectible edition with a throwing knife that magically return to my hand to be found inside the box. Or even a nice plain one).

    • Serenegoose says:

      Reach for the stars! They are ever within your grasp if you would but grasp!

      Or, less theatrically, that would be totally awesome. I would all kinds of endorse that idea. Well, kinda. I mean I think the reason I like that they’ve put the thought into giving her different dresses is that it’s just part of furthering the illusion that the character exists beyond the game by showing that they don’t just have one thing to wear and nothing else ever. But also because I am not good at graphics. I quite like the idea of a fancy-pants designer making sure my character doesn’t look like she fell backwards through a clothes horse aboard the ISS, you know?

    • StenL says:

      It seems that the dresses change accordingly to the environment. As you can see, the oriental areas have you wearing the kimono/dress hybrid thing with the bow on the back, while the factory areas have a sort of leathery bondage/welder outfit with the apron in the front.

  4. pandora says:

    I am a male and different dresses were the first thing I noticed, too, followed by a thought: “I won’t be able to search for mods this time, I will need to buy them from steam for 5.99 each”.

    Also, I hope nobody will jail or stab me for liking (looking at) nice dresses.

    • Serenegoose says:

      Such a cynic! But nobody will stab you unless they fire the knife out of a gun, and this isn’t arcanum.

      Besides, it’ll probably be £2:99. £5:99 is the going rate for about an hours worth of gametime, not some fancypants clothing.

    • Xocrates says:

      I don’t know about clothing, but 5.99€ seems to be the going rate for fancy pants power armor

    • Serenegoose says:

      it’s unrestrained inflation gone mad. Where will it end? Bread will cost a million pounds by tuesday!

  5. cytokindness says:

    Gods this is looking pretty.

    Maybe I should finish the original!

  6. ZamFear says:

    Cat! And looking much more like his original concept art too. I will be extremely disappoint if it’s not the same voice actor as the original.

    • cytokindness says:

      It seems to be the same. Listen at the end of the “Beautiful Insanity” trailer where he says “time to put your blade to work” :D

  7. michal.lewtak says:

    I am glad that the fighting system in this game is Zelda-like. Had they chosen this to be a standard third person shooter, it would have been dumbed down to cope with consoles’ controllers’ inefficacy. A Zelda fighting system at least guarantees good fast-paced action which is the better of two evils (this is a UE3 game published by EA and released on all three platforms, so there’s no doubt they’re gonna make the PC version exactly the same as the console versions).
    What I am not so glad about is the fact that this is, like I said, a game published by EA and released on all three platforms. There’s always piracy, I guess. Bulletstorm was a bad port of a good game, I really enjoyed the content, but felt no moral obligation to give a single cent for it.

  8. Urthman says:

    Where are the crooked doors? Haven’t we learned that the main thing that make Wonderland all crazy mad is that the doors are all crooked?

    • Serenegoose says:

      The doors are so crooked that to the untrained eye, they look structurally sound.

  9. ezekiel2517 says:

    Forget the dress. Look at those boots!

    • Serenegoose says:

      Well, they’re alright, but they seem a little ‘generic black boot’ to me. Lots of buckles for extra goth points, but my own tastes lean me to something a little more colourful and decorative. Maybe a (slightly) toned down version of these
      link to

      (with less emphasis on the huuuuge rounded toes or these

      link to

      (tiny pic) combined with long socks would have worked better? Or… is that just me.

    • ezekiel2517 says:

      Uuh… Umm… The original ones look more combat effective? I don’t know much about style on boots, specially women ones.

      I had a pair of military boots last year and they were ridiculously comfortable, so whenever I see some that resemble them (I can’t find another pair like them), I miss them good ole’ boots. I also like goth women.

    • Serenegoose says:

      Whilst ordinarily I am all about the combat effectiveness of the protagonists outfits, I feel I’m allowed to make an exception for Alice, who feels like a far more decorative, extravagant character, and so her being somewhat impractically dressed doesn’t hamper my immersion. Fickle, me. But yeah, I hear you. Stuff’s subjective. :)

  10. stark says:

    Ah, but will she still turn into an evil raging demon under certain circumstances?

  11. Tei says:

    I feel sorry to say thiss.., but I think I have grown beyond the “horror” of these images.
    Maybe is my exposition to the bad parts of the Internet, like 4Chan. But In some ways these images look like the stuff that would have scared my grandparent, but not me.
    I feel bad about this, but everyday horror is more cute, much much more pink and cutesy, and also absolutelly vile, sinister.
    Maybe we all have to grown beyond Tim Burton and Dx9 Deep of Field effects.

    • pandora says:

      I don’t know, but for me it’s more about crazy than about scary. As, say, higurashi has been, I think.

    • Jae Armstrong says:

      I never really felt the original was going for scary- not in the Creepy Gothic Artstyle, at least. No, it went for it’s horror when- SPOILERS!- you fell out of the universe, discovered that the Mad Hatter had nailed the Doormouse and the March Hare to a wall (a position from which they decided to deliver delightfully creepy advice), that the Jabberwock was Alice’s horror and self-loathing for burning down her house and her family (or was it just survivor’s guilt? I forget?) and that the final boss was Queen Alice turned cosmic horror. All in all it was rather effective, and I’ll be extremely disappointed if the sequel doesn’t top it in some way.

      Oh, and if I recall correctly the Chesire Cat dies by getting stepped on, with pretty much no warning.

  12. cjlr says:

    In the timeless words words of the immortal Old Man Murray:
    Masterminding a trippy reinterpretation of Lewis Carroll is like making a version of Crazy Traxi, only crazy!

    • sjjs says:

      I think OMM’s main problem with the first Alice was the “American McGee’s” part – they marketed it as if Alice’s was a bog standard fairy tale story, only the ex-id whiz kid American turned it into something much more edgy and extreme. Which is complete bollocks, of course – so, yeah, OMM used to have a point back then (although I think trying to be funny hurt the review of a pretty enjoyable game).

      I don’ really get the vibe that these lot here are trying to pat themselves on the back too much for endarkenifying Alice, so apart from quoting OMM to be cool, I don’t see the point of dredging up that old chestnut.

    • Hidden_7 says:

      Also Crazy Taxi has a lot of room to get more crazy. Fairly mainstream and pedestrian these days.

  13. Soda6 says:

    The cat was indeed killed, but was revived in the endgame with everyone else who died.

    Cool dresses! :]

  14. davidgilbert says:

    I think the dresses are lovingly detailed – especially the one where alice is wielding what looks like a fairground horses head!

    Good to see the game is back in any case.

  15. Jae Armstrong says:

    So there’s the Knife and the Jabberwock’s Eye Staff. Please tell me the deliciously broken Jumping Jacks are coming back too. I went through pretty much all of the original game on those alone.

    Yes, somehow I still remember the weapons from the original after a decade. I wonder if I still have the disk anywhere…?

  16. Navagon says:

    If nothing else it could be worth it for the surreal world alone.

  17. JackShandy says:

    Forget the dresses – am I the only one that’s seeing the fact that you can wield a severed unicorn head?

    • Serenegoose says:

      It did actually take me a good minute or so to notice that. >>

  18. Zombat says:

    Looks like 3 different dresses: flower pattern, plain, and some kind of leathery corset type of thing.

    Makes me wonder if the game will feature some kind of good/neutral/bad alignment system.

    • Spacewalk says:

      I’d like them to be analogous to the old green/yellow/red armour scheme that you got in older games. About time they made a return.

  19. QuantaCat says:

    What made the original McGee’s Alice so great, though, were the FANTASTIC localisations. The german version was really as great as the english one.

    • Jimmy says:

      And the music…. will it just be generic musicianship this time round? Can’t see Chris Vrenna et al redoing what was already perfectly done before unless the game is significantly different.

      Won’t it just be the original Alice redressed and repackaged for the console market?

  20. Iskariot says:

    I loved the first game. Even now I can still vividly recall several of the levels designs. I loved the weirdness and music and atmosphere.

  21. Baggypants says:

    It seems that everyone has burnt out of their minds the second Jabberwock encounter. Let me remind you. Remember the second Jabberwock Encounter. Yes.