I am a huge fan of Alice in Wonderland, and well, gore, horror, all that kind of fun stuff. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out there was a game with both of my favorite things combined into one. The game was called "Alice: Madness Returns", the sequel to American McGee's "Alice." For people who don't know this game is pretty much all blood and gore.
At the time I didn't have the money to go out and buy the game, since I was out of a job. Not to mention I wasn't quite 18 yet so I couldn't go buy the game. A friend of mine had heard about my problem. She told me a friend of the family, was trying to sell one, since he didn't play it anymore. When I asked how much he was asking for, she told me he only wanted five bucks for it.
I was a little surprised at the price. The game had to only be 2 years old. When I asked if there was anything wrong with the game, she just said that he had only played the game once. So it was still in great condition.
So the next day I gave her the money and she handed me a black case. She told me that he had misplaced the original case but the game was still in great condition. I opened it up and sure enough there was the game, no scratches or anything. So I headed back home. Later that night I turned on my laptop and put the game in. After a good 20 mins of downloading, I was finally able to play the game.
Everything was working fine, just the way it was supposed to be. The only thing that was off was a few minor glitches here and there that would last for only a second or two. I didn't pay much attention to it, since I figured it was my laptop, which was quite old. As soon as I got into Wonderland, something seemed a bit off. This is where Alice is supposed to come into contact with the Cheshire Cat. I only know this because I watched the walk through of the game. Alice looked confused, it was like she didn't know what to do. She looked as if she was concerned for the where about of whimsical cat. I ignored the small glitch and moved forwards.
The further I got into the game, I noticed even more glitches. The sky would turn a variety of different shades of the light blue every time I moved Alice. The graphics seemed to get a little more distorted. I tried to ignore these minor errors of the game thinking nothing of them. They were just small glitches in the game. But as I went further into Wonderland. The creatures that were already deranged, seemed to get more real... and their deaths became more gruesome.
For example when I came across an insidious ruin, and I attacked it with my knife, usually a black like motor oil substance (i.e. blood) would splash upon the ground. Now was a bright crimson liquid, and the creatures cry, became more high pitch, as if it was actually being cut by the blade. The blood that would squirt out and then disappear, was now streaming down the creature face and body to make small pools around its four legs. Its eyes, that were black holes, were now pouring blood down its face and on to Alice’s dress.
Just before the creature died it out a blood curdling scream, which sent shivers down my spine, and sent vibrations through the laptop. As the body fell to the ground, blood started to pool around the creature’s lifeless body. The camera zoomed in onto the lifeless creature’s body. The closer it got, my eyes began to widen, and I felt nauseous. You could visibly see wounds from where the creature was repeatedly cut. Its limbs were shredded and torn. I felt like I was going to be sick. Soon the camera zoomed out and onto Alice's facial expression. She had the look of regret and guilt written all over her face. You could hear her heavy breathing broken up into small pants. Her eyes looked glassy as if she was about to cry.
Was Alice really upset about what she had done? I was confused--more or less upset. I had forced violent actions upon Alice, to brutishly kill a creature of her imagination. Could it be that Alice actually cared for the creature? I tried to push it aside and continued on. Suddenly Alice stopped in mid-step. I tried to move her but she wouldn't budge an inch. At first I thought my game had frozen, and just as I was about to shut the game off, I heard Alice speak.
Startled by her voice I stopped in mid action. The scenery went black just leaving Alice in empty space. I waited for another character to speak back to her, but nothing came. The camera zoomed back on her face. Her deep emerald eyes stared back at me. I was breathless. Could she see me? It was like she was staring into my very soul.
"Hello?" she said
I flinched and stared at the screen in shock. This couldn't be. She can't be talking to me. One thought crossed my mind: Who is she talking to? Hesitantly, I said, "Hi," not expecting a response in return.
"Please help me, I need help. He’s here, and he coming to get me!" she cried.
The sound of Alice's voice seemed so real. It was as if she were sitting right next to me. Her cries even sounded real. It was as if she were really upset and scared. I knew I was questioning my sanity, by this point, knowing that you can't talk to animated video game characters. It’s just not logical. But this feeling I had, this unnerving and frightening feeling swam through my veins. I knew Alice wasn’t in any real danger, for this is only a game, but at that moment I knew I had to do something, anything! But what? How could I help her? So I asked.
"How can I help?" I asked.
Alice instantly stopped crying and looked deep within my eyes, "Kill."
But before I could ask another question, Alice was scene being grabbed by a large hand and dragged into the darkness. The only sound I could hear was her high pitch screams, bouncing off the invisible walls.
"ALICE!" I called out, but there was no answer...
Quickly as ever, I shut the game off. Staring at the wall blankly, I walked out of my room and to see if anyone had heard the screams from my room. When I asked, they all said they heard nothing. Confused by my family's answer, I walked back into my room, and switched back on the game. Strangely the title screen where Alice was supposed to be shown standing, waiting for you to pick the options, was gone. It was like she had completely disappeared. The options were still in there. I clicked on continue which brought me to a completely fuzzy and deformed spectrum of colored screen. There was no sound, none at all.
Suddenly, there was a faint deep laughter in the background, and it seemed to get louder and louder. My laptop began to shake as the sound of tortured screams mixed in with the laughter. Suddenly the game screen went black. Not sure what else to do, I shut off the game. For weeks I avoided playing it. But of course I couldn't avoid it for much longer, the thought of Alice kept crossing my mind.
So I turned my laptop back on and loaded the game. It stopped on the title screen, and there was Alice. Just when I thought I had gone completely insane I noticed something odd about Alice. I narrowed my eyes and noticed she had dark bluish spots on her body, as if they were bruises. Her expression, that was usually a blank stare, was filled with hurt. I felt my heart sink. Something had actually happened to Alice while I was gone, and I couldn't do anything. Angered by what happened to her I clicked continue. I was sent directly to the Boss level, where you were to defeat the Doll Maker.
The sight of the doll maker was enough to make me vomit. His skin was decaying, and the black goo substance that use to be leaking from his eyes and mouth was now small chunks of dried blood and dead skin. Half of his face looked as if it were melting and his clothing was torn. On his shoulder blades laid his two extra hands that were sewn on; the hands were also decaying.
He laughed a deep, throaty laugh that pierced my ear drums and also Alice's. She looked frightened. I couldn't help but feel sorry for her. I tried to convince myself that I could this bastard, for once and for all, hoping that this would give Alice some peace of mind. With each hit blood and flesh flew off of the doll maker, painting the room to look more like a crime scene or even a horror movie. The screeches of pain howled from the doll maker, as he fell to the ground.
I frowned at how easy it was to defeat him, thinking it would be more of a real fight. Soon the screen began to fade to black with Alice whispering the final words: