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  • Turning a classic story that kids have enjoyed into a super dark tale can have mixed results.

  • With the exception of Big Fish, Tim Burton has been ruining my childhood for years, and

  • after he cast Johnny Depp and his own creepy wife in their 57th movie together, Alice in

  • Wonderland was pretty much dead to me. I thought that making a super dark Alice in Wonderland

  • couldn’t work, but the original story wasn’t exactly a bright and cheery tale. Actually,

  • the game I have today proves to me that dark doesn’t have to equal “I need an adult

  • creepy. This is Alice: Madness Returns for the PS3.

  • As a newcomer to this game series, and I call it a series because one other game was released

  • at the turn of the century, I didn’t really know what to expect from the story. Alice

  • is trying to forget about terrible events in her past, but is still suffering, and the

  • player is immediately stuck trying to figure what is real and what is in her mind, as the

  • game’s earliest section shifts between her terrible imagination and what is really in

  • front of her. Although the game itself is very different from it in most regards, this

  • aspect reminded me of the movie Donnie Darko. The developers want you to be just as confused

  • as her, and it works really well. As you get into the gameplay of Madness Returns,

  • it’s actually a very solid action platformer. Jumping mechanics are great, with Alice having

  • the ability to float and twirl in air to reach a platform, in addition to finding some spots

  • that fling her up into the air. Combat is not quite as refined, but it is still very

  • well done. Different enemies must be taken down in different ways, depending on how they

  • attack. So you might have to dodge and then attack. Using the pepper shaker is especially

  • fun for taking out some weird spawny things. Alice also has the ability to shrink down

  • to not only reach areas she could not as a normal sized person, but also to reveal hidden

  • platforms that she can jump across. The game will leave these visible for around 3 seconds

  • after you go back to normal size, allowing you just enough time to jump to them before

  • they can no longer be seen. As this is supposed to be a horror game or sorts, I also appreciated

  • the way the developers made it scary. I HATE it when games just make things dark and startle

  • you with quick movement. That’s not utilizing atmosphere or the plot, it’s just utilizing

  • involuntary reflex. Alice doesn’t do this, it uses creepy characters and a dark tone

  • to achieve its scariness, a rarity in today’s games.

  • Alice obviously doesn’t try to go for realism, this isn’t the type of game it is, but the

  • visual style used actually does look very solid. Environments are varied and look great,

  • and although enemies don’t look like anything special, the cat looks terrifying, in a good

  • way. Voice acting is also very good, and the 2D, storybook presentation between sections

  • looks wonderful. I should mention, however, the game does hang up for a good second when

  • it auto-saves, and this can be a bit annoying. Knowing nothing about this game and not really

  • having any expectations going in, I am pleased to say that I enjoyed my time in Madness Returns.

  • I kind of wish they made the movie more like this.

Turning a classic story that kids have enjoyed into a super dark tale can have mixed results.

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