Alice: An Interactive Museum
Review by Orb
Okay, I'll admit it. Alice is my favorite of the Shono
titles, which include L-Zone, Gadget, and Zeddas Servant
of Sheol. It was also his first, and the one that most closely
resembling a straight adventure game (Zeddas notwithstanding),
but that isn't to says the designers don't add their own twist
to it, which is the signature of all the Shono titles. It is also
designed to be very different from the others, from an entirely
unusual style of graphics to the fact that the game has little
story and maximum puzzle-solving.
The game begins in a living room, which was modeled after the
one in painter Kuniyoshi Kaneko's own house. From there you enter
a museum and the world of Alice. There is very little story here,
but there is very much a purpose to the game that you uncover
as you explore, which is to find all of a deck of 53 cards and
thus find your way out of the museum. The game is very much designed
to have the feel of a modern-day Alice in Wonderland, which
is one of the more unusual aspects to the game. It also offers
myriad images signifying this relationship, not the least of which
is the white rabbit and Alice herself. This is not to say that
this is a child's gameit actually is not. There are a number
of adult images here, some a bit suggestive, which really work
well for the piece; it's just that I wouldn't hand it to a 10-year-old
The style of graphics is one of the more unusual of any adventure
game I've seen, and this is where the game becomes mesmerizing.
It does not have the usual "look" of an adventure game.
There are many paintings and objects to look at. These are drawn
in a very stilted, stylized manner. The paintings, which cover
the walls in each room, are odd and sometimes disturbing.
The music is, for the most part, MIDI-style synthesized Muzak,
with a bit of classical piano thrown in for good measure. Despite
the fact that this sounds unpleasant, it's not. There's just something
about it that I love. This may be irrational on my part, but to
me it just added flavor.
Finding the cards is tricky. They are cleverly hidden, although
some are easier to find than others. The hiding of them seems
to fall well in line with some of the more abstract aspects of
Lewis Carroll's own Alice. There are twelve rooms to explore,
divided into four sections, one each for the four suits in a deck
of cards. Once found, some of the cards provide the player with
clues to unlock the secret of Alice.
Alice, which was a big release at the time in Japan, once
enjoyed a wide and devoted fan base in the adventure gaming community,
but all of the sites seem to have fallen by the wayside.
One last heads up: this game is extremely rare and very hard
to find for purchase. In fact, if you find it for sale anywhere,
please email methere is always someone on a quest to find
it that you can help. Just like the truth, I know it's out there.
I loved Alice myself, just because it's so durned different!
Developer: Haruhiko Shono
Publisher: Synergy Inc.
Release Date: 1994
Four Fat Chicks Links
System 7 or greater
Power Mac or AV Mac for optimal sound
5 MB hard drive space
Windows 3.1 or greater
5 MB hard drive space
Where to Find It