Alice in Wonderland

Review by Orb
January 2003

Alice in Wonderland, unlike the racier, hard-to-find Alice: An Interactive Museum, is a sweet little gem that sticks to the roots of Lewis Carroll's classic story of a girl that falls down the rabbit hole and into an entirely new land. The game is an edutainment title designed for kids 8 and older.

This Alice plays in a episodic manner similar to the novel. Alice follows the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole and finds herself in the Hall of Doors, which becomes a focal point of the game from which the player can leap to explore different areas. Throughout the game, Alice encounters the Eat Me, Drink Me items that allow her to change size, which opens up more to do in the game.

The graphics are interesting. They are a mix of 3D modeling, some line-drawn cartoons, and, believe it or not, an FMV Alice. These have varying degrees of success, but all together, they actually form a really nice mix that evokes the spirit of Carroll's Alice. The FMV Alice is acceptable, but in a strange attempt to modernize her, she's wearing brown leather shoes and an orange jumpsuit. The designers may not be aware of it, but here in the States, there's only one kind of person sporting an orange jumpsuit, and I am entirely sure they weren't going for an "Alice in the Slammer" look.

The character modeling is passable and amusing, although in a couple of exceptional instances, some of the characters are drawn in such a way that they look pixelated. The Cheshire Cat is a real highlight, cleverly done with a tail that waves behind him as he speaks. The character interaction on line-drawing backgrounds is different but really interesting, and the effect works. There is a bit of voice acting—some is passable, some is kind of strange. It's not necessarily wooden or unnatural, just interesting. Apparently the Cheshire Cat is from Georgia.

The game is played in flat screens that each have some areas of interaction and characters to interact with. Each play area has one or more puzzles and other screens to explore to accomplish the overall goal for that area.

The puzzles themselves are surprisingly fun. Each puzzle is unique, and all are cleverly designed to fit in well with the theme of the game. In one, the player must reorganize eggs in some bird nests. In another, Alice characters and inventory must be ferried from one side of a river to another—with a few tricks involved in doing so, of course. Characters give clues to puzzles in their speech, and there are a couple of in-game methods for getting help—clicking on Alice herself and clicking on the Cheshire Cat at the top of the screen, which gives the player info about objects on the screen. The game docs themselves also give some helpful hints to solving the puzzles.

The interface is really nice. The inventory is stowed in a holder at the top of the screen. Sliding the mouse over the tab for this lowers it down. There is, unfortunately, only one save game slot. There's no real need to have different saves, I found, as you can easily come and go from any gameplay area and return to the place you left off. There is also an in-game map of sorts, where any places that have already been explored can be clicked on to revisit them, which facilitates gameplay considerably. Alice in Wonderland also has a few really cute little animations and interactions with its game characters. An animated sequence is signified by a red curtain swinging out to either side of the screen.

There is a fun little scene after the credits, a small movie of the "casting call" for the animated characters, as well as their outtakes. It's definitely worth sitting through the credits for.

Alice in Wonderland is a whimsical game with a simple design. It is not, however, a very long game. Its puzzles are entertaining but not overly difficult—just enough of a challenge to keep the player happy. This is a great game for kids or for the adventure gamer that likes simple, pleasant puzzle games. The End

The Verdict

The Lowdown

Developer: Ice Multimedia Inc.
Publisher: Emme Interactive
Release Date: August 2001

Available for: Macintosh Windows

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Screenshots

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System Requirements

PC:
Pentium 166 MHz or faster
Microsoft Windows 95 or 98
32 MB RAM
8X CD-ROM drive
640x480 screen resolution
16-bit Soundblaster or compatible sound card

Macintosh:
iMac or G3
Mac OS 7.5 or later
32 MB RAM
8X CD-ROM drive
640x480 screen resolution

Where to Find It



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