Alice: Madness Returns gameplay trailer - Dissected

Trailer Analysis: Picking apart the latest look at Wonderland...

It's time to delve once again into the surreal depths of Wonderland as American McGee's Alice: Madness Returns gets another trailer - showing more of the game's action and its beautifully bleak environments.

The trailer kicks off with Alice walking through a number of different environments, mostly quite cloudy and wet. The locations are broken up, however, by what look like cardboard cut-out images consumed by flames.


We all know that Alice is in her fragile mental state because her family was killed in a fire. No shot is more symbolic of thid than the image of her loved ones trapped and leaning out of the window of their flame-ridden home.

Okay, maybe that's beyond symbolic - that's just pretty much what happened.

We then get a number of depictions of Wonderland in its idyllic, peaceful state before things start to turn dark and burny again. The blissful Wonderland gives us some pretty impressive visuals and general level design.


We're particularly fond of the shot of Alice in the clouds among floating playing cards, and the water-feature of a stone Alice crying waterfalls of tears. Atrsy.


We then start getting flashes of what we assume is real world Alice sporting the Natalie Portman V for Vendetta look with a shaved head in the asylum. In Madness Returns, Alice is supposed to have left the Rutledge Asylum and be living with a capable psychiatrist when her demented visions start to return.

That leads us to believe that shots of Alice in a straight-jacket are for flashback purposes only, unless she breaks down completely again during the course of the game.


As you probably know since the happy levels of Wonderland are dependent on Alice's state of mind, things are bound to turn dark again and so they do, but that only throws up more beautiful imagery if a little bleaker. Check the gloriously gothic floating castle on the left for example. That's some expert architecture right there.

We also get a good look at the kind of enemies Alice will be going up against and the levels she'll have to negotiate both of which are finished with a suitable dose of insanity thanks to Alice's own mental fragility.


We saw this scuttling, mechanical, one-eyed teapot in the Alice trailer released last month.

Back then it was unleashed by the Mad Hatter and went straight for Alice who quickly dealt with using the Vorpal Blade. We're sure these chaps will be found all over the place.


There's also an example of the classic 'run from the boulder' level mechanic, although this time it looks like we'll be running from this largish fellow, who seems intent on hitting Alice with a big stick.


Also on show are Alice's abilities; we see that she can shrink herself in an instant - it doesn't look like she needs a potion this time - as well as using weapons like the Vorpal Blade (obviously) and, apparently, a giant chess piece on a stick.


It also looks like Alice will have the ability to grow in size as well as she kicks a group of puny playing car executioners to the curb. We saw giant Alice in the last game and whether it's an on demand ability (as the shrinking appears to be) in Madness Returns is yet to be seen.

The trailer began with the voice of a man, who we assume is the psychiatrist looking after Alice, appearing to try and help her through her battle. It finishes with that voice saying, "Now it's time to put your blade to work."

Whether the psychiatrist is encouraging Alice to fight her demons again to return herself back to sanity or he is somehow manipulating her, then, also raises question marks.