ntang (ntang) wrote,


Tried playing Alice (American McGee's Alice :P ) again tonight. What a piece of crap. The more I play it, the less I like it. It's got shitty controls that don't work well and is incredibly frustrating. It's a game where, when I die, which I do often, I don't feel it's like it's because I've been beaten by the computer opponents but by the lousy controls. If I do ever play through it, it will be despite the gameplay but because of the atmosphere. Even that's not all that fantastic, although it is by far the best part of the game. It just pisses me off. Definitely not my kind of game.

Like who on earth ever heard of a game with so many fucking jumping puzzles where you CAN'T CONTROL THE LENGTH OF YOUR JUMP? It's not "pressure sensitive" like most games - in most games, the longer you hold down the jump key, the longer you jump. That way a tap gives you a little hop, and a long press gives you a long leap. Not in this game. But to make it really nonsensical, you can control the direction of your jump in midair. So, in other words, you can't control how far you jump, but you can slide to the side in midair. Want a short jump? Do a full-length jump forward, and then slide backwards, so you don't jump as far. How fucking stupid is that? Then on top of it, the collision detection is terrible, so you're constantly bumping off things (and bumping off them like the bumpers on a pinball table) that you haven't even touched.

Alice amazes me, because it was made by a former member of id. The id team, with the Doom series and then the Quake series, had some of the finest-tuned gameplay in their games of any around. They put a lot of thought into things, like the way you jump, or the way physics work. Everything in their games was definite, and exacting. If you had the skill, you'd never have to worry about messing up, because things always work. In Alice, it's iffy. You timed the jump perfectly? Awww, too bad, you didn't realize that giant leaf that didn't even touch you actually had an invisible forcefield so it knocks you off to the side at the last second and you plummet to your death. Did you jump at a ledge you had more than enough oomph to reach? Well, with Alice's handy ledge-grabbing ability she'll grab it as you pass by it, preventing you from landing on it. Want to get up? Hit the up key. Oops, did it too soon? You just hang there as if you hadn't hit any keys. The ledge isn't at least a 10 foot square? Aw, it won't let you climb up. Sure, you could've made the jump, but where's the fun in that? Much better to make you redo the jump until you get high enough to pass the ledge entirely. Enjoy combat in games like that? Well, don't worry, you won't if you play Alice long enough. It believes in the "take lots of damage, get lots of healing" philosophy, which makes for short, brutal combat that will have your health bar leaping up and down like tigger on speed - because every enemy will do boss-like damage to you, yet every enemy drops health (because they know you'll need the damn stuff). Like the graphics and sound? Well, don't worry, you'll be too busy with your vision going red and your screams echoing around for you to be able to appreciate them.

What a piece of shit game. I wish there was a movie mode so you could just see the game progress and see the wonderful environments and the creative settings without having to actually play it. It's way too painful for me to want to do that. Ugh. I got it out of the discount bin for ~$20 and it was around $19 more than it was worth. Damn.

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