Alice: Madness Returns Is the best Sega Dreamcast Homebrew Ever

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The world was introduced to the 3D platformer as we know it with Super Mario 64 in 1996. It offered up all the colorful environments and exploration that the original Super Mario Bros. did over a decade earlier, but added the Z-axis into the equation to further encapsulate players in the game’s engaging microcosms.

Franchises like Spyro the Dragon and Banjo-Kazooie built upon and even improved this new standard of 3D gaming before having their hard work destroyed by the drollest implementation of interactive produce collection ever devised when Donkey Kong 64 was irresponsibly released for the Nintendo 64 in 1999.

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Thankfully, the genre was revived by the likes of Jak and Daxter and Ratchet & Clank on the next generation of consoles. These titles took the pre-existing formula and added additional action and RPG elements to their core mechanics, which greatly reinvigorated interest in the genre. Alice: Madness Returns seeks to re-create the era of platforming games just before these groundbreaking titles were unleashed onto PS2s around the world.

Alice: Madness Returns was methodically developed by a couple of really bored but totally devoted dudes as a retro-fied throwback to a somewhat distant generation of platformers. Though it was obviously optimized for the Sega Dreamcast’s now-outdated hardware, the game has since been ported to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3; the latter version I recently picked up in order to finally experience this glorious reincarnation of an extinct breed of game.

The laughably awkward camera, constrictive level design, moronic enemy AI, muddy textures – everything you remember about late 90’s/early 2000’s action-platforming games, for better or for worse, is there. It is this dedication to total authenticity, even in its flaws, that really make the game a charming, albeit frustrating, experience.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d think this had been just dug up from a time capsule buried 14 years ago. Dig out your copy of P.O.D.’s Satellite, grab a Pepsi Twist, and get ready to experience gaming as you knew it in 2000! Here comes the boom!

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In most modern games, the collecting of items is usually done with a purpose, even if it’s done in the most obtuse way possible by simply awarding an ultimately meaningless achievement or trophy. That’s not the case with Alice: Madness Returns. Just why are you collecting all those bottles? Who the hell knows, but that was the way gaming was back then then, and we kids simply shut the hell up and enjoyed the futile frolicking through bland, lifeless environments. And we liked it, dammit!

You see that cave in the distance? Or that gaping crack in the wall? Well you totally can’t explore them. There are invisible barriers for those sorts of things! And they are GREAT. Quit bitching and get to the next forced checkpoint, NOW.

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If you abhor vast, wide open virtual landscapes and modern gaming luxuries such as competent controls and diverse gameplay, I implore you to go track down this expertly crafted faux retro masterpiece on eBay before your AOL account runs out of hours!

I don’t know about you, but games today are just too much damned fun. Kids need to be exposed to the virtues uncovered whilst mindlessly collecting lists of useless crap for convoluted bullshit reasons, just like we did in our youth (…of the nation!).

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Teach your kids a hard lesson by grabbing a half-broken tube television out of your local Salvation Army dumpster, hook up the ol’ Sega Dreamcast (with no memory card for maximum effectiveness), and show them just how inconsequential life can be by obtaining a copy of the homebrewed pseudo-classic Alice: Madness Returns for Sega’s final home console.

Wait, hold on.

You’re telling me this was an actual release for current consoles and not 15 year old hardware? Made by an actual development studio and not some dopey nerds in a basement? And it wasn’t done in irony? They actually tried to pass this off as a product developed for the modern gaming age?

fuck me

About The Author

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