I swear, from now on the comic will take place in empty 10 foot by 10 foot rooms.
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So, those of you who know me (or just read this blog even), know I’ve been looking forward to the sequel to American McGee’s Alice for … well, since the first game. But I only became aware that they were actually making it a year or two ago. If you think my Wonderland obsessed self hasn’t played through it by now you should know better.
Alice: Madness Returns is everything I wanted the game to be. It’s a phenomenal sequel. It stays very true to the original, taking a lot of notes from the original designs and levels, but strikes out into its own territory. It improves on the original game in terms of gameplay and expands the world and story set down previously. It’s basically everything you loved about American McGee’s Alice but with improved graphics and gameplay.
Now, while the graphics definitely were a step up they still retained a lot of the same styling and look of the original game, and working with the Unreal engine the overall look and feel hasn’t changed much.
Gameplay wise, the combat has been massively upgraded and is a lot more fun and visually exciting than the first game. Cutting down the number of weapons from 10 to 4 makes alternating between them much easier and streamlined and thus better combat. Interestingly enough there aren’t any boss battles. In McGee’s Alice every world ended in a big boss battle with one of Wonderland’s iconic characters: the Dutchess, the Mad Hatter, the Jabberwocky, the Queen of Hearts, etc. In Madness Returns, each world has a very difficult arena battle before meeting the boss and then dialogue happens and story progresses, but there aren’t boss battles.
Which kinda surprised me. There were more than a few threads that were left hanging: characters which I wasn’t sure what happened to after their “defeat.” And as the game progressed, I became increasingly unsure what was “real” what was “wonderland” and what were “memories.” I think that was intentional, especially considering the ending, but a little bit of clarity would have been appreciated. I also missed some characters. While many of the old characters and villains returned there were a few I didn’t see: namely the Jabberwocky and the White Rabbit. Ok, I saw the white rabbit, but not in story context. I get the lack of the Jabberwocky, he was the big baddie in the first game and you killed him pretty dead, so I get that.
Speaking of the ending: thank you. For once a game/movie that has an ending that is satisfying enough to be a stand-alone ending but open enough to invite a sequel. I’m very sick of games/movies that just stop in the middle of a WTF moment (I’m looking at you Assassin’s Creed you amazing game you) because they’re swinging for a trilogy. I’d love to see EA and Spicey Horse come back for two more games after Madness Returns, but if it doesn’t happen this game stands on its own. The madness is back in spades.
Hey all you loyal readers! As you may have noticed there was no update today. “Why, oh God why?!” you may ask, and the simple answer is that we’re at the end of the chapter and thus taking a break before starting up the next installment. Not only are we at the end of a chapter, but also at the end of the first volume! And guess what that means? Yes! We’re ready to get started working on the first trade paper back! Exciting times!
I’ll be posting back in with more information and updates as things happen. We’ll be back to updating the comic in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned!
Well I’m now fully recovered from MTAC, which was amazing. A party that hard drains on you a tad, but is totally worth it. I had a blast in Nashville: met some awesome new peoples, smoozed with the voice actors (not something I get to do often), listened to some amazing music (I’m looking at you, The Slants!), and had a blast seeing all of my Tennessee fans again! You guys are great, and I hope to be back again to rock it out with you next year!
But with one great con down, there’s no time to rest as con-season is picking up into full gear now with Animazement just around the corner. Because I’m going to be in the dealer’s room this year at AZ, I’m having to really gear up my booth faster than I anticipated and kick it to the next level! So I’m gonna be a busy busy fellow. New booth set up, new art, new merch, so much awesome newness I hardly know where to begin.
What does this mean for you readers who don’t care about cons? Nothing! The comic will continue unabated! But just like I’m upgrading my convention layout, the digital one will be getting a facelift soon too. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s really happening and happening soon!
And for both fans I meet and fans I’ll never see, I’ve classy new T-shirts up for pre-order!
Just a quick update for you all that I’m headed out to Nashville this weekend for MTAC! We’re gonna crank it up a notch and rock it out all weekend long, and I hope you’ll be there for it! It’ll totally be worth the 14 hour drive for me!
One of my other big favorites is coming up soon too: Animazement, and some of you may have gotten wind of me not being in the alley this year. Yeah, for reasons, still unclear to me, I didn’t make the cut and was judged unworthy of the Artist Alley this year. So I went and bought a Dealer’s booth. So! Don’t look for me in the alley, cause you won’t find me, but do look because if I didn’t make the grade the alley this year will be down right SICK. But if it’s me you’re looking for, you’ll find me in the dealer’s room rockin’ out and doing this whole “professional” thing.
I would like to gather a bit of feedback from you all: you may have noticed I’m using a slightly different technique to color the comic since we’ve met back up with Puck. What do you guys think of it?
SPAM! Oh god the SPAM! Et tu Brutspam??!
So, I don’t know how many of you lovely readers still frequent the forums, my general impression is not many. And I can’t say I blame you, currently the forums are under a vicious spam attack, and it seems like the minute I get one mountain cleaned out another avalanche happens. It would seem that the two admins and myself are incapable of keeping things cleared out, and they just won’t stop. So I’m left with an unpleasant possibility: taking them down.
I’d like to keep the forums up, but I personally don’t have the time to maintain them anymore. They were originally meant for you guys, the readers. But if you don’t want them, I won’t keep them. It’s not really a secret, right now we’re neck deep in re-structuring the website. All of my websites, actually. We’re massively over-hauling the design, making it better, cleaner, more navigable, and all around better FOR YOU! So, I’m opening up discussion here:
Do you guys want to keep the forums? Any volunteers? What else do you want to see with the new site? What do YOU guys want? Lemme know, and I’ll do my best to make it happen.
Quick little thing I was informed about: There’s a cosplay contest this guy is throwing together. Why am I posting this? Because three of the potential characters you could use to win are mine. I know I’ve seen a couple of people cosplay Cailyn at cons before (and it’s freaking amazing when you do!), and the grand prize is a copy of portal 2, so… thought I’d share!
I went up to Boston for Thanksgiving this year, and it was pretty awesome all around. However, the drive home confirmed something terrible for me: ’tis now the Christmas season. Or holiday season if you prefer. Every 15 minutes or so I had to change radio stations because “Jingle Bell Rock” would start playing. Don’t get me wrong, I like that song, it’s damn catchy, but having just completed one major holiday and I just wasn’t quite ready to deal with another.
However, “Black Friday” (which I spent in Salem, awesome right?) and it’s new-age cousin “Cyber Monday” have passed as it is now, in fact, Tuesday and I have to admit that it IS “that time of year” once again. So, like all good businesses we’re having a SALE! Take 5% off of your entire order with Shark Robot between now and December 5th when you use the coupon code: want2cyber
Think that’s a sketchy sounding code? You ever stopped to think about how sketchy “cyber monday” sounds?
In addition to the sale, we’ve got a whole mess of new ART available at long last! We’ve got classic prints in gorgeous new wall-covering sizes! We’ve got prints that have never been available online before! And if for some unknown reason art isn’t your think, we’ve got a handy T-shirt collection as well!
That’s all the news I’ve got for now. As you’ve probably noticed, the comic proceeds into the 5th chapter, and everyone’s favorite lady of the macabre is back in action! I wonder what mischievousness she has planned?
Hey gang! For the first time in a long time I have New Shirt Designs available for pre-order through Shark Robot! I dare say, these are some of the finest designs I have ever put to cotton. I mean, come on, I combine Alice in Wonderland with Mario. Need I say more? Check ‘em out, and get them while you can!
Oh! And, of course, next weekend I’ll be headed down to the beach for Nekocon! I’ll be giving my lectures on copyrights for artists (and maybe speaking a bit about the comic industry in general) and the ever popular Steampunk to Cyberpunk: a History lecture. In addition! I’ll be having a Q&A session Sunday, so if you’re wondering what the devil just happened, well, you can ask! I’m looking forward to it, and I hope to see you guys there!
Page 16 will be up later this week before I leave for Otakon. Some personal things came up and mucked with my production schedule. But enough of that, I have an awesome tidbit of awesomeness regarding this weekend.
This weekend, as any of you who give two hoots about conventions, is Otakon, that monstrosity of a convention that likes to eat everything like some ravenous bug bladder beast from Trall. I will be at said convention, doing my best to not lose what little sanity I have left. I will be occupying table J08 down in the alley like the last bastion against the mad tide thusly:
The reason I mention this now is because I’m doing something new this year. The local frame shop, Fast Frames has been featuring my work for the last month or so in their gallery in Stafford. And we’ve partnered up to run a raffle at Otakon this year. Whats the prize? Well, the winner of said raffle will take home a custom, professionally framed, signed copy of my Steam Beast print. That’s right, something like $400 worth of framed artwork will go home with some lucky fan this weekend. Do I really need to say that lucky fan could be you?
Just thought those attending the massiveness that is Otakon might want to know where to find me in the chaos. I hope to see you guys there!