Imagine piling your family into the station wagon and taking them to see the magnificent Grand Canyon, only to find that there's no actual canyon there anymore, just a few rocks and a small kiosk manned by an elderly gentleman reading a paperback book. You ask him where the Grand Canyon is, and he squints at you and replies, “the what?”
That's what it's been like for fans of American McGee's Alice, originally released to effusive praise in 2000. We played it, we dug it, we lent it to our friends, and we never saw our discs again. But unlike other classics from the era, Alice never showed up in digital stores or GOG.com. Even used copies start at around $50 on eBay. “Why, EA?” we lamented, “why won't you re-release this beloved PC classic?”
And EA not only heard our lamentations, but went above and beyond by including the original American McGee's Alice with Alice: Madness Returns in a bundle called Alice: Madness Returns – The Complete Collection, available exclusively through EA Store in North America.
So, let's recap: If you purchase Alice: Madness Returns – The Complete Collection for $49.99 through EA's North American online store (otherwise known as “fifty dollars”) you get American McGee's Alice as well, and we really must insist that you play that game first. It holds up spectacularly well today , and should be experienced before taking accompanying the haughty and prim heroine – who's nonetheless got a real knack for edge weapons – on her return sortie to crazyland.
And if you've played it before, well, feel free to go ahead and play it again: the resolution of American McGee's Alice now tops out at a comely 1920x1200 (as opposed to 1600x1200 in the original).
PC Gamer says, better late than never, and better free than ever.