http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Alice_cover_art.jpg
[[caption-width:318:Killing makes her ''more'' sane.]]

->''Here's a riddle: When is a croquet mallet like a billy club? I'll tell you: [[ImprobableWeaponUser Whenever you want it to be]].''
-->--'''The Cheshire Cat'''

One of the most disturbing video games ever released,'''''American [=McGee=]'s Alice''''' stars the titular character of the ''Literature/AliceInWonderland'' series. Released in late 2000 by ElectronicArts, and helmed by IdSoftware alumnus American [=McGee=], a former level designer for the ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' and ''VideoGame/{{Quake}}'' franchises, in his first role as project lead.

Alice Liddell's family has died in a fire of which she is the only survivor. The trauma leaves her mostly catatonic and suicidal, and she is institutionalized in Rutledge Asylum. Years later, her White Rabbit plush toy apparently comes to life and summons Alice to aid a radically altered Wonderland, now under the despotic rule of the Queen of Hearts. Alice must fight her way through the twisted dream world in an attempt to destroy the Queen and restore Wonderland to its former glory, and thus heal her mind. Along the way, she must destroy the Queen's minions, many of which are her former friends and companions. Her guide and primary ally is a twisted, emaciated Cheshire Cat, who can be summoned by the player for hints on how to go or just the occasional cryptic quote.

The game itself is an early action adventure, with Alice using a variety of [[ImprobableWeaponUser deadly toys to kill the inhabitants]] trying to destroy her and solving a number of puzzles along the way. The soundtrack is particularly notable, created by NineInchNails member Chris Vrenna with exclusively Victorian instruments and toys.
The trailer for the first game can be viewed [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lG_-3T1Tljw here.]]

In February 2009, roughly eight or so years after the game was released, EA announced that American [=McGee=] got the band back together, so to speak, and the sequel, entitled ''VideoGame/AliceMadnessReturns'' was released on June 14, 2011.
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!!This game contains examples of:

* AchillesHeel: The Mad Hatter [[spoiler: is incredibly vulnerable to the Jacks (supposedly because he's so orderly, and the Jacks represent chaos) and you can win the BossBattle against him more easily if you exploit this weakness.]]
* ActionGirl: Alice.
* AdaptationDistillation: Alice's older sister, who was a character in the original book, is not mentioned or mentioned, at least not in the first game. (But she does int he sequel.)
* AlluringAnglerfish: One appears in the UnderwaterRuins, although it's pretty well hidden.
* AnIcePerson: The Ice Wand lets Alice freeze enemies solid or erect protective walls of ice.
* AntiFrustrationFeatures: Meta-Essence that respawn after a while in the same spot appear only in boss arenas. These are actually necessary for the last couple of fights, where the only weapons you'll be using are the mana-guzzling Eye Staff and Blunderbuss.
** Some BottomlessPits helpfully teleport Alice back onto the platform, rather than leaving her to fall to her death.
* AttackItsWeakPoint: The Voracious Centipede.
* AttackOfTheMonsterAppendage: The tentacles of the Queen of Hearts, making it Type 2.
* AxCrazy: Everyone in the game, really, Alice included, although her ultimate goal is to ''win'' her sanity back.
* BattleInTheCenterOfTheMind: Solving Alice's problems tends to involve StuffBlowingUp.
* BayonetYa: Army Ants like using these to throw Alice around.
* BeamSpam: The Queen Of Hearts utilizes such an attack in her throne room.
* {{BFG}}: The Blunderbuss.
* BigCreepyCrawlies: In one level, most of Alice's enemies and the boss are giant insects. (Well, ''technically'', they aren't giant; Alice has been shrunk to insect-size.)
* BigNo:
** Alice's response to the Jabberwock's BreakingSpeech.
** Also when [[spoiler:the Cheshire Cat dies.]]
* {{Bizarrchitecture}}: A lot, but a notable example is the Skool, which is much larger on the inside than outside.
* BladeOnAStick: The various mook Cards wield creative pole weapons reflecting their suits, eg: morning stars for the Club soldiers, Tridents for Spades and so on.
* BodyHorror: The [[spoiler: March Hare and the Dormouse]]. Good ''God''.
** The Queen of Hearts' appearance and [[spoiler: her true form]] are horrific.
** Not to mention the various deformed children running around, some of whom have the ''tops of their skulls'' sawed off.
* BreakingSpeech: The Jabberwock, The Mad Hatter, and the Queen Of Hearts especially.
* BoringButPractical: The Flamingo club[=/=]mallet. Hits harder than the Vorpal Blade, has a ranged projectile that uses only moderate amount of will. The 52 Deck Cards also count mainly for its high hit probability, if not damage. Both are found early in-game.
* BossOnlyLevel: Almost all of them, with the exception of the Red King and [[DualBoss Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum.]]
* BottomlessPits: Many levels have dark voids in which Alice can fall to her doom.
* BrokenBridge: More like "blocked tunnel", but same idea. You can approach the passage to the Land of Fire and Brimstone rather early in the game, but breaking through the barrier to access it requires the Jabberwock Eye Staff, a weapon that isn't available for some time.
* CatsAreSnarkers: Guess who's responsible for this trope.
* CheshireCatGrin: The Cheshire Cat, naturally, though his grin is actually a mix of CheshireCatGrin and SlasherSmile.
* ClockworkCreature: The automatons are made from random spare clockwork parts and insane children. Oddly enough, the bomb-dropping ladybugs look to be mechanical too. [[spoiler: The Mad Hatter turns out to be one of these as well, to go along with the [[ClockPunk clockwork theme]] of his level. To top it all off, the March Hare and Dormouse are at least halfway this.]]
* CompositeCharacter[=/=]CommonKnowledge: The game combines the Red Queen and the Queen of Hearts into the same person, in line with a popular misconception. Somewhat justified in this case, since the shattering of Wonderland has drastically altered many of the inhabitants.
* ConvectionSchmonvection: Areas like the Land of Fire and Brimstone. Justified as it's all in her head.
* CrazyPeoplePlayChess: Alice has some adventures on a city of chess boards, including turning into different pieces and only being able to move according to those rules.
* CreepyChild: The insane children, and [[VagueAge possibly Alice herself.]]
* CreepyCoolCrosses: Early versions of Alice wore a cross instead of her omega necklace. Some badly done versions even made the cross look inverted, and you ''know'' that's never going to fly.
* DarkWorld: The Twisted Wonderland definitely qualifies.
* DarkerAndEdgier: The whole game, compared to what one would expect from something called ''Literature/AliceInWonderland''.
* DeadpanSnarker: Both Alice and the Cheshire Cat. Other characters have their moments, too.
* DeathDealer: One of Alice's weapons is a deck of cards.
* DeathFromAbove: The Jabberwock in the second encounter. Also the Eye Staff has a secondary fire mode which is basically a [[MoreDakka multi-shot]] artillery strike the longer you charge the shot.
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: The Pale Realm of the Chess people's world.
* DisneyDeath: All of Alice's friends who were killed during the journey are restored to life at the end. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] because Wonderland exists in her mind, so all she had to do was want them to come back. Sadly, the sequel reveals that [[spoiler:they didn't all take when Alice's sanity began to crumble again.]]
* DoomMagnet: Alice thought of herself as one as her Wonderland friends meet their untimely fate from various circumstances surrounding her.
* DownTheDrain / UnderTheSea: The Vale of Tears, complete with a few UnderwaterRuins. For some, ThatOneLevel.
* DreamLand: Take a wild guess.
* DummiedOut: The HD console edition brightened up textures but removed quick save/load, the ability to hotkey weapons and the ability to call the Cheshire Cat whenever you wanted.
** The original has many unused lines (some were recycled into the sequel) and a few working [=NPC=]s that don't show up in the game: the Fish Footmen and Frog Footmen, which draw wooden swords and summon Card Guards, and the bizarre Fungi; physically a small legless creature strapped to another buoyant animal, which follows the player but doesn't attack.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: While earning the ending holds true for all video games, Alice literally has to earn her sanity back [[spoiler: by battling the Queen Of Hearts.]]
* EldritchAbomination: The Queen Of Hearts, especially her final form.
* EternalEngine: Beneath Queensland.
* ExpositionFairy / StopHelpingMe: The Cheshire Cat. Less annoying than other examples since you actually have to summon his help but, the character's eponymous quirks being what they are, his "help" is often enigmatic to the point of uselessness.
* EyeScream: Guess what makes up the business end of the [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Jabberwock's Eye Staff?]]
** Many of the Insane Children have their eyes pinned open.
* FearsomeFoot: One of our very first glimpses of TheMadHatter is his foot [[spoiler: crushing the White Rabbit to death.]]
* FinalBossNewDimension: In this case, a really dark void with platforms in a circular arrangement.
* FollowTheLeader:
** The entire plot is about an institutionalized Alice returning to a darker, trippier, overthrown Wonderland, which is very similar to Dorothy's adventures in the '80s film ''ReturnToOz''. Despite that fact, it managed to be popular with the public (unlike the movie). Also more awesome.
** Some noted similarities between the game and [[Film/AliceInWonderland a certain Tim Burton production.]] E.g. Alice returning to Wonderland to save it from the Queen of Hearts by defeating her champion the Jabberwock?
* FrickinLaserBeams: The Bishop chess piece and the Queen of Hearts use these. Also the Eye Staff emits a continuous beam of massive damage.
* FungusHumongous: The giant, flesh-eating mushrooms, [[SpringySpores bounce mushrooms]] and various others. Although, technically they're normal size - it's Alice who's shrunk.
* GirlWithPsychoWeapon: Alice is best known for her first weapon, a knife, called the "Vorpal Blade" in-game.
* GlasgowGrin: All the Insane Children appear to have these cut into their faces.
* GoingThroughTheMotions: Play this game now and be embarrassed at the quality of animation.
* {{Grimmification}}: One of the more famous examples.
* GuiltBasedGaming: The Quit screen.
* GustyGlade: Inverted in one area of the Hatter's Domain, where you can get sucked into machinery drawing in air. Played straight inside Queensland where visible gusts can blow you off while riding steam vents.
* HalfDressedCartoonAnimal: The White Rabbit. The Army Ants also fit this.
* HappyPlace: Subverted. This is what Wonderland ''used'' to be.
* HopelessBossFight: The first encounter with the Jabberwock.
* IdleAnimation - Looking down the barrel of the blunderbuss, prying open a jackbomb, burying a card in her own skull, playing with knives ... Alice is ''dangerous'' when she's bored.
** A lot of the enemies have them as well, such as the Boojum removing and holding up its head to get a better view of the area.
* ImAHumanitarian: The Dutchess. She's implied to be a cannibal right from the first time someone mentions her, and it proves to be true: right before the BossBattle starts, she comments on how delectible Alice looks. Plus, her most dangerous - and most disturbing - attack consists of liftning Alice up and biting her on the head. (She can only do this if Alice comes within close range, which is ''not'' a good idea with this Boss, or most Bosses in general.)
** Tweedledum and Tweedledee appear to have cannibalistic tendencies too, but aren't as anxious to eat Alice as the Dutchess is, claiming she's too "scrawny" when the see her. (Alice's response is darkly sarcastic.)
* ImprobableWeaponUser: Alice's "toys" are mighty lethal. Decks of cards, flamingo-shaped croquet mallets, explosive Jack-in-the-boxes, dice which summon demons... the list goes on.
* InCaseYouForgotWhoWroteIt: Possibly justified, since American [=McGee=]'s Alice is very different from Creator/LewisCarroll's, but even so it has been said of the game that if you're going to put your own name in the title, it's better if people actually know who you are. The game had amazing graphics for its time, and it was heavily publicized that it was built on the then-cutting edge ''VideoGame/QuakeIIIArena'' engine. American [=McGee=] had been a designer for id Software and worked on the earlier ''Quake'' games, as well as its predecessor franchise ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}''. A good portion of the target audience - 3D action gamers - were well aware of who he was.
** American [=McGee=] was actually ''not'' a fan of having his name in the title - he wanted to call the game just ''Alice''. According to him, it was the publishers who wanted to put his name in the title, since "made by one of the masterminds behind Doom" would carry more weight with gamers than "a dark version of Alice in Wonderland". He got his wish with the second game, which is ''not'' called ''American [=McGee=]'s AliceMadnessReturns''. It still has "An American [=McGee=] Game" in smaller letters at the bottom of the case.
* IndyEscape: A large mechanical beetle drops a massive marble down into the hole Alice is in. She outruns it past an icy floor in which the marble crashes through. Comes back later to chase her after she gets the Ice Wand and be on her way.
* [[InfinityPlusOneSword Infinity Plus One Guns]] - Blunderbuss and Jabberwock's Eye Staff. Blunderbuss simply annihilates everything non-boss in a pretty wide area while draining your full Will bar. Eye Staff is more gradual in its use, but just as deadly.
** To some, have such a long firing delay(Eyestaff) or completely exhausting what is essentially ammunition in one shot(Blunderbuss) brings it straight into AwesomeButImpractical territory.
* IronicNurseryTune
* ItsPersonal: Well, it was personal to begin with, but it becomes much more so after the [[PlayerPunch deaths]] of [[spoiler:[[AndYourLittleDogToo the Rabbit and especially the Cheshire Cat]]]].
* JourneyToTheCenterOfTheMind: The basic premise of the game.
* KnifeNut: The Vorpal Blade is Alice' weapon of choice and the first weapon she finds in-game.
* LethalLavaLand: The Land of Fire and Brimstone
* MacroZone: The Vale of Tears and Wonderland Woods segments.
* MagicSkirt: If you try to look up Alice's skirt, all you see is a spiral, gray pattern.
** Averted in the second installment of the game, Madness Returns; you can look up her skirt, though most of what you see is simply the tights she wears with most of her dresses. However, Alice does not wear tights with her Late But Lucky dress, and looking up her skirt when she is in that outfit reveals that she is not wearing panties, and though it's an little dark, a slit is visible which may well be Alice's underparts.
* MajorInjuryUnderreaction: Dormouse and March Hare, especially Dormouse.
* MakeMeWannaShout: The Boojum.
* ManEatingPlant: The Evil Mushroom. Okay, not actually plant, but plays the role. It even digests Alice if she gets too close.
* MatryoshkaObject: Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum can open up and spawn smaller, weaker copies of themselves.
* TheMaze: Queensland, a giant maze made of rosebushes.
* MentalStory: It takes place largely in Wonderland - in this case, the corrupted HappyPlace of a catatonic girl who blames herself for the death of her parents.
* MentalWorld: And how delightfully [[MadnessMakeover mental]] it is!
* MindOverMatter: The Queen Of Hearts can pull Alice up with her mind and then crush her with her tentacles.
* MindScrew
* MinecartMadness: Yur Mine, though the whole minecart ride is just a cutscene.
* MysteriousBacker: Humpty Dumpty. When Alice speaks to him, he doesn't tell her anything useful... Or ''does he?'' [[spoiler: It's not what he says, but what he does. If the player goes in the direction where he points to, Alice will find the blunderbuss, the most powerful weapon in the game, which is easy to miss otherwise.]]
* MythologyGag: The White Chess Castle features a few illustrations from the original Alice books, along with a portrait of Lewis Carroll.
* NestedMouths: The Queen of Hearts monster has the Mad Hatter's face inside her mouth, with Alice's face inside his. See this [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9tDTj6ltL8#t=4m05s in this video]].
* NeverTrustATrailer: In the game's trailer, Alice and the Mad Hatter are shown having a tea party together, Alice glaring daggers at him as she grips her knife - just as the Hatter pulls on a lever and a circular saw comes out behind Alice to cut her in half. It's a dramaic and frightening scene, but there's nothing in the actual game that resembles it.
* NoSell: In the BossBattle against the Centipede, he's immune to every weapon Alice has at her disposal [[spoiler: except when he rears back before charging, exposing an old scar which is his weak point.]] Of course, you'd know this if you'd [[AllThereInTheManual read]] the {{feelies}} booklet.
* OrcusOnHisThrone: Although the Queen of Hearts' shadow falls over the whole game, she really doesn't do much at all until Alice actually reaches her. [[spoiler: This is further emphasized by the fact that the first BossBattle against what seems to be the Queen is actually a fight against a decoy, and the real Queen does not bother with Alice until the fake is defeated.]]
* OurBansheesAreLouder: The boojums are essentially these.
* OurDemonsAreDifferent: Alice can summon them with her dice. The lesser and greater demons are your standard horned, winged fair, but the middle ones are bizarre worm creatures that throw fireballs. The Land of Fire and Brimstone also introduces Fire Imps that rush at Alice with pitch forks.
* OurGnomesAreWeirder: The Torch Gnomes (who wear heavy glowing balls on their backs) and the Gnome Elder.
* ParachutePetticoat: The fashion by which it is used to ride steam vents.
* PlanetHeck: Though not exactly Hell itself, the Land of Fire and Brimstone comes close enough, complete with small, pitchfork-wielding imps.
* PlayingWithFire: The Jackbomb weapon. Enemies include the Jabberwock.
* PopculturalOsmosis: Some of the elements claimed to be from the original story are actually lifted straight from the Disney adaption, such as her parachute dress and only specific food altering Alice's body shape, and only in specific proportions. In the books every food eaten in Wonderland (except for a bit of tea she has with the Mad Hatter) altered the shape of her body, and not always in proportion. Odd they would leave this out, as it gave them perfect opportunity to use what was played as RuleOfFunny in the books as BodyHorror instead...
* PopStarComposer: Chris Vrenna for the game's score.
* PressurePlate: One instance where it controls a gate blocking your way to the endgame.
* PsychologicalTormentZone: Wonderland goes from an ideal escapist realm for Alice to this, providing the setting for the game.
* PuzzlePan: Inverted
* RayGun: In the form of a staff. Complementary explosive projectiles for a finisher as well.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: The Red Queen gives one to Alice, proceeding to break her into tears as her voice gradually mutates into the VoiceOfTheLegion:
--> '''I''' rule wonderland alone. Your interference will not be tolerated. This realm is for grown-ups. Raw, well-ordered, ruthless, careening on the jagged edge of reality. Self-pitying ''dreamers'' are not wanted here. They cannot survive here. You fear the truth. You live in shadows. Your pathetic attempts to reclaim your sanity have failed. Retreat to the sterile safety of your safe delusions or risk inevitable annihilation. If you destroy me, you destroy yourself. Leave now and some hollow part of you may survive. Stay, and I will break you ''down''. You will lose yourself. '''FOREVER'''.
* RoomFullOfCrazy: Though it's more like an asylum full of crazy; look at the walls in the Hatter level and you can faintly see he's been scribbling on them. (And there's the bloody "You're Next" warnings to boot.)
* RuleOfSymbolism: LOTS. Most major characters that Alice encouters and many of the locations represent someone or something that caused her madness or something she encountered after being driven insane. Some examples include the Vorpal Blade, which is the spoon used to feed her at the asylum (which she had tried to use as a weapon in one brief time that she was conscious) and the Land of Fire and Brimstone, which symbolizes the fire that destroyed her house. Boss enemies and some monsters represent employees and patients at the asylum or figures from her past.
* SanityMeter: You get more sane by drinking the ''essence'' of your kills! Try explaining this to your therapist after you finish the game. (Well, if what she's killing is a representation of her mental illness, then it makes a twisted... sort of... sense...)
** WordOfGod said that this was used because it was better [[RuleOfCool and far more interesting]] plot-wise than using a standard health meter and having Alice restore her health with medicine and bandages like the hero does in most games like this. (And frankly, having such stuff lying around Wonderland would make even less sense.)
* SaveScumming: One way to ensure you don't redo frustrating sections of platforming or to-and-fro tedium just because of a mis-step later on.
* SceneryAsYouGo: A few of the puzzles work this way.
* SceneryPorn[=/=]SceneryGorn: Looks gorgeous for its day. Madness Return's level designs also look ''fantastic''.
* SlippySlideyIceWorld: The "Icy Reception" stage in MacroZone, though it depends on the exact platforms whether or not you slip or slide.
* SpotOfTea: As in the novel, Hatter is obsessed with tea. So much so that if the clock strikes twelve during the boss battle with him he will immediately run off for his teatime.
* SpringySpores: Plenty in the shrunken levels. Only one specific type of mushroom is springy, though.
* StrappedToAnOperatingTable: At one point, Alice wakes up in an operating theater ... turned on its ''side''. Additionally, the March Hare and Dormouse can be found on operating tables, horribly experimented on. There's nothing you can do to help them.
* SuperMode: In the first game, Alice can occasionally find the Rage Box that when touched sprays ... something in her face which painfully transforms her into a demon. This PowerUp causes Alice to do more damage to her enemies and causes her to take less damage from their attacks for the duration.
** There are also other items, like a rare grasshopper teapot that turns Alice into a super agile bug-girl, and even rarer dark looking-glass that turns Alice invisible.
* TheComputerIsALyingBastard: Some of the Cheshire Cat's clues are cryptic to the point of being false. For example, he implies the Jacks are dangerous to Alice if she uses them without enemies around, like the Dice, when in fact they're perfectly harmless.
* ThroughTheEyesOfMadness: The game [[AllThereInTheManual comes with the journal]] of Alice's psychiatrist, who's gradually drawn into her descriptions of Wonderland and their disturbing synchronicity with the asylum's own mysterious characters.
* TruthInTelevision: Sort of. The manual describes what you'd think were imagined and torturous treatments for various patients in the asylum, from pricking fingers, to bullying, to experimentation. A patient dies and the Doctor comments on it rather casually. But lunatics in Victorian England were third-class citizens and it all happened with nobody batting an eyelid.
* WeaponizedOffspring: Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum [[MatryoshkaObject can open up and spawn smaller, weaker copies of themselves]].
* WhatTheHellHero: The basis of the Jabberwock's BreakingSpeech.
-->'''The Jabberwock''': You selfish, misbegotten and unnatural child! YOU smelled the smoke! But you were in dreamland taking tea with your friends, you couldn't be bothered! Your room was protected and spared while your family upstairs roasted in an inferno of incredible ''horror''!
* WhereIWasBornAndRazed: Essentially the backstory.
* WombLevel: The Queen Of Hearts' castle. Creepily organic, it's like you're working your body up through some intestines, through a ribcage, and up a cerebral column into the 'brain'. In fact most of the features of that section resemble a body part.
** Which raises the question 'where did you enter?' Oh, just through a snug, hard-to-spot crevice in a wall...
** Oh, and the Queen Of Hearts, a writhing mass of tentacles herself, has tentacles sticking out in most of the levels (they often serve as visible [[InvisibleWall Invisible Walls]] since you simply CANNOT climb onto them)
** The main core of her keep seems to be mostly made of ivory...
* YourHeadASplode: [[spoiler:The Duchess]], [[spoiler:The Mad Hatter]] and [[spoiler:The Cheshire Cat]] die this way. They [[UnexplainedRecovery got better]] [[spoiler:in the sequel]] though.
** Also Alice when she dies to a gunshot. In fact, there's a cheat code you can implement that will show you the death scene, but then allows you to continue playing the game. ''[[LosingYourHead Headless]].''
* YourWorstNightmare: The whole game, basically, at least for Alice, although it's for her own good. It's the only way to regain her sanity.

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