So, a goddess gets her head bitten off by the evil Dog God and is subsequently kicked out of the afterlife by Death, since a god can't die and she therefore has no business being there. So it's back to the land of the living for our heroine, who must enlist the aid of a giant sentient clock to settle the score with the Dog God. This, of course, involves collecting eight "logic keys" that are scattered around the game world.
Despite originally being intended as a PlayStation title, it was retooled to be an Xbox launch game, and after a lengthy stay in Development Hell, it was finally released in 2004 on Xbox and PlayStation 2.
Malice contains examples of the following:
- Barred from the Afterlife: If you die, you end up in a limbo stage where all you need to do is talk to the Grim Reaper, who promptly sends the title character (a demigoddess) back to the living world (i.e. you restart the level you died on) simply because he doesn't want to deal with the complicated paperwork of processing a god.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Oversized Cockroaches are a common type of enemy.
- Covers Always Lie: One release variant portrayed Malice as looking more realistic◊ from her far more cartoonish in-game model.
- Death as Game Mechanic: Dying on a normal level sends you to the Underworld where you can return to the beginning of the level you died on (basicaly use a continue) by speaking to the Grim Reaper. However the Underworld can also be explored and there are items to collect hidden in it. So while it is possible to beat the game without visiting the Underworld, to achieve 100% completion you have to die at some point since that's the only way to reach it.
- Drop the Hammer: The titular character's preferred method of solving her problems.
- Fiery Redhead: Malice herself.
- First-Episode Resurrection: Malice gets her head bitten off by the Dog God in the opening cutscene. Since the Grim Reaper won't allow her in the afterlife, she's brought back to life to have her revenge.
- Improbable Weapon User: Malice's most powerful weapon is a giant tuning fork.
- No-Gear Level: Malice gets captured in the Fire Fortress so she has to infiltrate her way out and retrive her hammer.
- Permanently Missable Content: You can't replay levels so any Crystal Heart Pots you didn't pick up are permanently lost.
- Plot Coupon: You have to find all eight Logic keys that were stolen by the Dog God.
- Shout-Out: At one point, a bird scolds another for worshipping a blue hedgehog.
- Squashed Flat: During a level inside a giant clock there are pistons that can pancake Malice if she steps under them at the wrong time.
- Steampunk: Some elements of the game have a notable clockwork and brass motif to them.
- Tech-Demo Game: Initially, the Xbox version of the game was used by Microsoft to showcase the bump mapping capabilities of the as-yet-unreleased console. By the time the game was actually released, bump mapping was rather commonplace in Xbox titles, leading to an overall "meh" reaction from critics and gamers alike.
- The Underworld: You can revisit the Beach of Souls fromthe beginning when you lose all your life bar. The reward of completing the level is 4 extra Crystal Heart Pots.
- Vapor Ware: The game was widely regarded as this before it finally made its way onto store shelves.
- World-Healing Wave: After defeating the final boss, Malice summons a healing wave that restores the beauty of the land.