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Gamer Tuesday

October 18, 2011

Pap the Disney Gamer's Highlights: Alice in Wonderland (1951 animated version)
Developed by: Digital Eclipse
System: Game Boy Color

In 1951, Walt Disney released one of his most divisive films yet: Alice in Wonderland. Originally, it was seen as a poor adaptation of the classic Lewis Carroll book about a young girl and her adventures in the land of wonder. In the last few years, Disney's Alice in Wonderland has gone from a nearly shunned feature film to being almost up there with the likes of Snow White, Peter Pan, and Beauty and the Beast in terms of popularity. What it lacks in a coherent, dramatic story it makes it up with visually captivating concepts, catchy music and pure, enchanting nonsense. In some cases, Alice is just as recognizable as the Disney princesses, and the rest of the characters are just as beloved. In 2000, Nintendo along with Digital Eclipse, gave us the video game adaptation of the feature film, and the results were quite pleasing!

You play as Alice as the game follows the events of the film. You will start in the real world and end up in Wonderland through the famous rabbit hole. In here, you will encounter many of the characters seen in the movie, such as the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, and, of course, the Mad Hatter. The gameplay is a classic 2D platformer consisting of various levels based on some of the famous locales of both the classic Lewis Carroll book as well as the Disney feature film. It is a typical way to adapt a Disney movie, sure, but for Alice in Wonderland it worked really well. Each level has you completing a mission, such as evading the books and other items that liter the rabbit hole and even interacting with Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. You will even grow small and large just like in the story!

The levels are straightforward enough that anyone can easily figure them out, but they have enough creativity that they manage to be as whimsical and creative as in the feature film. Many nods to the movie, such as the "drink me" bottle, and portraits of the main characters can be seen through each of the levels. In order to further capitalize on the story, throughout the game you will see very colorful and detailed cutscenes that add just enough story to familiarize the players with the plot and its zany characters.

Speaking of which, Alice in Wonderland was released as a Game Boy Color exclusive. In 1998, Nintendo released an updated version of their famous Game Boy featuring a color screen. The added graphical prowess gave developers the chance to create vivid games with larger than life characters and creative uses of color. With Alice in Wonderland featuring beautiful artwork by the great Mary Blair and fantastic Disney animation, it is no surprise that Digital Eclipse tried their best to replicate the film's quirky aesthetic in digital form. And it worked. The character sprites move fluidly and are very detailed. The levels are very colorful and like I mentioned, cutscenes adorn nearly every level.


In terms of sound design, Alice in Wonderland surprisingly lacks some of the film's most iconic songs. However, the original music created for this game is just as whimsical as the tunes heard in the feature film. It is still unfortunate that we didn't get a Game Boy rendition of tunes such as "The Unbirthday Song."

Alice in Wonderland is a great story to make a game out of. This Game Boy Color adaptation works well enough that anyone can get into it, whether they love the original concept or not. The appeal of its characters and the colorful environments make this a great treat for Game Boy fans young and old. Best of all, you don't need to follow the White Rabbit in order to enjoy the beauty, madness and fun of Wonderland.


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