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Double the lenght, twice the fun!

Wait a second… so soon?
Oh yes. I admit that after the end of Alex the 1st I couldn't wait to play this Alex III.

I'm probably sure you're wondering why... number III? And what about the second episode? Uh it seems that the guys of the old Gaming World forums skipped Alex II to make a joke, and there are many other fake game titles (that never happened) mentioned here and on the Alex I page.
Anyway here's the real important question: is this a worthy sequel?

This seems a good option, isn't it?

Before discussing the quality let's explain the story: after the dreamlike adventure of the first game Alex and his f̶r̶i̶e̶n̶d̶s̶ ... party members are going to fight the Cloak Demon, a dangerous final boss that uses a terrible last resort attack.
Both Carol (the purple haired Rtp witch) and Alex (I don't think I have to explain who is he, I hope!) are hit and thrown into the multiverse.

And here's a new feature, you get to choose your hero, and this does not mean that you just play as a different character but also that you have two completely different and parallel surreal adventures as bizarre as those seen in Alex I (and there are also a couple of references and recurring characters from the first game) that will lead to the same ending (but it's still fun playing both because it's like two entirely different games).

The goal is always the same, leaving the area solving some kind or puzzle/minigame/miniadventure and/or finding a pass to leave a particular dimension (or just witnessing a non-interactive cutscene where the hero or heroine does everything automatically), but the plot feels more coherent compared to the first episode. This game is still a surreal and bizarre adventure, but the presence of two characters that try to find each other (sometimes meeting each other temporarily during their journey) somewhat makes the story more interesting and captivating. It's in fact true that the first game was a sort of sequence of jokes and funny situations, here… not always! Expect to laugh, but also to find some serious and emotional situations. Sometimes the protagonist is fated to win, other times he or she is destined to fail and die, most of the times it doesn't matter. Sometimes the situation has a conclusion, other times it's left unknown and stops midway… it's a sequence of varied situations, I mean first you are fighting a talking chicken, and then you find yourself in a ruined city filled with dead bodies or you start playing a silly parody of Pokemon, and then you find yourself trapped inside a snowy village where peasants were turned into snowmen after death… scary isn't it?

Cameos and references to other games are present and multiplied: prepare to meet Cloud Strife (more than once!), Pikachu, Shandar (if you played Demon and Phantom Legacy you will surely recognize him!) and Yoshi. Be ready to witness many other homages to games that you may or may not know, from Metal Gear Solid to Final Fantasy VI and the Way series.

Interlude - the worlds of ALEX III!

I think that this time the quality of graphics and gameplay is superior to the first episode. Ok, not every section is a masterpiece, but I liked the 90-95% of the game.
Starting with the maps, the ones I remember and liked a lot were the monocromatic mine and forest (by Nightblade), the Towers of the dark cult (that use a particular set of assets), the warzone (both interiors that the abandoned city are great), the forest with the red trees, the casino (a nice interlude where you can play games or get drunk! And meet Pepsiotaku!), the city of fantasy cliches, and the house in woods (where you meed Archeia Nessiah).

Speaking about instead notable gameplay parts there's a pretty cool shoot 'em up in which you Alex pilots a spaceship to defeat aliens, a nice adventure game set in a medieval town, and an ingenious maze where there are hidden teleports that you won't even notice (but I was able to solve it so, no worries, you can do it too)!

Not everything is perfect, there were a couple of dimensions for each character that were a bit annoying: the stealth section when Alex is escaping from the cell is quite hard (I had to skip that!), the part in which you have to control both Alex and Carol at the same time is nearly impossible due to the timed sequences (I guess it's instead easy if there is a second player, but I have just two cats and they could not help me!)… other parts were quite challenging but I was able to finish them, in any case it's always possible to skip the parts you do not like! And, like in the first episode you can also save anywhere even if the presence of some save points will let you know when you are expected to save!

I also found a couple of bugs, I will list below:
- the first time I failed the shoot em up section in space the game crashed (the second didn't, and the third… I won!).
- in the "pool of memories" (that's a cool name I made up) second section, if you are too bad at the minigame the dialogue will loop and never end!
- in the city of fantasy clichès you have three quests available and you need to solve one, but even if I solved the treasure one, the game acknowledged I did the alchemist quest.

So it's a good idea making lot of saves, and maybe keep those before the parts you really liked. As clarified before the game it's a wild adventure of different scenes and I think everyone will have its favourites. I cannot stress how much I wish some were turned into a real game because of the interesting dialogues and situations, good use of assets and entertaining gameplay that do NOT includes the usual Rm2k combat.
Never. Not even once!

Everyone knows ALEX!!!

I had fun with this. More than with the first one, really! It's longer, bigger and better, you should play them both, but if you have few time please play this one. I mean for the most part I saw an excellent use of the resources, music and graphics, gameplay was rarely difficult or annoying… I had fun!

Most sections are still impressing nowadays, others are really clever and witty, some are stupid and are just a filler but still are a minor part of the game. I won't list every part or mention every scene because discovery is an important part of the experience. Alex and Carol are exactly like a player that tries different games: he finds each time in a new universe, a different world with its own rules. And every place is a quest or puzzle that has to be solved, a place where you can have fun (like the casino) or a simple cutscene nothing else but I was impressed by this collection of little fragments (see the pics above, these are just a couple of samples of the adventures of Alex & Carol).

This game was a really lucky find and gets 4/5 from me. Considering the huge work, the many people involved and the short time I cannot give less, I just wonder how good will be Alex Is, the sequel that is clealry inspired by the ending of this one (ah well play it to see what I mean!). This is a mystery that has to be solved, but it's a story for another time!


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RPG Maker 2k/2k3 for life, baby!!
First of all, great review. It mirrors my feelings quite closely!
Although I probably still prefer the first one, just for being the first one. But ALEX III is definitely the better game!

I said this before, but I really appreciate that you bring some attention to these old games.

I just finished ALEX III yesterday and wanted to share some thoughts since you should still have the game experience fresh on your mind (and no one else I know played the game recently :P ).

Now that I think about it, they probably called it ALEXIII” because unlike the first entry in the series, this one was a three day collaboration! And that probably sparked the joke about the non-existing ALEX II.

I felt that this one had a lot of atmosphere and was much darker in tone. Maybe that style was getting popular at the time.

At first I had no idea the game would be different if you picked a different character, so I was pretty surprised to find there were different maps for each!

It was pretty cool seeing familiar names from RMN and other places (Strangeluv, TFT, Nessiah, Kazesui, Halibabica, PepsiOtaku, DE, Ocean, Mateui, Kaempfer, Magi and Ciel) and checking out what they were up to back then.
I immediately recognized Ocean's and DE's maps due to the graphical style.

Kazesui usually makes some pretty darn technically impressive stuff with the program. But SCREW his unreasonably difficult/long maps!
I'm talking about the map where you control both Alex and Carol (incidently I forgot you could skip levels and eventually beat it through frustrating sheer luck) and the overly long action boss battle against Death.
He must be some kind of RPG Maker action twitch god to be able to beat his maps.

Looking at the game files, I suspect TFT was gonna make a playable section, but probably ran out of time. So all we got was that cutscene with the tall tower and Carol looking at it. Would've liked to have played it since the files show some pretty rad maps.

I loved the mapping for the blue mine, but wished there was something to do there other than walking.

The Casino was great! As expected from PepsiOtaku. But you needed to win a lot of money to beat it legit.

I loved the teleport labyrinth, it was a joy to beat! It also reminds me of something similar I did in one of my games (that I never released here).

The Dark Tower with the Dark Lord cult was awesome and really well drawn. Then again, DE creates some really cool graphics.

I really liked Ocean's action battle school. The system still needed some tweaks, but for 3 days it's very fun.

Carol's intro is also well thought out. Drugs, man! :P

That one where you follow the mouse... wow. I did not expect that.

I think one of my favourites is the Clicheville. It's really well mapped, makes great use of an overlay and has a very interesting concept. I only wished it had *some* music. The rain sound is nice but overstays it's welcome. Also the bugs.
I realized you cannot complete all missions in one go. You need to pick which ones to complete. But there's a lot to do there!

There's that action puzzle where you have to cross to the other side of the room without touching things on the ground. I liked the tone and gameplay for that one. It was simple and to the point. When you lost you got right back to the start of that same puzzle where you lost, which made it quite painless. Devs today need to learn from that.

Man, the forest with the red trees! It looked so cool and moody!

I think it's funny that despite Magi stating he wasn't feeling particularly inspired when making his map with Alexis, it actually inspired the third game in the series and this game's ending! I also quite liked that map, cool mapping and concept.

I could not find a way to beat the castle stealth mission, I got almost to the end but then I would always get caught and had no way to avoid the enemies! Have no idea.

I was blown away by the spaceship shooter.

The war-zone with the dead soldiers was impressive. So much graphical diversity with only 2 chipsets.

I wonder what happened with Bloodbath and Nessiah. I couldn't tell if that was a joke or serious...

RPG did a great job pulling this off and connecting the maps.

50 people worked on this! This is the community game with the most entries I've ever seen.

Anyway, thanks for reviewing this!
You're doing a great job with all these reviews, man. I don't mean just the ALEX series, but all the games you review. I appreciate it, and I'm sure the creators appreciate them as well.

(guess I'll be back again once I play ALEX IS)
I agree absolutely... the war-zone with the dead soldiers was one of my favoutire scenarios, but I have fun with most of them and some were really memorable. The homage to The Way, the mine and forest made by Nightblade, that Ocean's battle school, the casino... yeah also Clicheville was pretty amazing considered the few time in which all this was made!
This was a spectacular collection and I am glad I played it.

Oh yeah I really miss all these Rm2k3 games made but these talented people, they were lots of fun.
Great reviews! Alex III is easily my favorite. A lot of prominent members of the community who didn't join in with the first Alex game were impressed by the result and everyone was asking for another Alex game. This is why it got so many submissions. I also think the extra day helped people deliver more polished results. Some people even shamelessly used their submissions to promote their own projects, but that's part of the charm as well. The Star Fox map is still one of the most impressive technical demonstration of what you can do in rm2k3 in my opinion.

I wasn't aware of the concept of game jams at the time, and I don't think it's something the community did back then, but the result is similar. We did have other concepts for community games, such as the Chain Game series (I recommend it, having participated in 2 or 3 of them), but Alex was different because people weren't aware of what others are working on. I'm still surprised how well it still works thematically.

Like iddalai said, ALEX II was skipped as a joke and also because participants had 3 days to complete their maps in III. The main requirement for submitting a map was to not use any of the default database stuff (so no battles or items) and to document where the entrances and teleports are (to make it easy for me to update the links to other maps).
Thanks for the reply! I will admit this Alex III is my favourite entry of the trilogy, I guess that the two characters and dougle route is really what surprised me. Lot of fun with this one!
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