The Disappointment with Alice

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Aug 9, 2004 at 4:18 PM
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I was very happy with Koudelka's character in that game. She was strong and different from the regular "Rescue me my prince!" damsels in distress who always seem to make an appearance in RPG games.

I assumed that Shadow Hearts was going to have an equally strong female lead, but we got Alice instead. -_- It seems like most people do not have that much of a problem with her compared to my intense hatred towards her.

I hate how she uses a book, of all things in the world you can possibly use as a weapon, and hits the monster like a stereotypical weak girl. I recall the phrase "You hit like a girl!" in the back of my head whenever I see her hitting the monsters.

So, yes, that is probably being a little biased... BUT! I think the moment she made it to my "Damn you, Alice! You're a damsel!" list of hated female characters was when she was taken hostage and she was yelling at the old dude that people were going to come rescue her. X_X Damn it, girl! Go find a way to escape yourself!!!

So, as you can see I don't like Alice.

Why did they decide to create a character like Alice after having a lead like Koudelka? ;__;

The biggest dilemma that I have regarding Alice these days is that she is portrayed as this strong woman in SHII.

Please help me understand her STRONG qualities because I have no clue.
 
Aug 9, 2004 at 5:37 PM
Midnight Muse
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I do some reading between the lines and get into character manipulation and play a game more for storyline and what I see. As a result, there are things that sometimes stand out in various video games.

In Koudelka, it was the drunken scene. Koudelka is this oh so strong woman and yet she's crying in her wine. I thought that was interesting as it explained a great deal about her life and what drives her. And she gave Edward a good lesson in saying things when you don't fully understand another person's life. And like you, I agree that it would have added more to Alice's character if she had not been portrayed as a damsel. But there was more there if a person reads between the lines.

I agree that Alice is portrayed that way and with the battle scenario pushed to the side... in the portion where Yuri disappears, she seems a bit stronger to me. Not in the battles and the silly sound as well as whacking them with the book, but the attitude she took in trying to find him. Then she did go to the cemetery and basically fight for him when he was at a point he could not fight for himself. That portion of it, I found a bit redeeming of the damsel in distress syndrome. I felt like Alice had learned a little from Yuri in the earlier portion of the game. At that point, I honestly think that if they had changed her entire look and attitude in the battles as well as out, it would have been a much more interesting way of showing that she had changed. Subtlety works to some extent, but too subtle and it is easily overlooked.

Can you imagine seeing her get drunk as Koudelka did? :D That would have been really funny and a welcome break to seeing this silly schoolgirl hit a creature with her book.
 
Aug 9, 2004 at 6:26 PM
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Oooooh...

*bows down to Midnight Muse*

Now that you've mention it, I think that I've totally overlooked that subtle change due to my blinding extreme bias. X_X

Hmm I feel like I have been taught a lesson in reading the subtle actions of these characters.

As you have said I do only see the obvious traits of those two characters.

Maybe my second playthrough (this time with the Japanese version) will allow me to see the good side of Alice that I so did not see in my first playthrough. : )

But the pessimistic side of me might now classify her in the "I'm actually strong but I pretend to be weak around guys!" group. O_O

I'm so biased.

Though, an obvious change during the battle for Alice would definitely have been nice. Even a drunken one. o_O
 
Aug 9, 2004 at 9:17 PM
Midnight Muse
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I do alot of writing and I look at the subtleties when others might not. I don't imagine it's something everyone does unless they write descriptions alot.

*looks at the pile of stories with mind manipulation and torment on her computer and runs*

I've appreciated some games for that reason alone when the ratings are really bad and usually ignore anyone telling me how lousy the game is. It's really why I liked Koudelka and Shadow Hearts, but a not so subtle change in Alice might have made this game a much bigger hit than it was. And as a further progression they might have changed her even more by the end of the game, so she'd not be in that next category you have placed her in.

I imagine alot of people have her classified as that also even though the things she has been through could have traumatized her in the beginning to depend upon the others around her. She was with several soldiers who were protecting her on the train. I don't imagine she got out much. At least not alone.

And what happened to her during the time after her father died until she meets Yuri? What else is hidden there but the fact the military continued to move her around? Was she attacked during that time by Simon also, but they managed to get her away until he caught them on the train? If what is hidden has been considered, then some things are understandable though easily missed.

Of course, the perfect character would have taken the damsel to the first change where she's finding her own feet and then beyond to the girl who doesn't necessarily need to pretend she is weak around a guy but wants him just the same. Of course, the makers probably didn't see that when they made the game. Hopefully if it ever becomes one of those games that are remade, it is done in a way to not just update the graphics as most are or add some new quest, but to improve on the characters themselves and reveal some of the subtleties that were in the first game that could have been expanded upon.

And it's wishful thinking on my part to see Alice as she was truly meant to be. ;) Though I get the impression that you would also.
 
Aug 9, 2004 at 11:44 PM
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Warning, some spoilers to Koudelka and Shadow Hearts:

A theme in ShadowHearts is the contrast between Koudelka and Alice. If you take a look at their lives, there is definitely a contrast. Koudelka grew up in a very independant environment. Basically a "kill or be killed" life where she had to fight for ever scrap of dignity or bread she could. Her life was full of hardness and bereft of love. But as you see in Koudelka, she wants those things. "Even she can do good" was how she put it. Even she deserves to be loved, despite what she is.

Alice, however, comes from a totally different environment. Raised almost as a "nun", where the primary desirable traits are meekness, faith and an unquestioning nature, Alice was raised to not depend on herself. Is it any wonder that Alice turned out to be so weak in the beginning? Even her complexion is pale, indicating she rarely got out. She had her father to rely on, and then was passed amongst soldiers as a prize.

She finds Yuri uncouth, but gradually starts to grow more assertive. The signs are flimsy, but there. Up to after Yuri disappears, she does not wilt away in a corner waiting for him to come back, she and Zhu go actively searching for him. She saves him from the masks at the risk of herself, and in the bad ending, she pushes to the very end, not letting Yuri be burdened with the knowledge of the deal she made.

There IS growth there, and strength. But coming from such a pristine and sheltered life, it is no surprise she's a mouse. I would have liked to have seen an evolution in battle, such as Yuri's fusion actions...but such did not happen.

Alice is NOT my fave character, but she is not entirely an "eek save me" damsel entirely.
 
Aug 11, 2004 at 4:23 PM
Midnight Muse
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So how do you both think they could have changed her to indicate that there was more growth there?

Clothing would have been first, I imagine. Short is good, but more of a statement rather than the schoolgirl image.

The book must go or at least change her actions with it in some way.

And get rid of the squeaky battle voice for a more intelligent sound. Heh.

Those are the obvious ones to pick.

The one that I think would have shown growth on her part would have been instead of having Yuri rescue her from the deal she made with the masks-- have her rescue herself in some way. Something that she had to do to attain a certain attitude or level that would give her the opportunity to save herself after saving him.
 
Aug 11, 2004 at 5:29 PM
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Clothing... Although it's scary to imagine her wearing clothes like Kallen, a definite change from the school girl mini skirt would have been a nice touch. Additional outfits always seem to please the crowd anyway, so they really didn't have any reasons to not do it. I think they actually accompolish this change with Kallen in SH2. Of course, there's that plot reason for her change of clothes... but I think there's also a emotional reason for it as well. (Kallen's second outfit and not the third one o_O)

Her shreiking grunts as she hits the monster with her big bad book must make up 90% of the reason why I can't stand her. Does she actually need the book to cast magic? A book that becomes more lethal as it upgrades... is a sad image. Why not have her use something more practical. Even SH2 Lucia's fan seems more weapon-like just because of the fact that those Dynasty Warriors strategists use a fan as a weapon as well. (I don't think there's any Dynasty Warriors using a book as a weapon... That must mean something!) Although they could keep the book, and instead have her do funny special attacks with it like Joachim's Home Run. That would have been enough for me to realize that she has changed. : ) Hmm... A book used as a boomerang might also be good. Something creative... But my ideas may just make people laugh more than seriously realize that Alice has changed...

I got the impression from her confrontation with the masks as an instance of her not understanding fully what she was exactly doing and just naively doing what seemed to be the only way to have Yuri back. (instead of SAVING him, she was wanting him back for her own reasons) But I was so biased of Alice by that point, that I probably assumed that was what she was doing. :p

One thing I wonder about is how she actually sounds in Japanese during battle and if the translators did a good job of accurately changing all of her lines from Japanese to English without killing the initial feel of Alice's line.

I played battles in the Japanese version already, but I don't quite remember how she sounded like. I think I had the volume pretty low anyway... If she sounds more annoying in Japanese during battle, I might just fall flat on the floor and cry.

A simple hair style change may have worked as well. The whole braidyness of her hair makes her look so Alice.
 
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