The Hobby Horse is one of Alice's weapons in Alice: Madness Returns, and the second, short-range melee she gains in the game (the other being the Vorpal Blade). It is used as a large hammer-like weapon, and is useful for more heavy duty-foes and enemies with tough defenses. The weapon appears to possess a living quality, neighing when used.
There is a special version of the Hobby Horse available as DLC called the Knightmare.
This weapon is based on a traditional child's toy called a hobby horse, or a cock horse. They were particularly popular during the days before cars, and allowed children to pretend they were riding a real horse. They were made from a straight stick, which made up the body, and a fake horse head usually made from wood or stuffed fabric. The hobby horse may have reins, a mane made from rope or hair, and a small wheel or wheels attached to the bottom end of the stick that help the child move it along; the Level 1 appearance of the weapon is heavily based on the traditional look of the toy. The word "hobby" can mean "a small or middle-sized horse", "an ambling or pacing horse" or "a pony".
It is possible that Alice used to own a hobby horse as a child, hence why one has manifested as a weapon in Wonderland. Alice did refer to one during her adventures in Through the Looking-Glass to the White Knight.
Alice: Madness Returns Edit
Alice finds the Hobby Horse in Tundraful, and uses it as a large hammer, holding the stick in both hands while the head is used as the hammer-head.
Being very heavy, it has a lot of power behind it when it falls down on foes or the ground, and the burst of force that is created when it hits can harm nearby enemies, possibly resulting in multiple kills. It is also powerful enough to break in blocks and defensive moves of most enemies. It can also be used with the Vorpal Blade in a combo, giving a lot of damage, and break weak surfaces like the Clockwork Bomb.
However, being so heavy, the Hobby Horse has its disadvantages. Unlike the light Vorpal Blade which results in quick slashes, Alice can only just lift up the Hobby Horse, meaning that she can only take slow swings with it. These slow attacks can leave Alice open to blow from other enemies, even when she is performing a combo. Also, due to its weight, Alice cannot move in different directions while she is attacking. It can not break the blocks of the more larger, stronger enemies either.
The DLC version of the Hobby Horse, the Knightmare, handles the same as the original weapon, but every time Alice makes a successful hit, it restores a little of her health.
Like with other weapons in Madness Returns, the Hobby Horse changes its appearance through upgrading:
- Level 1: A classic-looking hobby horse made from light brown wood. It has a blank expression and round eyes with light blue wheels, rope reins and "collar detail" around the neck. Its mane is made from a piece of rope.
- Level 2: Made from red metal, with a red-and-white-striped stick and "collar," a round studded weight where the wheels should be. The horse head has an enraged expression, blue leather reins, and a red and white mane made from segmented pieces of curved metal.
- Level 3: Black metal body and head with red nostrils and red glowing eyes, black reins, a spine-segmented stick, and a shell-like weight at the end. Although the mane is metal, it looks more like a real mane with flame-like curls.
- Level 4: A "hobby unicorn" with a silver body and head. The head has gold glowing eyes, nostrils and a single horn protruding from the forehead. The weight is pointed, resembling a diamond, and the rein is made from white leather and chains. The mane appears longer and more wild.
Their appearances are based on the horses or the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
The Knightmare resembles the level 4 version of the Hobby Horse, but is made from the bones and skull of a unicorn. The mane is made from a spinal column, and a purple flame raises out of the eye sockets. Antlers connect with the skull and a horn is sticking out the skull.
The name of the Knightmare is a play of the word "nightmare," a bad scary dream, relating to the fearful appearance of the weapon, but it also contains the words "knight," a Middle Age warrior who follows the code of chivalry, and "mare," another name for a female horse.
The Knightmare also gives a bonus of healing Alice whenever it deals damage to an enemy.