Depending on what you enjoy, Normality may potentially be an adventure game with a lot going for it. First, it uses a slick, first-person interface in a traditionally-styled adventure game, and itâ€™s a real treat after endless Myst-type slideshows. The story revolves around Kent, an aimless dude-speaking loser living in Neutropolis, a city controlled by a strict totalitarian government that punishes people who don’t prescribe to normal behavior. Thrown in jail for a week for whistling a happy tune, Kent emerges determined to demolish Neutropolisâ€™s government.
Kent navigates Neutropolis with a free-motion interface reminiscent of Under a Killing Moon: hold the left mouse button to freely move through the environment, both buttons to look up or down, and the right button to access Kentâ€™s “voodoo doll interface.” Movement is well done, with strange artwork and a full environment to explore. Cool little motion-captured micro-movies play when Kent performs some action. The interface is easy to use, and gives you look, open, touch/use, pick up, and talk commands.
Simple cartoony rendered characters are goofy and appealing, and the more highly rendered cutscenes are well done, even if the jump from first to third person perspective and back puts us uncomfortably out of sync at times. While the graphical style is very primitive, the free-scrolling graphics engine is not.
It should take quite a while to get through the story for players of medium skill. Puzzles are in many cases not terribly intuitive, but still solvable. Collect fingerprints with that (humanly produced) mucus-covered shard of shattered plate-glass…hmmm. One plot branch allows for a slightly different experience, but the ending remains the same. As in Monkey Island, there are a lot of whimsical inventory, and red herrings abound. Although the puzzles are not all that ingenious, Normality is still a good bet for traditional adventure gamers.
System Requirements: 486DX4/66MHz, 8 MB RAM, MS DOS
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