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Normality (DOS)

77
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.6
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Zovni (9384)
Written on  :  Mar 11, 2005
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars2.5 Stars

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Summary

Anything but a normal adventure game!

The Good

You probably heard about Normality if you are an adventure game fan, it's that weird little game that takes the basic adventure game mold and squeezes it into a Doom-styled 2.5D engine. Unfortunately that probably spelled "Get Away From Me!" to most of the Doom-phobic adventure crowd, and thus this little gem of a game got ignored by the general populace.

The truth as usual is that most of that obscurity is undeserved, as this is an honestly good adventure game. Cast as Kent, you are one of the few remaining anarchic souls in the city of Neutropolis, where the government enforces an orwellian grip on a society which is forced to be "normal" and thus gray, dull and lifeless. As you start in the game you find out that your continued refusal to shut up and take the government's crap has earned you the attention of an underground guerrilla movement, and once you meet with them you'll join up in an attempt to revert the city back to it's joyful self. As far as stories go it's not a super-original premise, but the humorous approach and original gags make up for it.

As for the game itself it packs an original bunch of inventory/deduction puzzles grounded in a twisted but deducible logic as expected in wacky-themed adventures as this one. All taking place in several episodic areas (such as a mall, a police station, a city street, etc. The game also boasts some branching areas which involve different solutions to some puzzles and different story development (such as having to bust out of jail or instead posing as a security guard for said jail). As mentioned the game is played from a first-person perspective which you use to navigate your surroundings. Interaction however is entirely mouse-driven, and the first-person engine is merely a cosmetic choice. Trust me, you need no skills in fps's or anything else to enjoy the game, and it certainly gives the genre a breath of much-needed fresh air.

The Bad

Well, the story could have been a bit more tight.

Having said all that the other gripe I have with the game is that the graphics themselves fail to impress sometimes. I mean, by 1996 we are looking for something a bit more impressive than a Doom-engined game. But it's not just in-game, but also the primitive pre-rendered cutscenes. Remember those days when the game industry made that transition from really nice 2D animation to extremely crappy, plastic-looking 3D animation? Well, Normality is one of those games. Nuff said.

The humor is also pretty juvenile, falling quite a few notches below the comedy hallmarks of the genre.

Finally, the sound and voice acting are also somewhat annoying, specially Kent's voice... it sounds as if Corey Feldman somehow sneaked into your computer and... uh, wait. You mean that's actually Corey Feldman as Kent? Man... that explains everything.

The Bottom Line

A fresh-faced look at adventure gaming that could have received some extra refinement, but still offers a solid experience for those willing to put behind their first-person phobias.