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aka: Normality Inc.
Moby ID: 1999

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 76% (based on 28 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.5 out of 5 (based on 43 ratings with 5 reviews)

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.

DOS · by Zovni (10504) · 2005

Underrated Adventure Game with some of the best puzzles around

The Good
Normality is a game that takes a simple plot and makes it fun.It may not win any awards,but it's a very creative game that should be played be any adventure fan. The puzzles are excellent,very hard and sometimes very strange,but they're always hinted to.If you pay close attention,you can solve them.But even if you don't,you'll have many hours of fun just searching for just one clue.Another thing I liked was the script,that was very funny.There's some very funny lines in here that are worthy of an adventure game.The voice acting is also decent,and the voice of Kent is perfectly played by Cory Feldman who isn't that good of an actor.

The Bad
The actual music in the game is very cheap sounding and doesn't fit in with the rest of the game.The game's quite short.Actually,very short.If you know what you're doing it takes about thirty minutes to go through the entire game.But,if you don't know what you're doing,you're looking at a good thirty hours.That's how well designed the puzzles are.

The Bottom Line
This is a very good game that never got the attention it deserved.The ads seemed to market it towards the younger crowd,yet I think that this is a game for everyone to play because it's very fun.A perfect game if you want something light and funny to play,and very challenging.

DOS · by SamandMax (75) · 2001

A welcome change from the usual point and click adventure games

The Good
The whole game is done is a first person perspective. This adds an element of exploration and removes the pixel hunting you often find in adventure games. Although the 3D engine isn't particularly quick it is more than adequate for this sort of game and the interface works well.

The puzzles are challenging enough to keep the game interesting but usually solvable if you use a bit of twisted logic. Many of them have multiple solutions which helps to stop you from getting stuck in a particular spot for too long.

The Bad
The storyline while being fun enough is a little too off the wall at times. The voice acting is also fairly poor but this is understandable given some of the corny dialog. Bad movie actor (read that how you will) Corey Feldman did the voice for Kent (the main character) and while he did a good job for the most part he can grate after a while.

The Bottom Line
This is a good adventure game which doesn't quite live up to its potential mainly due to a dodgy script and some poor acting. The 3D engine from this game was used to much better effect in Realms of the Haunting several years later. Its is still worth playing for anyone who likes the genre and fancies a change from the norm.

DOS · by Pix (1172) · 2000

Normality? Don't you mean Weirdality

The Good
It's very unique - the whole mood of the game is quite something. The graphics really help create a rather odd world where you really feel as if nothing is still "normal" (ironically). While the premise of the game, is that the world has become dull and everyone has to be "normal", you actually feel the opposite (which is only for the better of the games since boring locations and people aren't exactly the best elements).

Besides the unique feel and atmosphere, the puzzles are also well thought out and I noticed that, compared to early reviews of the game, they altered some to be less convoluted. While the solutions aren't always very obvious, they're usually logical and balanced so it never feels like the game is cheating or being too obscure.

The Bad
Well this game has a peculiar style which may not be to everyone's taste since it's very British through and through.

The 3D engine is only so-so as well. The older Under A Killing Moon achieved much more and yet ran better on lower end PCs compared to it. Still, it's cartoony so it's not that much of a problem.

Another negative, would be the game mechanics. The inventory often feels fiddly and when using an item somewhere, it will never say "you can't do that" but it will just give a general comment about the item you tried to use, which can be very confusing. It's a minor thing but when you're stuck, it can be very frustration.

Last of all, the game makes the mistake of making speech unskippable - something which, again, is a nuisance when you're stuck and end up talking to everyone again.

The Bottom Line
All in all, I would really recommend this game. It may not be perfect but it has its charm and the story is quite fun in a 1984 kind of way. The puzzles are not too obscure and it feels unique in a way that you won't find in modern games anymore. It's very much a product of the 90s.

DOS · by Icarus Lytton (19) · 2011

Stay Normal!

The Good
This game really is a break from normality compared to other games. A funny storyline and interesting puzzles keep you interested. Also, the graphics in this game are pretty good. Some levels are better more than others, my favourite is the Mint Mall, I like the atmosphere that you get playing this game.

The Bad
Sometimes the voice dialogue is poor, also, some of the background music gets very irriating. Also, it's frustrating when you are in the sewers level wondering around in the dark(Before you get the goggles)

The Bottom Line
A fun game which you should give a try

DOS · by Big C (56) · 2001

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Scaryfun, Apogee IV, Dae, Sun King, Cavalary, Alsy, Wizo, Patrick Bregger, Cantillon, Jeanne, Joakim Kihlman, ModernZorker, Tim Janssen, Mr Creosote.