The Let's Play Archive

Normality

by cmndstab

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Original Thread: Let's join the least drugged-out hippy revolution group ever in Normality!

If you liked this LP, you might also like Traffic Department 2192 by Cmndstab, The Blackwell Series by cmndstab and Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender-Bender by cmndstab

Introduction



What is this?

Normality is a point-and-click adventure released by Gremlin Interactive all the way back in 1996. It was notable for being the first such game to feature a first-person-perspective engine, though like most other FPP games of the time there were no truly 3D objects in the game.

Normality was also notable for a large number of short, cartoonish movie sequences that would play at various points throughout the game. These sequences were created by motion-capture, which was taking off at the time. Of course, 16 years later, they look hilariously bad, but then that's half the fun of LPing an old game.

The game's engine was reused a year later in Realms of the Haunting, although it replaced the motion-capture videos with live actor sequences. Gremlin Interactive was bought out a couple of years later by Infogrames, forming their UK division which subsequently shut down in 2003, bringing to an end their forays into the adventure game market. They are perhaps best known for their Actua franchise of games, the most successful of which were the Actua Soccer series.

What is this game about?

I'll link the game's introductory video down below, but I'll give a basic synopsis here. The protagonist of Normality is Kent Knutson, a gnarly, free-thinking dude who has the misfortune to live in the most "normal" city in the world, Neutropolis. The city is covered in a pall of soot that never dissipates; the sun hasn't been seen in thirty years, since the "Great Shake-Up" when the city's previous leader, Saul Nystalux, suddenly exploded into millions of pieces, paving the way for his twin brother Paul Nystalux to take over. Paul's omnipresent Norm Resistance Army enforces a strict doctrine of no fun and no happiness. Every citizen is instructed to work their jobs, then return home and watch monster truck TV until they go to sleep. The penalty for breaking the norm is torture in the Blue Pens, taking the form of 24 hour elevator music and blue mood lighting. Despite this harsh rule, the general populace does not seem to worry or even notice that their lives are being subjugated. To them, this miserable, Orwellian existence is Normal.

After being placed under arrest for the heinous crime of whistling a happy tune in the streets, Kent receives a lead from a fellow in-mate about an underground rebellion that is seeking to do something about the state of the city - and the game, as they say, is on.

Is it any good?

Normality falls into the same category as many games of its era, especially adventure games - it's thoroughly mediocre, yet charming enough to be enjoyable, particularly as an LP. The voice acting ranges from average to astoundingly bad, and is often sampled too quietly to be heard properly above the music. The graphics were passable for their day, though were clearly outdone by the likes of Duke Nukem 3D, which came out six months earlier, and Quake which came out in the same month. The music is catchy, but almost all tracks are based on the same two melodies first heard in the introduction video. The dialogue can be pretty endearing at times. Overall it's a fun experience, without being a classic.

I'm sold! How will you be handling the LP?

I will be presenting this LP primarily as a screenshot LP, but with various short video clips thrown in here and there as I see fit. Dialogue will be handled with floating heads gaudily photoshopped out of screenshots as best as my abysmal graphics skills will allow.

Also, I will be playing the UK version of the game. Normality was produced by Gremlin Interactive, a UK-based company, and they recast the voice actors for the US release. My reasons for choosing the UK version are twofold. Firstly, I actually own the UK version. Secondly, I suspect most viewers of this thread who are familiar with Normality played the US version, so I may as well take the opportunity to show you something different!

Also, since most of the dialogue will be handled outside of videos, most of the time you won't notice the difference anyway.

I intend to update this thread daily, though I may miss a day here or there as life interferes. I expect there will be rougly 15 or so updates. Normality is a fairly short game.

Boy, this game looks great! Where can I buy this?

GOG are selling the UK version for $6. You can purchase it here: http://www.gog.com/gamecard/normality

Let's get going already!!

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