Part 3: Milling the StreetsUpdate time! Taking this somewhat slowly and thoroughly since Normality isn't that long a game, so rather than shooting straight to Plush-Rest and getting that job we'll take a bit of a look around today. Then tomorrow it's full steam ahead!
Last we left Kent, he had successfully escaped from (and completely ruined) his apartment. Of course, living on the second floor would be a problem, except Kent is fortunate enough to find a maintenance cradle outside his building.
Judging by the tent, it seems this strange man lives in the cradle. He doesn't seem too put out by Kent's arrival, but then he wears his raincoat literally over the top of his eyes so he might not even realise Kent is here.
Deciding that this situation isn't quite awkward enough, Kent pauses just long enough to take a look around his own neighbourhood rather than actually speaking to the man.
The sign with the gigantic "STAY NORMAL" message flanked by Neutropolis' whacked out leader is a nice touch.
Kent scouts out possible escape routes. Just in case, you know. Those old men with their pipes and raincoats, you never know what they might do next.
Apparently the dude has a television. God only knows why, since he can't fucking see through his own clothes.
I guess he watches a lot of TV. Where does he get the power from?
Kent actually raises a good question. Another good question is where the fuck is that chimney smoke coming from? At this point I think it's safe to assume that Kent is still in his apartment and is just high on the paint.
Kent decides to ask the old man to lower him to the ground. I like to imagine Kent displays a huge, vacant, toothy grin every time he begins to speak to someone.
Hi there! Could you give me a lift down to the street, old man?
Hey, less of the 'old' prefix, please. Name's Dai. If I were to take you down, what would you do in return?
Since this is our first in-game conversation I figured I should show you the typical branching dialogue options. It's pretty standard stuff. Occasionally there are multiple choices and you only get the chance to pick one but most of the time you can just repeat conversations until you try everything.
What do you need, Dai? I have lots of stuff inside. How about a nice cushion? It must be hard sitting on that cold metal all the time.
As if he could feel the damn metal through that ridiculous raincoat. Mind you it would be nice to get rid of the cushion, since it's sole in-game function is to clog inventory space.
Don't worry about that, boy. The only things that need warming are my hearts and my hands. How about a nice warm beverage?
OK. What flavour drink do you want?
Coffee, milky, quickly. There's a good boy.
You know, it'd be pretty easy to go and just buy you a coffee if you'd just let us go down to the fucking street. Gah.
See you later Dai!
Sooner rather than later, I hope.
Kent briefly considers lowering himself to the ground, since the winch is right there and all.
If I do, I might send this baby crashing to the ground! No way!
Sigh. Back to the apartment then.
Reverse Window (0:12) - Kent is too frightened to climb back into his window, so instead he reverses time or something and backwards-speaks his way back into the apartment. Dai would probably be freaked out if he was actually paying any attention.
Kent grabs his least filthy cup to make Dai's coffee. This is, of course, a relative term.
Actually using the cup on the kettle evokes an indignant "what am I supposed to do with that?" response from Kent, because he's a mental midget.
Instead, we first need to actually set the kettle boiling.
Finally the neurons start firing for Kent.
I'll just pour in this water. Easy does it...
For Christ's sake Kent, you're just pouring a cup of fucking water, you don't need to make a big deal out of it.
Oh God, Kent, no. Don't.
That would be disgusting without cream, and I don't have any.
I like the way Kent has become so adept at inventing excuses not to use anything in his apartment. Kid has coping mechanisms up to here.
Of course, he's still a disgusting fuck.
Well I don't suppose it would hurt that much. The strong, abrasive edge of the coffee will probably mask the chalky aftertaste of the paint. At least it LOOKS like milk.
Come to think of it, I didn't actually see Kent put any coffee beans in this. I think he's just going to hand Dai a mug of hot, diluted paint and hope he doesn't lift his fucking hoodie soon enough to realise.
Even Kent is having second thoughts about this plan. He just got a week's torture for whistling in the streets, what's the going penalty for poisoning a stranger?
Well... it LOOKS like a cup of lovely coffee. Of course, I know different!
Back out the window and into the cradle. Somehow we've discerned that Dai's last name is Vandervip in the process. I'm pretty sure he never told us, but then if your last name was Vandervip, would you admit to it?
Here you go, Dai. Sorry about the delay.
Hey, thank you sonny. Have you down in no time. Say, this coffee tastes a little, er... unique.
Yeah, we'll "have you down" in no time too. Six feet down.
Yes, it has a special secret ingredient left to me by the previous occupiers of my apartment.
"It's called lead!"
Well that's a secret you might want to let me in on one of these days.
Kent decides to take the opportunity to ask Dai some questions, since he knows absolutely nothing about the city in which he lives.
Why is every day so grey? The air quality is very poor today.
It's been like this for nearly thirty years. Since just before I began my new life in this cradle.
In Dai's case the problem is probably the fact that he never even thinks about putting out his damn pipe. I think I've figured out where that chimney smoke is coming from.
I haven't seen the sun for decades. It used to cheer up men, women, cats, dogs and plants. It all seemed a lot happier back then. Before the Great Shake-Up.
The Sun? What is that? It think my Mom mentioned it once, before she threw me out for cutting class and chilling out all the time.
I don't think that's why she threw you out, Kent.
Didn't you pay attention in Modern History classes? The Sun is a huge, slow-motion, nuclear explosion in space, shedding warmth on the people of our planet.
You say the Sun sends warmth. I don't see it anywhere, you old dreamer.
Hahaha, yeah, you tell him Kent!!
DREAMER?! How dare you! It's up there, boy, but it's beyond this cloud of soot which hangs over the city.
But the pall of soot has been up there for as long as I can remember.
Another one of life's little mysteries, son!
To go along with the mystery of why your raincoat has triangular patterns around the buttons. Kent continues to ask questions about things that he really should know already.
The Great Shake-Up? I think I remember something about THAT in Modern History classes. But there was something interesting going on outside at the time.
It all happened one sunny day about thirty years ago, the day Saul Nystalux was blown into a million tiny pieces, God bless him. His brother, Paul Nystalux, bravely filled his shoes, then unveiled his approachable army of Norm Troopers. Things have never been the same since.
He just blew up? Did anybody bother to find out why?
Paul Nystalux is our leader, right?
Sheesh, kid! Things don't change in this city on a daily basis. He's been leading us for years.
So everyone likes him, right?
They seem to. No one complains. I just keep myself personal up here.
I'd say he's trying to give Kent a hint that he wants to be left alone here, but Kent is not exactly the most perceptive guy going around, and keeps pressing him.
Why did you start a new life in this cradle?
I'll just say that I wasn't totally impressed with the departure of Saul Nystalux, so I have declared myself a Free State.
Couldn't you have chosen a better spot to get away from the tyranny of Paul Nystalux than in a cradle directly facing a gigantic poster of his head?
Oh, sorry, forgot. The raincoat hoodie. Right.
Why weren't you impressed?
Get out into the city and find out for yourself, boy. Open your eyes and dig some dirt. I might bump into you again soon. You seem the right type.
Before he leaves, Kent decides to show Dai the strange gizmo he found in his couch.
Say, do you know what this throbbing, whirry thing is?
Hmmmm... I don't have a clue, but I feel a bit weird when I'm near it.
Wait, are we still talking about the gizmo thing here?
Bye, Dai, you crazy old guy.
Better to be crazy that lazy, boy. I'll say au revoir because I've a feeling I'll see you again soon. You have a spark I haven't seen for ages.
I think that paint is well and truly kicking in now.
Dai begins lowering us to the street, during which the graphics switch to some kind of even lower quality mode for no apparent reason. Not sure what the deal with that is.
The instant he can get away from Kent, Dai hightails it. I don't blame him.
Kent decides to have a look around, only to find the road sealed off. This might look like typical adventure game fencing to make an area look bigger than it actually is, but there's actually nothing stopping you from simply walking around a nearby building and ending up on the other side of the roadblock. I don't even know why it's here to start with.
Of course, in Kent's case he just ends up drawn to the flashing lights like moths to a flame.
These are cool. I could have my own disco.
Sure, if your speakers weren't completely wrecked. Of course, asking Kent to actually pick the beacons up leads to him whinging that he can't figure out how to remove them from the poles.
Some kind of free-thinking anarchist you are Kent. "Oh no, I won't step around this road block sign even though there is nobody in sight and I can just walk around a building to get there anyway!"
Pretty much everything in these streets is closed and locked up tight. At this stage there is literally nothing to do here other than to either leave, or return to your apartment.
Kent still takes the time to admire the scenery though, because that's the kind of guy Kent is. Slow.
There's a cinema here, but it's never open.
This looks more like my type of film... blood and guts and... boots!
"Cobblers", hahaha. I can see why this place has been boarded up. That "Skydiving Idiots" film sounds worth watching, though.
I remember this club being open, until 'Our Glorious Leader' closed it after a week.
This street is a shitheap.
The hardware store is closed down...
The newsagency is closed down...
The TV shop is closed down, though only for the moment.
I think this is the only shop in the street that's still doing business.
The only door around here that will actually open is the one leading back to Kent's apartment.
...Apparently there is no Norm out the front of Kent's door. Just this ridiculous looking robot.
These must be the things that were shouting out those orders earlier. Weird!
It must have some sound detection thing going as well to know when the TV was shutting off. But not sensitive enough to know when the window was being opened.
You can't even go to the smallest room in this city without a camera taking a look.
You can't go to the smallest room in Kent's place period.
That thing looks like The fucking Mask.
The only other place of interest around here is this broken grille behind the TV shop.
I can see in to some kind of control room and a turbine thing.
There is nothing we can do here now, though. We'll come back here later on.
After wandering around forever trying to find something, anything to do in this Godforsaken street, Kent finally remembers he has a map and can go somewhere else.
Scenic Neutropolis. There are only three places we can go for now, specifically Kent's apartment, the streets, and the Plush-Rest Factory, which wins by default. The map feature is handy, because you can pull it up anywhere, except if you're not supposed to be able to leave. There is one point in the game where it can completely fuck you over though. I'll cover that when the time comes.
The Plush-Rest factory is every bit as dead as Kent's neighbourhood, but at least it's actually open.
Just in case you forgot that this game was produced by a British company, they included an "OI YOU!" sign to remind you.
It's straight to the point, isn't it? If I had a vehicle I wouldn't park it here, even if all the spaces were empty!
In his indignancy, Kent fails to realise that all the spaces are empty.
That note Kent received in the Blue Pens indicated that a rebel group could be found in one of the dumpsters out the back of Plush-Rest. They didn't exactly do a good job hiding their tracks.
This must be the dumpster referred to in that strange note. I can't see any way in! There are some strange footprints in the mud near the base, but they disappear when they hit the wall. Maybe someone is having a little joke with me, someone with a shoe on a stick!
Kent often becomes paranoid when he enters public spaces. Of course, he doesn't try to actually push on any of the walls, or even knock, or anything. He just gives up immediately.
Wow! It looks as though this dumpster is a very popular place. The prints are all different. Some are big boots... I wouldn't like to find out who they belong to. Now those slinky slingback prints there... I'd like to bump into the wearer of those!
How the fuck do you tell the difference between slingback prints and those from any other women's shoes? How much time has Kent spent staring at other people's footprints?
It looks like a fuel can to me.
Yes, thank you Kent. Of course, Kent refuses to actually take it because he likes to limit his inventory to only those items that have no possible use at any stage in the future.
Continue to check out the premises, Kent comes across a drum of paint.
Gallons of yellow paint. Agreeable colour, but there isn't much around the city.
The last thing you need is more paint, Kent. Moving right along...
Those are some serious flames! Looks like burnt toast is on the menu!
Kent sees an explosive fire and his mind immediately goes to thoughts of cooking. A psychologist could write a thesis on this dude.
Another potentially useful item that Kent refuses to pick up. Well, to be fair, he is willing to try but can only carry it a stone's throw away before his pencil-thin arms give out on him. We'll leave it alone for now.
A rusty old piece of junk metal is closer to the mark for Kent's disgusting inventory, so he pockets it.
This container is rusted shut, and apparently full of toxic waste, so naturally Kent wants to open it. He can't yet though. We'll come back and open it later.
Having completed his survey of the building, Kent is finally ready to approach Mr. Brinkler and beg for a job. Will he be successful? Can he find a way into the dumpster? Will he get thrown out by security? Stay tuned!