Seething Cauldron of Pop Culture Talk

Irascible Analysis of Popular Culture

Nostalgia Challenge: Normality

The early-to-mid 90’s were heady times for the adventure genre, particularly on the PC. LucasArts and Sierra dominated the genre with many titles that have gone on to become all-time classics, but even smaller companies were getting in on the action by introducing their owns games with their owns little twists. One such title, from British developed Gremlin Interactive, puts you in the shoes of Kent Knutson, a rebellious, wise-cracking teen living in a 1984-esque alternate world. Normality was published by Interplay in June 1996 for the PC.

The plot revolves around Kent and his quest to find out what’s really going on behind the scenes and put a stop to all the oppression that’s going on lately. Much of the humor in the series comes from Kent’s lively quips [courtesy of Corey Feldman], the bizarre situations he finds himself in, and the clever solutions that he comes up with. It’s a really funny game, one that easily rivals the best of the genre during this time.

Unlike many adventures games from this time, Normality features full-3D graphics that look to be similar in quality to titles like Duke Nukem 3D. It allows the player to look around the various environments without restrictions. It’s actual has aged fairly well all things considered, although it’s still filled with pixelated textures, 2D characters, and simple environments. That shouldn’t be a hindrance, however, as the game runs just fine in DOSBox. The graphics are helped by a unique artstyle and some nice little details here and there.

Despite the viewpoint, there’s no action in this game, it’s all classic point-and-click gameplay from start to finish. As with most such games, it revolves around picking up various items, combining items, figuring out when and where to use items, and talking to the various NPCs that inhabit the world to figure out what to do and where to go. Some of the solutions are a bit esoteric, though funny, and may require some serious lateral thinking. If all else fails, GameFAQs has guides available to help get you to the end.

Upsides: A unique story, lots of funny characters, classic point-and-click gameplay with a different perspective.

Downsides: While the graphics have some nice touches they’re really dated, some of the solutions are kind of confusing.

Verdict: It’s still just as funny as I remember it being, it’s also still really fun to play. Definitely one that shouldn’t be forgotten. 8/10

Where to Find: Normality has long since gone out of print, but the European release is still readily available on Amazon for about $10.

Random Note: The engine used in Normality was used once more for Gremlin’s second, and last, adventure game: Realms of the Haunting.

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May 3, 2010 - Posted by | Games, Nostalgia Challenge | , , , , ,

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