Hero battles boredom
Reviewed by WINNIE CHUNG
The word 'normal' does not exist in the make-believe world of Neutropolis, where cool dude Kent Knutson hangs out. In Neutropolis, creativity is suppressed and unorthodox behaviour punishable by imprisonment.
And so, while Kent is kicking around the streets whistling a happy tune, he is picked up by the menacing Norm Police and thrown into the slammer for a week of soul-searching.
Bored to tears, naturally, Kent wonders if he can survive the pits of the city-state, where citizens are forced to stay home and watch inane programmes on television all day.
A mysterious note slipped under his door reveals there are like-minded people around and all Kent has to do is find them and join forces.
On his release, Kent is placed under house-arrest and forced to watch television all day by the Norm stationed outside his door.
Although his squalid flat has creature comforts, Kent is itching for freedom and has to figure out a way to get a job at the factory so that he can contact the rebels.
After that, the adventure can properly begin.
The game is far from over once Kent escapes from his grimy apartment. After that there are more than 120 locations for him to visit. His main mode of transport is the bus.
Of course, at each of these locations are a few puzzles to solve and maybe a person or two to rescue before he carries on elsewhere.
Normality, produced by Gremlin, is far from your normal adventure game. The graphics are wonderfully broody yet humorous.
The game makes use of a new engine called True 3D that allows the game to be played in genuine 3-D perspective. Sometimes you see things through Kent's eyes and sometimes you see Kent himself - especially when he kicks his flickering television.
The mouse-controlled scrolling is one of the smoothest on the market, barring perhaps the new Quake.
Even the interface is quirky and innovative. A click on the right mouse button reveals a Kent-look-alike voodoo doll which can be made to carry out actions such as look, take, use, and open. Click on the eyes and his cool shades are lifted so that he can take a closer look.
The puzzles in Normality are not too difficult and besides, you are in no danger of getting bored with the many freakish and quirky characters and conversations that go on.
The sound effects are also truly impressive, since they make use of stereophonic sound.
If you hear something out of your right speaker, you can bet you will find it if you make Kent turn to his right.
With the kind of graphics, sounds and interesting puzzles that the game offers, players will find it pretty difficult to achieve the state of boredom that residents of Neutropolis suffer.
There will be plenty of hours of fun to be had with Kent and his gang.
Normality For PC CD-ROMs