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Video Game / Normality

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Normality is a 3D graphical adventure game, released in June 1996 by Gremlin Interactive. All cut-scenes in the game are pre-rendered. The game's engine was later used in the game Realms of the Haunting.

The story revolves around Kent Knutson, a rebellious teenager in the city of Neutropolis, from which various places take up the setting of the game. Neutropolis is a dark and polluted police state in which any kind of fun is prohibited. When the game begins, Kent is just released after having been imprisoned by the "Norms", the city's police force, for whistling a happy tune while walking down the street. While in prison, he receives a note from an anonymous inmate telling him about the underground insurrection group that he might want to join.

After being released from jail, the player starts the game in Kent's apartment, having to go find and join this resistance group. After winning the trust of the resistance group Kent must assist them in overthrowing the dictator Paul who is responsible for the city's sorry state.

This Video Game contains examples of:

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Brian Deluge, according to the wanted poster at the Ordinary Outpost, "Subverts the minds of children with music composed by Satan, is a dangerous lunatic and a drummer".
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Downplayed and zig-zagged. It's not exactly made clear how much they monitor the population (Kent being an exception since he was just released from prison for being abnormal). It's believed at first that the gizmos found in the furniture are surveillance devices of some kind, but then it's revealed that they don't even store or collect data. Not for record-keeping, anyways.
  • Blown Across the Room: Kent is blasted across the Plush Rest factory lot when he attempts to open the container with the Oxy-Acetelyne Torch and accidentally punctures one of the canisters inside. He's also blown sky high, out of the roof of the M.I.N.T. Mall when he lights a match and accidentally sets off an entire storehouse worth of firecrackers. Both times he's completely unscathed.
  • Culture Police: Most of the things in Neutropolis are banned by Norms, including music and fun.
  • Dance Party Ending: The game ends on a giant dance party in a formerly closed nightclub.
  • The Evils of Free Will: This appears to be the philosophy of the villains. In addition, Paul uses a device called the "Mood Magnet" to suppress deviant thoughts.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: The Norm State is very fond of this. Kent was arrested for whistling and being too happy. By the time he returns to the Pens, he's also guilty of increasingly severe crimes, but the Norms are more focused on the smaller offenses.
  • Future Food Is Artificial: The supermarket only offers an artificial product called "FOOD." There's also an advertisement for something called "Lard". The explanation is that lack of selection keeps people calm.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Norm 2782 spends about half of the game in his polka-dot boxers after Kent takes his uniform for a disguise (and doesn't give it back after he's done with it).
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • The Norms in the American release. For being a supposedly elite vanguard of the police state, they have a lot of personality quirks and competence issues that make them much less intimidating. Paul's personal guard, for example, is afraid of the dark.
    • In the American version, Paul Nystalux's tone is all over the place, going from condescending to outright screaming in the same sentence and for virtually no reason. See Large Ham below.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: During the prison escape, a small contingent of Norms open fire on Kent and Saul Nystalux as they escape. Several dozen shots later they only seem to kill Dai, but he gets better later.
  • It's Up to You: Lampshaded by Kent near the end of the game, who is aware he is basically doing all of the work for the revolution and feeling bitter about it.
  • Large Ham: Paul Nystalux in the American version, who seems to know he's the villain and is playing it up to the max.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Referring to the Sprite/Polygon Mix when looking at some busts:
    Kent: Bizarre. I'm convinced that they rotate to face me. Like paintings in a horror movie.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Kent Knutson himself. Almost no location (even his own apartment) goes without something getting destroyed, even the location itself. This is, inadvertently, the one thing that gets him a job as a furniture tester.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: Or in this case a WANTED poster with Kent.
    Kent: Sheesh! He's a really ugly looking son of a witch! I bet he's real dangerous — probably got no respect for himself or anyone else.
  • Mood Whiplash: The death of Dai feels like this. Subverted when he appears alive later.
  • Mundane Solution: Defied. In order to get the yappy puppies and loppers out of the store, Kent has to put them on a toy glider and throw them over the shoplifting scanner (which probably wouldn't work in real life), basically moving them a whole ten feet to the left. You'd think he could just throw them without the gliders.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Minor example with only Kent suffering. There are two possible solutions at the Norm station. If Kent thoroughly destroys all evidence of his previous crimes, Paul Nystalux realizes who he is and imprisons him. Otherwise he is only reassigned to an unpleasant job in the prison. Both paths allow to win, but the latter is simpler.
  • One-Word Title
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The resistance group wears them at the stadium. They consist mainly of fake beards and wigs.
  • Police State: A very weaksauce variety, likely for the Rule of Funny. Kent is caught with a fire extinguisher that only Norms are allowed to operate, and the Norm in question simply asks him to hand it over. The alleged step above that was to ask more aggressively.
  • Punny Name: Harry Zontal (the alias Kent used at the factory).
  • Stealth Insult: Mr. Brinkler's nickname Tiddler; a small and unimportant person or thing. He apparently doesn't know what the name means or why people started calling him that. He was only relevant to the plot long enough so Kent could gain access to the Plush-Rest factory without needing to break in; afterwards, he disappears from the game entirely.
  • Sprite/Polygon Mix: Of the kind used in early 2½D first-person games, like Doom, Duke Nukem 3D and Tex Murphy.
  • Take That!: A lot of Shout Outs to contemporary music and films among disk covers and film posters. For example Flashing Pumpkins, Houndgarden or Honey, I Fell Asleep. The biggest insult? This is the kind of art allowed in Neutropolis.
  • Totally Radical: Kent's appearance and dialogue are loaded with it, especially in the US release where he is voiced by Corey Feldman.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Dai, seemingly killed during a prison escape, is alive and well in the next mission. It could be assumed he was only wounded by the bullet, but aside from wanting to sleep, he doesn't seem to be in bad shape when you rescue him, not even a bandage.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The ending has Kent having a little too much to drink, and he pukes in the toilet, where we get to see it from the view of the bowl in all its disgusting glory!
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Having metal in your body renders you immune to the Mood Magnet.