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Prerelease:Normality

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This page details prerelease information and/or media for Normality.

Judging by screenshots seen in magazines, there were at least two extant prototype builds of the game sent out to reviewers: a distinctly early build, and a later build closer to release that was probably built around the same time as the playable demo. They can be clearly distinguished by a few small details, such as the kitchen in Kent's apartment: the early build has an orange kettle, and the later build has the gray one that's also in the retail version.

Both of these prerelease builds sent to reviewers appear to be fully lost.

Subpages

Normality - Early prototype icon.png
Early Prerelease Screenshots
An early build sent out to reviewers containing some notable differences from retail.
Normality - Later prototype icon.png
Later Prerelease Screenshots
A build that appears to be almost final, and using the same version of the engine as the demo build.

"Bad Influence" Segment

Early gameplay footage from Normality was featured in a segment on 90s UK TV show, Bad Influence (series 4, episode 6) with Violet Berlin. The game is referred to by its working title: "Normality, Inc." In the footage, all the NPCs are shown as temporary "Bernard" placeholder sprites.

Strategy Guide Bonus Material

Normality: The Official Strategy Guide (ISBN 0-76-150493-1) by Jeff Sengstack includes quite a lot of background material from the developers themselves.

Early Concept Description

Visual Style

Ade Carless' initial vision for Normality was a more traditional 2D point & click adventure game, "using dull, gray background graphics and cartoon-like characters over the top."

Interface

Chris Russell's original design for the "Voodoo Doll" interface is described as "...a giant eyeball on a hydraulic neck attached to a huge pair of lips which were in turn attached to a giant foot. The various limbs popped out of their sockets every now and then."

Early Design Details ("Blue 'N Fluffy")

Sengstack's book discusses an early draft of the game's design, in which it would have been revealed that Paul Nystalux has been keeping Neutropolis under permanent cloud cover by spreading a chemical called Precipitaz in the air every morning from a small aircraft called a Skimmer. To defeat him, Kent needs to help Heather develop a chemical compound called Blue 'N Fluffy that can reverse the effects of Precipitaz. The ingredients for Blue 'N Fluffy include a Walnut Whip, cotton wool from an otter's den, and "Ingredient Z", which turns out to be the "Z" from a road hazard sign.

(Remnants of this can be found in the final game: there is a Walnut Whip hidden in the rebels' fortified fridge, an otter swimming around near the docking area, and a road hazard sign on the wall in Heather's laboratory.)

In the game's finale, Kent would climb up the outside of the Ordinary Outpost using the Sharkpoon, hijack the Skimmer, and use it to spread Blue 'N Fluffy across the city. In response, the Norm airforce is deployed, triggering a final mini-game: a dogfight above Neutropolis.

Various other parts of the game were also originally going to be different:

Kent's Mission at the Mall

  • Instead of the waffle sculpture inside, it was the steeple on top of the M.I.N.T. Mall that the Rebels challenge Kent to paint yellow.
  • Kent has some yellow paint in his apartment, but the container is leaky. So, he transfers it using a barrel stolen from outside the Plush-Rest factory.
  • Unknown to Kent, this barrel contained chemicals that block the effects of Mood Magnets (apparently, Plush-Rest executives have special permission to not have their thoughts altered) and it turns out the steeple of the M.I.N.T. Mall is in fact, itself, a disguised Mood Magnet.
  • After painting the steeple, Kent falls through the roof into an abandoned fireworks shop, and sets off a fireworks display that attracts a crowd of people. No longer affected by the steeple Mood Magnet, these people become curious free-thinking individuals, wandering around the mall in excitement and wonder. Paul sends in the Norms, but the same thing happens to them.

TVN

  • To access TVN, Kent offers the bouncer some fudge-toffee taken from the Rebels' hideout, and a can of dog food for the bouncer's Scottish terrier. (The dog produces its own can opener.)
  • Once inside, Kent needs to convince the TVN boss he's a journalist with a video to edit, to access the video control room.
  • He also needs to steal and modify cue-cards, to get the hosts to introduce the Brian Deluge music video on air.

TV Heaven

  • After getting up into the loft above TV Heaven, instead of destroying the substation, Kent would rewire a hidden control centre to re-activate colourful lights that once brightened up the city streets, turned off under Paul's regime.
  • Heather cuts all power in the city temporarily, while Kent does this.

Heather and the Sewers

  • Heather spots the Norm truck that Dai is detained in, parked over a manhole cover.
  • The player controls Heather as she heads into the sewers (from some other access point).
  • Rats block her path. She unlocks a chain tied around what seems to be a floating log (but turns out to be an alligator), and uses the chain to snare a shopping cart from an impassably steep shaft.
  • The cart contains a pair of thick rubber boots, which protect her feet from the biting rats.
  • Heather opens the manhole cover, drills up through the underside of the truck (somehow), and frees Dai.

Kerry Oakley

  • At one point, the player would temporarily control rebel Kerry Oakley (this character does not appear at all in the final game) in a mini-game, finding her way through a maze of corridors in the Blue Pen. A wrong turn or running into Norms would mean starting the section over.
  • Once through the maze, Kerry uses a variety of disguises to save Saul.
  • Later, you would see a TV news report warning about each member of a gang of rebel women—all of whom are actually Kerry in different disguises.

Concept Art

Characters

Locations

"Normality Stinks" Promotional Artwork

Several gaming magazines included the following promotional image, which appears to be concept artwork from an earlier period of development. The following image is a scan of it from PC Mania 43 (May 1996), which has the clearest print of it.

"Normality Stinks", featuring Kent, Paul Nystalux, the Norm Troopers and a fire extinguisher. And, who knows, maybe it's that same rat Kent that has in his washing machine.

There are a couple of interesting differences to note here:

  • Kent is wearing a metal wristband
  • He also looks significantly more muscular (especially since Kent canonically being a scrawny weak guy is part of why most in-game puzzles require clever solutions)
  • Paul looks significantly more like his older design
  • The Norm Troopers look even less human than they do in-game—not only are their eyes not visible behind their visors, but they don't seem to have a nose
  • The skyline of Neutropolis looks more like that of a North American inner city, while the final design of the city is very clearly based on the UK

The old Paul Nystalux design actually did end up being used for the final game, specifically for the European retail release artwork:

The old design for the Norms and Paul Nystalux, complete with claw, on the UK retail disc cover.

Walkthrough

In the same month of the game's release, a full walkthrough was written by someone named Lucio Burroni (as signed at the bottom of the file). Curiously, this walkthrough appears to be written for the unreleased later prerelease version of the game, as a number of details are different from retail. The game is also still called "Normality Inc" at the top of the file. Because of this, and because the walkthrough was written in the same month as the game's release (1996-06-12), it might be an officially sanctioned one created to help players along, although the author's name doesn't appear in the game's credits anywhere. This walkthrough was distributed by some gaming magazines, such as on the PC Gamer #34 (1996-09).

Either way, the details that differ from the retail version of the game are quite interesting. Here's a breakdown.

Apartment

12Go into the kitchen. PICKUP the Can of Food.

The Can of Food still exists in this version. In the retail version, it has been removed. It's unknown if this walkthrough's build of the game had the can on the chest of drawers, or if it was in the fridge as in the demo version. Note that the walkthrough never actually uses the can—apparently it was meant to be used at the TV Station, but by the time this walkthrough was written it no longer seems to have any use.

Plush-Rest Factory

37WEAR (USE with picture of Kent) the T-SHIRT, to fool PRU.

In the retail version of the game, the secretary no longer has the name "pru", although internally her texture still does have that name.

Heather's Den

63A GDV will show the player crashing through a hatch in the ceiling of the hide-out, covered in little bits of foam, etc.
64Heather will now talk to the player. She is playing a tape which sounds like a crowd of burly men who would like to kill you, all the time she is talking. She will turn it off when it is agreed that the player can join the group, after performing two tasks

When you first arrive at the rebel hideout, Heather pretends there's an army of revolutionaries ready to kill Kent if he doesn't answer to her liking. Apparently, in the walkthrough build, there was supposed to be a background sound effect to help give that impression. In the retail version, you can only vaguely see some armed men in the background, which turn out to be cardboard cutouts once the lights get turned on.

TV Station

72There is a SECURITY GAURD on the steps of the building. He will deny entry to wonders within. If you attempt to walk in a GDV will show you flying out of the gate and on to the pavement beyond.

Although the game loves to throw Kent around, it never happens at the TV Station. Walking up to the guard only causes him to berate you.

85Listen to the presenters chattering and watch the codes which flare up on the screen of the control CPU. You should learn that RUN VT A makes the tape of Saul's demise run. Logically then RUN VT B should get the tape of the rock god Brian Deluge on the air.

In the retail version of the game, this section doesn't quite have a hint like this that you can get by observing the computer. For one thing, you can't actually see or hear the presenters while you're in the control room—and you can't see anything in the control room from the balcony behind the other door. You also can't tell what exactly is in VT A—just that there's already a tape in there.

This version does make a lot more sense when you read the unused text that was meant for the TV hosts to read on air: they clearly introduce what they believe to be a tape about the fateful day that Saul died, right before instead the Brian Deluge tape is played. In the retail version, they instead introduce your tape as though it's written on their cue cards, even though you never do anything to make that happen.

M.I.N.T. Mall

108USE the PAPERBACK BOOKS with the BLIND MAN. He will give you a BOX OF MATCHES in return. Plus he will allow you to keep FIRE STARTER BOOK.

This might simply be somewhat inaccurately written down by the author, but in the retail version of the game the books you steal from the locker actually appear as two separate items in your inventory. You can't try to give away both of them and then keep one—you can only give away the costume book.

110USE the FRUIT CROPPERS with the BARGAIN BIN.
111USE the FRUIT CROPPERS with the LARGE GLIDER SIGN.

In retail, you simply grab the small gliders from the bin—you don't have to use the fruit croppers on it. Also, you fly the fruit croppers out of the shop using the large glider itself, rather than the sign. The game still has an unused audio file describing the sign:

This sign is surprisingly aerodynamic. I do believe it will actually fly!
115While the lights are off USE the FRUIT CROPPERS on the PLUM SHAPED SPEAKERS.
116PICK UP the SPEAKERS.

A very minor point, but you never pick up the speakers in the retail version of the game: they automatically appear in your inventory once you cut it down.

Also, the walkthrough very intentionally calls them the "plum speakers" twice, but this name is never seen anywhere in the game's text, used or otherwise.

126You will find yourself in a totally dark place. The only way to light it is to USE the MATCHES with the photograph of Kent.

In retail, you can just use the match anywhere. You don't have to specifically click Kent's photograph.

127Watch the GDV of the mall exploding. You will now have a chum (NORM 2782), he has a piece of shrapnel in his head and is very confused by his new thoughts.

In retail, it's never stated that he has confusing new thoughts—just that he "feels weird". The game includes an unused voice line, however, in which he does very clearly state he's having "thoughts he can't control":

Unused versionFinal version
Norm 2782Where did you get that fire-fighting equipment? Ever since I used it I feel... well... I feel weird!
Norm 2782Where did you get that fire-fighting equipment? Ever since I used it I feel... well... I feel weird!
Norm 2782I'm... I'm having thoughts I can't control! OH! Please help me! NO! DON'T STOP! Oh! AH! Stand back, gon' kiss myself! Oh! Ah! Brrrr! YEEEES!!! What's HAPPENIN'!!!

Ordinary Outpost

There's only a few very small differences in this section.

157Examine the code he has left lying on his desk, use it on the other lift (the one you haven't used yet). Code 1312

Again, this might just be a small error in writing down the guide, but the code isn't on the desk. The code is actually right behind him, on the wall, blocked by his person before he leaves. You actually can't even approach the desk very closely in the retail version.

On a minor note, this walkthrough does not mention the more obvious solutions to the puzzles on the research floor: there's a scalpel nearby that you can use to cut the patient loose, and instead of using the snot covered glass there's a cleaning rag right next to the fire extinguisher that you can use to remove your fingerprints. It's possible these might have been added later.

165If you destroyed the evidence then Paul will be gob smacked by your (He thinks you are a norm) incompetence. He will sentence you to a stint in the cells.

If you destroy the evidence against you, Paul will actually realize that you're not Norm 2782, but Kent Knutson in disguise.

188Go into the toilet cubicle.
189Open the lid on the cistern.
190Pick up the third transmitter.

In retail, the cistern doesn't have a lid to open. The transmitter is visible right off the bat.

TV Shop

214Go into TV shop.
215Try to pick up Micro-TV on counter.
216TALK to bloke. Ask him for a remote.
217When he leaves, rush round the counter:
218PICKUP the keys.
219USE the keys on the back door to lock the bloke in.

The way this is written implies that the TV salesman will come back out of the storeroom if you don't lock him in there with the keys. In retail, you can lock him in, but it doesn't make a difference—he never comes back out again once he leaves, and you don't need to do it in order to climb up into the attic.

There's an unused line indicating he would eventually come back out:

TV SalesmanSorry I can't find that remote.

Power Substation

The section on solving the power substation puzzle actually contains a very developer like reference stating that this is "temporary" and "not done yet".

234Use the Circuit Board.
235Here you use the pink wire to solve the wiring puzzle.
236This is not done yet!
237Temp: Type 1 2 3 ENTER into keypad screen.

"1 2 3 enter" also seems like quite an unfinished puzzle solution. In the retail version of the game, the puzzle doesn't require inputting anything into a keypad. There is a small text display with a big conspicuous button right above the control box, though—it says "PRESS" at first, and then "START" after you short-circuit the circuit board and connect the large coil of wire, but pressing the button never does anything. There's also a secondary control box, but it can't be opened.

Street

The puzzle in which you have to rescue Dai is somewhat different.

245Go to the mall.
246Pick up the two rubber pipes there.
247Go back to the street.
248Attach one to the smelly grille (assuming you have taken the sharkpoon from the bath). Attach it's other end to the grille on the truck.
249Use the other tube in the bathroom. Attach one end to the hole in the bath, attach the other end to the extractor fan above the bath.
250The Norms will now activate the emergency door opener. You can now rescue Dai from the rear of the van.

As also referenced in unused lines and the fact that there are two different pipe inventory objects, it seems you were originally supposed to also connect a pipe inside your apartment. In fact, in the retail version of the game you don't even need to have the sharkpoon removed from your bathtub for the puzzle to work. Another small detail to note is that you can just get the pipe from the wreckage of the TV shop instead of the mall.

Constructing the Raft

259Go to the container at the factory compound.
260Open it by lighting the fumes at the top OR attempt to pick up the acetylene canister.
261Use the canister with some matches (at the mall if you no longer have any).
262The doors will now blow off taking Kent with them.

This reference relates to an unused texture (of the hole at the top of the container) and its corresponding voice lines. In retail, you can only blow open the container using the torch, and the hole no longer opens up (in fact, the rusty patch is not interactive at all).

On a minor note, the walkthrough also tells you to get rope from the M.I.N.T. Mall. Many prerelease screenshots, up to final release, show there being a coil of rope in the docks at Heather's Den, but it's possible that both options worked or that the rope at the docks was already removed from the game at this point.

Stadium

276Use the gap in the wall to get up to the grating. Pickup the batteries lying there.

In retail, there's a loose brick you need to put into the gap before you can reach the batteries.

The walkthrough also states you should speak to your friends and grab the goggles before it tells you to turn the lights off in the tunnel to scare away the guards. Again this is something that may have just been a small error by the author, but in retail you can't get into the stadium until you turn the lights off, necessitating that to be done first.