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Prerelease:Normality

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


Subpages

Normality - Early prototype icon.png
Magazine Screenshots
An early build sent out to reviewers containing some notable differences from retail.

"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.