The Norwood Suite is a point and click adventure of exploration and discovery from the first person aspect.
You are investigating the Hotel that used to be the home of the prestigious musician Peter Norwood. I am not sure why or how you got mixed up in what's going on there but it seems that for one reason or a few others certain corporations and individuals are wanting to take control of the place. The Hotel is a sprawling Mansion with rooms upstairs, downstairs, on top and in the basement. There is, of course, a music room and there is a swimming pool. There are also lots of hidey-holes, hidden staircases, unusual tableaux and staff that really cannot be bothered. Maybe because of their attitude or maybe a reason unknown to us, many of the guests tend to think you work there; this can be advantageous to you if you decide to help out and be useful, as if you really do work there.
There are plenty of puzzles and challenges running through the game, many are simply fetch and carry missions, though when an old lady asks you to make her a sandwich collecting the ingredients and using the Dog-headed slicing machine to cut them up is actually quite fun. Sometimes helping others gives you an immediate benefit, other times it opens an opportunity for later.
Just how good I think The Norwood Suite is should be obvious from the number of photographed screenies I took while playing it. I don't know how far through the game I am, I know I have to find at least two more Piano Keys and the clues I have aren't as clear as they could be, but that's a good thing because if they were too easy then there would be no challenge.
Sometimes you find things that you cannot collect, at least you cannot collect them when you find them. Whether they will come in handy later on is the question, so remembering which room and what drawer or cupboard they were seen in. Occasionally you can pick things up that at first seem not to be of interest, such as the six-pack of beer that appears on the lobby counter, and then you meet someone who really needs a drink and eh voila you pull it out of your inventory and win more Brownie points.
It is known that many people have stayed in the Hotel over the years and it is believed that some of them are still there, but in what form?
Getting around the hotel is fun, but getting into it to begin with is even more amusing and sets the scene for how the entire game is going to play through. You arrive by car which for reasons known to the driver drops you a fair walk away from the Hotel. You look through the chain-link fence and perhaps see the shadow of a man ? or is it just an illusion ? Only time will tell. At the entrance to the walkway up to the Hotel is a car park where you can see people standing around by their car. If you approach them they think you work there - this is the first time you experience this weird assumption. There are several cars in the car park and you can open their boots and see what they contain - look at the photo's I took (below). There is a large assortment of equipment that looks interesting but not one piece can you take at first - later ? Perhaps, but I have yet to find a need for any of them - that's why I took the photo's to remind me where to find them.
Why are the TenPins taller than a person ? Why is there a mini-piano organ in an oven ? What makes the eyes in the statue heads in the stone wall on the Hotel's approach suddenly light up and others open their mouths ? Why won't Dottie or Sandro let you have the Norwood Suite when you book in, and why is Room 104 empty and available when it shouldn't be? How do you get into the Dress-up party ? Why is the Computer not working ? Why is there a stone head in a bedroom drawer ? These and a lot more questions are asked, and some are even answered with logical explanations.
Throughout the game there is a heck of a lot of terrific music, in fact almost every room has a radio, record player, cd player or something playing music at a good speaker bouncing volume, none of which you can influence by turning off or even down. This is a most unusual and addictive game, much better than the majority of point and click adventures, though the hot-spots are mostly easier to find as there are often bubbles floating up from places of interest where you need to click your cursor (or curse your clicker perhaps ?).
Bright, loud, lively, colourful, interesting, fun and challenging without being too obvious, boringly difficult or frustratingly stupid. Going back to the sandwich for a moment. When you are asked for it the old lady is talking to a friend. You need to find the kitchen and search the fridges etc for the ingredients and then make the sandwich as requested. You don't have to run all over the Hotel picking up a piece of lettuce under the piano, finding a tomato in a bedroom drawer or a piece of cheese in a mousetrap, the ingredients are available where they should be and that, for me, makes the game a lot more interesting and playable because it is, sometimes in its own way, logical.
Large TenPins, Organ in Oven, Grotty looking Swimming Pool, Piano Key passageways, everything has a purpose or a meaning, even if it is just that the old Musician Peter Norwood was somewhat eccentric. What is real and what is an illusion of reality ? What a great game The NORWOOD SUITE is.
Car boots, inside the backs of vans and the odd bedroom are full of surprises .....