NORA, the lusty horny sexy robot vending machine, encapsulates all the absurdity of Atomic Heart, for better and for worse.

NORA the Horny Robot Vending Machine Is Atomic Heart in a Nutshell

NORA, the lust-driven upgrade vending machine in Atomic Heart, is one of the most ridiculous video game characters I’ve run into. And stepping back from Atomic Heart, I’m absolutely convinced she, not the Twins, should have been the game’s marketing star.

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If you’ve not bumped into NORA, you’re in for quite an experience. I heard her before I saw her, singing a lullaby that wouldn’t be out of place in Silent Hill 2. And then Charles, your sentient glove, warned me that she presented a significant threat.

I certainly thought I was wandering into Atomic Heart’s second boss fight, and the length of the corridor gave me plenty of time to dwell on whatever may be lurking behind that door. So I opened the door and came face to face with a “normal” upgrade vending machine.

Had I missed something? Was there a monster that was supposed to attack me in the corridor but had, instead, glitched itself out of existence? I reached the machine, ready to see what upgrades were on offer, and… well, I won’t spoil the exact surprise, but the infamous “I’ve Seen Enough Hentai to Know Where This Is Going” meme was suddenly running through my head.

Post-encounter, my brain was hurting as I tried to comprehend the design meeting where NORA’s existence was mooted. You encounter her on multiple occasions, and she’s every bit as lust-driven, though, mercifully, she gives up on hauling you into her inner workings. Still, she’ll happily beg you to “Squirt your Polymer inside me!”

NORA, the lusty horny sexy robot vending machine, encapsulates all the absurdity of Atomic Heart, for better and for worse.

Yes, those are words she actually says. The credits don’t specify which actor voiced NORA, but at the time, I did wonder whether she’ll be putting this performance on her showreel. It’s one heck of a weird role. However, the more I thought about lusty vending machine NORA, the more I realized she was — and is — Atomic Heart in a nutshell.

Her dialogue is jarring, yes, but it’s more than that. The sudden switch from horror to cringe-worthy comedy is so very typical of the game. Her presence is an early taste of Atomic Heart’s wild tonal swings and bizarre dialogue. Though, without spoiling the game too much, there are things that NORA is right about.

One minute you’re watching someone beg for their life, the next you — or rather, protagonist P-3 — is talking about giving a lock a cookie. And it only gets weirder from there, to the point that NORA seems almost normal. Yes, she sounds like every terrible ‘90s video game advert, but P-3 is such a ‘90s relic (40 years too early) that he’d give Duke Nukem a run for his money. Hey, maybe they are meant for each other.

So, while Focus Interactive and Mundfish have been up front (sorry) with the Twins, it’s NORA’s turn to shine. Mothball the ballerinas and let the mucky-mouthed machine take point on the marketing. At least that way, Atomic Heart’s would-be players will absolutely know what kind of wild, weird, and slightly suspect ride they’re in for.

Related: What Does Crispy Critters Mean in Atomic Heart on Dot Esports


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Author
Chris McMullen
Chris McMullen is a freelance contributor at The Escapist and has been with the site since 2020. He returned to writing about games following several career changes, with his most recent stint lasting five-plus years. He hopes that, through his writing work, he settles the karmic debt he incurred by persuading his parents to buy a Mega CD. Outside of The Escapist, Chris covers news and more for GameSpew. He's also been published at such sites as VG247, Space, and more. His tastes run to horror, the post-apocalyptic, and beyond, though he'll tackle most things that aren't exclusively sports-based. At Escapist, he's covered such games as Infinite Craft, Lies of P, Starfield, and numerous other major titles.