Coming out in 2007 this game is pushing further than I normally would for this slot on reviews but a friend in America sent me a copy and it will tie into reviews I do later in the year (he sent me the whole Orange Box and Portal 2) so here’s a review of the darkly comic puzzle game Portal.
Portal as mentioned is a first person puzzle game released with the Orange Box. People buying the box for the then much more famous Half Life 2 didn’t know that inside the box would come a game that too would become famous.
You play as Chell, who wakes up in the Aperture Science testing facility by the AI GLaDOS, you need to complete different puzzles to get to the next floor. The first few are very simple, picking up items jumping etc. After a few floors you get to the main meat of the game, the portal gun. The portal gun makes a, well portal there are two, a blue portal and an orange portal, these represent the two ends of the portal and you can pass through one to come out of the other.
The game starts you out with the gun only able to make blue portals and the orange ones being in fixed positions. This helps you get some idea of how the portals work before getting the ability to make both, and that’s when the crazy stuff you can do comes. Want an infinite fall? Yep put one portal on the roof directly below on the floor. Now the puzzles become much more complicated, such as having to create momentum by falling from one portal to another so you can fly over a wall, or maybe send an energy orb through to its target, but passing through that area removes your portals (spent a bit of time working that one out).
But now its time to talk about the thing that made this game famous: the dark comedy. GLaDOS is hilarious, I can’t find the words to describe it. She’s a polite computer with no morals that treats you like a lab rat with offers of cake, and if you go past one of the sifted walls you find written in blood “the cake is a lie” (yes this is where that meme comes from). In fact go look up the song “still alive” that’s the end credits song sung by her. Oh and the drones that speak in cute voices that try to murder you on sight.
The game is notably short, which is probably for the best, as it is a fun puzzle game and uses the portal mechanics and its dark humour well as otherwise it might begin to grate on you. It’s fun while it lasts but there isn’t that much reason to come back for more, until Portal 2 came out of course.
(no I’m not saying it’s not a good game, but it will last you only a few hours, not an issue since it came packaged with another larger game)