Portal Review

December 20, 2007

Portal Review
Overall Score: 9.6
Pros: Innovative puzzle playing, short and sweet
Cons: Limited plot, moaarrrr maps please?
Portal, originally developed by Valve as a bonus game for the Orange Box, has developed into a huge pop-culture phenomenon. The gaming world is humming with talk of the Orange Box and, as a surprise to Valve, much of it deals with Portal. It has even spawned a flash game created independently from Valve. It can be found here: http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/404612. And while it pales in comparison to the real thing, it operates on the same premise… and well..it’s free (sorry Valve). The plot of Portal is very simple. You are a test subject in an Aperture Science laboratory; and, you must complete a series of puzzles using a specialized gun that creates portals. Each level presents a new set of challenges. You must manipulate space-time by creating portals to get you to the end of the level. The catch is only some surfaces are conducive to portals. And, you must use a “Companion Cube” to press down strategically placed buttons which trigger doors that stand in your way. This game requires a keen mind and ingenuity to navigate through out all 18 levels. GLaDoS, the head of research at the factory, helps you through your first few levels and provides some comic relief. Let me just scream this, “Watch the end credits!” Sliding in at just over 4 hours for one play through Portal is short and sweet. The game offers some “bonus maps” once you beat the game. But, you can’t help but feel ripped off. Valve just has taken the same maps and altered them slightly making them harder by adding water, fewer boxes, timers, etc.
Bottomline: Simply a must play. You can NOT afford to pass up this game. At least play the flash game. It truly is mind bending.
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