Review – Portal (PC)

Anticipation : 10
Expectation : 8
Initial Reaction : 10
Overall : 10
Genre : First Person

Way back in 1995, 3D Realms announced that they were creating a game called Prey.  Key to Prey’s gameplay was the use of portal technology.  Portal technology is a way to create “rips” in space that be moved around in real time.  Portals allow the player to move from area to area by creating artificial doorways between them.  Unfortunately, Prey wasn’t to come out until 11 years later.

In 2005, students from the DigiPen Institute of Technology wrote a game, Narbacular Drop, for their senior game project.  Narbacular Drop revolved around a princess named “No-Knees” who is captured by a demon.  She is placed in a dungeon which turns out to be an intelligent being named “Wally.”  Wally can create portals, which the princess uses to escape the dungeon and defeat the demon.

Valve Software hired the Narbacular Drop programmers in mid-2005, and the team set to work on Portal.  Portal, built on the Source engine, is essentially the spiritual successor to Narbacular Drop.  In Portal, the player, Chell, is placed within the Aperture Science test facility and informed that she must complete a series of tests using the new “Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device.”

I won’t go any further into the plot because you really need to experience this game for yourself.  The commentary from GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System), the computer controlling the facility, is definitely worth checking out.  The computer informs, taunts, cajoles, reassures, and lies to you.  And all with the promise of cake, when you finish!

The game is excellent.  It is exquisitely polished from the environments to the controls.  The game mechanic itself is quite simple, very easy to learn.  Gameplay consists of completing a series of puzzles to find the exit, using portals along the way to move from place to place, move boxes, disarm weapons, and more.  Included are a series of advanced puzzles and challenges that you can complete once you have beaten the main game.

This is definitely a game worth checking out.  Go..  Now..

 

But remember: The cake is a lie.

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