The Orange Box E3 2007 Preshow Hands-On - Portal

Now we're playing with Portal!

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The value-stuffed The Orange Box will arrive with quite a bit of content for almost every kind of gamer. Fans of single-player shooters can dive into Half-Life 2: Episode Two, the next chapter in the trilogy of episodes that continue the famed Half-Life saga. Then there's Team Fortress 2, which is quite possibly the next big multiplayer action game from the creators of Counter-Strike. We've already had a chance to play those two portions of The Orange Box recently, but we finally got some updated hands-on time with Portal, the mind-bending puzzle game that completes the package.

Portal is a first-person puzzle game where you, armed with your whiz-bang portal gun, have to navigate through a series of rooms. The goal in each room is simple: reach the exit. However, often the exit is in an incredibly inaccessible place, like a landing three floors above you, with no ladder or stairs to reach it. Not to worry, because you've got your portal gun, and it can open two kinds of dimensional portals: orange and blue. The colors don't really matter, because if you step into the orange portal you'll emerge out of the blue one, and vice versa. So all you have to do is figure out how to make these portals work for you. However, there are some rules with the portal gun. Portals can't be opened in mid-air; you have to open them against a surface, and not just any surface. There are certain surfaces that are resistant to portals, so you have to recognize what those look like.

Click to enlarge!

The E3 demo showcases a handful of levels from the game, ranging from the first one, which is incredibly simple, to an intermediate one that requires some thinking. The easiest puzzle requires you to get an energy ball to land into a special receptacle that will power the lift that will get you to the exit. However, the energy emitter is firing these balls at the ceiling, where they dissipate. No problem, just open a portal directly over the emitter, and another directly over the receptacle, and the ball will shoot through the portal and emerge out the other to land in the receptacle. It's that simple. Of course, it only gets progressively harder from there. The most challenging level that we played involved trying to reach an exit several landings above the entrance. Getting there isn't particularly tough, but the challenge involves a button that opens the gate blocking the exit. If you stand on the button, the gate opens, but as soon as you move off of the button, it closes. But there is a box on a level, and if you use portals you can figure out a way to get it to rest on top of the button. It's pretty easy to get disoriented as you're tumbling about in these environments. Thankfully, there are little guides to help orient you, like the faces of dice embedded on the walls and floors, indicating what level you're on. (A single dot for the first floor, two dots for the second floor, and so on.)

Portal looks to be an interesting distraction, and from what we've been told, it'll pretty much be that. Valve says that depending on how well you adapt to portal thinking, you can get through the entire affair in three or four hours, though it's also possible to stretch that to five or six depending on your puzzle-solving skills. Of course, considering that Portal is like an extra bonus in an already impressive package, that makes sense. Portal does have a cool sense of style to it, and it looks good because it's using the Source engine. All in all, we can't wait till we get a chance to play with Portal again.

Discussion

28 comments
osleyee
osleyee

portal and team fortrees looks really awesome i think i will pre-order the game.

i_got_you60
i_got_you60

idc abt portal jus give me ep 2 already

fratos
fratos

One question ... What the hell happend to Adrian Shepard?? The Merc from Opposing Force ? Hey Gabe!!! Move your fat ass of the chair and tell your people that fratos wants to see Shaperd in Episode 3!! :)))

xombie5
xombie5

Can you imagine Half Life 2 with achievements

OWNaggio
OWNaggio

I agree with stuckboy. If they implemented portals into the actual game it would nothing short of amazing. Multiplayer would be unbelievable. Maybe then games of today will finally get out of the "let's just make the same shooter game over and over again because people will pay for it" routine. Half Life rules.

TEX-MEX
TEX-MEX

Also I think my IQ is going to raise a little bit after playing a game for once, instead of dropping, lol.

TEX-MEX
TEX-MEX

Orange Box will rock. I conducted this walk through and even though Portal looks/plays amazing, I have to admit, I was friggin' confused the whole time:) I'm sure once we play it though the game will make sense...

TEX-MEX
TEX-MEX

I CANT WAIT FOR THE ORANGE BOX. TO GET 3 GREAT INIVATIVE GAMES AND 2 EXPANTION PACKS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE GAME IS AMAZING!!!

stuckboy
stuckboy

Portal looks like one amazing game. Just imagine the possibilities if it were implemented INTO half life though: You could hide behind cover then shoot a portal into your cover and one onto the wall opposite, then take the enemies by surprise by shooting them through the portal. You could shoot a portal on to the side of a really high building and then shoot another at an enemy's feet. You could shoot a portal on the floor in front of you, then shoot a portal into a distant group of enemies, then throw a grenade into the portal at your end. There are endless possibilities that would make portals a truly revolutionary feature. It would require a heavy redesign of the source engine however, and it would also require some clever thinking as to how to restrict the player's movement.

Paceydre
Paceydre

Bring on Episode 2, Team Fortress 2 (finally) and Portal....Already played Half-Life 2 and Episode 1 on my pc. Looking most forward to Team Fortress 2 with it's new gameplay tweaks, been waiting for this game for such a long time.

azeos
azeos

They aren't releasing counter strike in the package because you can already play it on the xbox, and it is backwards compatable

timdabrat
timdabrat

PORTAL PORTAL PORTAL PORTAL!!!!!

SM2099
SM2099

Intresting... would be cool to try it around and see if it goes with my style of play.

Icekxg
Icekxg

"batosaims this game looks awsome but how come no cs soucre?" was thinking the same thing, no cs source or dod source??? maybe valve will release their steam service over XBL, that'd be nice.

batosaims
batosaims

this game looks awsome but how come no cs soucre?

JSharpe_187
JSharpe_187

Released 8 days after my 17th birthday!!! I'm gettin this one.

DouglasBuffone
DouglasBuffone

Man those portals look so amazing! It kinda reminds me of what Prey could have been

s0njas0n
s0njas0n

i agree, looks interesting...

sens_rocks_40
sens_rocks_40

portal sounds sweet, i'm totally getting this package. and thats a sweet deal

thedude234
thedude234

Yet another reson to see this is the best deal of the year

MikeySSH
MikeySSH

i'm so gonna get this!!!

shrink45
shrink45

The Orange Box looks like a really sweet package.

Yukie1121
Yukie1121

I can't wait. I love dizzying feelings.

MonkeysDad
MonkeysDad

Just the trailer makes my brain hurt...