Portal is, without a doubt, one of the most innovative games of the decade.

User Rating: 9.5 | Portal PC
*** PORTAL ***

THE GOOD

-Fantastic and innovative puzzles
-Witty and highly entertaining dialog
-Different ways to solve each problem
-Delightful music during the credits

THE BAD

-Really short

OVERVIEW

Portal is a game that not only offers humorous and clever dialog but takes the puzzle platformer to a whole new level. This game is probably one of the most innovative titles of the decade. You play as the female protagonist named Chell. In the beginning of the game Chell awakes inside of a glass room. A radio playing some upbeat music is the only noise heard until an eerie voice from the Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System (GLaDOS) fills the air. GLaDOS informs Chell about some very valuable tests that need to be performed.

As Chell exits the glass room, GLaDOS instructs her to pick up the Aperture Science Portal Gun. This portal gun has the ability to create two portals (Blue and Red) which is used to complete certain tasks in the test chambers. Even though GLaDOS is apathetic towards the health and well being of Chell, she does reassures her that these tests are for science sake and offers a delicious reward of cake at the end.

Without giving too much of the story away, from what little there is, I will say that the story in Portal is highly entertaining. GLaDOS is an excellent character while the writing for the game is well crafted and unforgettable. The superior writing will leave you with infamous and quotable lines like "The cake is a lie".

GAMEPLAY

Portal is a puzzle game like no other. The objective for each test chamber is to maneuver from start to finish in any way possible. This may seem like child's play but don't let this simple assignment fool you because you'll need to think outside-the-box. The brainteasers presented in this game are quite challenging and enjoyable when you finally figure them out. Plus, the best part about the gameplay is that there is more than one way to handle each situation.

To aid you in your quest GLaDOS presents you with the Aperture Science Portal Gun. This gateway creation device grants you the ability to create an interconnected portal with two distinct colors; red and blue. Not every surface is portalable and you are restricted as to which surfaces you are allowed to create these passageways. Also, your velocity is conserved are you pass through a portal; as GLaDOS states in layman's terms, "speedy thing goes in, speedy thing comes out". For example, plummeting off a 30 foot ledge through a portal will sling you out the other side at an alarming speed. You'll definitely have a blast constructing your strategically placed portals as you progress through the challenges presented in the outstanding level design.

After you've completed the game, new challenges become available. You have the option to replay certain levels on an advanced (or more difficult) mode. Plus, there are other variants to partake in which include reaching the goal with the least number of steps or while using the least number of portals. Unfortunately, even with these added scenarios, the entire game will last you a few short hours and leaving you hungry for more.

GRAPHICS & SOUND

The level design an absolute standout compared to other puzzle games on the market. Portal offers an intriguing atmosphere that'll not only test your platforming skills but how well you can problem solve. Visually, this game will keep you thoroughly satisfied.

The voice work for GLaDOS is pure gold. Her humorous dialog is highly entertaining especially those subtle remarks towards your general well being. There is also a witty song performed during the credits that's really catchy.

CONCLUSION

Aside from the whole experience ending to quickly, Portal is still revolutionary. The challenging puzzles and clever dialog are beautifully mixed together. Plus, the fact that you're able to reach each goal using different methods truly makes the game personal and memorable for each person. I would highly recommend this game to anyone because these few short hours of playing Portal have been some of the best I've had in my entire gaming career.

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