The Cake is a Lie


Fun, short and sweet, doesn’t outstay its welcome and has a wicked streak of blackness running through its veins.
Portal is set in the same universe as Half Life although this is unimportant to the game itself. The basic premise is simple, you awake in an Aperture Science Laboratory test chamber and need to solve a series of puzzles involving the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device or portal gun, to find your way out (Portal devices were accidentally discovered in an experiment involving shower curtains and a scientist suffering from Mercury Poisoning). In the process you must also outsmart GLaDOS (artificially intelligent research assistant and disk operating system), an AI that has gone sentient and run amok killing all the staff at the laboratory. GLaDOS controls the test chambers and monitors your progress, gently encouraging and lying in equal measure with the promise of a cake and grief counselling as reward for completing the tests.

Each level of the game consists of an increasingly complex series of rooms. Armed only with the portal gun, you have to figure out a way to progress through the rooms and find the exit to the next level. The portal gun creates two types of portals, blue and orange, either can be used as entrance or exit portals but you can not create two portals of the same colour or one of them will close. Momentum Direction pyhsics are used to simulate gravity and speed momentum, which basically means the faster you jump through a portal the harder you fall into the next room. Or as GLaDOS would say “speedy thing goes in, speedy thing goes out”. Gravity uprights your character, say if you teleport youself and end up on the the next rooms’ ceiling you will drop but fall on your feet, how hard you fall depends on how fast or how high you jumped in. Some surfaces can not have portals created on them and obstacles like force field walls, automated turrets, moving platforms and acid pits force you to think about height and speed and how fast you need to create them. Do not play if you suffer from vertigo.

The challenges first time around especially towards the later levels will give your brain a workout, timing is essential. There is no set way to complete a challenge, it is up to the player to experiment with pyhsics and gravity and find their own way out. Stick with it through to the end and you will be rewarded with one of the more original and quirky games to have appeared in some time.

P S does anyone else think the Weighted Companion Cube would make an ideal paperweight?


2 Responses to “The Cake is a Lie”

  1. January 14, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Even Doom made me feel seasick — I’d have no hope with this one!

  2. 2 Helen
    February 5, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    Hi Andrew

    Excellent blog and videos. Must confess, playing games is beyond my capability, no patience!

    Well done and good luck for the future.

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