I recently found a copy of The Orange Box for Xbox 360. It features three of Valve’s best games on one disc: Half-Life 2, Portal and Team Fortress 2. Having never played any of these (and seeking The Orange Box for a long while to do so), I snapped it up for a mere $29.
I’ve played Portal 2 many times and love the story and game play, so I thought I should give the original game a go. The premise is exactly the same: test subject at a highly secretive scientific facility tries to escape. The game play is also the same: test after test of mind bending puzzles and sometimes infuriating paradoxes.
However, the feel is different. Portal 2 had an obvious comic relief in Wheatley, the British robot programmed to be dimwitted. Portal, on the other hand is a lot darker. Glad0s seems a lot more malevolent and dangerous than in Portal 2, where revenge has made her a lot more cunning. I guess it’s the fact that you’re not yet given a reason as to why she’s testing you. *SPOILERS* In Portal 2, you find that she’s merely continuing the work of her mentor and friend Cave Johnson (one of my favourite NPCs of all time), after having her memory and personality planted in a robot. However in Portal, not even she is aware of that fact.
I must also comment on one of my favourite things in the Portal duology: the Ratman dens. For those that don’t know, any time you are playing Portal and see a scribbled note on the wall telling you where to put a portal or where the exit is, you can thank Doug Rattmann.While not mentioned directly in either game and only referenced in a comic released some time after the second Portal, any player that is aware knows that the Ratman dens are far more obvious in Portal than Portal 2. I highly recommend that anyone with an interest in the games’ extensive back story read the comic.
Anyway, I think what I’m trying to say is that I thoroughly enjoyed Portal. I do prefer Portal 2, due to the inclusion of Cave Johnson and the different coloured goo, but it’s nice to see where it all came from. Especially now that I understand that the cake is most definitely a lie.