by Erik Johnsen
It’s been a year since The Orange Box was released and the surprise hit of the year, Portal, was introduced to the gaming world.
Now comes Portal: Still Alive for download on the Xbox Live Arcade. GLaDOS and the original 19 levels of puzzle fun returns with some additional content for XBLA. This arcade version comes with 14 new levels and a developer commentary if you’re the type that explores all of the ‘bonus’ features of DVD movies or special edition games.
First, let’s dispense with the bad. The game is 1200 MS Points ($15 US). If you already have The Orange Box or at least played Portal before now, that’s probably a bit much just to download the game to your HDD, and add 14 new levels to the gameplay. Unless you really loved the game, it might be something that holds you back from getting it in the Arcade. If you’re an Achievement fan, the 12 achievements offered are different than from the previous incarnation.
For those gamers who didn’t experience Portal before, it probably should be at the top of your “To Download” list. Portal has a gentle learning curve for picking up the controls for using the portal gun, jumping, picking up objects and crouching.
The challenge comes from finding the different ways to manipulate your path through the different levels. Whether it’s finding clever portal placements to get around obstacles to working a way to not be shot at from the turrets to calculating some way to get to the ledge way over on the other side of the map, you’re in for a good brain teasing experience. Along for your journey is the robotic voice of GlaDOS who encourages and challenges you early on, with a little twisted humor later in the game.
Fans of puzzlers should enjoy this game, and new comers should find that the challenges, while they can be daunting at first and do require some creative thinking, are never impossible. The key is to remember to use your environment. Overall, I highly recommend this game for those who’ve wondered what the fuss was all about or wondered what on Earth “The Cake Is A Lie” really meant.
Mind bending puzzles
Good tutorial that doesn’t distract from gameplay
Short game / high price
Married Gamers Report Card: A-