Portal

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Portal

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Arriving as the quiet lesser-known extra game in Valve’s Orange Box, Portal tries to reimagine the puzzle genre. Anyone who has played any of the Half Life franchise of shooter titles know the Valve like puzzles. Portal provides an interesting distraction, good for two or three hours of play. For this playtest we are tying the PC version.  In Portal you play an unnamed character created by the Aperture Science Enrichment Centre to take part in a series of puzzle challenges. These frequently involve danger. The first thing to mention is that you play the games 19 challenges to try and get to the next one using a portal gun. Now with the portal gun you fire a blue hole entrance and a yellow exit acting as a wormhole, allowing instantaneous travel between locations.  A portal is only restricted to having to be placed on a certain type of wall. When playing through the challenges, your incentive is given by a computerised voice sounding like Space 2001′s HAL 9000 on helium. What’s original is HAL never told you that at the end you will have cake. Something that would have even Homer Simpson giving Portal a try. What’s the same is this HAL also lies to you all the time.  The puzzles themselves involve using the portal to get a box onto a pressure switch to open the doorway to the elevator for the next challenge. In the challenges you must utilize bouncing balls of energy, placing them in the receivers, using the portal so other doors will open and platforms over hazardous areas will move. There are also sentry robots to take out using only a well-placed portal with another comic robot voice. All come out with some great lines such as ?I don’t blame you? when you destroy one and when trying to kill you ?Are you there??, like you would answer! The other point to remember is that gravity is something very important in Portal. To get to certain areas you must use momentum so you fall into a well placed portal allowing you to fly in the air in another direction using the momentum.  There are a number of challenges such as use the least amount of portals to extend the game’s play length. Some of the last few challenges are difficult but a lot are simple to complete on first try. Plus there is a great ending. Portal is a great distraction with a lot of things you wont forget.

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