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Portal   Portal 2

The cake is a lie. If this comment makes no sense to you, then you haven't played the original Portal. My son introduced me to this game, for which I am eternally grateful. The concept of the game is pretty straight forward. You are a human test subject for a computer artificial intelligence called GLaDOS. She, in the name of science, directs you through many puzzles which you must solve with the use of a portal gun. The gun will open multidimensional portals, one blue, the other orange, on certain surfaces you fire them. You can then pass through one portal and come out of the other. It sounds simple enough, but the laws of physics apply as you pass through. So, if you put a portal on the floor of a level below you, and another on a wall, then jump into the one in the floor, you come out of the second portal with the momentum you've acquired from the jump down. This is very important to utilize as the puzzles get harder and harder. Also, you face robotic turrets which will shoot and kill you if you cross their paths as well as vats of acid you must find ways of crossing. As you play, it quickly become apparent that GLaDOS see's you as nothing more than a lab rat, and has these tests as a way to ultimately kill you. Despite the fact that GLaDOS is a killer computer with an apparent sadistic streak, the game is actually quite humorous with the sweet, tender female voice of GLaDOS making comforting, reassuring comments to you along the way, promising you cake when the testing is over. Of course, as I've stated at the beginning, the cake is a lie.

Once you've managed to escape from GLaDOS's most obvious attempt at killing you, you find yourself in a race in the huge Aperture Science facility, looking for a way out. It all ends in a life and death struggle where you battle GLaDOS's robotic armature form, once again, utilizing only your portal gun as a weapon. On a side note, once you conquer GLaDOS, and the game credits role, you are treated to the music of GLaDOS singing Still Alive (Click here to listen on YouTube)

Interestingly, the original Portal was started only as a Beta game, which the developers wanted to use only as a means of testing the concept before creating the real game. Well, the people who were the Beta testers loved it so much, the makers, Valve Corporation, made it a complete release that sold exceptionally well. Not too long after, they released Portal 2. In this game, yes, GLaDos survived the huge explosion that ended the first Portal. And, your character is also back, having been recaptured and put into cryogenic stasis. The game begins with you being revived by a AI personality core called Wheatley, who leads you on a wild race through the even larger Aperture Science facility to escape, once again, from GLaDOS. I won't spoil the game's twists and turns by talking about them here, but I will tell you, the game introduces a new element of colored gels which give sections of walls and floors in which they are splattered, unique characteristics which are needed to escape. Once again, humor is very present throughout the game, and puzzles must be solved using physics.

Portal 2 also offers a 2 player game. You and another player who is on a second PC, either home networked or over the internet, play as two Aperture Science robots, who must work together to solve the "science experiments" puzzles set forth by GLaDOS. Now you have four portals to work with, and much more complex puzzles to solve. And if that wasn't enough, the game gives you the ability to create your own levels and puzzles. You can share these with friends, or over the Internet on the Portal community with players worldwide. You can search out and download levels by other people as well, some of whom go beyond the game editing tools and use more professional tools to create even more elaborate levels. Unlike the original Portal, Portal 2 requires an online Steam account. It's free, and well worth getting an account. It offers many games, Portal 1 + 2 included, to purchase via download. I downloaded my version of Portal 2 this way, and caught it on a great sale.

If you are already a Portal 2 player and are interested in checking out my custom levels, you can follow this link. It will take you to a level called Tractor Tribulations. On the same screen, you will see my user name and icon named Samot. You can click this to take you to all of my shared levels, where you can download them for your own use. If you do not have Portal 1 and 2, I'd very much recommend them. Play the original game first, for your greatest enjoyment.

Custom Portal Level - Feelin' Blue - By Tom A. Wright
Click for larger image
Copyright © 2012 Tom A. Wright