User:New Age Retro Hippie/Portal (series)

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Portal
Genres First person puzzle-action
Developers Valve Corporation
Publishers Valve Corporation
Creators Kim Swift
Erik Wolpaw
Original release Portal – 2007

Portal is a series of video games that was first started with the 2007 video game Portal created by Valve Corporation. It is a spin-off of the video game series Half-Life, also produced by Valve.

Gameplay[edit]

In both Portal games, players typically take control of the player-character Chell who is tasked to complete various challenges by the use of a special item called a portal gun, which creates two portal ends coloured orange and blue that are connected to each other, allowing Chell or an object to travel in one portal and out the other. Players may utilize the portals to reach areas not normally accessible, retrieving objects such as cubes, and creating momentum. As an object passes through a portal, it maintains the same velocity and direction that it had when it entered.[1] Portals may only be opened on specific surfaces that are both white and are larger than the portal. The cubes, as mentioned above, are commonly utilized for multiple functions, including keeping switches held down, getting to higher surfaces, and deactivating or deflecting dangerous elements. Most areas of the games are portrayed as test chambers; players must solve puzzles using these tools as well as others. At the end of most puzzles and sometimes used during puzzles are devices called emancipation grilles, which destroy any disallowed objects and erase any portals placed when Chell walks through. Chell is given special foot equipment that, when worn, protect her from injury from falling too far. Chell must face various dangers, including turrets, bouncing balls of energy, toxic liquid. If she is killed by any of these, she will reappear at the last save place. In the case of turrets, Chell can sustain a certain amount of damage before death. She can recover by waiting a short period of time until her health recovers.

While Portal 2 retains these basic features for the most part, it introduces several original mechanics. It introduces lasers that can be redirected to hit switches or destroy turrets with a special cube; a bridge made out of light that can be used in conjunction with portals to reach new areas; a catapult-like device that launches players in specific directions (either up at an angle or directly upward); multiple gels, with different functions - one causes Chell to bounce on it when she jumps onto it, one causes Chell to run quickly while on it, and one creates portal surfaces when utilized; and light tunnels which can push Chell away or pull her toward it. The second game introduces a two-player co-operative mode that puts players in control of either of two characters: Atlas and P-Body. In it, each player is given their own portal gun, allowing for four portals at a time.

Plot[edit]

Portal takes place some time after the events of the video game Half-Life. It opens with the player-character Chell in a sterile environment and being instructed by a computer called GLaDOS on how to complete various tests as she progresses. Throughout, Chell is told that upon completing the test chambers, she would be treated to cake. Chell obtains the portal gun and later discovers a hidden enclosure with scribblings on the wall reading "the cake is a lie". As Chell progresses, she finds increasingly erratic behaviour from GLaDOS, including placing her in a live fire course intended for androids. After completing the 19th test chamber, Chell finds herself on a moving platform into a fire pit, but survives by making a path with the portal gun. After traveling through the innards of the test chambers, Chell eventually finds GLaDOS and after removing her morality core, GLaDOS becomes more sadistic and reveals that she killed all of the scientists in the test chamber using a neurotoxin. She releases this neurotoxin into the air and activates a missile turret; however, before she can kill Chell with either, Chell tricks the turret into shooting GLaDOS multiple times, and Chell destroys her cores one by one until GLaDOS is destroyed. Chell is sucked through a giant portal and lands in the parking lot of the labs. After an update to Portal in order to connect it to the upcoming Portal 2 release, the ending was modified to add a robot thanking Chell for "assuming the party escort submission position" and dragging her back to the labs.

Portal 2 takes place some time after the events of Half-Life's sequel, Half-Life 2. It opens with Chell in a hotel room-like area being instructed by a computer voice, which ends with her being told to resume her sleep. She later awakens to the room that has signs of age. She meets a robotic orb named Wheatley who helps her by connecting to the room and causing it to move forward on a rail until it crashes into an area and allows her to exit and find a portal gun. She and Wheatley explore a dilapidated, ruined facility. After trying to escape from the facility, Wheatley inadvertently awakens GLaDOS, who tosses Wheatley aside and throws Chell into a hole. Chell solves tests and progresses through a series of chambers while Wheatley secretly communicates with her along the way. She eventually escapes into a back area of a chamber with Wheatley as GLaDOS attempts to kill them along their way. They escape on a lift, and succeed in sabotaging her turrets and disabling her neurotoxin. They are separated at one point, and Chell is taken by GLaDOS back to her chamber; however, GLaDOS is remiss to discover that her defenses have been disabled. Wheatley soon after falls into the room, and Chell is given a prompt to replace GLaDOS' corrupted core with Wheatley. After Wheatley is placed in charge of the facility, Chell is almost free before Wheatley decides to keep her there. GLaDOS then discovers that Wheatley was a core made to make her stupid, and Wheatley puts her into a potato battery and knocks both Chell and GLaDOS into the ground.

Chell finds herself in an abandoned portion of the labs, and is instructed by pre-recorded messages from the former CEO of Aperture, Cave Johnson, on how to complete various chambers. On her way, she discovers GLaDOS in her potato form, and brings her along so that GLaDOS could help remove Wheatley from power. However, as GLaDOS listens to Cave's recordings, she finds him to be familiar, and eventually discovers that a woman named Caroline who acted as his assistant while he was alive was her. They also discover that one kind of gel, called "conversion gel", was what the portal conducive walls were coated with, but were also poisonous and made from ground up moon rocks. They eventually escape out of it and reunite with Wheatley, who decides to use them as test subjects. They go through his tests and find both that with each test, Wheatley is becoming less and less interested. They also discover that the lab itself is falling apart and is on the brink of destruction. After performing a certain number of tests, the two of them fall into Wheatley's trap; however, before he can kill them, they escape into the innards of the lab, and find their way to his chamber. Despite precautions put in place by Wheatley, Chell is able to attach corrupted cores to him in order to cause him to be corrupted and allow another core transfer. As players are about to push the transfer button, a bomb placed by Wheatley explodes and sends Chell flying; however, a portion of the ceiling falls out, and Chell shoots a portal onto the moon, causing her to fly out to the moon while holding onto Wheatley. GLaDOS gains control of the facility again, and knocks Wheatley into space, pulling Chell in. GLaDOS feels relief for her survival at first; however, this relief tells her where Caroline is in her brain, and allows her to delete her. GLaDOS decides that Chell is too dangerous to keep in the lab, and decides to free her. Chell is lead to the surface, and escapes from the facility. The scene shifts to Wheatley after the credits, who now feels apologetic for betraying Chell.

Setting[edit]

Both Portal games take place at Aperture Science.

Characters and elements[edit]

Development[edit]

Music[edit]

Most of the game's soundtrack is non-lyrical ambient music composed by Kelly Bailey and Mike Morasky, somewhat dark and mysterious to match the mood of the environments. The closing credits song, "Still Alive," was written by Jonathan Coulton and sung by Ellen McLain (a classically trained operatic soprano) as the GLaDOS character. Wolpaw notes that Coulton was invited to Valve a year before the release of Portal as the team knew that it wanted to involve Coulton in some fashion. "Once Kim [Swift] and I met with him, it quickly became apparent that he had the perfect sensibility to write a song for GLaDOS."[2][3] The song was released as a free downloadable song for the music video game Rock Band on April 1, 2008.[4][5][6] The soundtrack for Portal was released as a part of The Orange Box Original Soundtrack[7] and includes both GLaDOS's in-game rendition and Coulton's vocal mix of "Still Alive." A brief instrumental version done in a Latin style can be heard playing over radios in-game.

Reception[edit]

Cultural impact[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Alessi, Jeremy (2008-08-26). "Games Demystified: Portal". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
  2. ^ Coulton, Jonathan (2007-10-15). "Portal: The Skinny". Jonathan Coulton's blog. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  3. ^ Cite error: The named reference rbs wolpaw interview was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  4. ^ Baptiste, Sean (2008-02-21). "Valve Party at GDC + Special Preview of an Upcoming DLC Song". Harmonix. Archived from the original on 2008-02-25. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  5. ^ Baptiste, Sean. "DLC April 1st! Huge success!". Rockband.com forums. Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  6. ^ Faylor, Chris (2008-03-31). "'Still Alive' Hits Rock Band X360 Tomorrow for Free, PlayStation 3 Edition Due Mid-April". Shacknews. Retrieved 2008-03-31. 
  7. ^ "The Orange Box Original Soundtrack". Valve Corporation. Archived from the original on December 25, 2007. Retrieved 2008-01-31.