Inside The Orange Box: Portal

The Orange Box

The Orange Box is jammed packed will all sorts of first person shooting goodness. Valve has covered all the bases here and delivered what is without a doubt the single greatest bundle of games to date. When I was finally holding The Orange Box in hand, I knew exactly what I was going to be playing first. And while Team Fortress 2 had me most excited, I simply had to experience Portal. After all, it’s been over a year since it was announced and we haven’t received so much as a demo since. But as with all of Valve’s Half-Life deliveries in past, The Orange Box was well worth the wait.

At the start, Portal was exactly what I was expecting. It starts you off learning the basics of the physics engine while walking you through a series of test chambers. After a few, you’re given a limited Portal gun which can create a single portal. These steps might sound preliminary, but Portal really isn’t something you can just jump into without being shown the ropes a little. There’s far more to it than simply creating a couple wholes in the wall and walking through them. And you find that out pretty early on when you’re shown how momentum is affected, or rather, how it is not. 😉 Once you get the fully enabled Portal gun, the fun begins. Now you can create an entry and exit point wherever you please.

Portal

Each test chamber is a different puzzle you have to solve using portals and any objects you have access to. In some cases, there is a sequence that you must accomplish before moving on. Some times an object in the room may give you a hint as to what you need to do. Other times, you could spend quite a while trying to figure it out. Even when I was totally stumped, I never found that I was frustrated enough to resort to a walkthrough. Completing each test chamber really gives you a sense of accomplishment and I was more than willing to put the time in and figure things out for myself. Whereas, in some other games I’ve played recently, I quickly jumped online to figure out how to get past a troubling area.

One thing I didn’t expect from Portal was the pure charm it carries. It’s a very cute and funny game and in ways that really make it stand out from the crowd – not that it has any trouble doing that already. There were numerous times I found myself laughing out loud and even responding to what was being said in the game. Which is hella weird – I don’t think I’ve ever communicated back to a game before.

Upon completing Portal, a whole slew of additional game modes are unlocked for added replay value. Advanced mode is what you would expect – a harder version of the test chambers made difficult by fewer objects and increased hazards. The first time I attempted an Advanced chamber, I was fully stumped. But with my second attempt I was successful.

No matter what you’re playing right now, I would recommend pushing it aside and picking up The Orange Box.

Rating: 5/5

Portal

23 Responses to “Inside The Orange Box: Portal”

  1. The cake is a lie.

    The end of that game made it all worth it.

    "Don't touch that."

    *picks it up*

    "Okay, fine, touch it. Just put it over in the corner and forget about it. It probably does nothing."

  2. Portal sounds amazing. I wish I could just buy Portal and Team Fortress 2, they sound way more fun than the actual Half Life game. I promised myself I wouldn't buy The Orange Box until I got all of the achievements in Halo 3… it's gonna take forever. Looks like I'll just have to keep playing the Xbox Live Arcade puzzle game Eets until I suck it up and buy The Orange Box.

  3. I picked up The Orange Box up this afternoon, and man do I love it. At first I was not all that pumped about portal until I started playing it. I am not that far into it but I have had a blast so far and can't wait to see the rest of the game. So far I am loving every bit of The Orange Box, especially TF2.

  4. Nice review, prolly one of the funniest games iv ever played along with great entertainment value. i got it froms steam the day it came out, i paused all the other downloads so i could play portal first, im undecided if ep2 or portal are the best game from OB..

  5. I'm really wishing I had bought the Orange Box instead of just Episode 2, Team Fortress 2 and Portal would have been well worth it.

  6. @Matt (The commenter): You can from Steam, but by the time you do, I think The Orange Box costs the same as the two of them together.

    Nice review, I loved Portal. It was really funny and, if you played all the extra parts, still a decent length but never got boring. I didn't use a guide for any of the main missions or the advanced missions, but I needed them for some of the levels to pull off silvers in the challenge missions. Dunno if I'll go back and try for golds, I'm really enjoying Team Fortress 2 right now. (Literally, right now, we're down 2 to 1. Oh, wait, we lost.)

  7. Bought the OB one week ago via Steam already… so played Portals on the PC.

    Really love it. Hope the controls are well done on the Xbox too? I also liked the suddle jokes.

    "We apologize, this test has no sollution. So please do not try to solve it."

    – when solved –

    "Ok. We were just testing you."

    The humor is really fun and has it's own tweak – just like the humor/atmosphere in TF2.

    The Orange Box is definitly worth buying! Hell yeah!

  8. The screen shots for Portal have never got me excited. Everything looks so bare, and the graphics looks 'meh'. BUT, from all of the great things people have been saying about it, not to mention the '10's it has been getting from reviews, it's definitely a game I'll pick up soon. I think I'll play The Orange Box consequentially (is that the right word? No?) so I'll start with H-L2! I've never played a Half Life game so I have no idea what to expect.

  9. @Matt: Eets! I actually bought that game when it first came out, but haven't played it in a while. There's some real head scratchers there.

    @twe4ked: It's pretty tough to say which game is "the best" of the bunch. Since they're great in their own right. Episode 2 is my favourite of the Half-Life 2 series so far, though. Really enjoyed it (so far).

    @Rockers Delight: Portal is essentially a tech demo and is meant to take place in a testing facility. Hence the boring grey and white rooms. It might not have top notch graphics, but it touts some pretty nice depth of field and motion blur effects. Half-Life 2 and TF2 look pretty stellar, though.

    But as Kyle said, prepare to be blown away. Half-Life 2 plays like no other FPS and truly was (and still is) ground breaking. And with the full game, plus episodes 1 & 2, you've got hours of gameplay ahead of you.

  10. Just picked up the orange box on steam (Boot Camp is awesome). I just started on HL2, and was wondering: can I try out Portal, or will that ruin some of the action in HL2 (or episode 1 or 2)? I don't know much about Portal, other than that it was supposed to tie in with the storyline and/or universe of HL. So far I'm really enjoying the game though 🙂

  11. Heh, ya, great game. I found my self talking to it too, but that's not particularly uncommon for me.

    I wasn't feeling Team Fortress 2, but even if portal had been the only thing in the box, it'd have been worth it. Great game.

  12. I just played it nearly-through and damn, it's so fun. Some parts of it were harder than others, and in most of them the answer was in front of me the whole time–like when the energy pellet emitter and receptor were next to each other facing an outcropped wall. Can't believe it took me so long to get that one!

    And don't even get me started on the turrets…

  13. Leave it to me to play games late – I played Portal for the first time ever the day before yesterday and managed to finish it last night.

    What a game I tell you, from the dark humour to the simplicity it offers It's a definite must buy for anyone!

    *THE CAKE IS A LIE*