When ‘The Orange Box’ released in October 2007, nobody had anticipated how good Portal would actually be. The game itself created a lot of buzz and has received many awards. It was at the 2008 E3 gaming convention that Microsoft announced the game would be coming to the Xbox Live Arcade.
Portal: Still Alive puts players in the place of test subject, Chell, in the Aperture Science Computer-Aided Enrichment Centre, who you must guide through a series of puzzles using the ASHPD (Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device). The device works by firing orange (Left Trigger) and blue (Right Trigger) portals onto flat services. Jumping (A) through the orange portal teleports you to the blue portal and vice versa. Throughout the puzzles, players come up against GLaDOS, an artificial intelligence who promises the reward of cake* when all the puzzles have been completed. Whilst the storyline is on the short side (approximately four hours long), the story really delivers and will be enjoyed by many.
Graphically, Portal: Still Alive matches the quality of the retail game – making it the best looking Xbox Live Arcade title available and at a staggering 629 MB, you shouldn’t expect anything less. The game’s audio also matches the standards of the retail game and an honourable mention has to go to the ‘Still Alive’ song – played after completion of the game. It really is a masterpiece.
Portal: Still Alive contains fourteen brand new puzzles, along with the puzzles from the retail version. The new puzzles will prove to be a challenge, even for the most experienced players but other than the new puzzles, there isn’t anything new for owners of the ‘Orange Box’, unless they are after the game’s achievements. Some of the achievements are a direct copy and paste from the ‘Orange Box’ list but otherwise there are some pretty challenging achievements such as finishing the game without taking a bullet and only using one of the portals.
Being a direct port with not much additional content, the 1200 Microsoft Points price tag is too much to splash out on for those who already own the title as part of the ‘Orange Box’, even with the inclusion of extra stages and achievements. Those yet to play Portal, this is the perfect opportunity to play possibly one of the sweetest games ever.
*The cake is a lie.