Game Info:

Release Date: October 2007
Developed by: Valve
Available on PC, Xbox, PS3
Single Player
Rated Teen (turret violence)
Price: $19.99 or $29.99 in Orange Box

System Requirements:
1.7 GHz Processor
DirectX® 8.1 level Graphics Card (Requires support for SSE)
Windows® Vista/XP/2000
Internet Connection

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a lab rat? Even if you haven’t wondered that, Portal is still a fun gaming experience that you’ll want to try out. When you start the game you’re greeted by a computer (GLaDOS). Your character, Chell, doesn’t have much of a background and awakens in a chamber at Aperture Science Labs. GLaDOS will guide you through a series of nineteen test chambers that you have to figure your way out of.

To exit the test chambers, there are usually pressure buttons that have to be held down with weighted cubes. Getting to the cubes is often the challenging part. There are other obstacles such as turrets, toxic water and energy balls, to name a few. Many of the puzzles allow you to take your time but there are some timed attack challenges. For instance, doors will only stay open for a few seconds.


Strengths: Unique and challenging game play
Weaknesses: Only 19 levels and many of the beginning levels can be completed in minutes. Very short game.
Moral Warnings: Other than turrets, rocket launchers and neurotoxin gas, this game is pretty clean

So, as you might\'ve guessed, this game is called Portal for a reason. The portals are opened for you when you first start the game, but you\'ll have to jump through them before time runs out. It won’t be long before you’ll get a portal gun which will allow you to create a portal in one direction. Eventually you’ll be able to open portals in two directions.

The portals are super powerful and will allow you to enter through most surfaces and exit out the other portal locations. You\'ll need to use portals to teleport yourself and various objects, both good and bad, into other locations. If a turret is firing at you, drop a portal under it and away it goes. If you get enough momentum going you can fling yourself across rooms, which is necessary for the portal jumping puzzles scattered throughout the game.

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score: 80%
Game Play: 16/20
Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 8/10
Controls/Interface: 5/5
Stability: 4/5

Morality Score: 88%
Violence :6/10
Sexuality: 10/10
Language: 10/10
Occult/Super Natural: 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical: 10:10

As for game length, this game is relatively short if you solve the puzzles quickly. Without giving away any spoilers the last level is the longest by far. After you beat the game, you can play advanced levels which are the same puzzles but with more challenging circumstances such as toxic water where there used to be a floor to walk on. There are bonus maps where you can challenge yourself to complete a level in a certain amount of time, with a certain number of steps or only using a certain number of portals. This game was released with The Orange Box set which sells for $20-30 versus the Portal price tag of $20 standalone. It’s a no-brainer to go with The Orange Box.

Graphically this game is a bit dated but the test chambers don’t need a whole lot of detail. The camera view is in first person and the graphics are 3D accelerated. The portals and explosions all look good. The physics are top notch thanks to the Source engine. The audio is great. I love GLaDOS’ computerized praises and taunts. I caught myself laughing many times throughout the game due to the computer\'s amusing personality. The credits song is amusing and legally available for free download, so I recommend grabbing it.

From an appropriateness standpoint, Portal is pretty tame. The only violence is caused by your surroundings; you are the only one who can die. There are electronic enemies such as turrets and rocket launchers but no humans. I have no problem letting my kids play this; it makes them think and they enjoy the portal technology.

There’s a demo available if you want to try out the first five levels of Portal. Do you think you’re a smart enough specimen? I highly recommend this game but because of the game length I don’t recommend paying the full retail price of $19.99. Grab it in a Steam deal if you can. There is quite a following for this game and it has spawned some popular catch phrases in the gamer community such as, “The cake is a lie.” I look forward to the sequel. Hopefully it’s longer.

About the Author

Cheryl Gress

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About Us:

Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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