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Thread: Game Review: Portal: Still Alive (XBLA)

  1. #1
    DCEmu Reviewer Bratman Du's Avatar
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    xbox 360 Game Review: Portal: Still Alive (XBLA)

    Portal: Still Alive
    Publisher: Microsoft
    Developer: Valve
    Genre: Action
    System: XBLA
    Price:1200 MS Points

    The first iteration of Portal we saw was attached to the sweet-as-a-nut deal The Orange Box. At the time I paid 60 quid for the Orange Box, and I was noted for saying that I'd have paid that for Portal alone. This was of course a lie, that would be mad, but Portal's quality and uniqueness stood out from the other parts of the Orange Box (Half Life 2 and it's episodes, and Team Fortress 2. The Orange Box as a whole was great, Half Life 2 and it's episodes are a fantastic play, they age well and converted to the 360 nicely. Team Fortress 2 has a big following even today. The 'Box was full of Diamonds, and Portal was like a, Golden Diamond.

    A number of things set it apart - for one it wasn't a First Person Shooter, it was an FPP (first person puzzler). Puzzle games until then had largely been restricted to 2D, with no real story to speak of. Portal showed us unique puzzle situations with a deep and often darkly humorous story, and a good game mechanic which was well realised. The way the game plays is simple enough, one trigger puts up one portal, the other trigger, a second portal. You can travel between the two. And that's it, but I can't explain in words how intricate this game mechanic makes Portal. It sounds simple, but when you take into account that you can use portals to redirect missiles, take objects through to use elsewhere, and that momentum and gravity are unaffected by portals, then the game becomes much more rich and rewarding.

    Portal: Still Alive, is a hard one to figure out. To be brutally honest, it's a mutilated version of the original. There are puzzles I remember that are cut out (perhaps to fit the XBox Live Arcade maximum size limit). So you get the feel for what the game is, and you get a good taste for the puzzle element, and most of the story is here in tact. There are no new story bits that I noticed, but some of the puzzles themselves seemed to have small additions or twists I don't remember from first time around.

    There are extra and new test chambers (puzzles) to be done individually (i.e. not featuring any of the classic Glados chatter or story). These are simply puzzles and that's it. So I found myself asking - what is this? It's not a prequel or a sequel, and it's not a remake, because a remake would warrant extra and updated content. It's more like a dowloadable content pack for Portal. But it included most of the original game so the only real extras if this were classed as DLC, would be the 20 or so extra puzzles, and if I paid over 5 quid for 20 short enough puzzles, even for what was and is one of the greatest games of all time, I'd cry blood. I'd want more than that for DLC!

    But as it stands, Portal: Still Alive is not DLC, it's standalone Arcade game. So where does that leave my opinion? I love the original Portal, but for this review, I just had to play a bastardized version of the game I love. Why would I play this game? For the extra puzzles? I want more of the excellent story! For the achievements? It's a bit lame to be buying something you already completed just to get extra points (or just to be able to say "rub it up ye, Paddy, I gots more points than u!") There are also modes where you have to do each test using only a set amount of portals or footsteps but really, could you be arsed if you've already done them?

    I seem to be giving this game a bollocking so far, but the best way I would recommend this game, and this is the important part of this review, this is what I want you to remember - If, AND ONLY IF, you have never played, and have no intention of ever paying for and playing, the full Orange Box package, Portal included, then you owe it to yourself to get this. This will probably be the case if you don't like first person shooters much. And that's fair enough, but Portal is not a first person shooter, not at all. The rest of the Orage Box however, is. And if indeed you are that small minority that doesn't like shooting the christ out of anything that moves, then you should opt for Portal: Still Alive on the Arcade.

    It is a great game, even in this slimmed down arcade version, and if you are not a FPS fan, there's no point going for the full Orange Box, take this and enjoy it, because although it's not a complete version, it's enough to show you how awesome the world of Portal is, and you will get almost as much as enjoyment out of this version as the original.


    if you have the Orange Box
    if you haven't
    Last edited by bandit; December 15th, 2008 at 02:06.

  2. #2
    PS2 User Joe88's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
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    I have orange box

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