I Heard There Would be Cake? A ‘Portal: Still Alive’ (XBLA) Review!

Desolation. You wake up in a sterile room, encased in glass. Before you can quite get oriented, an electronic female voice announces that you are part of a scientific test. There are guns, acidic death pools, talking turrets, and emotion inducing boxes. The voice announces that the tests are ready to begin, and before you appears a gelatinous blue opening. With a deep breath, you take a step through. You notice that time and space appears to have bent, as you exit in sight of the entrance just in time to catch a glimpse at the back of your orange jumpsuit. All appears to be well, as you haven’t turned inside out, or exploded yet. You’re Still Alive.

Portal was originally released last year as part of The Orange Box. It quickly became the most talked about game online. You have probably heard your share of “The Cake is a Lie” jokes, to a point where you’re numb to that humor. The thing about Portal though is that the humor is often times subtle. Like discovering secret rooms with pin-up posters, only to have the womans face covered with A Weighted Companion Cube. The halls of Aperture Science’s Test Chambers will echo with your laughter.

The story, while simple in nature, is definitely the selling point. Were it not for the hilarious dialogue, solving puzzles with Portals wouldn’t nearly be as entertaining. The situation’s presented are often absurd, like having the only other real character in the game sing you a song in the credits. It’s these situations that will have you remembering about the game years down the road though.

If you’ve already experienced Portal though, Still Alive isn’t going to be anything new to you. The game features the original Portal game, with an additional handful of bonus test chambers taken from a level pack released on PC. If you haven’t checked the original Portal out however, this is the most complete option available to console players.

Portal: Still Alive is Portal for those who missed it the first time. The extra Test Chamber’s provide more challenge, but aren’t really worth the price of admission if you already own a copy of Portal. It’s one of last years best games, for a new audience. If you’re a part of that group, please note that at the end of the testing process you will be bathed, and then there will be cake. Your prompt compliance is appreciated and will help us help you help us all.

Portal: Still Alive is available for download on the Xbox Live Marketplace for 1200 Points ($15)



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