Wednesday, February 3, 2010

WAA - Portal: Still Alive

My grant goes out a week from Friday, so just one more week of light posting before the dam bursts. I've got lots to discuss here, including downloadable content for Mass Effect, nitpicks for Need For Speed, and my ongoing death-struggle with Infinite Undiscovery (SPOILER: It's almost over!).

For now, I'll hand out WAA for an arcade game that's close to my heart - Portal: Still Alive. For those who didn't originally play Portal as part of The Orange have my pity. But the good news is that Valve released Portal as a stand-alone for Xbox Live Arcade, with the same great gameplay for newbies and some new challenge maps to test veterans. Plus there's all new Achievements! Considering that Portal may well be the most complete video game experience (albeit for just a few hours) in existence, it's a bargain!

Here are the awards:

The "One With Combat"Award: "A Feeling Like Floating"
For this one, you need to dissolve an automated turret. That may sound difficult since you don't get any weapons in Portal, but it's actually pretty simple. You can drop one into a corrosive pit or, even more satisfying, pick one up from behind and carry it through a security field.

The "Mile High Club" Award: "Out of the Blue"
Very tricky. Once you've upgraded your portal gun so it can fire both blue and orange portals, you need to only go through orange portals (and hence, fall out of blue portals) for the rest of the game. This one can be surprisingly tricky, as there are portions of the game where they clearly want you to alternate portals. You'll have to come up with some alternate strategies, and save often in case you make a mistake!

The "Seriously..." Award: "Vanilla Crazy Cake"
You have to beat all the advanced chambers (about 20) to unlock this award. It's not too bad though, once you get the hang of the game.

The "Little Rocket Man" Award: "Like a Rat"
This one is a puzzle in itself. You have to get yourself trapped in a room with no way to escape. Of course, the tests are designed to prevent that from happening so you won't do it by accident. Need a hint? Here's one method (highlight): in test chamber 13, try to get all the cubes on one side of the door separating the two rooms and yourself on the other.

The Scientist Gone Gamer Award: "Like a Rat"
You'll feel like this many times while playing Portal...

Achievement Set Rating - 10
The perfect way to do an Arcade set. There's a good mix of easy and difficult Achievements, and you'll be rewarded for trying different approaches while exploring thoroughly. There's no real grinding to suffer, the pictures and titles are great, and you even unlock Gamerpics as you work through the game. Valve, I salute you!

Achievement Difficulty Rating - 6
This will be highly variable depending on your previous Portal experience. A veteran player will breeze through the game and have only mild difficulty with the advanced chambers. A neophyte, on the other hand, will come along more slowly. The key point is that the game does a great job of teaching you the mechanics slowly, and it's a lot of fun as you learn.


  1. As someone who has played, and beat, Portal on Orange Box I would gladly play through the gme again. I have just one question, are the achievements the same and you just get them twice? Or are the achievements for Portal: Still Alive a complete second set of achievements for the game?

  2. Good question, and no it's a completely different set. A significantly easier set than the first game, in my opinion...