Excerpt: Portal was inspired by a student game project named Narbacular Drop that was created in 2005 by a team of students at the DigiPen Institute of Technology. That game attempted to combine the gameplay style of first-person shooters with physics based puzzle elements. Valve took notice of the project and eventually hired the team to create a similar game that would fit into the Half-Life universe.
Excerpt: Barmy computers with a penchant for destruction are not an original concept in video games. Many gamers will fondly remember taking on the psychopathic and sadistic SHODAN in System Shock and its excellent sequel. Older gamers may even recall Durandal from the first-person shooter Marathon, who harboured a rather deep grudge towards humans, branding them 'slow, stupid and irritating'.
Conclusion: It's all too rare for a game to come along that makes you realize you've never played anything quite like it, but this is just such an occasion. Portal is truly one of a kind, and while its scope is perhaps a little too limited for its own good, what we do get is delivered with nearly flawless execution and an unforgettable personality that more than compensates for its shortcomings.
Excerpt: It’s very hard for anything to come by and revolutionise a genre, mainly because such ideas are either few and far between, or some other clever bugger has already taken them. It’s also extremely rare for gamers these days to witness something so bewildering, so downright head-scratchingly genius that you feel your brain melting just by thinking about it.
Excerpt: Out this week is The Orange Box , a new package of games from Valve Software that includes the classic first person shooter Half-Life 2 , its two "episodic" mini-sequels, a long-awaited multiplayer shooter called Team Fortress 2 , and finally, the focus of this review, Portal . While many have been looking forward mostly to the other games in this excellent package, I highly recommend that all FPS fans give Portal a shot.
Conclusion: People will try to write off Portal’s bid for Game of the Year, stating it is “too short”. They’re right, really. The game is too short, in the sense that 3 seasons of “Arrested Development” is too short because you never want it to end. If anything, however, this is a testament to how great the game is. It’s so excellently constructed that you want to continue playing it all the time.
Pros: The best writing I’ve seen in a game for a very long time, Great level design and excellent puzzles, An amazing game at a budget price