Remember you have to imagine the title of this post in a terrifying Frank whisper.
Vulvic software, producers of the quiveringly good Half Life series have quietly spunked forth a low-price game called Portal. I am here to wax lovingly into your ear how exquisitely lustrous this gemalicious prism of a game really is.
Think of The Running Man. Think Cube. Think dark thoughts of being trapped in the belly of a horrible machine. That’s the atmosphere – with a pit-black streak of humour, like clowns whispering into your ears in the dark.
My initial impressions – that Portal was a mere puzzle game, or a technical demo with stilettos on – were dead wrong. It’s a genuinely new take on the FPS genre – minus the S. You learn innovative in-game skills. It’s immersive and dreamlike. The narrative is such that you feel motivated to defeat the system that holds you captive.
The difficulty curve is perfectly crafted – the in-game director’s commentary illuminates how much playtesting went on. Finally, the ending is both satisfying and unlike any ending you’ve seen before. All in all it’s just an outstanding game.
If you haven’t got access to a decent PC you can play a flash ‘tribute’ version in the mean time, polished to a tasty sheen.
Moving onto a different topic, near the end of Portal there’s a widget you pick up which is the embodiment of anger, the Anger Sphere. It gabbles and shrieks incoherently. In a stroke of genius they cast one of my heroes Mike Patton for the relevant vocals. Like an out-take from his near-inconsumable album Adult Themes for Voice.
In other geek news I finally have GarageBand 08 sorted out on my rejuvenated, Leopard-flavoured Mac (thanks Rob!) so the possibilities for horrendously time-expensive but zany posts have been opened up.