Portal: Still Alive

BY Matthew Theroux  //  November 4, 2008

New puzzles, achievements, and some polish.

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ortal: Still Alive, recently released for the Xbox Live Arcade, is almost an exact replica of the version of the game in last year's Orange Box. Valve Corporation has made a few additions to help try to lure you into downloading this one.

For those who still haven't heard about Portal, you play as an unidentified female protagonist who is trapped within the bowels of Aperture Science. To escape you must travel through the varied puzzles that the main computer GLaDOS has set up for you. To aid you through these puzzles you get the portal gun, which is able to create two-way portals on nearly any solid surface.

The main game is exactly the same as it was in the Orange Box, so don't expect any new puzzles in there. Challenge levels and the time, portal, and steps trials are still here. The only difference is that this time around you don't have to set what trial you're going to go for when you attempt a trial all three elements are recorded. What are new are 14 challenge areas. These puzzles are challenging and will put to the test all the skills you picked up during the main game. There are also some new achievements to obtain, if you're into that.

Between the two versions of the game there are some subtle differences outside of the main game. For one the main menu is a bit easier to navigate this time around, with challenges being a separate selection. And I would argue that Still Alive looks better than the Orange Box version — things just look much crisper and detailed this time around.

Portal: Still Alive is perfectly suited as a Xbox Live Arcade game. If you haven't checked the original game out, this one is definitely worth your time. If you have, then you really aren't missing out on much; the new challenge areas are nice but they are available for free on the PC. As such, you really should only go for the Arcade version if you've never played Portal before, or you just happen to love the game.

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