Portal: Still Alive is one of the newest additions to the Xbox Live Arcade, and a great way for anyone who either does not own, or has no intention of purchasing The Orange Box to get their fix of this incredible game on the Xbox 360.
It contains the entire single player game from the hit 2007 puzzle game as well as some bonus levels. If you've never heard of Portal, head over to our Orange Box review and have a read before you go any further.
The game is just as good as it ever was – although, the graphical textures seem to have been lowered a bit. This was probably done in order to make the file size as small as possible. You play as a test subject at Aperture Science, Inc; a research facility based in the Half-Life universe. You use a gun that is capable of shooting out portals in order to get through multiple test chambers.
Guiding you through your journey is the AI known as GLaDOS. In fact, because your character never speaks, GLaDOS is really the only character you come to know in the whole game. And what a character! Portal has some of the best writing and comedy you will find in a video game. While Portal isn't a very long game (about 3-5 hours or so), it is the perfect length for the kind of experience you are given. The puzzles are clever and challenging enough to not be frustrating but extremely rewarding once you figure them out.
So what's new this time around? Well, you get some extra puzzle rooms after completing the game, and while they are just as clever as some of the levels in the original game, they are completely separate. There is no extra story content, which also means no more GLaDOS. This is probably the greatest criticism for this XBLA game. GLaDOS was, ironically, the heart of Portal. Without her there, it just makes the whole experience a lot more sterile and less fun. The game went from being one with a lot of character and charm, to having absolutely none at all. It almost reminded me of being in a hospital when visiting hours are over - everything is clean, quiet, and you really don't want to be there any more.
Portal is a fantastic game that all gamers should experience. It's unique, funny (one of the best end credits to a game, movie or anything, ever!) and very gratifying; this is why it has previously had such a good score. This particular package, however, is tougher to rate. If you have not played Portal before and don't have a PC to get it on (where it's cheaper and the extra content is free!), then Portal: Still Alive is a great option.
Unless, of course, you'd rather just get The Orange Box instead.
We have a training video from Portal available at GP Downloads - take a look here (52MB).