Author: Dylan Holcomb
Released: October 30th 2011
Welcome to the test chamber which has taken on a theme suitable for the Halloween spirit. Prepare to complete this test… if you dare.
There’s been a spot of redecoration for Halloween in the test chambers, happy to shy from the sterile and bright visual style to something more dark and moody, with only a soft glow coming from the many candles spread around the area, some on the floor and others on ledges and within niches. The environment definitely invokes the creepy touch it was looking for through this combination of foggy rooms with red, blue and other colour candles as the few sources of light. The digital screen cemetery was a great touch, not only does it touch on the horror side, but also fits in with the Portal scheme of design and humour without breaking the consistency, where tombstones otherwise would have. What really brings this together was the general ambience, a strange and foreboding track of drones and rumbles, along with the sound of a turret taking aim every now and then, as if something is always watching you from nearby. And I don’t mean via cameras either. As for the chamber itself, the puzzle isn’t too bad and the solution is fairly straight forward, decent use of mechanics using a box and laser to open the exit. While the water is not obvious at first and how a quick death can ensure if one were to accidentally touch the aerial faith plate, there is a nifty use for the blue gel that could have come in handy during an earlier playthrough.
The dark and foreboding design and little touches of detail such as the use of candles, work well with its change of mood to the usual test chamber. While the puzzle isn’t too bad, the experience mostly draws from it’s unique choice of theme and the design therein.