Portal is longer than it looks

I sat down this afternoon to finish playing Portal--I had made it halfway through level 18 previously (with the knowledge, from the first scene, that there were 19 levels total), and today I got through the rest of level 18.

And then got through the first part of level 19, and had to resort to looking for clues online to figure out how to get into the next part of level 19.

(There are no specific spoilers in this entry; trying to keep it vague in case anyone hasn't played but plans to.)

And then spent most of the rest of the evening going through most of the rest of the game.

Finally made it to the closing sequence, but lost the race against time too many times. I did check a bit from another video walkthrough just to make sure I really was on track; sure enough, the next thing I have to do is just a matter of doing what I'm doing faster and with fewer mistakes, to finish before time runs out.

So I set it aside to finish another time. Tomorrow, maybe.

I'm still enjoying it, but I do get a little frustrated with some of the more repetitive parts, and some of the more persnickety timing-and-exact-movement parts.

(There was one bit tonight when I resorted to stacking up assorted objects to stand on in order to get high enough in the air for something. It worked, sorta kinda, but it was slow and frustrating, because you really can't do fine-grained object manipulation in this game; it's like the character is wearing boxing gloves. Anyway, turns out that there's a trick way to get something useful to stand on in that sequence. I'm glad that there are multiple paths to success, but I sure wish I'd figured out the trick instead of spending 15 or 20 minutes on the other approach.)

2 Responses to “Portal is longer than it looks”

  1. David Moles

    I think I can guess where you resorted to stacking. I spent like two hours trying to balance piles of barrels before I remembered I had the portal gun.

    (In my defense, I’d been playing Half-Life 2 for quite a while before that, which does have barrel-stacking puzzles, doesn’t have a portal gun, and is intensely frustrating in that tasks that would be trivial for any creature with fingers, let alone opposable thumbs, suddenly become well-nigh impossible.)

    You might consider starting over, to get some more low-stress practice before the final timed bit. Once you’ve figured out a solution to each level, it’s not hard to get through the game in a couple of hours.

  2. Jed

    I think I was at a different place from what you’re describing — I don’t think there were any barrels where I was. I was trying to stack computers, and a chair, to get into a highish narrow space (and eventually succeeded); but it turned out there was a tricky way to get something else to stand on.

    I remember the barrels, but I don’t remember where they were — it all started to blur together after a while.

    But yeah, there were definitely a couple of places where I tried various complicated things or wandered around confused for a while, only to realize that I could use the portal gun. Or, in at least one place, only to realize that I could just walk through a field of glowy stuff rather than finding some tricky way to portal past it; that one was especially embarrassing, because I knew from previous levels that I could do that, I just got confused.

    I ended up not having much trouble with the final sequence once I sat down to it fresh. It might be fun to run through the whole game again now that I know what I’m doing, except that I don’t remember a bunch of the solutions so I would have to figure them out again. Also, for most of the game up to level 15 or so, I wasn’t driving–I went through it once with Kam doing most of the driving, and then again with Jenni doing most of it, so although I helped with figuring out the puzzles, I didn’t necessarily have a feel for how to actually do everything.

    🙂 re “trivial for any creature with fingers, let alone opposable thumbs”–yeah, definitely.


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