This cake's not a lie
October 21, 2008 12:25 PM   Subscribe

Do you miss blasting with your orange and blue space-warping cannons? Surely you miss Companion Cube... Nine months of work by a dedicated modder: NykO18 (and team) has crystallized into what amounts to an epic prequel to Portal, called Portal: Prelude, whose story arc focuses on the "pre-GlaDOS epoch". It's said to have more gameplay than even the original: 8 chapters, 48 challenges, 6 advanced maps and more than 400 lines of speech.

You can try and whet your appetite with the official trailer, but I didn't find it captures the atmosphere very well -- maybe that has something to do with the Linkin Park?

Funny enough, it was midway through NykO18's work that the rumoured Valve announcement for their own Portal prequel (as Portal 2) came, though it's also been rumored that it may end up being a sequel afterall.

Mirrors for download are here.
posted by tybeet (58 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh, and previously previously previously
posted by tybeet at 12:27 PM on October 21, 2008


Are. You. Still. There!?!
posted by PROD_TPSL at 12:32 PM on October 21, 2008


Ha! That'll show those dweebs at Black Mesa!
posted by Artw at 12:35 PM on October 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


More Portal is good, and a good healthy modding community is a nice thing... but given the quality of the writing in the About page, I am worried about this "story".

Also, it can never really be Portal without Ellen McLain, can it?
posted by rokusan at 12:36 PM on October 21, 2008


Curiosity Module is curious.
posted by Artw at 12:37 PM on October 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


There will be cake, and grief counseling, after the post.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:40 PM on October 21, 2008


It's cruelly hard. In fact, I used noclip a few times, I'm ashamed to say.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:42 PM on October 21, 2008


rokusan: "More Portal is good, and a good healthy modding community is a nice thing... but given the quality of the writing in the About page, I am worried about this "story"."

They're French and Belgian. English isn't their first language. Whether that shows in the game itself, I don't know, since they don't show any credits for writing or for voices.
posted by Plutor at 12:44 PM on October 21, 2008


There was even going to be a party for you. A big party, that all of your friends were invited to. I invited your best friend, 'the Companion Cube'. Of course, he couldn't come, because you murdered him. All your other friends couldn't come either, because you don't have any other friends because of how unlikable you are. It says so right here in your personnel file; 'Unlikable. Liked by no one. A bitter unlikable loner whose passing shall not be mourned.' SHALL NOT BE MOURNED. That's exactly what it says. Very formal. Very official. It also says you were adopted. So that's funny too.
posted by Elmore at 12:44 PM on October 21, 2008 [11 favorites]


About the writing on the website: The team's first language is French, I'm pretty sure. I'm not sure if they're Quebecois or French. The dialog in the game is interesting and tries to be funny with some success, but I'd say it's not on par with the original. Of course, that's a very high benchmark.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:44 PM on October 21, 2008


Nice post. I heard about this a week or two ago and gave it a shot. Sadly, this mod doesn't really maintain the spirit of the original; there are too many puzzles requiring pinpoint accuracy, and the script/voicing is pretty bad. I definitely appreciate that this guy put a ton of work into the mod, and that it's free, but I honestly couldn't make it very far at all before throwing my hands up and calling it quits.
posted by voltairemodern at 12:45 PM on October 21, 2008


It won't be Portal without a Coulton song at the end.
posted by bondcliff at 12:50 PM on October 21, 2008


It's too difficult. Too many levels based on speed and twitchy reflexes. No thank you!
posted by newfers at 12:57 PM on October 21, 2008


Hmm. I've been going through Portal with the commentary, and it's really made me appreciate the amount of work that went into making it challenging but at the same time learnable and fun. I have to agree with voltairemodern, above -- pinpoint accuracy was not what Portal was about, and I remember several moments from first playthrough that I really appreciated that.

Still, very cool. And OMG Portal2.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:14 PM on October 21, 2008


Portal was so damn good. Also, some of those bonus levels were fucking hard. How does this game compare to those?
posted by chunking express at 1:25 PM on October 21, 2008


Speaking of twitch and accuracy (and how my decrepit post-20's body is rapidly losing them) I found recorded video "speed demos" of lots of your faves including Portal. In short: I clearly thought way more in-the-box than I thought I did. Oh, and didn't figure out the semi-cheatey-way to straddle portals. It's still pretty amazing to watch GLaDOS be handed her ass in 29 seconds flat.

(Of course, I got there looking for some nostalgia due to a double post about "Fallout 3" and a commercial for, ahem, Fallout 3^.)
posted by abulafa at 1:27 PM on October 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Portal: The Flash Version mappack is honestly much better that Prelude. It's much more true to the puzzle feel of Portal, though it gets plenty hard pretty fast.
posted by wzcx at 1:28 PM on October 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


I tried it when it came out. Portal Prelude dosen't look like it was playtested very well. The first level drops you directly in front of some turrets, and I got past it by using a console cheat code. One level's solution is based on a glitch in the physics engine, and many other rooms require skills that go way beyond the difficulty level of the first Portal.

It's unplayable, unless you're into the "pound-me-in-the-ass" level of difficulty.
posted by hellojed at 1:30 PM on October 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Portal: The Flash Version mappack is honestly much better that Prelude. It's much more true to the puzzle feel of Portal, though it gets plenty hard pretty fast.

So that's the Flash Portal maps converted back to Portal original? Bizarre.
posted by tybeet at 1:34 PM on October 21, 2008


Example of Better Portal Dialog.
posted by rokusan at 1:35 PM on October 21, 2008 [8 favorites]


Things have changed since you last left the building. What's going on outside will make you wish you were back in here. I have an infinite capacity for knowledge, and even I'm not sure what's going on outside.
posted by Foosnark at 1:36 PM on October 21, 2008


It's difficult, and they are a bit condescending about it. It's too bad they are trying to position themselves as a prequel. They (intentionally) don't capture the spirit of the original game very well in terms of gameplay. As a difficult mod they would be less popular but also less disappointing.
posted by Gary at 1:40 PM on October 21, 2008


Juvenile humor delivered in monotone computer voices followed immediately by a BSOD. Fail. Uninstall.
posted by SilverTail at 1:46 PM on October 21, 2008


It won't be Portal without a Coulton song at the end.

Well, all his stuff's CC'd, so it wouldn't be that hard.
posted by chrismear at 1:57 PM on October 21, 2008


Yes, I would highly not recommend this. It's not fun, it's not in the spirit of the original, the dialogue isnot good, and the puzzles are intentionally overly-difficult.

I mean, the first room? Surrounded by sentries? What an introduction to the attitude of the creators.

But I will admit it is fun shooting portals in new rooms!
posted by m0nm0n at 1:57 PM on October 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


F this Portal crap. When are we getting Episode 3, Valve?
posted by infinitewindow at 2:06 PM on October 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, I read through most of the comments in Gary's link, and that guy can not take criticism whatsoever.

ex: Portal: Prelude is not Portal. Stop comparing.

WTF? You can't name your game Portal: [subtitle] and expect it not to be compared to Portal. That's madness, I tell you. Madness!
posted by owtytrof at 2:14 PM on October 21, 2008


Portal was so damn good. Also, some of those bonus levels were fucking hard. How does this game compare to those?

BONUS LEVELS OH SNAP --
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:17 PM on October 21, 2008


It's unplayable, unless you're into the "pound-me-in-the-ass" level of difficulty.

You seem to have downloaded Porntal: Prelube by accident. Try again.
posted by googly at 2:24 PM on October 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


(rolls awkwardly in)

Hi guys! Not dead yet!
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 2:25 PM on October 21, 2008 [7 favorites]


Fuck this Portal crap. When are we getting Episode 3, Valve?

I was hoping for some Apeture Science action there as well.
posted by Artw at 2:26 PM on October 21, 2008


The problem seems to be that only the most obsessed people make fan mods, but then they're so good at the game they can't make low-difficulty maps.

See also, Stepmania.
posted by effugas at 2:32 PM on October 21, 2008 [4 favorites]


I thought the dialogue was really funny, but I found a lot of the game to be too hard. If you use no clipping very liberally then game can actually be very fun.
posted by AZNsupermarket at 2:41 PM on October 21, 2008


That trailer reminded me so much of something from the demoscene I half expected it to break off in the middle and feature barely-readable shoutouts to The Black Lotus and Future Crew.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:41 PM on October 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Tried it the other day.

This was not a triumph.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:00 PM on October 21, 2008


It's unplayable, unless you're into the "pound-me-in-the-ass"

YES!

...level of difficulty

oh.
posted by Justinian at 3:00 PM on October 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Aaaah, demoscene. Brings back memories of the amazing 64K intros.
posted by benzenedream at 3:05 PM on October 21, 2008


Weighted Companion Cube: "(rolls awkwardly in)

Hi guys! Not dead yet!
"


I urge you guys to disregard this.
posted by PontifexPrimus at 3:29 PM on October 21, 2008 [3 favorites]


That'll show those dweebs at Black Mesa!

Funny enough, I was in New Mexico last week and found Black Mesa. It's a real place! Right next door to Los Alamos, strangely.
posted by backseatpilot at 4:04 PM on October 21, 2008


It's clear that these guys put ALOT of work into it. It's definitely NOT the quality of a Valve game, but it's closer than most of us could manage, and I certainly applaud their effort for their labor of love and giving it away for free.

On their blog they were remarking that they had to make the challenges more difficult with less room for error - simply b/c they didn't have as much time to playtest, iterate and develop really well-tuned gameplay. Besides, it's not really meant for Portal newbs anyway.

I find it a bit annoying that so many people are willing to bitch about the quality of a FREE game made by fans.
posted by gnutron at 4:23 PM on October 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


gnutron - You could have written that complaint better.
posted by Artw at 5:12 PM on October 21, 2008 [5 favorites]


I find it a bit annoying that so many people are willing to bitch about the quality of a FREE game made by fans.

I find it a bit annoying when people load their language like that.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:12 PM on October 21, 2008


He could have easily put that in one or two medium paragraphs but choose to split it into three short ones instead, it's like he's such a fan of the return key he can't help hitting it.
posted by Artw at 5:14 PM on October 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Guys, he posted his opinion here for FREE. You have no room to talk.
posted by empath at 5:43 PM on October 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


These guys are right, the game is far more difficult than the original.

I liked that at first, because I thought the original was too easy. However, there are certain parts of Prelude that are so difficult, the only option is to quicksave before every single action. Solving the more difficult puzzles in Portal left me feeling like I had accomplished something, but getting past some of the more difficult puzzles in Prelude often leaves me feeling like I just got lucky, and probably couldn't do it again on purpose.

Once you get to that point, it's like a slideshow of quickloading frustration rather than a game.

Even so, it's better than a lot of the custom maps that were out there. I found several that were actually impossible, either by design or because the creator didn't bother to actually play through them.
posted by Clamwacker at 5:59 PM on October 21, 2008


Sure, gnutron, but there's an important difference between bitching and making observations about difficulty of gameplay. I'm not calling the creators douchebags or whatever lame insults they apparently got from some players. I'm just saying, it's too hard in ways that don't follow the spirit of the original. Also, the dialogue is poor.
posted by voltairemodern at 6:46 PM on October 21, 2008


Prelude is terrible. It's not Portal. It's ridiculously hard, requires twitchy pixel-perfect jumps and multiple deaths to accomplish anything. The writing is atrocious, even for non-native speakers. The humor is sophomoric and barely above the bathroom-humor level. Avoid it like the plague.
posted by nightchrome at 7:23 PM on October 21, 2008



I wanted it to be good, but damn that was a poor attempt.

The dialog is terrible, and I speak English as my third language. Lots of grammar problems, and juvenile humour. They could just have sent the dialog to a native speaker for a once-over.

All their challenges are about pixel-perfect jumps, it took me 20 minutes just to pass level 3, as you have to crouch in the air, with a lee-way of about 4 pixels.

Not fun at all. My 5yo kid loves to play Portal, and do most of the game on his own. I can't even pass level 3.

I used noclip _a lot_ during the later levels, just to see if their overall plot was done well. The plot is reasonable, fun to be part of installing GLAdOS, but overall, do not bother.
posted by lundman at 7:28 PM on October 21, 2008


I found recorded video "speed demos" of lots of your faves including Portal.

You can also find a lot of these on the YouTubz by just searching for the name of the game in question and "speed."

Some of them are pretty incredible to watch. I remember the 20-ish minute Portal run I watched back when the game was new being pretty entertaining.
posted by sparkletone at 8:04 PM on October 21, 2008


The papercraft in the FPP is nice enough, but the Plush Companion Cube is a real sweetie.
posted by rokusan at 9:10 PM on October 21, 2008


Aperture Science is a fun afternoon diversion, Artw, but I want to get back to busting some Striders, being adored as a messiah, and possibly breeding the elusive Freeman-Vance hybrid.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:25 PM on October 21, 2008


[this is not very good]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:31 PM on October 21, 2008


[this is pretty good]
posted by simoncion at 9:37 PM on October 21, 2008


Who are you? What is that? Oh, what's that? What's that? What is THAT?

Ooh, that thing has numbers on it!

Hey, look at that thing! No, that other thing! Ewww, what's wrong with your legs? Where are we going? Are you coming back? Oh hey, you're the lady from the test! HI!

What's that noise? Is that a gun? Where are we going? Ooh, What's in here?

Do you smell something burning?

posted by quin at 8:38 AM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Curiosity module is bestest module of them all.
posted by Artw at 9:20 AM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's also a knitted companion cube for the crafty among us.
posted by dipping_sauce at 9:50 AM on October 22, 2008


I want to take back everything good I said about this game. It's fundamentally broken.
posted by gnutron at 10:11 AM on October 23, 2008


I want to take back everything good I said about this game. It's fundamentally broken.

Care to elaborate? Being in the "it's too hard, nevermind" camp myself I'd like to know what changed your mind.
posted by Gary at 11:54 AM on October 23, 2008


« Older New Year’s Day 2030....  |  With election season in the US... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments