Video Game / Portal: Prelude
, as the name suggests, is an unofficial Game Mod
. The game takes place before GLaDOS was activated, when tests were monitored by real Aperture Science employees. The game is notable for being significantly more difficult than the original
. It was developed by a team of three in 2008, just one year after Portal
and three years before Portal 2
. Despite the game's difficulty, it's well worth playing, as in the final level, you get to activate GLaDOS and see her kill everyone.
It makes beating those grueling chambers even more satisfying.
It can be downloaded for free here.
Its official website can be found here.
This game includes examples of the following tropes:
- Affably Evil: The human overseers are rather chatty and don't act very evil, but they don't seem to mind how ridiculously lethal their tests are. One of them even calls out the other for not treating Abby like a human.
- Ambiguous Ending: Did Abby die? Who was the masked scientist dragging her outside?
- One theory is that the scientist was Doug Rattmann, the only survivor of GlaDOS' attack.
- Battle Theme Music: "Believe" by The Chemical Brothers is used for the Final Boss. According to the credits, GLaDOS loves this song more than cake.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: Mostly averted: the English is almost always correct despite the creators being French and not very fluent in (spoken) English. A few awkward or grammatically incorrect lines do slip through, though, such as "Welcome to the test chamber number twelve" and "That was close, doesn't it?"
- Boss Banter: Not surprising, considering that GLaDOS provides the page quote.
- The Cake Is a Lie: There really is a cake, but you never get to eat it.
- The Cameo: The G-Man can be seen in several places, but is rather hidden. He's also mentioned by one of the scientists by description.
- Domo also appears as a drawing on a whiteboard and in the intro.
- Continuity Nod: The game draws from a lot of continuity from Portal lore including:
- It's mentioned that it's bring-your-daughter-to work-day.
- GLaDOS floods the Enrichment Center in neurotoxin, before having a morality core installed.
- Contrived Coincidence: The first time anyone ever completes the lethal test course just so happens to be the day that GLaDOS is turned on.
- Darker and Edgier: At the end, GLaDOS kills everyone in the computer AI chamber right in front of you.
- Downer Ending: After you install the morality core, you realize that it's too late and GLaDOS kills everyone with neurotoxin.
- Doomed by Canon: You can not prevent GLaDOS from filling the Enrichment Center with a deadly neurotoxin and killing everybody in it, even after you place the Morality Core.
- Dull Surprise: Thanks to the computerized voices, there are many hilarious moments of this.
- Easter Egg:
- The G-Man shows up in a few places.
- Using noclip to go out of the map in Test Chamber 11 and enter a green square reveals the "Badger Badger Badger" web animation.
- Evil Laugh: Some of the scientists have some really terrifying ones for no particular reason.
- Fan Sequel: Inverted, in that it's a prequel.
- Final Boss: Relatively uncommon for mods.
- Greater-Scope Villain: The G-Man is likely this, although it's not confirmed.
- Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Placing the morality core on GLaDOS completes the game, but it doesn't really stop her in any way. In fact, she (possibly) kills you right after that.
- Irony: Why is it that the humans' tests are so much more lethal than the ones made by the murderous AI?
- Mood Whiplash: At first, it has the atmosphere of Portal 1 until it takes a shift in tone near the end.
- Nintendo Hard: "CAUTION: This game uses advanced portaling techniques and may not be suitable for EVERYONE. Be prepared to think with portals." You have been warned.
- Non-Standard Game Over: Test Chamber 06 requires you to put a cube on a button under a Descending Ceiling. If you allow the ceiling to go all the way down (with you not under it), it will not activate the button; instead, your test supervisor will say that the rules prevent him from giving you another try, and end the test.
- Noob Bridge: Even if you have played Portal, there are a lot of places you'll probably bet stuck if you don't know what to do. One early puzzle requires to you push forward, crouch, and jump while in midair to clear the ledge.
- Off the Rails: You get to go behind the scenes when one of the test chambers catches on fire.
- Silent Protagonist: Abby
- Stock Footage: Although some of GLaDOS's lines are original, the ones during the fight were taken from Portal.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Abby is based on Chell's model.
- Synthetic Voice Actor: Ironically, in the era before testing was done by a computer, the humans are voiced by robots.
- While the mod was in development, it was stated that it was an alternative to the scientists being recorded by the game developers, and therefore, since the game developers are French, everyone having French accents.
- Too Dumb to Live: In the final cutscene, a scientist is waving his arms around frantically in front of GLaDOS, practically begging to be shot by a deadly laser.
- Also, the scientists who decided it was a good idea to activate GLaDOS before the morality core was ready.
- Warp Zone: One can be accessed by crawling through a light in Test Chamber 09. Its graphics are taken straight from Super Mario Bros.
- Waxing Lyrical: GLaDOS speaks the opening lines of "Still Alive" when she hears it on the radio.