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Videogame: Portal 2

Okay, look. We've both said a lot of things that you're going to regret. But I think we can put our differences behind us. For science. You monster.
GLaDOS

Portal 2 is a sequel to the game Portal. It picks up the story of Chell an unspecified number of years after the events of the first game. The Aperture Science Enrichment Center has fallen into ruin, and Chell is awakened from cryogenic sleep by Wheatley, a talkative Personality Core who needs her help to escape the lab. While roaming the remains of the facility, the two accidentally repower GLaDOS — who is, needless to say, not too happy to see Chell again. GLaDOS puts Chell right back into a series of test chambers while she works on getting the Enrichment Center to rebuild itself, while Wheatley continues to attempt to engineer an escape.

During the course of the game, much is revealed about Aperture Science's backstory — as well as the backstory of its founder, Cave Johnson, and several other characters. The game introduces new environments, including the ruins of the Enrichment Center from the first game, the abandoned facilities of the original Aperture Laboratories, and a haphazard and idiotic renovation of the modern test chambers. While the game is still fairly linear, it offers a lot more room for exploration and many puzzles involve getting from one test chamber to the next, not merely solving the challenges within.

The two-player cooperative mode deserves its own mention, as it isn't simply a retread of the main game; instead, it takes place in a different set of test chambers with a separate plot and fresh revelations about the world of Aperture Science. The playable characters are not humans, but instead a pair of robots named ATLAS and P-Body that were created by GLaDOS as "the perfect test subjects". (ATLAS' design is based on a Personality Core, while P-Body's is based on a turret.) The co-op mode ups the ante significantly in terms of the complexity of the puzzles, thanks chiefly to having two extra portals to work with.

New gameplay elements include Thermal Discouragement Beams; Hard Light platforms; Aerial Faith Plates that hurl you through the air; the Repulsion, Propulsion, and Conversion Gels; Excursion Funnels; and the myriad ways which the player can manipulate these new elements with objects and portals.

Unlike the first game, Portal 2 is a full-priced game, but the single-player campaign runs 2-3 times as long as in Portal, and the co-op is similarly paced.

A co-op and challenge DLC pack entitled "Peer Review" was released on October 4th, 2011. The DLC allows players to perform a Speed Run in each map and compare their results against their friends' records. In co-op, a new group of test chambers are present to further challenge players and a new plot is introduced for it.

A second DLC pack entitled "The Perpetual Testing Initiative" (PeTI) was released on May 8th, 2012. It allows players to design and share their own test chambers through a new creative mode built into the game. These player made chambers can then be used to play through a pseudo-single player campaign about Cave Johnson sending test subjects to explore (and steal from) Alternate Universe versions of Aperture Science. Instead of playing as Chell, the player character is one of the generic stick figures featured in the Cave Johnson trailers, officially named "Bendy". Custom Chambers have their own page over at Portal Custom Maps.

Portal 2 contains examples of these tropes:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes A to C 
  • Accent Adaptation: At one point, Wheatley slows down his Motor Mouth and badly imitates an accent because he thinks GlaDOS cannot hear him that way. Each dub takes a parody of accent from an overseas country to the "origin" country: American (Texan, specifically) in English, Argentinian in Spanish, Quebecois in French, Swiss German/Southern German accent in German. You can hear them all here!
  • Adorable Evil Minions: The sentry turrets.
  • Affably Evil: Wheatley, after the Face-Heel Turn. Also, Cave Johnson.
  • After the End: Implied. The second time Chell wakes up, the announcer states she's been in suspended animation for a really long time - so much time that the system can't even count how much time has passed! Subsequent hints suggest that the human race did not fare well in that time span. Whether or not this has anything to do with the Combine invasion has yet to be seen.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Played with — the programming of GLaDOS' main body will apparently turn every A.I. attached to it insane, regardless of its personality. Several safeguards were instated to prevent GLaDOS from getting out of hand, from mundane to downright ridiculous. Yeah, that didn't go too well.
    • Inverted by the turrets. Designed as killing machines, they practice and ultimately end up performing operas rather than putting holes in you.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: In PeTI, an alternate universe Cave Johnson explains to his test subjects why this is a bad idea.
    Space Prison warden!Cave Johnson: "Attention test prisoners attempting to escape through the air ducts, I don't know what nonsense you learned on TV, but in real life, air ducts just go to the air conditioning unit. It's also pretty dusty, so if you've got asthma, chances you'll probably die. And we'll be smelling it for weeks, because, again, air ducts aren't a secret escape hatch, they're how we ventilate the facility."
  • Alas, Poor Villain: The post-credits scene where Wheatley, floating in space at the end, regrets his betrayal of Chell. It's particularly touching that even though he's lost in space with the Space Core ranting in his ear forever, this guilt is what is really bothering him.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: Implied by Wheatley if you pass "The Part Where He Kills You" and return after the trap is sprung to encourage Chell to jump into the pit, along with a series of other stereotypically "girly" incentives.
  • All That Glitters: Done sarcastically by GLaDOS at one point near the end of the Co-Op campaign. Where she claims that even though she'll get all the credit for rescuing the humans the bots still have the trust they formed throughout the test.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • The Lab Rat tie-in comic bridges the gap between the two games, as well as resolving the fate of the mysterious "Ratman" who scribbled on the walls. It also provides a lot of backstory, if you read between the lines, offering a possibility for where GLaDOS got the neurotoxin to begin with and explaining why Ratman drew cats on the walls in the sequel. GLaDOS claimed to be experimenting with Schrodinger's Cat.
    • The official tie-in Potato Science Kit includes extra information about the fateful Bring Your Daughter To Work Day (the reason everybody made a potato battery for the science fair was that Aperture were trying to offload an oversupply of potatoes one of their misjudgements had stuck them with) and the young Chell in particular (her father was an Aperture employeenote  who brought her to Bring Your Daughter To Work Day; also, she was apparently quite the Deadpan Snarker before she became a Heroic Mime).
  • Alternate Reality Game: Continuing from the changes to Portal, on April Fools' Day 2011, the plot thickened with "PotatoFoolsDay", in which 13 indie games on Steam (the Potato Sack Pack, including Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Audiosurf, BIT.TRIP BEAT, Defense Grid: The Awakening, Killing Floor, Super Meat Boy and AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAA!!! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity) saw the in-game appearance of cryptic messages and/or graphics, eventually culminating in a hostile takeover of the games' universes by GLaDOS herself, using their powers to initiate a boot sequence. However, she required additional CPU power to do so. If players could generate that power by playing the games, the Steam release date would be bumped up. They succeeded in knocking off about ten hours from the original time.
  • Alternate Universe: The Excuse Plot for the PeTI DLC is that Aperture is nearly bankrupt, so to save on test chamber construction costs, they sneak the designs into an Aperture in an Alternate Universe, let them build it, then steal it back. In nearly every one of these alternate universes, Cave Johnson is still CEO/Prison Warden/Matriarch/Whatever of Aperture (except for one where it's Doug Rattman).
    • One of the audio that you hear at the beginning of the tests implies that the "Earth Prime" that sends the test subjects to alternate universes is itself an alternate universe of the main story.
    Cave Johnson: As of now, we are cancelling the genetic lifeform disk operating system initiative. Boy, that could have backfired.
    • You can also notice this if you've listened to the developer commentary and noted that originally Cave's assistant is a scientist named Greg, who is replaced by Caroline to save actor cost, while in Earth-Prime Greg is Cave's assistant, and Prime Cave never mentioned Caroline.
    • Plus if you play enough maps the last couple voice overs have Cave Prime and Dark Cave each finding a universe made of money, basically giving Aperture all the funding it will ever need, thus avoiding the financial woes Aperture was clearly in around Cave's death.
  • Altum Videtur: The song "PotatOS Lament" is in Latin.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Apparently, the moon rock poisoning Cave Johnson was afflicted with is a real hazard. Lunar dust is just as destructive to human lungs as asbestos, which means like Cave, you will suffer a slow, horrible death if you breathe too much of the stuff in. The effects are similar to silicosis, symptoms of which are displayed by Cave.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • The trailers narrated by Cave Johnson feature technology that would have been created long after Johnson had died in-universe.
    • In the test chambers from The Fifties, Johnson often refers to "astronauts" who have "flown into space". The first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, made his historic flight in 1961.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Single player mode has you playing as Chell while Co-Op has you play as one of the robots, Atlas and P-Body. Playing on a community map from the Steam Workshop DLC has you playing as neither Chell or the robots, but as one of the stick figures from the many videos seen in the game and by Valve. He has been officially dubbed as Bendy by Valve.
  • And I Must Scream:
    • GLaDOS tells you that she has a black box feature that forced her to relive the last 2 minutes of her life, right up until the point where you killed her. Over. And over. And over. If the 300 years in the future thing is accurate, this means she relived that roughly 78.8 million times; no wonder she's pissed off. That being said, we only have GLaDOS's word on this, so like just about everything else she says, she might simply be lying.
    • GLaDOS also implies this is what she's planning to do with Chell (at first), running tests over and over until she dies, then reanimating her to do it again, forever.
    • GLaDOS becomes a potato, and is eaten by a bird
    • Invoked late in the game, when GLaDOS lays out an elaborate revenge plan against Wheatley, which includes "10 years inside the room where all the robots scream at you".
    • Wheatley's fate, in which he is stuck in space with only the Space Core for company qualifies, but only provided that he doesn't die a merciful death before he goes mad. Since he no longer has any power source, he probably will.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The developer commentary mentions several occasions where they cheated in the player's favor to make some parts of the game less frustrating. Specifically, the game is extremely forgiving of entering portals while carrying objects, Propulsion Gel has a tethering effect that helps keep you running straight so that a minor trajectory error won't kill you, Repulsion Gel will automatically make you jump if you hit it at speed, many portal surfaces auto-center your shot, and in two time-critical areas note  the game will switch portals around if you accidentally shoot a portal of the wrong color.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: Implied and Subverted.
    GLaDOS: (As P-Body and Atlas kill some turrets) What are you doing?! You Monster!! They're one of us! (suddenly chipper) I'm kidding. Destroying them is part of the test. They're no more important to you than you are to me.
  • Apple of Discord: GLaDOS does her best to find one during the co-op campaign, such as pretending to be in conversation with Blue/Orange about how awful Orange/Blue is or this, when one of the robots dies:
    GLaDOS: You were right, Blue. Orange was dumb enough to fall for your trap.
  • Arbitrary Maximum Range: Averted when you shoot a portal on the moon. With the speed of light delay actually accounted for.
  • Arc Symbol:
    • Birds.
    • Potatoes.
    • Also (Schrödinger's) cats and the moon.
    • Greek Mythology involving Prometheus to a lesser extent.
  • Art Evolution: The Rat Man sure got a lot better at drawing on walls between games.
    • The developer's commentary notes that one reason they initially put players into the test chambers from the first game was to give them a chance to appreciate the graphical improvements against a familiar setting.
    • The elevators and Material Emancipation Grills look very different than they did in the first game. The Emancipation Grills were changed due to them looking "threatening" to playtesters who, ironically, kept walking through them without realizing their purpose until a puzzle appeared that utilizes them. The new design is meant to represent something along the lines of flowing water. Meanwhile, the elevators were redesigned to have large screens surrounding them, which play videos as a way of rewarding the player for completing the test.
  • Artifact Title: Almost happened. It was originally set to be a prequel to the original, with brand new characters and no portals which was to be replaced with a brand new undisclosed game mechanics. While Valve loves it, the testers hated it.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Wheatley is an invocation of this trope. He is an Intelligence Dampening Sphere, specifically built to make GLaDOS dumber and thus less dangerous.
    GLaDOS: You're the MORON they built TO MAKE ME AN IDIOT!
    • Also a subversion as, although he's stupid, he's not stupid in the typical sense of Artificial Stupidity. He's not poorly programmed so much as very well programmed to be "humanly" stupid. He even uses his chaotic nature to do one or two smart things that surprise GLaDOS, although he typically proceeds to undermine them with more stupidity. And he's too thick/well-programmed to be fazed by a Logic Bomb.
  • Artistic License - Astronomy: While on the moon, we see one of the later Apollo sites, and the Earth, near the horizon. The Earth is always close to directly overhead at all the Apollo sites.
  • Artistic License - Physics: As much as the Space Core is happy to be floating in space at the end, the blowing of air out of the portal on the Moon should not have been near enough force to put it and Wheatley in orbit. They should've fallen to the Moon's surface. Taking this further, Wheatley does not have enough mass for the space core to orbit him, but it's more amusing this way.
  • Art Shift: "Bendy", the two-dimensional stick figure protagonist of the PeTI DLC. That's not an exaggeration. Using portals to look at yourself shows that he is completely flat.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: In the PeTI DLC, one of the parallel Caves has apparently turned the staff of Aperture and himself into beings of pure energy: "Not quite what we were hoping for, but in the ballpark".
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: The modern test chambers are in this style, when they're not overgrown or broken by Wheatley.
  • As the Good Book Says: Wheatley does this after turning the lights on in the breaker room. It's also Foreshadowing.
    "Let there be light. That's... uh... God. I was quoting God."
  • Astral Finale
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: This little exchange:
    Announcer: Stalemate detected. Transfer Procedure cannot continue.
    GLaDOS: Yes!
    Wheatley (Currently plugged into a socket.): Pull me out! Pull me out! Pull me out! Pull me out! Pull me out! Pull me out!
    Announcer: (Speaking over Wheatley.) ... unless a Stalemate Resolution Associate is present to press the Stalemate Resolution Button.
    Wheatley: Leave me in! Leave me in!
    • Given a reprise of sorts later:
    Wheatley: (As Chell clutches to him to avoid being pulled into space) Let go! LET GO! I'm still connected, I can pull myself in! I can still fix this!
    GLaDOS: I already fixed it. And you are not coming back.
    Wheatley: Oh, no! Change of plans... Hold on to me! Tighter! Tighter! (Is knocked loose of the mainframe and hurled into space) GRABMEGRABMEGRABME!
    • At the end of Peer Review
    GLaDOS: *to P-Body and Atlas* Go get her!
    They enter a large room
    GLaDOS: Oh. My. God! It's the bird! Run! I have no plan for this. Abort! Forget your training! Run! What are you doing? Why are you not running? Get back! She's at the controls! You're not killing machines, I lied about that. Run! Ah, Oh God. Abort, mission abort! Retreat retreat retreat! I warned you! Mission abort! Retreat! Oh god it's over we've lost! It's over!
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: GLaDOS finally lets Chell go after deciding that killing her is just too much hassle. But not because she likes her, or anything...
  • Back from the Dead: GLaDOS, of course. (Also, apparently GLaDOS never properly incinerated the original Companion Cube, and she returns it to you at the end of the game).
  • Bad Boss: Cave Johnson is suggested to be a spectacularly bad one of these even before he resorted to testing on his employees and their families.
    Cave Johnson: They told me I couldn't fire a man for being in a wheelchair. Did it anyway. Ramps are expensive.
    • He does seem to have a soft spot for his secretary Caroline, although even that gets twisted around toward the end of his life.
  • Bad Liar: GLaDOS of course, but she has improved a bit from the first game. Wheatley even more so, and it gets worse as the game progresses.
  • Bait and Switch: Cave Johnson during the ARG tests:
    "Cave Johnson here. Just wanna let the cafeteria staff know to lay off the soylent green. I'm holding a memo from the President, and it turns out that soylent green is— let's see here... doubling in price. Now listen up: I don't care how good people tastes. This stuff's costing me more than lobster, so we're going back to fishsticks."‎
  • Baleful Polymorph: Non-magical version. Wheatley "installs" GLaDOS into a potato battery (presumably from the science fair) after she pisses him off. Because potatoes can generate electricity, she's still alive, but they generate so little voltage that she can't really overtax herself (like say, getting too angry about her situation) or she shuts down briefly due to lack of power. Also comes with a Brick Joke, see below.
  • Berserk Button: Wheatley really does not like to be called a moron.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: During the endgame boss battle, one of the ancillary functions that gets damaged is the countdown clock to nuclear annihilation. In order to remove the uncertainty this generates in the Exact Time to Failure, the computer backup systems pre-empt the countdown with a second countdown after which the facility will self destruct on its own. The folks at Aperture Science are extremely efficient.
    Announcer: Reactor explosion timer destroyed. Reactor Explosion Uncertainty Emergency Preemption Protocol activated. This facility will self-destruct in two minutes.
  • Big Door: The door to the old Aperture Science facility. The developers found this a highlighting feature of the game, having "the biggest door in video games!" Behind it is a wall, with a much smaller door and a few chairs.
  • Big "NO!": GLaDOS did one of these.
  • Big Red Button: Several. Very convenient.
  • Big "Shut Up!": Wheatley does this to the automated announcer when it mentions that the reactor is overloading.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • At one point, Wheatley attempts to show off by speaking Spanish through a translation program without knowing what he's saying. The Spanish translates to "You are using the translation software incorrectly. Please consult the manual." In the Spanish version of the game, Wheatley says that line in English: "It seems that you are using the translation tool incorrectly. Please check the manual."
    • The opera piece that the turrets sing in Italian for Chell as she leaves is an aria composed and sung by GLaDOS' voice actress, Ellen McLane, called "Cara Mia". The title translates in English to "My Dear" and the song's lyrics describe a begrudging farewell to a loved one.
    • Also in the beginning of the game, if you wait long enough to open the door to the Relaxation Chamber, Wheatley will speak in Spanish.
    Wheatley: (to self) Hmm... could be Spanish, could be Spanish... (to Chell) Hola, amigo! Abre la puerta! Donde esta—no, um...
    • In the "Lab Rat" comic, Chell's profile includes five lines of binary near the bottom. When translated into text, they read "The cake is a lie."
  • Bindle Stick: Referenced by Cave Johnson in the 70's era test chambers.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Chell finally escapes from the facility, but there's no one in sight and she only has the clothes on her back. If you think about it with that in mind, returning the Companion Cube at the end seems like a very cruel parting shot from GLaDOS, essentially saying "this is all the company you'll get from now on." It seems clear that the Combine were defeated, but as to the state of the world beyond that, who knows?
    • Wheatley is lost, alone and stranded in space. All he wants now is to take it all back and apologize.
  • Black Comedy: So, so much. See the Funny page for examples.
  • Blatant Lies:
  • Bloodless Carnage: Unlike in the first game, there are no signs of blood at all, to keep the rating at E10+. Taking damage just gives your screen a reddish tinge.
  • Blown Across the Room: Used for dramatic effect during the Final Boss fight. Also, Chell during the beginning, every time Wheatley crashes into the docking bay door.
  • Body Horror
    • In a Call Back to the first game, the announcer mentions that the Material Emancipation Grill may occasionally "emancipate the ear tubes inside your head".
    • A rare robotic example with the Frankenturret in Chapter 8; literally the front part of two sentry turrets merged crudely to the back of a weighted cube. The way it struggles to move is like watching a crab hop around without its hind legs. The worst part is that you can tell it's in pain. They're also at least intelligent enough to be fried by a Logic Bomb, meaning that, sadly, they're smarter than Wheatley.
    • It doesn't help that whenever you pick one up, its "heads" are always facing you.
    • Pretty much anything Cave says in the recordings when you're in the old facility. Things along the lines of a possibility of your body being filled with tumors; coughing up (or shitting?) coal, your bodily fluids being turned to gasoline, being teleported without your skin, and opting to have scientists 'disassemble' your body, take out your tumors, and reassemble you.
    Cave Johnson: Don't have any tumors? Well, if you sat on one of the chairs in the lobby and weren't wearing lead underpants, we took care of that too.
  • Booby Trap: On the Stalemate Resolution Button, the second time around.
  • Book Ends:
    • Early in the game as Wheatley pops off the rail, he yells "catchmecatchmecatchme!" and at the end, as he gets sucked into space he yells "GRABMEGRABMEGRABMEEE!!"
    • Wheatley wakes you up in the first place to get away from the destruction of the facility due to a reactor meltdown. Guess what you have to stop happening due to his negligence at the end of the game.
    • The song that plays when you first meet Wheatley is remixed for when you send him into space.
    • Wheatley's From Nobody to Nightmare Face-Heel Turn is signaled by the arrival of a chilling ten-note sequence. Once you're in space, and Wheatley's rule ends, underneath the higher frenetic notes, is the same sequence.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Subverted. It looks like it's going to be this, but then the turrets start singing...
  • Boss Arena Idiocy: Played with extensively across both boss battles.
    • Averted with GLaDOS, who has learned from her mistakes in the first game. If not for your earlier sabotage, she would kill you outright.
      GLaDOS: I hope you brought something a lot stronger than a portal gun this time.
    • Defied by Wheatley, who studies GLaDOS' previous loss to Chell and sets the arena up specifically to avoid her mistakes. Naturally, being the Intelligence Dampening Core, he proceeds to zig-zag it with a whole new slew of glaringly obvious mistakes:
      • Played straight when Wheatley forgets about the clear glass tube of Conversion Gel running through the arena, as well as the non-clear but still breakable tubes of Repulsion and Propulsion Gel, and Lampshaded after the fight.
        Wheatley: "Oh, that just cleans right off, does it? Well, that would have been good to know. A little earlier."
      • Subverted, as Wheatley anticipates the possibility of losing the fight and booby traps the Stalemate Resolution Button.
      • Double subverted, as Wheatley's refusal to acknowledge the ongoing collapse of the Enrichment Center is what opens up the vulnerability that allows Chell to finally win.
  • Boss Banter: Taken to new heights, from GLaDOS' renewed snarking to Wheatley's confused ranting.
  • Bottomless Pits: This game features them and not even boots can save the portal device from breaking when falling into these.
  • Brain Uploading:
    • Cave Johnson instructed his scientists to work on uploading technology after he became fatally ill from moon rock poisoning. He left instructions that if he died before it was ready, it should be used on his secretary Caroline. Whether she wanted to or not.
    • One of the alternate universe Caves actually did succeed in uploading himself. He quickly went (more) insane and decided to "kill" Aperture. Cave Prime pulls you out of that universe, and resolves to cancel the GLaDOS project, confirming that "Earth 1" is in fact an alternate universe to the Portal 2 universe. Though he might have had it reinstated when he was dying and thought time was going backwards..
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
    • A wall sign in the old labs invites you to "KNOW YOUR ALLERGENS: Pollen. Animal dander. Plastics. Antimatter".
    • In one prerecorded announcement, Cave Johnson mentions that the old Enrichment Spheres are made of asbestos. "Let us know if you feel a shortness of breath, a persistent dry cough, or your heart stopping."
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • A meta example during the ARG, where GLaDOS literally invaded a bunch of Steam-based applications and made Portal-themed changes to them, such as turning items into Companion Cubes, and replacing their soundtracks with Portal-themed tunes.
  • Break the Haughty: Once Wheatley takes control of the facility, GLaDOS gets reduced to...a potato. Being forced to work with Chell as a result sets the stage for some significant Character Development.
  • Briar Patching: The Final Boss is telling you the truth about how you shouldn't press the Stalemate Resolution Button. What it doesn't say is that it's booby trapped. And it is a fairly obvious one, at that, but, as in the first game, Stupidity Is the Only Option.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In an early test chamber, the recorded messages mention that the Aperture Science Personality Cores can remain operational with power as low as 1.1 volts. Later GLaDOS mentions that the potato she's in barely produces 1.1 volts.
    • Early on in the game, Wheatley mentions that he jammed up the door mechanism by dropping some bird eggs on it, and freaks out when the bird in question starts flapping around him. Later the same happens to GLaDOS.
    • One of the possible apocalypse scenarios is "The world being taken over by an animal king", illustrated by a giant leopard-skinned turret with a golden crown. The same turret makes an appearance in the ending video... playing bass.
    • In the first game, GLaDOS makes the comment that "all Aperture technologies remain safely operation in temperatures up to 4000 degrees Kelvin." At the end of Portal 2, a charred companion cube (the one you supposedly incinerated in the first game) is thrown out of the facility
    • Just after the first hard-light bridge test, the elevator you need to take at the end of a level has a large, fat turret sitting in it, which speeds off as soon as you see it. It comes back twice, as a hidden easter egg in chamber 16 and the ending video; both times it is the fat lady of the opera.
    • Wheatley offhandedly mentions a part of the facility that contains robots that scream for absolutely no reason, framing it as a ghost story. Fast forward to right near the end of the game, where GLaDOS, describing exactly how she's going to kill Wheatley, includes locking him up for ten years in the chamber she built "where all the robots scream at you".
    • The turret you can save from the redemption line is the same one Wheatley awkwardly ignores and tells you not to make eye contact with at the beginning.
    • Late in the game, the sabotage you did to the turret production line saves you again, as Wheatley sics a horde of defective turrets on you, completely forgetting about the sabotage he himself directed.
    • An interview with Eric Wolpaw revealed that Cave Johnson's line about missing astronauts would have led to skeletons visible on the Moon when you portal Wheatley up there.
    • At the end of the Peer Review DLC, the scarily competent individual GLaDOS has been preparing you to kill turns out to be the same bird that tried to eat her when she was a potato.
    • One of the parallel Universes in the level-creator DLC is ruled by a sentient cloud, as the Announcer mentions in the start of the main game.
      • One of the Caves is also a mantis, injecting people with human DNA.
  • Broken Record: The Space Core. He likes to talk about space. A lot.
  • Buffy Speak:
    Wheatley: Let's try it her way. Fatty. Adopted fatty. Fatty-fatty-no-parents.
    Wheatley: Holmes versus Moriarty. Aristotle versus MASHY SPIKE PLATE!
  • But Thou Must: You can't do anything but press the Stalemate Resolution Button. Both times. Whether you think it's a good idea or not. Similarly, you have no choice but to rescue PotatOS from the bird's nest, and even if you cleverly make it to the next level anyway, the game assumes you did.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": In the co-op campaign, some chambers use an Edgeless Safety Cube instead of cubes. Guess what it looks like: a ball.
  • Call Back:
    • It's slightly jarring to walk into a test chamber that you played in the first game and find it completely in disarray. At one point you navigate the old Test Chamber 19 backwards, crawling out of the ruined Victory Candescence room and through a trench that used to be a moat of toxic goo.
    • In one of GLaDOS' "new" test chambers, you catch a brief glimpse of the Aperture Science High-Energy Pellet device before it's replaced with a Thermal Discouragement Beam emitter. Once you take a good look around, you'll realize that it's because you're in the old Test Chamber 06, simply retooled to work with the Thermal Discouragement Beam instead of the High-Energy Pellet.
    • The poor faithful Weighted Companion Cube makes several appearances.
    • May also count as a song Title Drop: After Chell survives the stalemate button booby trap, Wheatley furiously cries "What?? Are you still alive??"
    • In the first game, GLaDOS says "DO touch it." after the Morality Core pops out of her and she tells Chell not to touch it because she doesn't know what it is. At the end of the game, after Chell puts all three corrupted cores into Wheatley and Wheatley and GLaDOS are arguing to Chell over whether she should press the Stalemate Resolution Button to give GLaDOS back complete control over the facility, one of her lines is "DO press it."
    • During the final battle against Wheatley, he says that "This place would have been a triumph" but for you.
    • At the beginning of the game, after you've fallen and obtained the Blue Portal Gun, Wheatley asks something along the lines of "Are you alive? That's important, should've asked that first. Right, well I'm going to work under the assumption that you're still alive..."
    • When Wheatley is trying to hack into the neurotoxin controls, he says "Let the games begin." Later, when Wheatley is in control of the facility and trying to kill you, if you escape his first Death Trap and continue onwards, he repeats the previous quote.
    • When you escape the death trap at the start of chapter 9, Wheatley starts trying to convince you to come back in a very similar manner to GLaDOS from the original Portal, when you escaped the fire pit.
    • One of the bits of garbage GLaDOS hurls at you is one of the old radios, playing the exact same version of "Still Alive" as the radios in the first Portal. As a callback to the "Transmission Received" challenge added to the first game, you can bring this radio to a hidden Ratman den in the level for an Achievement.
    • The door you open to trigger GLaDOS's trap says "GLaDOS EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN AND CAKE DISPENSARY". This is also the only reference to cake in the entire game.
    • You get the dual portal device from the bottom of the fire pit where GLaDOS tried to kill you in the first game. Assuming that not all test subjects were as Genre Savvy as Chell, it seems the portal gun really can survive temperatures of up to 4000 degrees Kelvin.
    • Within the PeTI DLC, there's a few parallel universe Cave Johnsons who do a reworked version of his introductory speech from the main single player campaign, these consist of Cave as head of a "mating ritual to forestall the end of days", the Aperture Holo-Science Jungle (where he is the Hobo King), Aperture Paranormal (for "wizards, witches [and] crystal healing doctors") and a prison for intergalactic criminals.
    Cave Johnson: Space-criminals, political prisoners, exiled planetary leaders; you're here because the galaxy needed a place to put you, and this is it. So, who's ready to stay here until they die? I assume you already met each other on the hyperdrive over...
    • Another parallel Cave does the Mantis-man speech, except that it's mantis beings being injected with human DNA rather than the other way around, complete with insect-y voice filter.
  • The Cameo: Atlas and P-Body make a brief appearance at the end of the single-player campaign. Before that, P-Body can be seen in one of Wheatley's test chambers.
  • Captain Obvious: Wheatley.
  • The Cast Showoff: Ellen McLain actually sings opera this time. In Italian. To lyrics she made up herself.
    • Though Coulton wrote "Still Alive" ahead of time, he was able to write "Want You Gone" with her in mind, allowing her to give a richer, fuller performance.
    • There's also this song, one of the game's best kept secrets, which has been given the official Fan Nickname of "PotatOS' Lament". It's in Latin this time, with McLain coming up with the lyrics again (according to what she calls her "bad high-school Latin", resulting in Word Salad Lyrics), though they're heavily garbled. Proves that she could sing complete gibberish and it would still be hauntingly beautiful.
  • Chaos Architecture: The Aperture Science Enrichment Center houses manufacturing facilities to build a variety of walls and standardized objects, arrays of articulation points to form those into test chambers, and a vast rail system to move those test chambers about the facility. This results in a maze of shifting test chambers. Even damaged test chambers can be rebuilt and replaced, or entirely new test chambers created at will.
  • Character Development: GLaDOS, throughout the second half of the game. It gets subverted at the end of the game when she claims to delete Caroline's memories and personality from her data banks. The credits song suggests she still feels an attachment to Chell and that the Caroline persona might still be around, though, so who knows?
  • Chekhov's Gun
    • Very near the start of the game, it is said that all Aperture Science personality constructs keep working with as little as 1.1 volts, the same amount a potato battery provides, which explains why GLaDOS is able to keep working when she gets installed in a potato.
    • It is revealed in one of the intermediate levels that the white conversion gel gains its properties from lunar dust. Later, during the final battle, Wheatley gains the upper hand, preventing Chell from replacing his AI core with GLaDOS'. When an explosion rips the roof off the facility, Chell uses the portal gun to blast a portal all the way to the moon, sucking Wheatley, Rick (though he's never mentioned again), the Space Core and a good-sized portion of the facility out into space.
  • Chekhov's Skill: At the end of the co-op campaign, ATLAS and P-body need to open a vault door. How do they accomplish this? By acting human.
  • Cliffhanger Copout: The ending of the first game does not quite match up with the second, even with the Lab Rat comic. The first game ends with GLaDOS exploding due to the incineration of the cores, Chell and GLaDOS landing on the surface, Chell getting dragged back inside, the cake not being a lie, the other cores waking up, and GLaDOS filing a report about not really being dead. The sequel reveals that the cores are separate entities and not vital components (so why the explosion?), GLaDOS' body changing shape and getting back inside the facility offscreen (Party Escort Bots like the one that dragged Chell?), the cake being ignored (though that part was a joke), the cores being cut (see What Happened to the Mouse? below), and GLaDOS actually being dead (well, besides reliving her death over and over) until revived.
  • Cloud Cuckooland: Basically the entire Aperture Science facility, considering that the only sane individual there is arguably Chell who only gets that consideration because she's the player character—this trope is even more present than in the original Portal, due to the fact that Portal 2 now has more than two characters.
    Doug Rattman: There are moments when I can almost see the underlying grammar of this place. An impossibility, some mad architect's opus- a relic from an age that never could have been. It's a metastasized amalgam of add-ons, additions and appropriations. Building itself out of itself. Beautiful and terrible - and like anything cloned from a cancer cell, probably immortal.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Cave Johnson's story is elaborated quite a bit in this game from the original supporting material. On the one hand, a lot of what we thought we "knew" about Aperture and Johnson turns out to be fabrication, but from what we hear of Johnson from the man himself, he still...had a screw or two loose. Much of which came from what seemed to be pure stubbornness in keeping Aperture alive. As the cost of testing and keeping the facility up and running grew, as he dumped more money into making the facility bigger and self-sufficient to recoup costs, you can hear his sanity slipping in his messages.
  • Combat Stilettos: Played with. Chell wears "Long-Fall Boots" which are visually similar to high-heels. She is required to wear them to cushion very fast, very high falls in order to prevent her legs from being crushed.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Cave Johnson deserves an award for this, if nothing else. The promo videos for Aperture Science's technologies make a Running Gag out of the broken fragments of the test subjects being swept into incinerators while their inventions are treated with utmost care. The co-op mode encourages it in players, thanks to What Measure Is a Non-Human? combined with Video Game Cruelty Potential.
  • Computer Voice: GLaDOS, Wheatley, the Turrets and the Cores obviously, but as you navigate the first ruined test chambers a new, male, voice guides you and later announces general information about what's going on in the facility. It responds to what GLaDOS and Wheatley say in very limited fashion so was most likely the voice of the Aperture Science computer systems before GLaDOS came along, and is a back-up system for when she's unavailable.
  • Continue Your Mission, Dammit!: GLaDOS and Wheatley (especially Wheatley) have a lot of things to say if you linger in any one area for too long. You'll miss a good 75% of the dialogue in the game unless you take your time. In fact, it's literally impossible to hear all the dialog in a straight playthrough. In the final boss fight, there's so much dialog that Wheatley will actually talk off the entire final timer if you let him.
  • Continuity Drift: A lot of the Enrichment Center's aesthetic design was given an upgrade between games, even though all of the systems that could've replaced it all were deactivated.
  • Continuous Decompression: When Chell opens a portal on the moon, there is a continuous decompression effect until the portal is shut. Spaceships and the like may have a limited volume of air, but this portal has to equalize the pressure of an entire planetary atmosphere. Sucking away this much air takes lots of time.
  • Convection Schmonvection: If you trust the signs on the walls, the Aperture facility testing shafts extend some 5 km (3 miles) below ground. At that depth the ambient temperature would be something like 70 ºC (160 ºF) — way more than enough to kill anybody. However, maps of the place suggest that even as far down as that, Cave Johnson had built massive structures - on the lowest levels being made of asbestos, a fantastic insulator.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: GLaDOS mentions a room entitled "The chamber where all the robots scream at you", also briefly alluded to by Wheatley in an earlier part of the game.
  • Cool Gate:
    • Portals.
    • The epically massive doors that seal off the old Aperture Science facility. The commentary ventures the notion that they're the biggest doors ever depicted in a video game. It also notes that they deliberately placed a little tiny door behind the big one as a joke.
  • Cores and Turrets Boss: Inverted with respect to the first game; to beat Wheatley, you have to put the cores back.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Cave Johnson.
  • *Cough* Snark *Cough*: During the Stalemate Resolution Associate scene, while you're trying to figure out a way to get to the button, Wheatley and GLaDOS argue back and forth about it. If you take so long that they run out of dialog, GLaDOS stops talking completely, while Wheatley will give an occasional "*cough* Button *cough*". Take long enough, and this will eventually culminate in "*cough* (Beat) Oh, just press the button, would ya?"
  • Coup de Grâce Cutscene: It takes more than just a portal gun to finish off the Final Boss.
  • Creepy Child: In one of Perpetual Testing clips, Cave views Greg's daughter as one of these.
  • Creepy Monotone: GLaDOS seems to have found an interesting midpoint between her two voices in the first game. She sounds more like her early, robotic voice with just a hint of the deeper, sexier voice she used in the Final Battle. This makes almost everything she says have just a tinge of bitterness, which is probably the point. Later in the game, she abandons her monotone and begins speaking with a more human cadence. Until she supposedly deletes Caroline, when she speaks in a cadence somewhere in between.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The Enrichment Centre is designed to continue testing its subjects in the face of The End of the World as We Know It, even with most of the facility in ruins. Recordings detailing how to cope with all manner of different Apocalypse How scenarios are provided for the player. The machinery is even designed to run on minimal voltage so it can continue to function if power is scarce.
  • Creative Closing Credits / Credits Gag: Like the first game, the ending song plays over a text screen that displays the lyrics in the form of a computerized personnel file report.
  • Curse Cut Short: The curse in question is relatively mild, but probably necessary to maintain the E10+ rating.
    Cave Johnson: Black Mesa can eat my bankrupt—
    Caroline: Sir, the testing?
  • Cute Machines: There's Wheatley and the other cores, the turrets, the co-op mode robots, and GLaDOS herself after being reduced to a potato.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: If Cave Johnson weren't completely insane (and the world hadn't freaking ended within a few years), the inventions of his company would have made him the richest man on Earth. Completely negating the possibility of injury from falling, functional and compact teleportation technology (something Black Mesa, to the time of Half-Life 2, never managed reliably), real AI (albeit murderous in some incarnations)? Amazing. To a lesser extent, the "Heimlich Counter-Maneuver", while a commercial failure, seems to have been quite popular with the government, who somehow managed to use it to let terrorists choke to death on chicken dinners. The commentary track confirms that Aperture Science's Fatal Flaw isn't their science, but that they are horrible at marketing. And, well, basic product safety.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: In the trailer faux-advert demonstrating the shock absorbing boots, Chell engages in acrobatic awesomeness, leaping, diving and somersaulting through portals. In game, her jump animation is fewer than 10 frames long.
    • At the end where the Stalemate Resolution Button's booby trap blows up, you would die on the spot in any other context, but instead you get thrown across the room and pick yourself up, in one of the few true cutscenes in the game.
  • Cutting the Knot: How Wheatley hacks open the door in the turret testing room. By smashing the glass window.

    Tropes D to I 
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: At the start of the Final Battle, Wheatley reflects on the first game's boss battle, and more particularly, how things are changing. This doesn't stop him from making his own mistakes, though.
    Wheatley: Four-part plan is this: One, no portal surfaces. Two, start the neurotoxin immediately. Three, bomb-proof shields for me, leading directly into number four: bombs. For throwing at you.

    PART FIVE! BOOBY-TRAP THE STALEMATE BUTTON!
  • Darker and Edgier: In comparison to Portal, triumphantly so. Which is funny, considering that due to the absence of blood in Portal 2, it actually has a lower rating.
  • Dark Reprise:
    • Chell's initial check-up at the beginning of the game is heralded by the cheery Aperture Science fanfare. The next time she's woken up, the fanfare is corrupted/garbled and the surrounding music is in a minor key.
    • The triumphant music that begins to play when Wheatley is enjoying himself as the new controller of Aperture (which already turns bleak by itself) returns in the final boss theme, except with a much faster, frantic pace and is distorted through various synthetic tones.
    • Also, the music that plays at the bottom of the incinerator after GLaDOS drops you in is also recycled as the chord progression of the final boss theme.
    • There is also a four-note "danger" theme that, not surprisingly, tends to show up when Wheatley is doing something particularly stupid and/or risky. However, this theme generally isn't focused on too much - it's merely an interjection that plays occasionally during some of the other themes. The one time it manages to become a central theme of the music, with the force of an orchestra playing it? The Part Where He Kills You.
    • When you go to the moon, once the music starts up again, underneath the frantic high notes, you can hear the eight ominous notes that repeat in 'I AM NOT A MORON!'- already pretty dark the first time!
  • Deadly Neurotoxin: Puts in a few repeat appearances.
  • Death by Irony: Wheatley is defeated by corrupting him with other personality cores, exactly what Wheatley did to take over GLaDOS' body in the first place. Also ironic to the player in that it's the exact opposite of what you did to defeat GLaDOS in the first game. Even more so when you consider that according to GLaDOS, Wheatley himself is a core whose primary purpose was to sabotage GLaDOS.
    • Cave Johnson's death is a subtle example: moon dust is in fact hazardous to humans in real life due to the lack of erosion from being in a vacuum causing moon dust particles to be razor sharp and capable of wreaking havoc on the respiratory system when inhaled. What other Earth material is dangerous for similar reasons? Asbestos, which Cave built the old Aperture testing chambers out of, not only ignoring the obvious health hazard but also trademarking the slogan "Asbestos is harmless!"
      Cave Johnson: Let us know if you feel a shortness of breath, a persistent dry cough or your heart stopping, because that's not part of the test - that's asbestos.
  • Death Glare:
    • GLaDOS gets in a good one for having almost no face.
      Oh. It's you.
    • When Wheatley takes over, the walls give you a death glare.]]
      Wheatley: Now who's the boss? Who's the Boss? It's me
  • Death Is Cheap: The two robots in co-op mode are uploaded into a new body whenever they die, as illustrated by the trailer. One of the robots dismisses its destruction (and the other robots' role in it) with a wave of its hand. The Portal 2 team say this is a major reason for using robots as the co-op mode characters. They wanted your (many) deaths at the hands of badly-planned maneuvers, incompetent or jerky co-players and just larking about to be funny and more consequence-free than showing humans being crushed, shot or falling in acid and so forth.
  • Death Trap: GLaDOS and Wheatley use them with reckless abandon this time around, partly out of frustration for how hard it is to kill Chell.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: This is all over Aperture Science. The pre-recorded announcements, Cave Johnson, and GLaDOS herself all tend to repeat phrases.
    GLaDOS: We'll start with a test involving deadly lasers, and how test subjects react when locked in a room with deadly lasers.
    • And later, used for a Crowning Moment of Funny:
      GLaDOS: Well, this is the part where he kills us!
      Wheatley: Hello! This is the part where I kill you!
      Chapter 9: The Part Where He Kills You.
      Achievement Unlocked: The Part Where He Kills You (The achievement's subtitle: "This is that part".)
      Soundtrack: The Part Where He Kills You.
  • Determinator: According to Chell's personnel file, she's on the far side of the bell curve for tenacity.
    • Lampshaded lightly (and possibly unintentionally) by Chell's potato experiment; whereas all the other experiments show dead, shriveled potatoes, hers has become massively overgrown and is probably responsible for part or all of the vegetation that's taken over the complex... making it one very determined potato!
    Proctor's note:
    Test subject is abnormally stubborn. She never gives up. Ever. Rejected. Do not test!
    • Cave Johnson had a particular always-move-forward attitude that informed the way he ran Aperture, in conjunction with the fact that he had all the sanity of a waffle. He was convinced that, sooner or later, everythingnote  Aperture produced could be brought back around to somehow improving shower curtain technology, which is what Aperture theoretically produced. If they couldn't, they'd still find some way to grossly misapply it.
  • Development Gag: One of the achievements is called "Narbacular Drop". Narbacular Drop was an indie game that eventually became Portal.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
    • There are quite a few lines of dialog that you won't hear unless you wait a very long time in some areas, or commit blatant Violations of Common Sense.
    • If you manage to get yourself trapped in a test chamber, whoever is acting as Mission Control will comment on it and rescue you. With biting sarcasm, in GLaDOS' case.
    • If a player who knows in advance that the ground under the portal gun collapses as s/he goes toward the pedestal tries to jump backward, they'll be pushed back by Invisible Walls. (Tested on PC.)
    • There's also an in-universe example—Aperture Science apparently saw fit to make a recording that would allow them to continue running tests after The End of the World as We Know It.
    • Another in-universe example is that in the endgame, the timer counting down the imminent destruction of the reactor gets destroyed in the fracas. The system has a built-in "Reactor Explosion Uncertainty Pre-Emption Protocol" which will blow everything up in two minutes..
    • There is a secret Ratman den that shuts itself up after a certain amount of time. If you go in there during commentary mode, you'll see a commentary node. You'd think it's about the Ratman's Dens. It's not. It's nonsensical, ear-screeching noise that will make you wish you had your ear-canals emancipated. It's the sound translation of an image file, which details the pre-announcement Portal 2 ARG. You know, the one that also used image-to-sound converters.
  • Did Not Do the Bloody Research: For an E10+ game, Wheatley likes to use the word "bloody" quite a bit. He's quite the cheeky little personality sphere.
  • Disc One Final Boss: You confront GLaDOS at the end of Chapter 5. It's not the end of the game by a long shot.
  • Disney Villain Death: You don't destroy the Final Boss this time around; its own actions lead to its demise — specifically, being flung into space.
  • Disposable Vagrant: After the "1968 Senate hearings on missing astronauts", Aperture was nearly broke and was forced to hire street bums to stumble through the test courses for each — with a potential bonus if they allowed Aperture to perform horrific medical experiments on them along the way. The architecture of the test chambers reflects this shift, as there are signs informing test subjects to keep moving, not leave belongings behind, and not touch the glass. For bonus points, they only get their money if they fill out the forms and sign legibly. As with the earlier tests, there are strong implications that few, if any, survived.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Wheatley tries to pull this off when attempting to convince Chell to jump down into a bottomless pit, claiming that there's a sexy boy band down there that hasn't seen a woman in years. Whether it works or not is up to the player, but you get an achievement for falling for it.
  • Disturbing Statistic:
    GLaDOS: I'm not going to lie to you, the odds are a million to one, and that's with some generous rounding.
    Fact Sphere: The probability of you dying violently within the next 5 minutes is 87.61 percent.
  • The Ditz: Deconstructed with Wheatley. In the beginning his incompetence is endearing and harmless, but after The Reveal you find out that his incompetence is justified and extremely dangerous. Wheatley seems fully aware of this, and he does not like it.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The comments Wheatley makes while watching you and GLaDOS get through the tests makes it sound like he's enjoying it a bit too much. GLaDOS confirms it, stating that the system gives the AI a euphoric response for concluding every test, that gets smaller as you gets used to it, and Wheatley doesn't have the intellectual capacity to overcome its withdrawal symptoms. To drive the point home, that chapter ("The Itch") is titled "Addiction" in the French version.
    • GLaDOS sounds awfully excited at the end of the co-op campaign.
    • When you hear Cave Johnson's lemon speech, GLaDOS sounds... very enthusiastic about it.
      GLaDOS: Yeah! Yeah! TAKE the lemons!
    • According to a rumor (which was confirmed false) the sound clips of Caroline being forced into GLaDOS's brain sounded so wrong, that JK Simmons refused to read his lines, and the scene/recording/whatever it might have been was Dummied Out.
    • When you defeat GLaDOS and forcibly replace her with Wheatley, the repeated, pained "No!"s from the hidden chamber make it sound like something very, very wrong is being carried out down there.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Cave's "lemons" rant.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: A Running Gag with GLaDOS and Wheatley.
    GLaDOS: Remember when I talked about smelly garbage being useless? That was a metaphor. I was talking about you.

    Wheatley: You two are going to LOVE this big surprise. In fact, you might say you're going to love it... to death. Love it... until it kills you. 'Til you're both dead. (Beat) Hehehe. Alright? I don't know if you're, uh, picking up on what I'm saying here, but...
    GLaDOS: (sighing) Yes, thanks. We get it.
  • Doorstop Baby: GLaDOS claims Chell was this.
  • Double Meaning Title:
    • Chapter 6, "The Fall", begins with Chell literally falling down a hole, but it's also the chapter that reveals the backstory of Aperture's downfall.
    • The "Lunacy" achievement. The method by which you earn it is both "insane" and "involving the moon".
  • Downloadable Content:
    • On the purely cosmetic side, the Robot Enrichment Center allows players to download an array of hats, skins, and so forth, which can be applied to the co-op robots. Of particular note are the larger selection of gestures, such as the thumbs-up P-body does at the end of the game.
    • A free DLC with playable content was released on October 4, 2011 containing a new co-op campaign, and leaderboards/challenges for least time and portals, like in the first game. Another DLC was made available to those with the Razer Hydra controller (released in June), adding chambers where the portal gun has properties similar to the Physgun in Garry's Mod.
    • Another DLC titled "The Perpetual Testing Initiative" adds a creative gameplay mode where players can design their own test chambers and share them over Steam.
  • Dramatic Pause: Happens when you fire your last portal. In fact, it lasts for just under 3 seconds, the time it takes for light to reach the moon and bounce back. Developer commentary says the pause and the Twinkle In The Sky afterward was implemented at this scene just to preserve this fact while letting the player know that what they did worked.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: GLaDOS attempts to become one during the Peer Review DLC - surprisingly, she's not very good at it.
  • Drunk with Power: Wheatley, once he takes over GLaDOS's body and thus the entire Enrichment Centre.
  • Dummied Out:
    • A fourth Mobility Gel, Adhesion Gel. There's still enough code left over for a skilled programmer to fake it; had it made it into the game, it would have allowed the player to walk on walls or ceilings. It was removed because testers got disoriented and couldn't complete test chambers where they needed to use it.
    • With the Peer Review DLC, this gel was actually replaced with Reflection Gel, which causes any lasers that hit it to bounce off. However, it, too, didn't make it into the game, likely because making puzzles with redirection cubes was easier than making them with the gel.
    • Digging around in console commands has uncovered a semi-functional Rocket Turret; while it doesn't track the player, it shoots a rocket immediately after something enters its laser sight (think Claymores from the original Half-Life in turret form).
    • There was also the Aperture Science Diversity Vent, a vacuum and the exact opposite of the tubes that deliver cubes. It even had its own video made for it like the other test elements, however it was soon realized that it was useful for sucking in turrets but not much else.
  • Durable Deathtrap: Subverted or played straight depending on what part of the game you're in. The Enrichment Center as we know it is dilapidated and becoming overgrown by plants, and in some places bits of the testing rooms are malfunctioning. When you go deep underground to the earliest iteration of the Enrichment Center, all the catwalks leading to the test chambers are busted, but the test chambers themselves are in perfect working order, as are the Material Emancipation Grids, the pumps dispensing Mobility Gels, and the recordings from Cave Johnson. Granted, unlike most examples of the trope, these facilities have only had a few decades to a century or so to decay, instead of the usual thousands of years, but it's still damn impressive.
  • DVD Commentary: Repeated in this game, along much the same lines as the first.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Though at first it may appear to be a Shaggy Dog Story, if you examine it closely Portal 2 ends on a hopeful note. GLaDOS is back in control, and claims to have deleted Caroline and her conscience, but lets Chell leave peacefully, and the ending song hints that Caroline isn't quite gone. And without the events of the game, GLaDOS would still be the monster she was at the beginning, experiencing her death over and over, while Chell would be asleep indefinitely. Without Wheatley, nothing would have changed that.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: After a bit of Foreshadowing from Wheatley, we get to see just how astoundingly elaborate the Aperture Science facility really is.
  • Enemy Mine: Chell is forced to work with GLaDOS after Wheatley's Face-Heel Turn.
  • Escape from the Crazy Place: Repeated from the first game, with bonus crazy for the discerning client.
  • Even Mad Science Has Standards: In "Perpetual Testing Initiative", this is what makes one of the alternate Cave Johnsons stop the experiment that would lead to the resonance cascade.
    Blaperture!Cave: They tell me you people are conducting some anomalous materials research that could result in a resonance cascade, so I'm shutting that down before you idiots end the world. A resonance cascade. You're supposed to be scientists! Use some common sense!
  • Everybody Lives: Aside from the turrets, nobody dies during the events of the game, despite the sheer amount of Black Comedy present.
  • Everything is an iPod in the Future: All robots seem to be designed with this trope in mind.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: The trailer for The Perpetual Testing Initiative explains that Cave Johnson had at one point outsourced test chamber construction to a race of sapient octopuses from another dimension. The octopuses are essentially treated by Cave as slave labor, which he finds rather funny.
    "Look at that sad little octopus! Ha!"
  • Evil Brit: Wheatley.
  • Evil Laugh: Your first clue that putting Wheatley in charge may not have been such a hot idea. Or rather, the final confirmation after two minutes of nagging suspicion, as he's been talking about how small you are and how big he is.
    Muhahahaha! HAHAHAHAHAhaha… haaa, this is tiring.
    • When you sabotage the turret line, the defective turret used as the new template lets one out whenever a proper turret is rejected.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Wheatley thoroughly enjoys being evil, starting with the declaration, "Let the games begin," and reaching a crescendo in the Final Boss lair. The first word, "Welcome," is spoken normally, followed by "TO MY LAIR" being spoken in a far deeper tone with an echo for dramatic effect.
  • Evil Is Hammy: All the antagonist characters come with a healthy side order of cheese, but Wheatley steals the show and runs with it after being plugged into the mainframe.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: "This is the part where he kills you," with bonus Department of Redundancy Department thrown in.
  • Exact Time to Failure: Each phase of the Final Boss battle has a distinct timer, to the point that when the timer for the reactor explosion is disabled, the Enrichment Center activates a self destruct sequence to remove the uncertainty of not having a countdown until everything blows up.
  • Explosive Decompression: Contrary to what one might expect, decompression does not prove instantly fatal. Chell's only exposed to a partial vacuum for a maximum of 20 seconds, which is enough to make her pass out but not kill her.
  • Expository Gameplay Limitation: At the end of the game, after Chell falls for Wheatley's trap, she ends up immobilized while Wheatley takes the opportunity to monologue. The player can still aim and fire the Portal Gun, however, and if Chell shoots the moon, Wheatley will end up sucked into the vacuum of space.
  • Expospeak Gag: Wheatley is full of these. During the opening sequence, he attempts "a manual override on this wall", after mistaking it for a docking station. In other words, he repeatedly rams a room into the wall until it breaks. Later, he asks Chell to turn her back while he "hacks" a door open. He smashes the glass in the window. (This can be seen if you fire a portal on the wall ahead of you.)
    • Aperture Science is a fan of these in both games; Portal 2 is notable for terms such as Thermal Discouragement Beam, Excursion Funnel and Aerial Faith Plate to name a few.note 
    • In the co-op campaign, Atlas and P-Body encounter the "Edgeless Safety Cube". note 
  • Face-Heel Turn: Wheatley, after he takes over GLaDOS's body.
  • Fanservice: Many people, especially those who hadn't played the first Portal, figured this was why Chell neglects the upper portion of her jumpsuit. In fact it's pretty hard to get a good look at her at any point during the game even if you're trying to. Developer commentary said the idea was that she's "rolled up her sleeves" and means business this time.
  • Fast-Forward Gag: At one point, GLaDOS says that she has to tell you something important about the testing chamber you're in. Being GLaDOS, she skips through the warning quite quickly. Slowed down, she's reciting a passage from Moby-Dick.
  • Fat and Skinny: Atlas and P-body, the robots from the co-op mode, have these basic forms.
    • Prior to learning the robots' actual names, a lot of players refer to them as Fat and Skinny probably more often than as Blue and Orange.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • GLaDOS to the cooperative mode robots in their trailer:
      GLaDOS: Don't disappoint me — or I'll make you wish you could die.
    • GLaDOS notes that she has a "black box" function in her programming that saves the last two minutes of her life. The entire time she was "dead", she had to constantly relive Chell killing her again and again.
    • GLaDOS then says that she doesn't know what she will do if Chell dies during testing. She suggests she would have to take up a hobby... like resurrecting the dead.
    • GLaDOS also mentions she feels death is too good for Wheatley. See Rasputinian Death.
  • Feathered Fiend: Well, at least from GLaDOS's point of view, for at least part of the story.
  • Feigning Intelligence: Basically all Wheatley does. After getting tired of being called a moron, he spends one test chamber playing classical music and claiming to read Machiavelli.
  • Filk Song: Two, both of them dedicated to our favorite personality construct! Behold, "Wheatley's Song" by Miracle of Sound, and "Why, Wheatley, Why?" by BrainForce V.
  • Floorboard Failure
  • Force-Field Door: Space warden!Cave discovers the problem with these the hard way.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Wheatley comments that Aperture Laboratories is even bigger than the Enrichment Center would suggest, and that the lower levels go down for miles. Guess where you eventually end up exploring?
    • If you save the turret from redemption, it will start babbling a sequence of seemingly random lines that don't seem connected in any way. Everything it says is actually plot-relevant, including quotes from Cave's lemon speech ("Get mad!", "Don't make lemonade!"), referencing the lower levels of Aperture ("The answer lies beneath us."), spoiling The Reveal ("Her name is Caroline. Remember that.") and mentioning Prometheus, who gave Man knowledge and was punished by being cast into the underworld and pecked at by birds - which is exactly what happens to GLaDOS (tells you what Wheatley was built for, is knocked down into Old Aperture for it and, yes, pecked by birds.)
    • Near the beginning of the game there's a rather unmemorable line about "All personality constructs remain fully functional at 1.1 volts." A couple chapters later there are a few wrecked science fair displays featuring potato batteries. A few rooms after the potato batteries, GLaDOS (a personality construct) is shoved into a potato. Which produces approximately 1.1 volts of electricity.
    • The game deserves special mention for the ending. It crops up everywhere throughout the game, which makes the ridiculousness of it amazingly plausible in context. Here's a list:
      • The painting you see at the beginning of the game shows a nice countryside during the day. After the Time Skip, the scene has changed to a night one and the painting has a prominent full moon in the sky.
      • Several of the Ratman's dens have a poem about eyes, with some of the eyes drawn as phases of the moon. In the area where you pick up the first portal gun, hanging from the roof is a mural depicting the moon's phases.
      • One of Cave Johnson's pre-recorded messages mentions that the Conversion Gel used to create instant portal surfaces was developed from moon rocks, which are an excellent portal conductor.
      • During the end boss, the Space personality core is the first one you attach to Wheatley in order to get his body to reject him. It constantly rants things like, "space, space, gotta go to space!"
      • In the Lab Rat comic, the other scientist who was talking with Rattmann about GLaDOS compares artificial intelligence to other scientific frontiers like - among other things - moon launches in the Sixties. "I'm telling you, this is our generation's moon shot." Rattmann cynically states that he'd rather go to the moon than deal with AI. Of course, this may just be a coicidence, considering how much the story was progressed at that point.
      • When the VA of Wheatley's placeholder voice, Richard Lord, was reassuring the public about Stephen Merchant replacing him, he mentioned that he was "over the moon" with the decision. Again, this may just be a coincidence, as this statement was made early in development.
      • One of the Fact Core's "facts" is that "The moon orbits the Earth every 27.32 days."
      • When Rick plans a one-liner for when Chell finishes off Wheatley, he tells her to "Stand back, 'cuz I'm about to zing him into space."
      • Also in the final battle, Wheatley responds to the Space Core's ranting with "NOBODY'S GOING TO SPACE, MATE!"
      • Though the one that really takes the cake is a Dummied Out line by Cave Johnson in which he explicitly threatens to use a weaponized portal to the moon against someone, saying: "You hear me? I invented portals! I can put a doorway on the moon and another into your parking lot! Let’s see how many patents you steal when you’re floating around in outer space, you—" This was probably Dummied Out because it was a bit too obvious.
    • The song that is added to the BGM when you hold the Companion Cube in an early test chamber is the turret opera song.
    • The method you use to take down the first boss is repeated almost precisely for the last boss. With a bit of a twist, of course.
    • In 'Bring Your Daughter To Work Day', if you listen closely, you can hear a small bit of Wheatley's Leitmotif, which will return after the core transfer when he goes bad. And where do you hear 'Bring Your Daughter To Work Day'? By the potato batteries.
  • For Science!:
    • Despite all the humorous highlighting — which sometimes bordered on the levels of lampshading — it's played perfectly straight in this line explaining why GLaDOS didn't care about building up a tolerance to the euphoric response to testing:
      GLaDOS: It didn't matter to me, I was just in it for the science.
    • GLaDOS invokes this trope in a line included in the trailer.
      GLaDOS: Look. We've both said a lot of things that you're going to regret. But I think we can put our differences behind us. For science. You monster.
    • In a 30 second television ad showing off P-Body and Atlas:
      GLaDOS: We're going to have fun — with Science!
    • Cave Johnson seems to think Aperture Science is a step above ordinary science.
      Cave Johnson: Good enough for science. Not Aperture Science!
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: A threefer in the Perpetual Testing Initiative trailer. The easiest is the person from the Valentine's Day trailer, who still has the diamond on their lap. The other two are more quick- one person's watching porn on their computer (at work, even), and the other's watching the still-unreleased "Meet The Pyro" from Team Fortress 2.
    • Also, check the disclaimer at the bottom left. It changes several times throughout the course of the video and, while occasionally hard to read, is pretty hilarious too.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The "Thermal Discouragement Beams" in Portal 2 act like normal lasers, save for being fully visible. They also live up to their name, as they don't instantly kill you but rather hurt enough to keep you from simply walking through them. Amusingly, the graphic displayed when they are introduced implies that they were developed as a tool to keep office workers at their desks. Alternatively, Aperture was just idiotic enough to fire the laser through offices, just because of where they decided to build the main device.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Wheatley, who goes mad upon being plugged into GLaDOS' mainframe. Caroline is also an example, given that she became part of GLaDOS after her Brain Uploading.
  • G-Rated Drug: GLaDOS states explicitly that there is a mechanism in the facility-controlling machine that releases a euphoric sensation when testing. While GLaDOS claims to have built up a tolerance, no longer affected by it, when Wheatley gains control of the facility, he shows a sort of addiction to testing, which is fine... until he builds up a tolerance and goes looking for a better high.
  • Gainax Ending: Zig-Zagged. The game ends with GLaDOS kicking Chell out via elevator ride. This trope comes into play when the elevator stops at several turrets, which instead of firing upon her, start singing. This continues up several more floors, culminating in an entire choir of singing turrets. The choir is then forgotten as the elevator makes it to the surface, revealing blue skies and a field of wheat. And a singed companion cube being spat out from the elevator as well.
    • Even more so in co-op. You open a giant vault discovering thousands of humans in stasis and as soon as the robots do their Victory Dance they are blown up and the credits roll. The blowing up makes sense, but seriously, what?
  • Game-Breaking Bug: In the test chamber where Wheatley makes an exit from another room, if you break his monitor before he pulls out the exit, it'll miss the animation and make the test impossible to solve.
    • Also applies to almost any given cheat code. In a game based around using logic to solve puzzles, the ability to fly, go through walls, or be rendered invisible to turrets defeats the purpose of playing at all.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Wheatley becomes Dangerously Genre Savvy in several ways after he takes control of the facility. He's still an idiot, though.
    • After GLaDOS regains control of the facility she decides to let you go. Her reasoning is that she's sick of trying to kill you, and bad things happen to any AI that tries to kill you.
    • Aperture Science itself gets a nod: in the lower levels they have signs urging employees to watch out for OSHA inspectors and, later, instructing them to know their paradoxes in case of a rogue AI. Too bad you're mute and the AI in question isn't smart enough to see the paradox.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The Adventure core you encounter during the boss battle says that he is a black belt in bedroom.
    Rick: I'll tell ya, it's times like this I wish I had a waist so I could wear all my black belts. Yeah, you know, I'm a black belt in pretty much anything: karate, larate, jiu jitsu, kick punching, belt making, taekwondo... bedroom.
  • A God Am I: There's an implication that the Aperture mainframe may be programmed in such a way that any AI plugged into it becomes megalomanically insane, or at least obsessed with running experiments.
  • Good News, Bad News:
    Cave Johnson: Those of you helping us test the repulsion gel today, follow the blue line on the floor. Those of you who volunteered to be injected with praying mantis DNA, I've got some good news and some bad news. The bad news is we're postponing those tests indefinitely. The good news is we've got a much better test for you: fighting an army of mantis men! Pick up a rifle and follow the yellow line. You'll know when the test starts.
    GLaDOS: Okay, so the bad news is that the tests are my tests now. So they can kill us. The good news is... well, none so far, to be honest. I'll get back to you on that.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The closest thing to violence in the game is obscured behind panels when it happens. GLaDOS is "decapitated" during the core transfer, and sounds very much in pain.
  • Got Volunteered: The Lab Rat comic reveals that Chell was initially disqualified as a test subject due to her personality profile. Doug Rattmann altered her file to get her into the testing program. The rest is history.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom:
    • GLaDOS has one when you awaken her for the first time.
    • When Wheatley is plugged into GLaDOS's body, the walls glower at you with red light.
  • Gretzky Has the Ball: Wheatley informs you that he's holding all the cards... and they're all full houses.
    Wheatley: Never played cards, been meaning to learn. [...] Ace of fours! The best hand, I imagine.
  • Hand Wave: The reason why GLaDOS can't give you any advice or hints in Chapter 8 is because she's programmed to be unable to give hints to test participants, otherwise she receives an electric shock. The writers added this because they needed a justification for why she wasn't giving you advice to clear the final few test chambers. note  Instead, this is used to set up a moment where she tricks Wheatley into giving you a hint for the puzzle you just solved, so he gets shocked.
  • Hannibal Lecture: GLaDOS delivers an absolutely caustic one in a piece of cut dialogue.
  • Happy Birthday to You: Changed to "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow", as par for the trope. GLaDOS hums the tune a few chambers prior to your "surprise", which just makes it that much creepier.
  • Hard Light: One of the new physics elements, platforms made of this can be redirected through portals and block turret fire, among other uses.
  • Heel-Face Turn: GLaDOS, after Wheatley goes mad with power and takes over the facility. Not that she had much of a choice, being a potato and all. Also a case of Enemy Mine.
  • Heel Face Door Slam: Wheatley finally figures out he's sorry for trying to murder Chell when he's stranded in space and, in all likelihood, will never get to say it to her face.
  • Hemisphere Bias: The shot of Earth is a NASA stock photo, showing North America. While it's the right continent, the angle is wrong.
  • Heroic Mime: Chell, the main character. Lampshaded with frequency and gusto throughout the game. According to Word of God, Chell can talk. "She just chooses not to, what with the robots all being dicks. Why give them the satisfaction?"
    • When Wheatley is testing Chell for brain damage and asks for her to talk, the pop-up tutorial claims that pressing the jump button will make Chell speak. As always, it just makes her jump, which leads Wheatley to conclude that Chell does, in fact, have brain damage.
      Wheatley: Are you alright? Yes or no?
      Game Hint: [Jump] Talk
      Wheatley: Ok, what you did there was jumping...say Apple, aaa-pple.
      Game Hint: [Jump] Say Apple
    • In Chapter 4, Wheatley is contemplating a Big Red Button that might open a door. If you wait long enough, he will ask you for your opinion on the matter, and then engage in some epic navel gazing about the meaning of your lack of a response.
    • In Chapter 9, Wheatley mocks you about how you're so bossy, standing there in smug silence and various other ramblings.
    • GLaDOS mentions it yet again at the end of the game.
      GLaDOS: And then you showed up. You dangerous, mute lunatic.
  • He Who Must Not Be Named: None of the personality cores seem to want to mention anybody else's names.
    • Chell is never addressed by name by anyone, period except in the beginning of the turret opera, where a Multiple Reference Pun alludes to it. There is exactly one, easily missed place where it is written down.
    • Wheatley never addresses GLaDOS by name within the game, only referring to "her" and "she".
    • In the same sense although not in the same way, GLaDOS never refers to Wheatley by his name. She only refers to "he", "him", and variations on "that little idiot".
    • There is exactly one exception: the Fact Sphere has some rather unkind things to say about the Space Sphere and the Adventure Sphere.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: A Dummied Out voice clip of Cave Johnson references this:
    "Ever wondered what a parallel universe you might be like? Well, stop wondering, because you’re just Hitler. Every parallel universe ever. You. Hitler. We can’t figure it out. Anyway, if you meet him in the next test, don’t kill him. I know, I know. But trust me, it’d be bad."
  • Hobos:
    • When Aperture Science was falling on hard times, Cave started recruiting hobos off the streets for test subjects.
    • One alternate universe features Michigan Slim Cave Johnson. He's the Hobo King.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • GLaDOS insults Wheatley to get him mad... which works, but also causes him to "install" her into a potato out of spite.
    • The Final Boss's bombs are used to help beat it, in a manner similar to the rockets from the first game.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Many unlit areas still have decent visibility due to the fact that the void of the facility seems to glow. There are two truly dark sections, once in Chapter 4 during "The Surprise", and one part in Chapter 5 during "The Escape". Oddly, in the latter case, as soon as the flashlight turns on, the ambient light does too.
  • Hope Spot:
    Wheatley: Actually, why do we have to leave right now?
    • In the Old Aperture test shafts, you frequently find elevators to the surface. Sadly, they are all out of order.
    • Zigzagged in the ending: You think you'll finally be free when GLaDOS tells you about everything the she got taught by remembering being Caroline, and how saving you at the end taught her where Caroline lived in her brain. Then she deletes Caroline, and you get worried again. But no, she's letting you go anyway. Then your elevator to the surface stops in front of 4 turrets. But they're not here to kill you, they just want a song.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: The entire Old Aperture sequence is designed to convey how this happened to Cave Johnson.
  • Hub Level: Co-op mode contains one of these. Initially only one area is accessible, but completing test chambers will result in new areas opening up.
  • Humans Are Bastards:
    • From the co-op mode trailer.
      GLaDOS: These next tests require cooperation. Consequently, they have never been solved by a human.
    • And from the 'Bot Trust' trailer
      Cave Johnson: Fact: the key to any successful cooperative test is trust. And as our data clearly shows, humans cannot be trusted. The solution? ROBOTS! Then... fire the guys who made those robots and build BETTER robots!
      • Played with at the end, where P-Body shoves Atlas into the fire, just like the humans did.
      Cave Johnson: BAM! Robots gave us six extra seconds of cooperation. Good job, robots!
    • Ironically averted in co-op: GLaDOS muses that most humans aren't monsters, just good test subjects, determining the ratio to be about a million to one.
  • Human Popsicle: Ten thousand Enrichment Center test subjects were kept in storage this way, woken up automatically every fifty days to perform routine physical and mental maintenance exercises. In the years between Portal and Portal 2, all but Chell have apparently died of neglect.
    • However, the end of co-op reveals that there are hundreds more humans in cryonic storage, waiting to be tested.
      • In the Peer Review DLC, it is revealed that GLaDOS managed to kill all of them in a week.
  • Humiliation Conga: GLaDOS gets run through this. First you "kill" GLaDOS in the previous game, then you replaced the turret drones with useless defective ones just before she tried to kill you, then her supply of neurotoxin gets ruined, then she gets replaced with Wheatley, then she gets turned into a potato and after that the potato gets carried off by a bird that partially eats her and sticks her in its nest. It gets to the point that she eventually decides at the end that killing you is simply too much trouble and lets you go.
  • Hypocrisy Nod: Wheatley, who is trying to figure out how GLaDOS gets you to finish tests, tries making fun of your weight and (possible) Parental Abandonment. GLaDOS, who had earlier thrown fat and adoption jokes at you with gusto, counters Wheatley's insults by asking what's wrong with being adopted, and pointing out that Chell isn't really fat. But then she says to Chell:
    GLaDOS: For the record, you are adopted. And That's Terrible. But just work with me.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Much of GLaDOS's dialogue is spent telling Chell what a terrible person she is for killing her in the first game. It's not like GLaDOS has tried to do that or anything.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: GLaDOS really loves to insult Chell, calling her 'fat' and 'adopted'. But she will not tolerate Wheatley being mean to Chell when he tries those same insults. Not so much because she cares about Chell, but because insulting her is her job.
    GLaDOS: For the record, you are adopted, and that's terrible. Just work with me.
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin: Wheatley seems to get high on watching Chell solve puzzles.
  • I Fell for Hours: After Wheatley freaks out and knocks you down the elevator shaft, you find yourself falling for long enough to have a (rather one sided) conversation with GLaDOS about what Wheatley's true purpose is. She even lampshades it.
    GLaDOS Since it doesn't look like we're going anywhere... well, we are going somewhere. Alarmingly fast, actually. But since we're not busy other than that, here's a couple of facts.
  • Ignored Epiphany: At the end of Portal 2, GLaDOS says saving Chell triggered a surge of positive emotion...which allowed her to figure out where the source of those gooey human emotions was located in her memory banks, so she deletes it. Or so she says.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: What happens when Chell solves Wheatley's first few tests. GLaDOS comes pretty close to it at the end of the co-op campaign too.
    • Can't forget GLaDOS moaning "Yeah!" and breathing heavily when Cave Johnson is pissed about his imminent death and rants about burning down people's houses with lemons.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Wheatley thinks that his mashy spike plates would be even better if he could figure out how to make them shoot fire. Fortunately he never gets around to it.
    • GLaDOS mentions that the light used to make hard light bridges comes directly from the sun, and that if you rubbed your cheek against one it would be like standing outside in the sunlight. And then your hair would catch fire, so you shouldn't actually do that.
    • One of Cave Johnson's last acts before he died was ordering his engineers to develop "combustible lemons" so he could burn down the houses of people who believed in the axiom "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade". He's just that kinda guy...
  • Incompetence, Inc.: Aperture Science, oh so much. Although they did manage to invent a portal gun... while trying to make a better shower curtain. And repulsion gel! While trying to make a diet supplement. And an army of mantis men! For ... some reason?
    • The practicality of their inventions seems to have eluded them as well, most evident with portals. It took them somewhere between forty to fifity years to realize that portals had more potential than just a shower curtain slash test device. Even after they did perfect the technology they never got around to releasing it and took it upon themselves to create a massive network of pneumatic tubes to transport stuff around the facility, which is probably even more expensive than just using portal projecting panels. They did realize it was cheaper to portal in laser beams rather than build hundreds of giant lasers, but still.
    • Not only is the facility not OSHA compliant as explained below, but the vintage portions that were sealed away seem to be actively trying to be dangerous.
    Cave Johnson: We're just throwing science at the wall and seeing what sticks.
  • Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: Used precisely once as part of a puzzle; you solve it with Propulsion Gel.
  • Individuality Is Illegal: Defective turrets get recycled. For Black Comedy, they are intelligent enough to know that they are defective.
    Oracle Turret: I'm different...
    Defective Turret: *fires ineffectually at target* click-click-click "Aww, I'm one of the bad ones, aren't I?"
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Wheatley. Indeed, his incompetence is quite literally the whole point of his existence.
  • Informed Flaw: Wheatley is allegedly scientifically engineered to be the world's biggest moron, and only come up with bad ideas. While he certainly isn't very bright, and has a lot of bad ideas, he also manages to outwit Chell and GLaDOS several times. Then again, he was Aperture Scientifically engineered, and they tend not to do things straight.
  • In Spite of a Nail: In the 'Perpetual Testing Initiative DLC, most of the alternate universe Cave Johnsons sound the same, have the same personality and are still head of Aperture. Even in a universe where mantises are the dominant sapient species, a mantis-Cave is still the head of Aperture. Only one alternate universe Cave isn't the President of Aperture, but even he's still employed by them.
    • It's specifically said (and written) in trailer that the alternate Earths chosen need to be the ones in which 1) Civilization is advanced enough to conduct testing 2) Aperture exists. Apparently where's Aperture, there's always Cave Johnson.
  • Instant Cooldown: At the end of the game, GLaDOS is able to bring the Enrichment Center's nuclear reactor back from the brink of a meltdown to full operational status. This is foreshadowed by the BSODs you see on the monitors as you go through Wheatley's test chambers - all she had to do was press a key... metaphorically, anyway.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Broken rubble and panels not fully retracted are surprisingly able to block the player's movement. It's also impossible to jump over the catwalk railings, but a break in the railings almost always indicates where you do need to jump, or at least place a portal.
  • Inventional Wisdom: The old Aperture Science facility gives ample evidence of this principle being in effect; the most Squick-inducing being the Repulsion Gel, which was originally designed as a dietary aid that would make food bounce off of your digestive tract, and the Propulsion Gel, which speeds food through the body so quickly that it can't be digested.
  • Ironic Echo: At one point, Wheatley, prior to attempting to hack, remarks "Let the games begin." Later, after you escape his deathtrap, he repeats it somewhat more menacingly. Of course, the menace is undercut by his highly nonthreatening villainy.
    • Cave Johnson asks Caroline to "Say goodbye, Caroline," and she humorously responds with "Goodbye, Caroline." At the end of the game, when GLaDOS (supposedly) deletes Caroline from her brain, she repeats the line "Goodbye, Caroline" with a calm but malicious tone.
    • "Grab me! Grab me! Grab me!"
    • GLaDOS's insults to Chell about her being fat and abandoned by her parents at birth is repeated in a similar fashion in the Peer Review DLC. GLaDOS "adopts" a group of baby birds, telling them that they are fat and were abandoned.
    • "I can still fix this!"
  • It's a Small World After All: Wherever you aim your portal gun at when you shoot the moon, you'll end up at an Apollo landing site, despite the fact that there are only six Apollo sitesnote  on the entire near face of the moon (and only three with a Lunar Roving Vehicle, if you want to get specific about which site).
  • It Makes Sense in Context: The alternate Cave Johnsons in the Pe Ti say the weirdest things, and the player isn't immediately informed of the Alternate Caves.
    Alternate!Cave:"I've just been notified that one of our test subjects may have angered the Sentient Cloud by beginning testing early. Now, as you all know, the cloud has banned all camera technology—hates getting its picture taken. So this'll have to be on the honor system: Will whoever started testing early please go outside so they can be consumed by the Cloud."‎
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: One of the most common interpretations for why GlaDOS sent Chell away in the ending, based on the closing songs. Well, more "safe" than "happy", but same general concept.

    Tropes K to R 
  • Karma Houdini: At the end of the game, not only is GLaDOS still "alive" and as unhindered as when the first Portal started, but, as of the co-op ending, she has MORE human tor-er, test subjects. Then again, as previously mentioned she might also have spent the time between games reliving her own death, repeatedly. So even if she managed to kill 100,000 people, she's also more than paid for that crime with the number of deaths she was made to suffer herself. Also, she was a potato at Chell's mercy, which is probably her idea of Hell.
  • Kick the Dog:
    GLaDOS: I think that one was about to say 'I love you'.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: "Killing you? Is hard. So you know what? You win. Just go."
  • Landmark of Lore: The abandoned offices and enrichment spheres from the early days of Aperture Science.
  • Large Ham:
    • Wheatley has periodic bursts of ham, mostly after he gets plugged into GLaDOS's mainframe.
    • Cave Johnson is about as hammy as a Bad Boss gets.
  • Late to the Tragedy: Chell, waking up centuries after the Enrichment Center apparently stopped maintaining itself. Of course, this particular tragedy is one she herself caused by destroying GLaDOS in the first game.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • The first thing Wheatley asks you to do once you let him in is to speak. The game, lying, tells you that the jump button will make you speak. When you press the button and jump instead, Wheatley assumes that you have indeed suffered brain damage, also lampshading Chell's Heroic Mime status.
    • GLaDOS makes frequent references to Chell's weight, with one of her earlier comments expressing surprise that Chell has somehow gained a few pounds despite being in extended hibernation. Thing is, she's right. Compared to her earlier model in the original Portal, Chell doesn't look nearly as malnourished.
    • At the very end of the game, while Wheatley is floating with Space Core in space, he says "The End". Cue the game going back to the menu.
  • Leitmotif: Wheatley gets one in the latter half when he is in control of the facility, taken from 'I AM NOT A MORON!' mid-Face-Heel Turn. It ranges from four high/low notes or ten low notes cropping up ('TEST', 'Omg, What Has He Done?', 'The Part Where He Kills You', 'Bombs For Throwing At You', 'Your Precious Moon') to sometimes both the high and low bits together in remixed form ('Omg, What Has He Done?', 'The Part Where He Kills You', 'Bombs For Throwing At You). The four-note pieces generally signal a new development/idea, while the full-blown bit overall indicates his state of mind.
  • Level Editor: Besides the Hammer-editor based programs available, a simplified in-game map maker was added in May 2012.
  • Level Goal: In some cases, very hard to find, especially in the old Aperture Science facilities and Wheatley's test chambers.
  • Level In Reverse: The level in which you acquire the dual-portal device is the last test chamber from the original, only in disrepair.
  • Little Known Facts: Emitted by the Fact Sphere mixed in with Blatant Lies.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: A rare and weird case of an inversion. You need to defeat the boss to stop him from blowing up the facility through negligence.
  • Loads and Loads of Loading: While hardly a bad offender, the loading screens are more noticeable than for the original game. It's much milder when actually in-game, however - loading a map from the main menu can take quite a while, but loading the same map from the one before it takes only about a tenth as long, as does loading auto/quicksaves from within the same map.
  • Logic Bomb: In the old Aperture Science facility, there's a poster on a wall listing various paradoxical statements in the event of a rogue AI. Too bad you're mute. GLaDOS tries one against Wheatley, but he is literally Too Dumb to Fool.
    • And if you pay attention, the Logic Bomb actually works on the Frankenturrets. That should tell you something.
  • Logo Joke: During the earlier parts of the game, every loading screen shows an Aperture Laboratories logo. Later, being knocked out of the modern areas, the logo changes to an older version, reading Aperture Science Innovators, and when you return to the modern Enrichment Center, the logo is defaced to read Wheatley Laboratories.
  • Lost In Transmission: The prerecorded message giving advice in the event that an Animal King has taken over Earth cuts out just as it's about to tell you what to do.
  • Luck-Based Mission: One of the achievements is for catching a Weighted Storage Cube in a particular test chamber before it touches the ground after being doused in Repulsion Gel. It's pure blind luck if the cube will even bounce in your direction to begin with. note 
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Sort of. One of the "Bring Your Daughter To Work Day" experiments is labeled with Chell's name and mentions a "special ingredient from Dad's work," implying that she's the daughter of a male scientist who is, or simply raises her with, an Aperture employee. Some players have speculated that Caroline was her mother, although making the timeline work requires invoking superscience or adoption, given their respective ages.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Want You Gone" is a happy, upbeat song about, well, Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Also a hallmark of the guy who wrote it.
  • Mad Science:
    • Once you get to the abandoned Test Spheres in Shaft Nine and find the remains of 50s-era Aperture, it becomes obvious this was the case in Cave Johnson's era, as nearly everything in this section of the game is gloriously lifted from 40s-50s-era pulp sci-fi.
    • In the co-op campaign, GLaDOS wonders if testing that isn't inherently deadly can even be considered science. Note that said testing would be deadly to humans, but she doesn't have any to run the courses.
  • Magic Countdown: The timer in the Final Boss fight. At the start, it's stated that you have six minutes before the facility explodes, but each phase of the battle is independently timed regardless of how long you spent in the previous phase, giving you potentially as much as twelve minutes to work with. And that doesn't even count the Take Your Time that happens immediately afterward, and however long it takes GLaDOS to fix the reactor after you win. It's an awfully forgiving six minutes.
  • Meaningful Echo: In the last 1950s recording, Cave says "Say goodbye, Caroline", and she good-naturedly responds "Goodbye, Caroline." Later on, after Cave's final recording (complete with hacking cough and him outright saying that he's going to die very soon), GLaDOS says "Goodbye, sir" in an obviously sad tone of voice. Later, when GLaDOS supposedly deletes Caroline, she says "Goodbye, Caroline" in a relatively neutral tone.
  • Meaningful Name: "Caroline" means "free woman".
  • Metaphorgotten:
    Wheatley: Holmes versus Moriarity. Aristotle versus MASHY-SPIKE-PLATE!
  • Million to One Chance: Practically Lampshaded by GLaDOS, who applies "heavy rounding" to get your odds of success even that high.
  • Mind Hive: GLaDOS appears to be this — she claims to experience the personality cores as maddening, constantly babbling voices in her head. After The Reveal, she becomes aware of Caroline's personality as "the voice of a conscience" within her mind as well.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Both Wheatley and GLaDOS are significantly nicer (although they're still ultimately kind of jerks) when not plugged into the mainframe.
  • Mind Screw: Due to an entity the developers used to make level design easier, it's possible to get levels like this.
  • Minimalist Cast: Same as the first game. Just add a talkative British-accented personality sphere, two robots with no fear of death, and recordings of the... differently sane company founder.
  • Misapplied Phlebotinum: Aperture Science is built on this trope; it's their creed, and is emphasized much more in this game than in the first. See Inventional Wisdom.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: Again, but this time it's Wheatley acting as Mission Control, or rather, trying to and failing. Badly.
  • Mistaken for Profound: GLaDOS found inspiration in the insane ramblings of Cave Johnson. Of course, it helps that they're both Ax-Crazy.
  • Mobile Maze: There were hints of it in the original game, but Portal 2 demonstrates that most of Aperture Science is a giant facility full of moving parts capable of rearranging themselves. After some time has passed, the facility cleans itself up nicely.
    GLaDOS: Federal regulations require me to remind you that this next test chamber... is looking pretty good. That's right, the facility is completely operational again.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: The bird, whose nest you find at the end of the Peer Review DLC.
  • Mood Whiplash: The otherwise somber stinger at the end of the game is pretty much ruined by the Space Core's squees of delight over finally being in space.
    • Depending on your point of view, Cave Johnson's last scene might count as well. His famous speech about the lemons, possibly the funniest moment in the game, is followed shortly by what for all intents and purposes is his last will and testament. GLaDOS bidding him a resigned "Goodbye, sir" at the end is almost poignant.
    • In the last chapters of the game, the test chambers start featuring excursion funnels. Which wouldn't clash with the ambient mood of desperate urgency (since the player has found out that Wheatley's negligence is going to result in a nuclear meltdown and every second probably counts) if the excursion funnel music didn't sound like this.
  • Morality Chip: This plot element from the first game is extended. GLaDOS (without the Morality Core) states that while she had heard voices from the Cores her entire life, she now hears a conscience. And it is absolutely terrifying, because it is her own voice.
    • According to the trailers, the turrets have one. And another device to suppress it. And another device to resolve the stalemate those first two chips always create... just because.
  • Morton's Fork:
    • Once Wheatley takes control, Chell is left with a dilemma—team up to put the archnemesis she just defeated back in control (and begin their cycle all over again) or keep Wheatley in control and everybody blows up. But Thou Must does not begin to describe it.
    • In a lighter example, GLaDOS dismisses suggestions of human testing subjects for 'less lethal tests', because they couldn't have been sure they were lethal if they survived to write the suggestions.
  • Motor Mouth:
    • Pretty much all the cores (save for the Morality and Anger Cores) are this, but Wheatley takes the cake. His entire dialogue in the game, played continuously, goes on for an hour and a half. GLaDOS is no slouch in this one either, though.
    • As stated above, Wheatley can actually outtalk the destruction of the facility if you let him during the final-boss fight.
  • Multiplayer Difficulty Spike: The Co-Op mode is a lot more challenging than SP, thanks to the puzzles requiring four portals to solve rather than just two.
  • The Multiverse: The "plot" of the level-creator DLC "Perpetual Testing Initiative DLC" revolves around it: Cave Johnson's been scamming the Multiverse by tricking them into building his test-blueprints, and you're sent bouncing around it solving them. Some of the parallel universes are... interesting.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • Cave Johnson won Best Curtain Rod Salesman of 1943, one of his greatest accomplishments.
    • Congratulations! You just opened up the entrance to the original facility. It even comes with flashing flood lights! Wrong door. It's the tiny door behind the gigantic one.
  • Mundane Solution: The physics warping gels all wash off in minimal amounts of water. If Wheatley had known that earlier, the boss battle would have been a whole lot quicker.
  • Mundane Utility: The Portal Gun, a device so amazingly useful it would revolutionize the world — revolutionizing transport, providing inexhaustible power, breaking relativity — is used to test the efficacy of food additives, among other things. At least, they started out as food additives...
  • Mythology Gag:
    • There's an easily-overlooked doorway in the old portion of Aperture that leads to what appears to be a dry-dock that once housed the Borealis. The achievement you get for finding it calls it "the missing experiment".
    • One of the humans frozen in cryogenic storage found in the ending to the Co-op game is listed as Adrian Sheperd. Make of that what you will.
    • A couple of cut ideas from the main game make it into parallel Universes in the level-editor DLC: Cave Prime has an assistant called Greg, and in one Universe is a dead man put into a computer (as was the original plan for him before it got leaked.)
  • Never Recycle Your Schemes: Though in this case, it's more "never recycle your boss fight tactics." GLaDOS dispenses with her previous boss fight tactics this time around, settling for just trapping and killing Chell, but this fails because Chell and Wheatley sabotaged the turrets and neurotoxin. When Wheatley becomes the main villain later, he looks over GLaDOS's tactics and revises them to make himself more formidable. He doesn't succeed, but he comes closer to killing Chell than GLaDOS did.
  • Never the Selves Shall Meet: Cave's message in one test chamber:
    "Alright, this next test may involve trace amounts of Time Travel. So, word of advice: If you meet yourself on the testing track, don't make eye contact. Lab boys tell me that'll wipe out time. Entirely. Forward and backward. So do both of yourselves a favor and just let that handsome devil go about his business."
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • Only one test chamber from the trailers appears in the game, and it has differences. Although, it can still make sense since the footage came from a time when the game was in beta. It could have been an effort to not spoil the actual puzzles, but it would be nice if they included the chambers as a map pack later.
    • One feature for Portal 2 in the trailers, the "Pneumatic Diversity Vent," was never used at all (at least, not in any puzzles). In the trailer, Chell shoots a portal underneath a pneumatic tube to suck up turrets, loose wall tiles and other things. This proved too difficult to balance for gameplay purposes, so in the final game it only gets used for scripted scenes.
    • Highly pedantic, but this trailer implies that ATLAS and P-body both use blue/orange portals, when in actuality ATLAS uses blue/purple and P-body uses orange/red. Then again, they were both using an ordinary portal gun in that trailer.
    • Needless to say, if you were one who watched the trailers of GLaDOS reawakening, you were probably one of many who were freaked out when claws descend from out of nowhere to grab you and Wheatley, since that part wasn't in said trailers. The dark atmosphere and music, also absent from the trailers, didn't help.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • When you replace GLaDOS with Wheatley, who goes crazy and whose stupidity ends up almost destroying the facility.
    • The co-op bots help GLaDOS find more human test subjects, after she spent the entire campaign complaining that robots (and plants) are no good for her tests because they can't suffer or die.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Valve has more or less admitted that Cave Johnson is a mix of the crazy genius and need for showmanship of Nikola Tesla combined with the charisma and presentation skill of Ted Turner. The recorded announcements from the 1952 facility also strongly resemble the announcements Walt Disney recorded for the 1964 World's Fair (and Cave Johnson's hopes for avoiding death by scanning his brain into a computer are reminiscent of Walt Disney's rumored posthumous cryogenic preservation).
  • No Control Group: Averted with heavy parody:
    Cave Johnson: All right, let's get started. First test involves something the lab boys call "Repulsion Gel". You're not part of the control group, by the way. You get the gel. Last poor son of a gun got blue paint! Ha ha ha! ... all joking aside, that did happen. Broke every bone in his legs. Tragic, but informative! Or so I'm told."
    "The lab boys just informed me that I should not have mentioned the control group. [...] I pay the bills here, I can talk about the control group all damn day!"
  • No Damage Run: One co-op achievement requires you to beat Level 4 without dying. It's not the easiest thing to do, since pretty much any screw-up is punished with death.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Lampshaded here too.
    • There are signs in the 70s-era Aperture labs ordering employees to warn their superiors if they see several authorities, first among which are OSHA inspectors.
    • The unnamed male computer announcer tells you near the beginning that the safety measures for the test chambers have been deactivated to preserve reactor integrity. But testing will continue!
      • This mirrors what GLaDOS in the first game says about that very same test chamber:
      GLaDOS: Warning devices are required on all mobile equipment. However, alarms and flashing hazard lights have been found to agitate the High Energy Pellet, and have therefore been disabled for your safety.
    • At the beginning of the old test facility, and at the end after you leave, there are condemnation notices posted on the walls. These are dated 6/15/1961, but the dates painted on the Repulsion Gel and Conversion Gel facilities indicate that construction and testing were ongoing at least as recently as 1982.
      • Made more apparent by Cave Johnson being openly indifferent when it comes to participant safety:
    Science isn't about "Why?", it's about "Why not?!". You ask: "Why is so much of our science dangerous?" I say why not marry safe science if you love it so much? In fact, why not invent a special safety door that won't hit you in the butt on the way out because you are fired!
  • Nostalgia Level: After the intro, the game starts by putting you back in the test chambers from the original, but overgrown and half ruined by the intervening years. You quickly diverge from that path, however.
    • And after you retrieve the dual portal gun from the incinerator, you walk through a narrow trench to the elevator. If you look around before getting in, you can see that you were actually backtracking the entire length of test chamber 19.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: The description for the achievement "Lunacy" is simply "That just happened."
  • Not Rare Over There: Companion Cubes.
    "They are sentient, you know. We just have a lot of them."
  • Not So Different:
    • Parodied in a scene that is in a trailer, and turned up as an unused line.
      GLaDOS: We're a lot alike, you and I. You tested me, I tested you. You killed me, I — oh, no, wait. I guess I haven't killed you yet. Well. Food for thought.
    • Also invoked in the game itself, specifically, the ending. GLaDOS describes Caroline as being a lot like Chell (except not quite as heavy).
  • Notice This:
    • Sometimes if you dawdle for too long either GLaDOS or Wheatley will explicitly tell you not to look at something/touch something/perform some action. Naturally, that's your cue to look/touch/perform.
    • Parodied with the sign: "In case of implosion, look directly at implosion." This helps clue you in that it's your job to destroy the neurotoxin generator, not Wheatley's.
  • "Not Wearing Pants" Dream:
    Fact Sphere: Dreams are the subconscious mind's way of reminding people to go to school naked and have their teeth fall out.
  • Off the Rails: While the game itself is still completely linear, there's much more freedom to explore the environments, and, in-universe, large chunks of the game have you zig-zagging on and off the rails that various characters are trying to get you to follow. Chell's tendency to do this is apparently one of the reasons GLaDOS (and later Wheatley) get so frustrated with her.
  • Oh Crap: From Wheatley, when he finds out you killed GLaDOS in the first game.
    Wheatley: You did WHAT?!
    • The defective turrets often say this.
    • The climax:
    Wheatley: Space! Aa!
  • Old Save Bonus: Some hats unlocked in Team Fortress 2 can be worn in the co-op mode of the PC version.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: One of GLaDOS's put-downs involves her claiming an engineer, who purportedly noted Chell looks stupid in a jumpsuit, has one of these.
    GLaDOS: Well, what does a neck-bearded old engineer know about fashion? He probably— Oh, wait. It's a she. Still, what does she know? Oh wait, it says she has a medical degree. In fashion. From France.
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No: At one point, Wheatley asks you to stomp twice if you're still alive, once if you're dying, and no times if you're dead.
  • One-Woman Wail: A one potato wail plays during the main menu for Chapter 6. The lyrics contain a Bilingual Bonus for Latin speakers.
  • Only Sane Man: The alternate-universe Cave Johnson who's also in charge of Black Mesa is appalled by the dangerous science and pretty much calls everyone else out.
  • Orange/Blue Contrast: Almost anything important to gameplay involves this: the two ends of the portal; the propulsion and repulsion gels; the pushing and pulling states of the excursion funnels; the off and on states of the lights indicating a connection with the Big Red Buttons; the highlights on Atlas and P-Body; even the "eyes" of Wheatley and GLaDOS. The test chambers in Portal were deliberately made mostly cool blues in contrast to the warm oranges of the behind-the scenes-areas.
  • Order Versus Chaos: GLaDOS and Wheatley, respectively. Both get to take their turns at being the good one and the evil one.
  • Origin Story: Chapters 5 through 7 take you (literally) deep into the origins of Aperture Science. Pre-recorded dialogue in Chapter 7 reveals that GLaDOS was built as an attempt to achieve Immortality through Brain Uploading for Cave Johnson's secretary Caroline, whom he left in charge of Aperture Science after his death.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: In the Infinite Testing DLC.
  • Overly-Long Gag: The game manages to make one in the span of a few seconds with "The Part Where He Kills You." The line is repeated twice in a row in the scene, followed by the chapter title, which is the same quote. There's also an achievement and achievement description with the same name, and the music track that plays during the scene has the same name as well.
  • Override Command: Played with at the end of Chapter 1. Wheatley is trying to stop GLaDOS from reactivating, but since he doesn't know the code, he starts brute-forcing it.
    Wheatley: I'll just hack it, not a problem. Ok, AAAAAA. That's — I thought that was gonna be it; I'm surprised. AAAAA...C. Wrong again? That's surprising...that's...wait, I didn't do B, did I? We should be making a note of these. Have you got a pen?"note 
    • Parodied in the final boss battle where Wheatley, in an effort to stop the meltdown, may correctly guess the correct password. He promptly deletes the Emergency Heat Venting Protocols. This also says something about Aperture's passwording tendencies.
  • Parrot Exposition: See Department of Redundancy Department.
  • Password Slot Machine: Played with; see Override Command. Bonus points for Wheatley's eye spinning whilst inputting passwords.
    • Becomes a Brick Joke at the end of the game. Needing to hack another password, he doesn't bother being sequential and guesses randomly... which actually produces the right password.note  He's quite pleased at his first successful hack.
  • People Jars: The "Relaxation Chambers," one of which houses Chell up until the start of the game. The co-op mode explores this element further.
  • Percussive Maintenance / When All You Have Is a Hammer: Wheatley's solution to a stubbornly unhelpful wall, and a window on a locked door.
    • Also, his idea of creating new test chambers is to mash existing ones together.
  • Playing The Player: During the escape sequence. GLaDOS offers to facilitate your escape by quickly creating a puzzle room. It's a trap, of course, but you've been playing so long by that point you might have a case of lab rat mentality and just waltz right in. You even get an achievement, just for the devs to rub it in.
    • Better yet: Later on, Wheatley makes it very obvious that after the last test chamber, he's got a nasty surprise in store for you (of the murderous variety). Then, two chambers before that, the game sets up a simple Aerial Faith Plate puzzle...where the Plate unexpectedly flings you sideways, and Wheatley decides to hand you the surprise a few chambers early.
  • Point of No Return: Every test chamber door and elevator is a one-way trip.note  Those that aren't are uniformly part of a puzzle.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Cave Johnson, big time.
  • The Power of Love: The solution to the final puzzle of the co-op campaign requires you to use a gesture, as the vault lock looks for proof of the person opening it being human.
  • Pragmatic Villainy:
    • Some of the signs in the ancient bowels of Aperture Science tell test subjects to be careful because lawsuits are expensive, replacements hard to come by, and investigations bad for business. There are also signs instructing employees to notify a supervisor in the event they spot an undercover police officer or OSHA inspector, and offering Logic Bombs in case of a rogue AI.
    • GLaDOS at the end of the single-player campaign.
      The best solution to a problem is usually the easiest one. And I'll be honest. Killing you? Is hard.
  • Preorder Bonus: In the Steam preorder you get a free copy of Portal, in case you didn't already have it (or if you do, you get a giftable copy).
    • There were also different in-game ones for Steam preorders as well as regional Gamestop and Amazon preorders.
    • Let's not forget the PS3 version coming with a free Steam copy.
  • Press X to Die: At one point, an obvious trap shows up and Wheatley warns you about it. You can still fall for it if you want.
    • Near the end of the game, Wheatley simply asks you to get crushed by nearby, easily avoidable machinery.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: Cave Johnson had no qualms about testing his inventions on himself. This of course led to his death by Conversion Gel poisoning. In fact, by the end of the 80s, Aperture Science was bankrupt and couldn't recruit test subjects, so it began testing all of its products on its own employees, with a corresponding negative effect on retention.
  • Prop Recycling: In-universe, P-Body is a modified turret, while Atlas is a modified personality core.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The 'classical music' Wheatley plays is J.S. Bach's Little Prelude in C Minor (BWV 934).
  • Pulling Themselves Together: The game puts on a visual showcase by having the entire Enrichment Center do this after GLaDOS wakes up. The scene where she is reactivated was in one of the trailers used to sell the game.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    Wheatley: I. AM NOT. A MORON! (and then with Punctuated Pounding: Could a MORON! PUNCH! YOU! INTO! THIS! PIT!)
    GLaDOS: This. Sentence. Is. FALSE (to self) Don't think about it don't think about it...
    GLaDOS: LET'S! GO! GET SOME!
    Rick: THIS ROBOT OWES! YOU! MONEY!
  • Punctuated Pounding: Done when Wheatley smashes you and GLaDOS into a pit after GLaDOS pisses him off.
  • Punny Name: One of the alternate Cave Johnsons from the PeTI DLC is referred to as "Dark Cave".
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Cave Johnson has one of these in one of his last pre-recorded public messages, after he found out he'd been poisoned by ingesting moon dust. GLaDOS's reaction doesn't help either.
    Cave Johnson: All right, I've been thinking. When Life Gives You Lemons, don't make lemonade.
    GLaDOS: Yeah.
    Cave Johnson: Make life take back the lemons back!
    GLaDOS: Yeah!
    Cave Johnson: Get mad!note 
    GLaDOS: Yeah!
    Cave Johnson: 'I don't want your damn lemons! What am I supposed to do with these?!'
    GLaDOS: Yeah, take the lemons...
    Cave Johnson: Demand to see life's manager!
    GLaDOS: Yeah!
    Cave Johnson: Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am? I'm the man who's gonna burn your house down! WITH THE LEMONS!
    GLaDOS: Oh, I like this guy.
    Cave Johnson: I'm gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that BURNS YOUR HOUSE DOWN!
    GLaDOS: BURN HIS HOUSE DOWN! Burning people! He says what we're all thinking!
  • Ragnarok-Proofing: The Enrichment Centre is capable of testing even in the event of an apocalyptic scenario, and contains helpful pre-recorded messages detailing how different varieties of apocalypse might affect testing. The place is pretty wrecked though, which initially looks like an aversion of the trope, but once power is restored, GLaDOS is able to repair and rebuild it, at least superficially, in a matter of hours.
  • Railroading: A lovely little lampshade in the game opening: “No rail to tell us where to go! This is brilliant. We can go wherever we want! Just hold on, where are we going, seriously. Hang let me just get my bearings. Umm, just follow the rail, actually.”
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • Caroline (and all her accompanying backstory) was added to the sequel because they needed a character to play off of Cave Johnson, but they didn't want to hire a new voice actor for one or two lines.
    • All dialogue related to cake was deliberately removed from the game because the Portal team were so sick of hearing about it. There are at least two brief visual references, though: there's a drawing of GLaDOS taunting Chell with it near the first portal gun, and the fake door that GLaDOS uses to trap Chell says, "GLaDOS emergency shutdown and cake dispensary".
  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: All the characters with dialogue are either AI's, presumably with plenty of processor power devoted to proper diction, or speaking through prerecorded messages. This is actively averted, however, by Wheatley, whose colloquial and Buffy Speak-laden dialogue is intended to come across as very "human" and personable — except when he's trying to sound smart or confident.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Wheatley gives one in the final battle. One of his complaints includes not catching him when he dislodged himself from the railing at the very beginning of the game. Not even trying. What makes it even more amusing is that you can't, no matter how hard you try. The "use" key won't grab him until he's hit the ground.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Parodied with the Turret Redemption Line for defective turrets. You can guess exactly where it leads to.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The turrets. Averted in the ending cutscene though.
    • In a slightly different scenario, just as Wheatley goes power-crazy, his normally-blue eye briefly turns yellow. Anybody who knows the color of GLaDOS's eye knows immediately that something bad has just happened.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: Just one of Aperture's inventions would have revolutionized the world, if only they'd figured out how to sell them properly (and make them safe).
  • Replacement Goldfish: When the prototype control system for the Enrichment Center is taken over by GLaDOS' most hated enemy, she tries to train the humans from the co-op ending to be killers like Chell. Turns out normal humans are not nearly as durable nor so reserved about mortal peril.
  • Required Secondary Gadgetry: The Long Fall Boots in the second game are elaborated on in the fourth Aperture Investment Opportunity video. Cave Johnson goes into great detail explaining how the boots are designed to prevent the easily reproducible human error problem of falling from great heights and damaging expensive equipment.
  • Research, Inc.: the late Aperture Science.
  • Restraining Bolt: Similarly to the Morality Core from the first game, Wheatley was made to suppress GLaDOS' intelligence. There are also several restraining bolts hardcoded into the Aperture Science mainframe: one forces the AI to conduct tests and stimulates a euphoric response to subjects completing a test; the response diminishes in intensity over time as the AI builds up a resistance, as mentioned above. Another zaps the controlling AI if it tries to give hints. Yet a third apparently prevents the AI from reconfiguring the mainframe chamber to eliminate the manual core replacement apparatus.
  • Retcon: Much of Cave Johnson's backstory is changed from the info that was released at the time of the original Portal. Instead of dying as a result of mercury poisoning, he now became sick as a result of ingesting Conversion Gel, although that part could be blamed on Johnson being an Unreliable Narrator. In the old story, he proposed the idea for the portal gun while he was on his death bed. However, in Portal 2, all of the test chambers in the original levels of the facility require the use of a portal gun, even the ones that were constructed when Johnson was still young.
    • Due to the staff who made Portal being sick to death of "The Cake Is a Lie", all of the bottom-right corner images of cake in the original test chambers you see in Portal 2 are gone completely, replaced with an image of a person above two rotating crusher columns.
  • Retraux: The '50s and '70s versions of the Aperture Science logo fit well with those eras' design aesthetics.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: What you and GLaDOS are on at the end of the game.
    GLaDOS: Look, even if you think we're still enemies, we're enemies with a common interest: revenge. You like revenge, right? EVERYBODY likes revenge! So LET'S! GO! GET SOME!
  • Robo Speak: GLaDOS' voice here is somewhere between the sexy croon at the end of Portal and her original, very computerized voice. It gets more tinny after she gets stuck in the potato. All the other voices, except for those of the original turrets that carry over, are an aversion.
    • The developer's commentary states that Valve intentionally made the smartest AIs sound the most robotic, so that Wheatley, the dumbest character in the game (or ever) sounds the most human and personable. Casting him with a British accent was part of this, as according to their audience research, Americans associate a British accent with being smart. To Britons, however, Stephen Merchant has a West country accent, usually associated with being pleasant but not too bright. Which is basically exactly what Wheatley is.
  • Rule of Perception: When you shoot a portal to the moon at the end, you see a Twinkle In The Sky shortly after the shot hits, as portal effects travel at the speed of light; it takes 1.4 seconds for the shot to get there, and 1.4 seconds for the twinkle get back. However, nothing starts getting sucked through the portal into the vacuum of space until shortly after you see the twinkle - presumably, the formation of the portal connection itself also propagates at the speed of light.
  • Running Gag:
    • (Claims of) Chell being adopted and unwanted.
    • Chell's supposed weight issues.
    • Wheatley being told he would die if he did any number of things.
    • Wheatley's rather pathetic attempts at hacking.
    • The defective turrets.
    • Turrets falling into various implements of destruction, such as incinerators and crushers.
    • GLaDOS calling Wheatley a moron.
    • The (apparently singular) bird that continually harasses the AI characters. First mentioned in passing by Wheatley as part of a Noodle Incident Hand Wave about his survival, it appears three more times in the main game and once again in the DLC.

    Tropes S to Z 
  • Same Content, Different Rating: Inverted: Portal was rated T, while Portal 2 is rated E10+.
  • Samus Is a Girl: In-universe example—Wheatley passively assumed that whoever took GLaDOS out was a male test subject before GLaDOS revives and reveals that it was Chell.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: GLaDOS has a processor to generate this, which makes it into her potato form.
  • Sarcasm Mode:
    • A Call Back to the first game; this is literally one of the first things GLaDOS re-enables when she powers herself back up.
      Announcer: Sarcasm self-test complete.
      GLaDOS: Oh, good. That's back online.
    • Wheatley nearly forfeits at a critical moment when the supervisory program fails to understand his sarcasm.
      Announcer: Corrupted core, are you ready to start?
      Wheatley: What do you think?
      Announcer: Interpreting vague answer as "YES."
      Wheatley: No no no no no! Didn't pick up on my sarcasm...
  • Say It with Hearts: During your second escape, GLaDOS opens up a testing chamber that she claims is the "last one". The wall panels flip to make a vertically oriented <3 sign. It's not a good idea to trust her.
    • Of course, there is an achievement for falling into the trap, aptly named "Good Listener", followed promptly by a reload. If you're playing in Challenge Mode, she not only tricks you with the room, but also a fake finish line as well, which disappears when you touch it.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: The Scaling Cube from the Sixense DLC has this problem. Adjusting its size increases its mass. Thus, a normally harmless cube can be made into a giant slab capable of crushing turrets like bugs.
  • Scenery Gorn:
    • At the beginning of the game, most of the Enrichment Center is in ruins and overgrown by plants, although it gets repaired eventually.
    • The first walk through GLaDOS's chamber is designed to show off her ruined body.
    • The entrance to Old Aperture is similarly impressive, particularly the giant Enrichment Spheres secured in the air and the giant door sealing off the testing area.
    • The areas between some of the Old Aperture testing environments are also this, as Ruins of the Modern Aperture.
    • The final testing environments have openings revealing a seemingly endless panorama of test chambers, which crumble and collapse the closer you get to the end.
  • Schizo Tech / Decade Dissonance: Invoked intentionally, the middle third of the game takes place in a section of Aperture Science that had been sealed off sometime in the sixties or seventies. You go from Twenty Minutes into the Future to offices filled with typewriters, punch-card computers and rotary telephones.
  • Schmuck Bait:
    • "GLaDOS Emergency Shutdown and Cake Dispensary — Keep Unlocked"
    • Also, GLaDOS' last test chamber, and the bottomless pit that Wheatley tells you to jump in after you escape the deathtrap. Falling for these gets you achievements.
    • In one of the test chambers, GLaDOS tells Chell not to take anything with her due to a missing Emancipation Grill. Of course, she wants you to attempt it so she can taunt you some more. You get an achievement for it, too.
    • While Chell is carrying him across a seemingly bottomless pit, Wheatley tells her not to look down. She doesn't respond, naturally, but he immediately falls for it. Twice.
  • Schrödinger's Cat:
    • The Lab Rat comic has GLaDOS mention she's running her own tests on cats, and it gets a few nods in the game itself as well. Symbolically, in the comic Rattmann compares Chell to the cat; simultaneously alive (sleeping in stasis) and dead (she may never be revived).
    • Also implied by the Fact Core:
      "The Schrödinger's Cat paradox outlines a situation in which a cat in a box must be considered, for all intents and purposes, simultaneously alive and dead. Schrodinger created this paradox as a justification for killing cats."
  • Screens Are Cameras: Wheatley appears to be able to see through several of the video screens dotting various parts of the facility. In fact, there are a couple of parts where he reacts in pain to any of them being damaged. He later becomes jumpy whenever a flying cube almost hits them.
  • Science Is Bad: They have even more fun with the trope than in the first game, with Cave Johnson angrily telling an employee who asked if the tests could be a bit safer to invent a safe door that won't hit his butt on the way out, cause he's fired. And of course there's GLaDOS who openly questions if the co-op tests with robots who can't die or feel pain is really "science". Aperture just seems to have its own definition of the practices it actually refers to.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Helpfully provided as a backup in case a nuclear meltdown is imminent but you don't know when it will happen.
  • Sequel Escalation: The first game was so short, it was practically a proof-of-concept demo that got by with a unique mechanic and hilarious writing. The second is full-length, and include loads of new features, including co-op.
  • Sequence Breaking: It is possible to skip meeting GLaDOS and make it to the elevator in the lower level. She just appears on your portal gun without explanation in the next scene.
    • Because the co-op levels are unlocked based on the player with the most experience, it is possible for a first time-player to complete the final level before doing any others. Consequently, said player will then have every other chamber unlocked regardless of who they play with, since they have registered progress in the last chamber.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: The Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device (Portal Gun), in the 70's known as the Aperture Science Quantum Tunneling Device. There's also the Aperture Science Aerial Faith Plate (catapult plate) Aperture Science Edgeless Safety Cube (ball), Fifteen Hundred Megawatt Aperture Science Heavy Duty Super-Colliding Super Button (Big Red Button), Aperture Science Material Emancipation Grill, Aperture Science High-Energy Pellet, Aperture Science Vital Apparatus Vent, etc.
  • Shoot The Television: Late in the story, the player can use the portal gun and the in-game momentum mechanics to hurl objects (or oneself) at monitors on which Wheatley appears. Destroying them all earns the player an achievement/trophy.
  • Shout-Out: See ShoutOut.Portal.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The Enrichment Center is in fact part of a much larger complex of factories and testing facilities located in a gargantuan cave network built out of what was originally salt mines near and under Cleveland, Ohio, that Johnson acquired in the 1940s. While the scale of the caves in the game are... a bit exaggerated, the Cleveland salt mines are a completely real thing. Oddly, the game itself Retcons the mines to be located in Michigan, and there were never any salt mines there.
      • There is exactly one salt mine in Michigan, located about 1200 feet beneath Detroit. Interestingly, salt-mining in Detroit began before European explorers ever set foot on what is now Michigan soil. VALVe's retcon, however, locates the salt mine in Michigan's upper peninsula, which in real life has iron, copper, and a few gold mines, but no salt mines.
    • The speed of light is approximately 300,000 kilometers per second. Portal effects travel at around the speed of light. It takes just under 1.4 seconds for light to reach the Moon. Do the Final Boss fight and get a stopwatch ready. Note that this almost fell victim to Reality Is Unrealistic before Valve figured out how to sell it. A Twinkle in the Sky is not so realistic, but used for Rule of Perception.
    • The area you shoot the final portal at is near the Apollo 15 moon landing.
    • One of the Logic Bombs a sign advises you to use on rogue AI, "Does a set of all sets contain itself?", is often claimed to be a misquotation of Russell's paradox. It isn't; rather, it's a updated form of the paradox made in response to an Obvious Rule Patch to set theory in response to the original version of the paradox.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: During the Wheatley tests and ensuing escape, there are multiple opportunities to cut off some of his rants by smashing something (sometimes yourself) into the giant screen he broadcasts from. It can be rather satisfying, and earns you an achievement if you get enough of them.
  • Skyscraper City: GLaDOS's chamber is the epicenter of Aperture Science, and a place of prosperity and ambition. Naturally, this being a science fiction game, it is balanced on a rather thin pillar overlooking an enormous precipice despite its importance.
  • Slept Through the Apocalypse: Again.
  • Slapstick: Cooperative mode is pretty much made of this, at least for players with a loose definition of "cooperative."
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: "That's a crusher. We sell them too." These are found in some of the old Aperture Science areas, and Wheatley becomes rather fond of them later.
  • Some of My Best Friends Are X: When Wheatley makes an attempt at insulting Chell, he relies on GLaDOS' method of calling her fat and adopted. When GLaDOS messes with him by asking what's wrong with being adopted, Wheatley, after failing to come up with a good reason, falls back on this stock phrase.
  • Sorting Algorithm Of Threatening Geography: An inversion over the previous game: you start in the broken labs and move up into nicer and nicer ones. Then you end up in even ''more'' broken labs.
  • Space Is Cold: Contrary to common wisdom, people don't instantly freeze when exposed to a vacuum.
  • Space Is Noisy: Thanks, presumably, to Continuous Decompression providing enough air, you can hear Wheatley, GLaDOS, and the Space Core during the last scene. Rule of Perception covers the problem that it wouldn't be audible.
  • Spanner in the Works: According to GLaDOS, Chell is this. The Lab Rat tie-in comic makes this explicit; she was initially disqualified as a potential test subject due to nearly pathological tenacity (99th-plus percentile).
  • Spikes Of Doom: Wheatley becomes quite fond of crushers with spikes on them later in the game, and eventually wants them to shoot fire. They also appear in the co-op mode.
  • Spiritual Successor: The student game TAG : The Power of Paint heavily inspired the Repulsion, Propulsion, and Conversion Gels. In fact, the entire dev team for that game was hired by Valve in order to use their tech.
  • Spoiler: Valve and Steam Forums took great measures to remove spoilers of Portal 2 when it got leaked, removing comments and persons. Shame said spoilers can't be untroped from this site...
  • Springs Springs Everywhere: Aerial Faith Plates.
  • Stealth Insult: GLaDOS drops these all the time while she tests you. The first time she does it, she refers to a bunch of garbage as being smelly and useless, and then clarifies that she was actually talking about you and she was afraid you didn't get it because you didn't say anything.
    • Later, when you fling yourself around a test chamber a few times:
    GLaDOS: Look at you, soaring majestically through the air. Like an eagle. Piloting a blimp.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Valve said that the voice of Wheatley would be provided by, in their words, "Some guy from the office". Originally it really was: the placeholder voice was provided by Valve animator Richard Lord. Then they chose Stephen Merchant, most well known for his appearance on UK sitcoms The Office and "Extras".
    • It gets better. What did Richard Lord say about his replacement? He was "over the moon" with excitement. Guess where Wheatley winds up? (This may end up to be just a coincidence though, considering how much the story was progressed at that point.)
    • During the ending turret opera scene, a rather round turret leads the ensemble in soprano. Shortly after she's done, the game ends. So, in other words, it ain't over til' the fat turret sings.
    • Hard Light Bridges are made of sunlight taken from the surface. In effect, whenever you use them, you're literally Walking On Sunshine.
    • When Cave Johnson makes his infamous rant to "take back Life's Lemons", he mentions how he will get his engineers to invent an "Combustible Lemon" to burn down Life's house down with. An exploding lemon could also be called a lemon grenade. In other words, Cave Johnson takes lemons and makes Lemon 'nades.
    • The Fact Sphere gives one if you're lucky enough to hear it:
    Fact Sphere: William Shakespeare did not exist. His plays were masterminded in 1589 by Francis Bacon, who used a Ouija board to enslave play-writing ghosts.
    • All personality spheres are roughly the same size. In the end, the space sphere is orbiting Wheatley; therefore, Wheatley is incredibly "dense".
    • When Chell is beaten and thoroughly defeated, with her adversary holding all the cards, as it were, her only option is a very risky Desperation Attack: she literally shoots the moon.
  • The Stinger: The game takes this and runs with it, delivering no less than three stingers throughout the ending.
  • Stock Sound Effect: You know, it's a fact that people with a guilty conscience are more easily startled by sudden loud nois- *TRAIN HORN* I'm sorry, I don't know why that went off.
  • Stupid Statement Dance Mix: The potato song (warning: minor spoiler)
  • Stupidity Inducing Attack:
    GLaDOS: YES YOU ARE! YOU'RE THE MORON THEY BUILT TO MAKE ME AN IDIOT!
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: Played straight, where the only option available is to fall for GLaDOS' trap. She even says she had prepared better traps for you when you got past this one, which doesn't make sense since there is literally no exit out of the room you're in except the trap. Lampshaded later on by GLaDOS when she remarks that the chamber you're about to enter is undoubtedly a trap but there's no other option. Also see But Thou Must.
  • Stylistic Suck: Wheatley's poorly designed test chambers are intentionally invoked Scrappy Levels used to portray Wheatley's poor intelligence, his naivety and how the Enrichment Centre has fallen into disarray under his control. The developer commentary states that they tried to make these chambers look as if they were created by first-time level designers, right to the corny idea of "signing the scenery with huge words."
  • Surprise Jump: Referenced.
    GLaDOS: Did you know that people with guilty consciences are more easily startled by loud nois-[train horn]
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Wheatley requests this of Chell should his superiors come calling.
    Wheatley: I mean, listen: we should get our stories straight, alright? If anyone asks — and no-one's going to ask, don't worry — but if anyone asks, tell them as far as you know, the last time you checked everyone looked pretty much alive.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Wheatley with his bombs. To his credit, he has bomb-proof shields ready since learning from the fight with GLaDOS, but there aren't enough to completely shield him and he didn't take Conversion Gel into account. Like GLaDOS, he also can't shut the bombs off.
  • Take That:
    • People got very attached to the Companion Cube in the first game. In one of the early test chambers, GLaDOS decides to have fun by taking that fact into consideration. Multiple times.
    • The test chambers designed by Wheatley are pure Stylistic Suck - they all either consist of empty rooms with a single button that opens the exit straight away, have death traps that lack the "death" part (Wheatley even apologizes for not knowing how to fill the "deadly moat" with water, though if you didn't have long-fall boots, that easily-avoided fall would be at least crippling), have words crudely spelled out on the wall out of the level elements, or they're levels designed by GLaDOS crudely glued together with a few extra elements - sometimes just cosmetic - thrown in. Now look at any depository of player-made maps of any given videogame featuring user-created content. On a good day, only 75% will fit this mold.
    • Cut dialogue from the co-op mode has GLaDOS assign ATLAS and P-body to recover some human artifacts, including what sounds like a Garfield strip. Her evaluation of its content is not kind.
      GLaDOS: So. This cat loves lasagna so much that he eats all of the lasagna in his house. Oh, apparently it's not the cat's house, or his lasagna. Oh good! The man who owns the lasagna is furious! The end. The end?! That's not funny. Do either of you feel like laughing? All right, I'm pulling you out.
  • Tempting Fate: This happens a lot. For example, GLaDOS is sure she didn't prepare hundreds of tests in advance that Wheatley to steal and use. A minute later, it's revealed she kept hundreds of old tests.
    Space Core: Gotta go to space. Yeah. Gotta go to space!
    Wheatley: Nobody's going to space, mate!
    • And shortly afterwards:
    Wheatley: Take one last look at your precious human moon, 'cause it cannot help you now!
  • Testosterone Poisoning: The Adventure Sphere!
    Rick: "I am a coiled spring right now. Tension and power. Just... I'm a muscle. Like a big arm muscle, punching through a brick wall, and it's hitting the wall so hard the arm is catching on fire. Oh yeah."
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The villain of the Peer Review DLC course? The bird who frightens Wheatley and GLaDOS so much.
  • The End: Spoken, rather than shown as a title card. During The Stinger, Wheatley is in space, apologizes to the player, and finishes by saying, "The end." The way this is pulled off, it's a real Player Punch.
  • The Science Collaboration Points Mean Nothing
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: In The Part Where He Kills You, one imagines that the sheer quantity of mashy spike plates weren't entirely necessary. Two or three would have worked just fine.
  • This Is the Part Where...: Wheatley Kills You.
  • Three-Laws Compliant: Well, they know of the Three Laws.
    Announcer: All Military Androids have been taught to read and given a copy of the Three Laws of Robotics. To share.
  • Time Skip: between the very beginning of the game (at least 50 days since the first Portal) and the official opening to Chapter 1, an absurd amount of time passes. It's never revealed just how much time has passed, but apparently it was long enough for human civilization to collapse.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: In Old Aperture, GLaDOS learns that Caroline, Cave Johnson's assistant, was uploaded into her. For all her antagonism towards humans, she is at least partially human herself.
  • Too Dumb to Fool: Wheatley, who is immune to Logic Bombs thanks to being too stupid to understand the concept of a paradox. (See Too Dumb to Live.)
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Astonishingly played in reverse! Wheatley's inherent stupidity gives him immunity to paradoxical statements that would fry any other AI. Leave it to Valve to find a way to play Too Dumb To Kill. On the other hand, he does sit on top of the facility as the reactor is about to explode.
    • Collectively, all of Aperture Science's personnel. Specifically, the ones who thought it would be a good idea to empower a potentially malevolent AI to release a deadly neurotoxin. Cave Johnson, the founder, gets his own version by testing the effects of human consumption of Conversion Gel on himself.
  • Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: By the end of the game, GLaDOS is so sick and tired of Chell repeatedly killing her and wrecking the Enrichment Center that she finally allows her to leave the complex.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: You knew GLaDOS was going to come back. It was inevitable. You also know that Wheatley isn't dead after you meet GLaDOS and that GLaDOS' defeat isn't the end of the game.
  • Trap Door: From floors that collapse due to structural decay to glass ceilings that shatter under your weight to actual trap doors and walls.
  • Trap Is the Only Option:
    • GLaDOS gloats how she couldn't believe you opened a door that said "GLaDOS Emergency Shut Down and Cake Dispensary", even though you were in a pit with only one possible exit.
    • Lampshaded when Wheatley crashes a room into a walkway you're using. GLaDOS points out that it's a trap, but you can't go anywhere else.
    • The Booby Trap on the Stalemate Resolution Button is clearly obvious if you look closely enough. Again, though, you have no choice.
  • Trust Building Blunder: In the "Bot Trust" promotional video. Hey, the robots lasted six seconds longer than the human test subjects — go science! Earlier in the video, ATLAS directs a blindfolded P-Body to navigate around an Aerial Faith Plate, with predictable results.
  • Truth in Television: Moon dust is, indeed, "pure poison" (somewhat akin to asbestos dust), and will prove a challenge to overcome if we ever get around to attempting to colonize it.
  • Tsundere: GLaDOS finally lets you go, but only because it's the easiest way to never have to see your stupid fat face again and totally not because she likes you or anything, okay?
    • In the ending song "Want You Gone", she insists at length that she's happy and relieved to be rid of Chell, and mocks the idea that she might have considered Chell a friend...until near the end of the last verse, when there's a single line implying she misses Chell. This line appears as "[REDACTED]" in the lyrics displayed onscreen.
  • A Twinkle in the Sky: Happens when a portal gun is shot very far. In this case, the Moon.
  • Twitchy Eye: After Wheatley is damaged in the first encounter with GLaDOS, he has a short circuit that causes him to spark and jerk randomly. Since he looks like a robot eyeball, the net effect is strongly evocative of a twitchy eye in a human, and serves the same purpose in terms of Foreshadowing.
  • Understatement: GLaDOS is prone to this:
    Announncer: Nuclear core overheating!
    GLaDOS: I think we're in trouble.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay:
    • When Cave Johnson makes his infamous rant to to having the thought that portals appear instantly when you press the button rammed into players brains, play-testers were confused when they fired a portal at the moon and it, realistically, didn't appear instantly, due to the vast distance. Play-testers would not see a portal appear and look away. They made it so that the camera fixes once you've fired the portal, to stop confused players looking away.
  • Unexplained Recovery:
    • Apparently, the Weighted Companion Cube from the first game was never properly incinerated, as it reappears without explanation (albeit a little charred) at the end. See Brick Joke.
    • Wheatley is crushed "dead" by GLaDOS when she wakes up. A few test chambers later he reappears more or less intact, save for a shorted circuit that sparks every now and then, with a Noodle Incident Hand Wave about a bird that the player only gets to hear part of. Said bird becomes a Running Gag as well as a Brick Joke.
  • Unnecessarily Large Interior: In the first game, you thought the Enrichment Center was quite big. In the second game...you find out that the Enrichment Center is big. Really big. And was built atop the old Enrichment Center.
    • Which is even bigger... and the part of it you go through in the game is only one of at least nine equally large areas according to the map near the beginning of it.
  • Unreliable Narrator: While GLaDOS certainly was one through the events of the first game, in the sequel it gets so crazy that it even goes so far as to extend to the operational history of Aperture itself — Aperture Science Innovators was running crazy superscience experiments, complete with some form of backpack-powered portal device, as early as the 1950s, when the "official" history says all they did was make shower curtains during this time and that the concept for the portal device didn't even come up until after Cave Johnson was "poisoned" in the 70s. Even the original given founding date is proven wrong, as signs in Shaft Nine proudly proclaim Aperture began science ventures in 1947, rather than 1953... the latter of which is the date when original portal testing began. Johnson's own recordings, naturally, also include pretty much his own take on everything.
  • Variable Mix: The music changes briefly when utilizing the various elements in each test chamber.
  • Vestigial Empire: While not an empire per se, the sealed-off test chambers (along with Cave Johnson's portraits) visualize both Aperture Science and their founder's deteriorating prestige and wealth over the years. In the fifties, they were testing astronauts, Olympian athletes and war heroes. By the seventies, they were paying homeless people and Johnson mentions he's gone bankrupt. By the time Johnson became deathly ill in the eighties, they were forcing employees to become test subjects.
  • Vetinari Job Security: GLaDOS is hardly the nicest individual ever... but Wheatley's attempt to run the facility is a disaster, and you end up putting Aperture back in her hands because she's the only one who can run it effectively; significant, even if you disapprove of the testing, since part of the facility is a nuclear reactor well on its way to detonating due to Wheatley's neglect.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: The game lets you rescue a moping, defective turret from the incinerator. It gives you a very honest "thank you" and an achievement titled "No hard feelings". In co-op, you can give hugs to your partner...
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: ...but also refuse them. Part of the reason for using robots for co-op is so players wouldn't feel bad about killing each other in hilarious ways. And that defective turret above? Yeah, you can stick it into an Emancipation Grill immediately afterward, if you're feeling evil.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The entirety of Chapters 8 and 9 can be seen as an extended version of this, but the payoff occurs during the Final Boss battle. Best exemplified in the penultimate line below.
    Wheatley: What, are you still alive? You are joking!
  • Villainous BSOD: A literal example past a certain point in Wheatley's test chambers.
     OPERATOR ERROR 


     MOLTEN CORE WARNING 


     An operator error exception has occurred at FISSREAC0020093:09 

     FISSREAC0020072:14 FISSREAC00020023:17 FISSREAC0020088:22 

     neutron multiplication rate at spikevalue 99999999 

     ■ Press any key to vent radiological emissions into atmosphere. 

     ■ Consult reactor core manual or instructions on proper reactor core 

     maintenance and repair. 


     Press any key to continue

    @@ You acknowledged that Microsoft Windows is not designed or intended for use in the design, construction, operation or maintenance of any nuclear facility.
    • And of course the dialog to match:
    Wheatley: You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!! Well, I'm still in control. And I have no idea how to fix this place! Oh, you had to play bloody cat and mouse, didn't you? While people were trying to work. Yes, well, now we're all going to pay the price, because we are all going to bloody die! Oh, brilliant, yeah. Take one more look at your precious human moon. Because it cannot help you now!
  • Violation of Common Sense: Two specific achievements require you to take actions that will result in your immediate death. No, not your probable death. No, not your death only if you aren't quick enough on the portal triggers. To get those achievements, you must knowingly and willfully commit actions that will lead to your doom.
    • GLaDOS even comments on one of them. If you sit around long enough listening to Wheatley's attempts to coax you into jumping into a pit, she'll suggest that you really do have brain damage to actually be considering it.
    • Co-op has a variation on this: you have to knowingly and willingly commit an action which leads to your partner's death. More conventionally, finding the hidden Companion Cube is a one-way trip, but you don't know that going in.
  • Visual Pun:
    • During the ending where the turrets sing an opera piece, a rotund turret sings soprano. In other words, it's over when the fat turret sings.
    • The holes that Atlas and P-Body fall through in the co-op first-time intro, as well as the new Vital Apparatus Vent openings? They're apertures.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: GLaDOS closes all four walls around the player in one Death Trap, only they're not used to crush the player but to force the player to stand over a Trap Door as part of a larger trap.
    • And since the walls are comprised of smaller, independently moving panels, she even makes them creep forward in alternating progression as though they were large creatures crawling forward.
  • The Walls Have Eyes: The panels that make the walls of testing chambers have a glowing eye on the arms that hold/assemble them. It can get rather off-putting when the entire side of a room ratchets up and rows of teal pinpricks aim at you. It gets terrifying when the lights turn red.
  • We Have Reserves:
    • On completion of the Co-op Multiplayer mode, Atlas, P-body, and GLaDOS discover the cryofrozen bodies of the ten thousand other test subjects.
    • GLaDOS claims that there are entire warehouses filled with spare companion cubes.
      After fizzling the Companion Cube you take out of the test chamber:
      GLaDOS: They are sentient, of course. We just have lots of them.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Wheatley attempts to exploit this to make Chell stop running away from his Death Trap. Being Wheatley, it's not very subtle.
    "Aw. Just thinking back to the old days when we were friends. Good old friends. Not enemies. And I'd say something like 'come back', and you'd be like 'no problem!' And you'd come back. What happened to those days?"
  • Weird Moon: The Moon in this game is significantly larger than in real life. Might come in handy...
  • Wham Level: There's Chapter Five, which includes the somewhat predictable but still-heavy wham of Wheatley losing it when plugged into the mainframe, and then things get really heavy in Chapter Six, wherein it's revealed that Aperture's superscience programs, including the portal device, are much older than everyone originally thought...
    • Also in easter egg form, we have the Borealis Dry Dock. Which hints that it may have been used for teleportation experiments
  • Wham Line: "Actually... Why do we have to leave right now?" If the Evil Laugh preceeding it didn't do it, that line is what really clues you in to the fact that plugging Wheatley into GLaDOS's body was not the best idea.
    • In the second act, GLaDOS somehow knowing exactly what Caroline is about to say. This is also the first time the player will hear both voices in short order, and may realize that Ellen McClain is Talking To Herself.
      • Shortly therafter, GLaDOS tries to figure out what's going on. She has a realization of something she doesn't explain, then actually complements Chell before saying she needs to think about "something".
    • In the third act, *explosion* PART 5! BOOBY TRAP THE STALEMATE BUTTON!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Cores besides Wheatley in general. The cores that woke up at the end of Portal are never mentioned again (besides Wheatley), unless the bin of defective cores is meant to be the same thing. Wheatley mentions a manufacturing foreman (and at least one copy of him, so likely a core), but this is never touched upon. It also makes GLaDOS being "still alive" that much more confusing (her presumed backups being irrelevant), as it turns out she really was dead, more or less. The commentary indicates that there were originally going to be six distinct cores, but they were either cut and/or recycled as defective cores at the end of the game.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The reason why the co-op characters are robots instead of humans, so their many deaths are Comedic Sociopathy rather than shocking.
    • Played with all over the place, even in the first game with GLaDOS's ending song, but especially so in the sequel with repeated mentions of turrets not feeling pain (maybe), and eventually culminating with GLaDOS being a specialty AI based on a previously living person
    • Even Wheatley seems amused when unpleasant things happen to turrets, despite mentioning in passing that they do feel pain. It's okay if it is "simulated" apparantly.
    • According to GLaDOS, even the Companion Cubes are sentient. Though given the relationship players form with the little things, there's a fairly high chance she's trolling.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Portal 2 contains a surprising amount of dialogue that you can't hear unless you do something that requires a conscious act of stupidity.
    • Dying in the HUB in co-op really confuses GLaDOS.
      GLaDOS: I hope that was some kind of joke.
      GLaDOS: How can you fail this? It's not even a test!
      GLaDOS: I didn't think we'd have to keep track of the number of times you've died in the hub.
    • After escaping Wheatley's death trap at the start of Chapter 8, you're free to answer his pleads for you to turn around and come back. He's naturally surprised and asks you to please jump in that bottomless pit over there, following it up with a list of various incentives. If you stick around long enough to hear him out...
      GLaDOS: You really do have brain damage, don't you?! I can't believe you came back.
      [player jumps into hole]
      Wheatley: Oh! Wow! Good! I did not think that was going to work.
      Achievement Unlocked
  • When Life Gives You Lemons: Cave Johnson recites the classic "When life gives you lemons" line in a tired, almost defeated voice towards the end of the Old Aperture segments, only to subvert it in the next recording with a hilarious Rage Against the Heavens speech.
  • White and Grey Morality: Shows this by the end. GlaDOS undergoes some character development and not only lets Chell go but seems to appreciate her as a friend (though it's hard to tell), and Wheatley was always just an idiot who went drunk with power and in the stinger expresses regret for everything he did. No one is really "evil" any more.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Most of what Wheatley does after he gets plugged into GLaDOS.
    Wheatley Now who's a moron? Could a moron punch! you! into this! pit!? HUH?!? COULD A MORON DO THAT!?
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Averted. GLaDOS thinks living forever is just peachy, and repeatedly taunts Chell over the measly sixty or so years she has left.
    • Pure Intelligence Cave Johnson from the PeTI DLC finds it overwhelmingly boring. After reading the entire literary canon of all mankind in an instant, he proceeds to "improving" it by merging Ghostbusters with everything, before finally deciding he needs to kill everyone so he can ascend to Olympus.
  • Why Don't You Marry It?: Cave Johnson taunts his critics this way.
    "Why don't they marry safe science if they love it so much?"
    • This also doubles as a Call Back to one of GLaDOS's lines from the first game:
    "Maybe you should marry that thing since you love it so much. Do you want to marry it? WELL I WON'T LET YOU. How does THAT feel?"
  • Why Won't You Die?: Wheatley's penultimate complaint about Chell, wholly justified at this point by her canonical Determinator status. Lampshaded lightly by GLaDOS as well.
    GLaDOS: Killing you... is hard.
  • Wicked Cultured: Wheatley plays "Machiavellian Bach" in Test Chamber 5 in order to demonstrate his elevated taste.
  • William Telling: One trailer has Atlas attempting to shoot an apple off P-body's head... with a foot wide laser beam.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: See AI Is A Crap Shoot above.
  • World's Smallest Violin: GLaDOS does a variation in co-op. When you complete one of the early tests, she notes that no one was supposed to have completed it, and promises to build the world's smallest trophy for you.
  • Worth It: GLaDOS after tricking Wheatley into zapping himself.
    GLaDOS: I know we're in a lot of trouble and probably about to die. But that was worth it.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Wheatley goes out of his way to anticipate every possible point of failure during the Final Boss fight. Being an idiot, he misses some key elements, but what elevates it to a Xanatos Gambit — and his crowning moment of being Dangerously Genre Savvy — is that he is just smart enough to anticipate the possibility that Chell could win. The only things that stop him from being victorious are Chell's status as a Determinator and a Chekhov's Gun he could not possibly have known about.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    • Occurs in chapter 2. GLaDOS invokes it when the player tries to pick up (and use) the Companion Cube. Twice. And unlike the first game you can save it. Then GLaDOS destroys it anyway. Then the original one turns up again at the ending.
    • In the old testing facility, you keep running into signs pointing to elevators that lead straight up to the surface. Every single one is either broken or inaccessible. Later, you do find an accessible shaft and ascend it, with a payoff at the end in the form of another of those giant doors. Opening it reveals a brilliant light... which is just a floodlight illuminating yet another elevator shaft.
  • "Yes"/"No" Answer Interpretation:
    Announcer: Corrupted core, are you ready to start the procedure?
    Wheatley: (sarcastically) What do you think?
    Announcer: Interpreting vague answer as "yes".
    Wheatley: No! No! Didn't pick up on my sarcasm!
  • You Are Fat: GLaDOS never actually calls Chell fat, but is very fond of implying it:
    "Congratulations. Not on the test; most test subjects come out of hibernation terribly undernourished. I want to congratulate you on beating the odds and somehow managing to pack on a few pounds."
    • And again, when an Aerial Faith Plate malfunctions after Chell steps on it:
    "Hmm. This Plate must not be calibrated to someone of your... generous... ness. I'll add a few zeros to the maximum weight." Cue a few beeps...followed by a few more...followed by another dozen or so.
    • More so in the lines that did not make into the game:
      "One of these times you'll be so fat that you'll jump, and you'll just drop like a stone. Into acid, probably. Like a potato into a deep fat fryer."
    • Subverted when Wheatley tries it, and GLaDOS contradicts him. It looks like Character Development, but her subsequent whisper to you indicates that she's just doing it to mess with him.
    • During the Final Boss battle, Wheatley manages to work it in a bit more smoothly.
      "...Just ten pounds of useless dead weight. Soon to be two hundred and ten. Fatty."
    • And lastly, during the credits song with "She was a lot like you (maybe not quite as heavy)".
    • Co-op mode includes an Expospeak Gag revolving around this, with GLaDOS telling the robots that the best way to insult a human is to 'tell them that their weight variance is above or below the norm'.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Try as you may, you can't prevent GLaDOS' reactivation. Or Wheatley taking over.
  • You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!:
    GLaDOS: Core transfer? Oh, you are kidding me.
    Wheatley: What, are you still alive?! You are joking. You have got to be kidding me!
  • You Wake Up in a Room: This time, Chell wakes up in a "Relaxation Chamber". There are also two Callbacks to the Relaxation Vault from the first game; you jump down into the one from the first game when reentering the original test chambers, and GLaDOS later traps you in one just before you confront her.
  • You Monster!:
    • GLaDOS utters this to Chell after waking up, despite the fact that GLaDOS is far more villainous. For bonus points, the Achievement for this scene is named "You Monster".
    • Also implied in co-op, the first time you blow up the turrets:
      GLaDOS: What are you doing? YOU MONSTER! They're one of us.
  • Your Head A Splode: According to Aperture Science, giving your lover chocolates for Valentine's Day will result in this scenario.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: This one seems to end a little too quickly: You install Wheatley as the new central core, deposing GLaDOS. Everything's sunshine and puppies, right? WRONG. Wheatley proceeds to go mad with power and GLaDOS's insults provoke him into a rage, causing him to dump you down into the very deepest, most forgotten levels of Aperture Science... where the game's biggest revelations yet await Chell and the player.
    • You know those signs that show what test you're on and how many there are at the beginning of the chambers? The player never gets to actually do all the tests in a set. Wheatley helps you skip a few of the first set (the original game tests), then breaks you out of GLaDOS's set early; once you get out of Old Aperture (which doesn't have the number signs) and get to Wheatley's part, he suddenly springs a trap on you before you've finished the set.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: GLaDOS, in Chapter 5. There isn't even a fight, just a very simple puzzle. Of course, it's not the end of the game...

Pokémon RumbleEveryone Ten And Up RatingPunch-Out!!
PortalPuzzle GameProfessor Layton
PortalUsefulNotes/The Seventh Generation of Console Video GamesPrototype
PortalPuzzle PlatformerPortal: The Flash Version
PortalScience Fiction Video GamesPortal: The Flash Version
Weak Turret GunImageSource/Video GamesVideo Games
PortalXbox 360 Prince of Persia (2008)
PortalSteamPostal
Phantom BreakerPlay Station 3 Prince of Persia (2008)
PortalCreator/Valve SoftwareLeft 4 Dead
Pokémon X and YThe New TensProtect Me Knight

alternative title(s): Portal Two
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