Despite the witty, sarcastic humor of the writing, digging beneath the surface of Portal will reveal a world of deranged insanity. Trust us, Aperture Laboratories isn't all sunshine and daisies.
NOTICE: This is a Moments subpage for the Portal series. There are major spoilers beyond this point, all of which are unmarked as per policy. Venture further only if you dare! You Have Been Warned.
- The early parts of the game are just meant to be more straightforward with occasional bits of comedy, but when you look back, those parts can seem really eerie. You're trapped inside an empty building, moving from one room to another, without any clue as to why you're taking these tests and no sign of anyone being there. You are guided by a voice that seems friendly enough, but becomes more and more sociopathic the farther you go, and is probably not even human. Even the reward you're promised for completing testing is suspicious. Which of course builds up the true nature of Aperture and your mysterious guide...
- Speaking of, you reach the (supposed) end of testing, only for you to be greeted by a burning pit of fire, and the guide above you telling you it's time to die. If you aren't quick enough to figure out how to escape, then you'd be burned alive.
- The areas behind the platforms when you go off the rails and see the scribblings of former employee Doug Rattmann become unnerving. This guy has clearly slipped into insanity, and he even knows that at the end, you'll just be met with an agonizing death by burning, and to top it all off, you can see exits just out of reach, and nightmarish music plays in the background.
- The last three levels of the game have you going inside Aperture. The dim, occasionally flashy lighting, the occasional turrets, the writing on the walls...
- Confronting GLaDOS. She's not only a humongous machine hanging above you, she becomes more and more deranged the longer you fight her. And when her Morality Core comes off, she suddenly drops her Monotone voice and becomes creepily seductive, making her ten times more terrifying than before.
- The ending, at least for poor Chell. She fought her way through Aperture, and got so close to freedom, only to be dragged back in just before losing consciousness.
- When GladOS first wakes up and the first thing she says is "Oh, it's you," in the coldest, most hate-filled tone she ever speaks throughout the two games.
- In Chapter 3, Testchamber 17 you can discover a hidden chamber, with some choice graffiti: "Fear the turret for it is knell, that summons to heaven or to hell." There's a picture of Chell sleeping there, but she looks dead.
- Once you leave the hidden chamber, the opening closes, and so does the door to the office looking over your test chamber. It's almost like someone watching you. Additionally, with some careful shooting, when you get the Hard Light Bridge to lead you to the observation room, you can get a portal into the hallway; go in and there is no one there. There's also a door that leads to the Rattman den, and you can't get it to open from either side. And when you're in the den, you can still hear his voice. (The soundtrack calls the audio "Ghost of Rattman", giving the whole area a bit of a haunted vibe. Possibly literally, given that Ratman should be long dead by this point...)
- At one point, Wheatley tells you a ghost story about a manager who lost his mind and chopped up his entire staff (of robots, of course), and that you can still hear the screams... of their replicas. At first, it's funny — until he notes that they have no memory of the incident, and thus there should be no feasible reason for them to be screaming.
- Most of the songs in Portal 2 Soundtrack [Songs to Test By] are fairly great, both in action and ambiance but "Overgrowth" in particular stands out for being very low and eerie and just produces a sense of dark dread. The rest of the early chamber tracks sound relatively upbeat in comparison.
- The core transfer scene. Hearing GLaDOS scream in pain as her face gets ripped off is horrifying. The imagery of the transfer device pit as a portal into Hell with fifty little claws and devices reaching up at her doesn't help, especially as the sound file for GLaDOS' scream is called "sp_a2_core_drag_to_hell01.wav."
- Wheatley succumbing to GLaDOS's mainframe programming. At first, you may believe his FaceHeel Turn is just his true nature coming out, or the nature of power corrupting him. But as GLaDOS explains, her body is literally corrupting Wheatley, turning him into an egotistical, vengeful bastard driven to test or else experience withdrawal symptoms. He has no real choice in the matter, and his idiotic nature makes it difficult for him to overcome the programming. When he is floating in space, he is genuinely remorseful and upset over his behavior, but were his terrible actions really all him, or was it the programming making him do so? If it's the latter, then it's horrifying to imagine friendly, sweet Wheatley forced to become a monster by a system designed to oversee Aperture itself...
- Speaking of space, Wheatley must now spend the rest of his lifespan (depending on how long he can last without a power source) floating through outer space, never being able to make up for his mistakes, never being able to escape what he did to Chell and the rest of Aperture. Oh, and stuck with the Space Core orbiting him, ranting about being in space. Forever living in an existential hell, indeed.
- Although some interpreted it as a Mercy Kill, some players found it creepy when GLaDOS coldly deletes Caroline right after admitting that she's the voice of her conscience. Not helped by the fact that a flatline can almost be heard after the deed is done.
- The fake test that GlaDOS builds when you try to escape. If you go in, the Companion Cube that is pressing the button gets fizzled, and the (presumably fake) door to outside is locked, and she fills the chamber with neurotoxin.
- ALL of the Rattmann Dens in the second game are really creepy. The broken lighting, the discomforting music, the pictures, all of it. But the scariest has to be in the den where you complete the Final Transmission achievement...
- The menu music in chapter 6. So you spend several hours in Aperture's massive creepy parts, then you decide to take a break and quit the game and you're hit with that eerie, creepy magnificence. There's a reason why that piece of music is called "PotatOS Lament" on the soundtrack.
- One of Rattman's murals (pictured above) shows a woman, screaming with the most horrifically drawn face, as several scientists die around her. The woman is implied to be Caroline. To make it worse, you can also see in the lower right corner of the mural what seems to be Rattmann begging for mercy or hiding behind a companion cube.
- The entire first chapter has an oppressive, ominous feel to it. All those familiar old test chambers have been made much more eerie thanks to the ravages of time, there's the implication that, out of 10,000 test subjects at Aperture Science, you're the only one left alive, and of course, there's the other implication that an entire apocalypse has happened on the outside world. However, nothing seems quite as creepy as the moment where you meet GlaDOS again. Yeah, that scene seems harmless enough from what we saw in the trailers, right? We're all familiar with the humorous bit with Wheatley trying to hack the password, that ever-quotable "You Monster!" line, etc. Well, those trailers left a few little details out of that scene: the ominous music that plays as you re-enter the chamber, GLaDOS using a giant claw from the ceiling to pick you up and casually crush Wheatley, slowly lowering you towards that all-too-familiar incinerator... (okay, it doesn't work anymore, but you don't know that until she drops you in).
- As much as a moron as Wheatley is, him screaming, "What?! ARE YOU STILL ALIVE?" is scary as all get-out. The idiotic, silly Wheatley now furious he couldn't kill you is pretty freaky."Now we're all gonna pay the price. Because now we're ALL GOING TO BLOODY DIE!"
- During the testing sequence with GLaDOS, before Wheatley manages to make contact, you can catch at least two glimpses of Wheatley watching you before wallpanels hurried to obscure the sight. It's a little creepy without knowing what the heck he's doing.