Using one of the simplest gaming concepts in years, Portal has taken the world by storm with its fiendish, charming puzzle action, building on its predecessor Narbacular Drop and adding a dollop of story and a spoonful of wry humour. As PC ZONE's adoration for the game knows no bounds, and most of the team are on our 15th playthrough, we decided it was time to take a cursory glance over what the online community has created using the vast Valve SDK for the game.
Created by one of Bethesda's Fallout 3 team, the internet won't shut up about Ren_Test 2, one of the most mind-numbingly taxing Portal maps ever created. So, take it as read that this map is so bloody brutally challenging that it makes Portal's advanced levels seem effete.
Now that we're done with that, we have to take our hats off to the designers for creating a fiendishly difficult yet fantastically designed map, recycling the ball-cube, and conniving one of the most frustrating and maddening energy-ball puzzles known to man.
This is a bastard of a map which will cause a stress migraine as you to manipulate energy balls into playing a horrible game of Portal lacrosse. Bethesda's people have made a level that's mind-boggling both in how hard and how masterfully designed it is.
There are many emotions you feel throughout Portal; elation, frustration, sadness, but rarely do you feel scared or tense. This map changes all that, by adding just the right amount of energy balls, funny-shaped walls, and no-portal surfaces to make this a tricky, twitchy map that will have you constantly looking over your shoulder.
Due to the erratic nature of where the balls fly, especially once you've decided to place a few portals to energise the switches, you'll be in constant fear of getting yourself energised to death.
Our advice is to play without autosaves, for that real oh-God-I'm-gonna-die sensation throughout. A tightly made, well-textured and a well-balanced map for players of all skill levels.
Santura is a great example of a map with some really solid, fun ideas put into it: made by a true Portal fan. It strikes the balance very well between making you think about your surroundings and negotiating the environment to place you in the perfect portalling position.
It didn't take long to break the map, through a misplacement of the Companion Cube, causing a disappointing reload just when I was getting into the swing of things. That weakness aside, Santura is a finely made map well worth a download.
This map is another teeth-grinder which has the single most annoying puzzle in here. It requires succinct and careful placement of portals at one part to pass an energy ball around the map - and without the right timing, you're either dead or back to square one.
The kicker is that the walls are a fluorescent bloom-drenched white, making it an absolute chore to even see the energy ball that you're so trying to drop into its receptacle.