Test Chambers

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A Test Chamber door

Test Chambers are a vital part of the Portal series and the Aperture Science Enrichment Center. Via the Security Cameras fixed onto the walls of test chambers at various points, GLaDOS can track a test subject's movements and progress.

There are hundreds and more test chambers throughout the Enrichment Center, which can be easily reconfigured and recycled to form another new test chamber. In Portal 2, these chambers can be swiftly created by GLaDOS with the usage of robotic arms carrying panels and combining them with other panels to form a ceiling, floor, and walls.

Aesthetically, these chambers bear resemblance to a hospital with its sterile environment; due to the lighting used within chambers, and the black and white coloring of the walls, floors, and ceilings.

Test Chamber Design/styles

Clinical (Portal)

The clinical look

Every Portal chamber (not including the escape sequences) have a distinct and recognizable look - white, sterile rooms with the atmosphere that conveys the emotions of loneliness. Most of the details seems a little blurry, possibly done on purpose to create a dusty, old atmosphere and immerse the player better into the experience.

"Remastered" clinical (Portal 2)

Remastered clinical look

Sections of Portal 2 chambers looks like the chambers from Portal, but made to fit the theme of the game and more refreshed and modern compared to the looks of Portal. The panels are more reflective, polished and easily recognizable to the average player. Every item design is revamped to suit to the modernistic theme of the game.

Decayed/ruined look/style (Portal 2)

Decayed, ruined chambers

This type of level design can be seen mostly in the first few chapters of Portal 2, where the player explore the devastating designs of destroyed levels. Outgrown leaves and grass dominate over the ruined panels mostly missing the final touch, just having the metal holder rim visible on the surface. The ruins don't seem a big roadblock to the player, but might impose a sort of emotional feeling to the player because the reason why Aperture has gone decayed is the side effect of the player's actions in the first game, and might find themselves guilty, even though they shouldn't be.

50-80's era Aperture (Portal 2)

50-80's era design

Through the Portal 2 storyline, the player encounters old looking levels with graphics predating the 90's. They are, so called, the Cave Johnson levels, which have a distinct look no other level design has. Its color use shifts more to the hues of green, yellow, brown etc., which is quite different to the color scheme all of the other Portal levels have - the hues of black and white. The contents of the test chambers' designs are more colorful and noticeable. Almost everything doesn't cut corners, other than the decorative pipes.

Challenge modes

In Portal, challenge mode test chambers can be found in the game's "Bonus Maps" menu option. In Portal 2 however, the challenge modes can be played via selecting "Play Challenge Mode" in either single-player or co-op.

The chambers in the challenge mode are identical to the original campaign versions, only with the implementation of goal-based puzzles. These include completing the map with the:

  • Least amount of portals deployed
  • Least time elapsed
  • Least amount of steps taken (Available in Portal only)

In Portal, the stats will be compared to the goal, and if you matched the number of portals / steps / time to the goal (or got less than it), it will get harder and harder. In Portal 2, player stats will be saved into the Steam leaderboards. This allows the Steam community to keep track of friends and other players who have beaten them in either least portals created, or least time taken to complete a test chamber.

Advanced chambers

Available only in Portal, these are variants of the test chambers which have been redesigned with an advanced difficulty curve, for instance by decreasing the number of portalable surfaces, or by increasing the presence of Goo.

Like challenge chambers in Portal, advanced chambers can be played via the "Bonus Maps" section on the main menu.

The Portal 2 Sixense MotionPack DLC contains advanced chambers for Portal 2.

Related achievements

Portal

Basic Science
Basic Science
Earn bronze medals on all Portal challenges.
Rocket Science
Rocket Science
Earn silver medals on all Portal challenges.
Aperture Science
Aperture Science
Earn gold medals on all Portal challenges.
Cupcake
Cupcake
Beat two Portal advanced maps.
Fruitcake
Fruitcake
Beat four Portal advanced maps.
Vanilla Crazy Cake
Vanilla Crazy Cake
Beat all six Portal advanced maps.

Test chamber mechanics

Main article: Mechanics

Portal

See also: Portal

Portal 2

See also: Portal 2

List of test chambers

Official Games

Portal test chambers

Main article: List of Portal chambers

Portal 2 test chambers

Main article: List of Portal 2 chambers

Portal: Still Alive test chambers

Main article: Portal: Still Alive

Mods

Portal Stories: Mel test chambers

Main article: List of Portal Stories: Mel chambers