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.




The clinical look

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

Portal 2

"Remastered" clinical

Remastered clinical look

Sections of Portal 2 chambers that look 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 the game's modernistic theme.

Chapters that this style appears in: "The Surprise", "Team Building" (Co-op), "Mass and Velocity" (Co-op), "Excursion Funnels" (Co-op) and the Perpetual Testing Initiative


Decayed, ruined chambers

This type of level design can be seen mostly in the first chapter of Portal 2, where the player explores 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.

Chapters that this style appears in: "The Courtesy Call" and "Hard-Light Surfaces"(Co-op)


GLaDOS's reconstructed test

This type of level design can be seen after you reboot GLaDOS and she is cleaning the facility, This style is very similar to the Overgrown style with some exceptions: Foilage is nowhere to be seen, birds can't be heard and the essential test mechanics(Heavy Duty Super-Colliding Super Button, Cubes, etc...) are all clean, Panels can be seen trying to go back to their designed places(with some failures along the way.) and some panels are dirty while others are brand new. As you go through the test chambers, the test chambers have less destruction and more clean Panels until Portal 2 Chapter 4 Test Chamber 20 where the facility is finally clean.

Chapters that this style appears in: "The Cold Boot", "The Return" and "The Surprise"

50-80's era Aperture

50-80's era design

Through the Portal 2 storyline, the player encounters old-looking levels with graphics predating the 90's. The so-called Cave Johnson levels 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.

Chapters that this style appears in: "The Fall", "The Reunion", "Mobility Gels" (Co-op), and "Art Therapy" (Co-op and only the last area of the course)

Wheatley's Chaotic Chambers

Wheatley's Test chambers

This is the last type of level design and can be seen in the last two chapters of the single-player storyline. These test chambers are made by Wheatley and it's made clear that he doesn't know how to make them. Different chambers that have nothing to do with the other are mashed together, holes are everywhere in the walls, and every few seconds an explosion happens (because of the overheating nuclear reactor that powers the facility). In the latter tests, fire can be seen in the background. Instead of the normal goo, there are bottomless pits. The test chambers are full of pipes making it very clear that Wheatley is putting tests where they weren't supposed to be. Instead of the normal Weighted Storage Cubes there are the Frankenturrets, and monitors are everywhere for Wheatley to talk to Chell and GLaDOS.

Chapters that this style appears in: "The Itch" and "The Part Where He Kills You"

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


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.
Beat two Portal advanced maps.
Beat four Portal advanced maps.
Vanilla Crazy Cake
Vanilla Crazy Cake
Beat all six Portal advanced maps.

Test chamber mechanics

Main article: Mechanics


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


Portal Stories: Mel test chambers

Main article: List of Portal Stories: Mel chambers