Portal Stories: Mel Game
Portal Stories: Mel is a single-player mod for Portal 2 developed by Prism Studios. The mod was released on June 25, 2015, for Microsoft Windows, and OS X systems, available freely to users who own Portal 2 on Steam. Like the official Portal games, it is a puzzle-platform game that involves placing interconnected "portals" to solve puzzles. Set in the Portal universe, players control the test subject Mel, who has to escape an underground facility after she spends decades in artificial hibernation. Reviewers largely praised the mod's visual design and ambition, though they criticized its difficulty; later updates added a "story mode" that made the puzzles easier.
Portal Stories: Mel Game
Like Portal 2, Portal Stories: Mel is a puzzle-platform game played from the first-person perspective as the player character Mel. Featuring the same mechanics as the original game, the player solves puzzles with a prototype "portal gun", which allows them to create a connected opening on two different flat planes. Portals can only be placed on certain surfaces, and portal shooting can be blocked via electric barriers. Additionally, the player can use a variety of other puzzle mechanics, including "light bridges" that allow traversal over gaps, "gels" that affect the player's movement, and cubes that can be placed on buttons.
Based in the same universe as the official Portal games, the story is initially set in 1952, when Aperture Science is still a fledgling company. Players take control of Mel, a German olympian who has been recruited as a test subject.
Awakening in the distant future, Mel follows what seems to be the voice of Cave Johnson and obtains a portal gun. The voice reveals that he is not actually Cave Johnson but a maintenance core named Virgil, who offers to help Mel escape. Virgil guides Mel through the remnants of the old facility, explaining that the destruction of GLaDOS in Portal caused most of the control systems in the facility to falter.
Continuing upwards, they learn that the reserve power has caused a prototype security system, AEGIS, to become active. With GLaDOS absent, AEGIS attempts to track them through the facility to eliminate them, deeming them potential threats to Aperture's (long-dead) scientists. Virgil realizes the only way for Mel to escape is to disable AEGIS. Going through overgrown test chambers, they eventually arrive at AEGIS's central core and successfully disable it. Mel enters the code to shut down AEGIS, but while doing so, she and Virgil learn that it was flooding the facility in an attempt to destroy GLaDOS's remains. Mel surrenders her portal gun and exits the facility in an elevator, bidding Virgil goodbye. At the top of the elevator, she finds the town where she entered Aperture in ruins. In a post-credits scene, AEGIS has enough power left to initiate one final fail-safe: waking up the test subject Chell by draining the reserve power so she can escape, setting up the events of Portal 2.
Afterwards, the studio switched from being a mod team to being a standalone game development company in August 2016, releasing The Captives: Plot of the Demiurge in 2018, but shut down around December 2020.
Many media outlets praised the mod's ambition and polish, though they often criticised its challenging levels. For the Washington Post, writer Michael Thomson commented on the mod's difficulty, stating that he "found the game unusually difficult, almost physically fatiguing", but that he was "hesitant to say those qualities are negatives". In contrast to Portal 2's puzzles that guided the player to discover solutions on their own, Mel's difficulty was a "reminder that games are just as beautiful when they expect the inconceivable from us". Eurogamer writer Ian Higton described it as the Dark Souls of Portal games, stating that "if you've not up to speed with everything, their test chambers can be really punishing", but nevertheless stated that it "nails what it means to be a Valve game". Although he rated the mod 7.5 overall, Ruslan Gubajdulllin of Overclockers.ru criticized the game's pacing, stating that the developers "practically do not give you time to rest" from solving puzzles.
Portal Stories: Mel is a modification for Portal 2 created by a team of fans of Portal 2. We are not related to Valve Software. Valve did not develop this game, and as such is not an official game by Valve nor endorsed by them. The game takes place in a world initially created by Valve and as such, we do not claim to own any of the IP, including, but not limiting to Personality Core, Aperture Science, Gels, Portal, and other game content initially featured in previous Valve games, including but not limited to Portal 2, Portal, Half Life 2, Left 4 Dead 2 etc.
The mod is available on Steam as a stand-alone game, although you still need to own Portal 2 to play it. It features original voicelines and assets, new gameplay mechanics (fire and water, Human Emancipation Grid), and 22 new levels.
Mel was the name of the original protagonist of Portal 2, itself also intended as a prequel, and at one point was redesigned to be in the game's co-op campaign alongside Chell, before ultimately being cut from the game altogether. Portal Stories: Mel reuses the character name and the basic prequel concept.
Portal Stories: Mel is a free mod for the game Portal 2 by Valve Software. In it, you play as Mel, a woman who volunteered to be a test subject of Aperture Science Innovators in the fifties. The mod can be downloaded on Steam.
An improperly-ported model of a goat NPC, taken from Dino D-Day. While a goat does appear in the game a few times as an Easter egg, it uses a different model with a black texture and no animations. This version is textured, but it appears with a purple tint as its lightmap texture is missing.
Two of the models used for the tram at the start of the game, tm_stuka_tram.mdl and tm_stuka_tram_doors.mdl, have a second skin which is never used. The texture is simpler and differently colored, there's no 2056, and the Aperture logo is in a different spot.
The AEGIS servers have a white texture, which is colored by the game. However, this functionality is never used, as all servers in the game are set to the same blue color. Developer Anna explained in a Steam discussion that they "experimented with different colors, but found that only having one color improved the gameplay."
In the final map of the game, sp_a4_finale, the player is required to fling on top of AEGIS and interact with a hatch, triggering the ending cutscene. The func_button entity which detects the player's interaction is named press_e_to_hire_us_valve. The actual entity is invisible, and this can never be seen in-game without the use of the developer console.
An unused track. It is seemingly complete, has a soundscript, and even appears in the soundtrack. However, it's nowhere to be found in the game itself. Judging by the name, this was likely used in an early version of the AEGIS boss fight. Additionally, the tracks are named room1, room2, and room2_serious. The AEGIS boss fight contains two rooms, the second of which is divided into two parts.
The turrets that appear in the Old Aperture portions of the game actually have voice lines! However, turrets cannot be changed from their default voices without replacing them entirely, thus these lines go unused. They can be re-enabled with modifications to the game files, but the turrets in the official Old Aperture maps will not use them. They can be heard by placing an old turret in a custom map, or from modern turrets (because they replace the default lines, as stated previously).
Visually, Portal Stories: Mel is a genuine treat. Beginning in the 1950s, the era is wonderfully realised, featuring impressively accurate decor that truly helps solidify the time period. It really makes for a great contrast to the believably decrepit incarnation of Aperture Labs in the later parts of the game. Though the transition between the eras can be quite jarring, both are effectively realised, and should impress on the whole.
Portal Stories: Mel may well be the closest thing to Portal 3 for a long time. Though that may sound disheartening, Prism Studios have done a tremendous job, and their wonderful game deserves such a bold comparison. Though they have no plans to turn Portal Stories into a series, fans can only hope that the success of Mel may change their minds.
Portal Stories: MelGame InformationPlatformsMicrosoft Windows, OS X, LinuxGame PublishersPrism StudiosReleasedJune 25, 2015Series InformationSeries RunJuly 5, 2015 - July 17, 2015GenrePuzzleEpisodes3StatusDiscontinuedPortal Stories: Mel is a puzzle platform video game, developed and published by Prism Studios. It is a mod for the original Portal game.
Valve's games have always been playgrounds for the motivated mod community, and Portal 2 is no exception. Portal Stories: Mel follows the titular Mel as she explores an Aperture Science laboratory of the past. Taking place in 1952, the game features about 22 new levels, original music, and a completely original story all created by fans.
Join Ben Hanson and myself, two of the biggest Portal fans in the office, as we play through the game's opening and are impressed by the amount of detail in the world and puzzles, and are less impressed by the voice acting.
Phil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry."}; var triggerHydrate = function() window.sliceComponents.authorBio.hydrate(data, componentContainer); var triggerScriptLoadThenHydrate = function() var script = document.createElement('script'); script.src = ' -8-2/authorBio.js'; script.async = true; script.id = 'vanilla-slice-authorBio-component-script'; script.onload = () => window.sliceComponents.authorBio = authorBio; triggerHydrate(); ; document.head.append(script); if (window.lazyObserveElement) window.lazyObserveElement(componentContainer, triggerScriptLoadThenHydrate); else triggerHydrate(); } }).catch(err => console.log('Hydration Script has failed for authorBio Slice', err)); }).catch(err => console.log('Externals script failed to load', err));Phil SavageSocial Links NavigationEditor-in-ChiefPhil has been writing for PC Gamer for nearly a decade, starting out as a freelance writer covering everything from free games to MMOs. He eventually joined full-time as a news writer, before moving to the magazine to review immersive sims, RPGs and Hitman games. Now he leads PC Gamer's UK team, but still sometimes finds the time to write about his ongoing obsessions with Destiny 2, GTA Online and Apex Legends. When he's not levelling up battle passes, he's checking out the latest tactics game or dipping back into Guild Wars 2. He's largely responsible for the whole Tub Geralt thing, but still isn't sorry.