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Portal is a series that lets move around a test laboratory in the most enjoyable fashion ever (through the use of portals, naturally).
The Portal games from the Orange Box collection are wonderfully unique and offer some of the most challenging and creative puzzle-solving around.
And the soundtracks for both Portal games will take you through an emotional journey, revealing GlaDos’s psychotic tendencies and even providing a human face to the ruthless turrets.
With a surprising amount of personality for a game series revolving around robots, machinery, and portals, these video game OSTs add depth to what would otherwise just be a fun puzzle game.
Integrating seamlessly into the gameplay at times, especially in Portal 2, the music is half the enjoyment of this franchise. And in this post I’m ranking the most beloved & memorable tracks from the entire series.
20. The Part Where He Kills You
First on the list we have The Part Where He Kills You.
A track taken from Portal 2, more specifically the scene where Wheatley attempts to take you out with spiked walls as if he had been inspired by Indiana Jones.
This song matches the action well and adds some extra tension to this scene.
When that doesn’t work, Wheatley – the gentleman that he is – asks you to do him a favor and jump into a pit instead.
The music does a great job of matching how you’d feel as you navigate the obstacles and traps set by the not-so-cunning Wheatley.
19. Machiavellian Bach
Machiavellian Bach is a lovely piece combining the soothing sounds of the classical composer with Wheatley’s love of Machiavellian literature.
Using classical music in games or in movies to contrast the onscreen action is always a solid move.
Hearing classical music in the background when something untoward is happening on-screen is particularly powerful, awkward but powerful. Especially when you consider the gruesome Hannibal’s love for it when he’s devouring human flesh in the movies.
Other than being slightly chilling, the track is actually quite pleasant to the ear while you’re busy solving puzzles and opening portals.
18. Your Precious Moon
The final track in Portal 2, Your Precious Moon combines with the poetic culmination of all the action to make for an even more exciting end to the game.
A track that progresses along with the uncertainty at what’s going to happen to Wheatley and the building tension, this BGM song launches you off into actual space.
Like a growing crescendo, the track accentuates the action on-screen and adds to the suspense and climax of the game in a way that Hollywood blockbuster movies would be envious of.
17. An Accent Beyond
Wheatley’s attempt at an American accent to go under the radar and fool GLaDOS is quite something. And it triggers the high energy scene that has a fast-paced soundtrack to match.
Running alongside the mechanical eyeball, you’ll feel your heartbeat rise and this track is responsible for making the scene so tense.
Combined with Wheatley’s worried ramblings, An Accent Beyond helps immerse you in this scene where you have to outrun a robot with murderous tendencies.
And really, this song does a great job of it.
16. Self Esteem Fund
The first entry on this list from the original Portal, this one is a deeply unsettling piece.
One which reaches a level of emotional impact far beyond most video games.
The ability of ‘self esteem fund’ to evoke a sense of loneliness and isolation is truly astounding and it makes you look at the action of the game through a slightly more pessimistic lens.
Reinforcing the fact that in the game you are completely alone and the sole human survivor, this track can definitely give you chills as you walk the sterile corridors of the lab facility accompanied only by turrets and talking robots.
15. PotatOS Lament
Another track that will send chills down your spine and prove that this game is a lot more than a whimsical puzzle-solving experience.
Potato’s Lament is the sad tale of GLaDOS’s brief existence as a potato.
Distorting Italian lyrics through GLaDOS’s robotic voice, this track is lighthearted in nature but still gets you in the feels for some reason.
Perhaps the brightly colored portals and colorful personalities of Wheatley and GLaDOS purposely lie in contrast with darker themes and motives of these games.
14. You Know Her?
Get the tissues ready as this track will bring back memories of that crushing moment – literally and emotionally – where Wheatley is discarded as if he were nothing and GLaDOS is back from the dead.
A powerful scene in the series, Wheatley frantically tries to figure out the password to stop the evil robot as she is casually re-assembling in the background.
The line “You know her?” is a neat throwback to the events of the first game, and the accompanying music is fitting for the unsettling re-animation of GLaDOS.
13. Ghost of Rattman
As you quickly begin to realize that this game isn’t the joyous action-adventure you thought it was, we move on to yet another chilling addition to the Portal 2 soundtrack.
The Ghost of Rattman is a song fitting for any suspenseful horror movie where the protagonist is about to make a terrifying realization.
A spooky score that will have you hiding behind the sofa as you wonder whether you should carry on and get to the end of the game, or just give up and watch Chris Farley just to forget Portal and be able to laugh again.
This is a stellar example of a tension-filled BGM track in Portal 2.
12. You Will Be Perfect
The track behind the epic co-op trailer for Portal 2, You Will Be Perfect establishes unrealistic expectations for the ability of players to co-operate and solve puzzles together in a harmonious way.
Unlike many of the previous entries on this list, You Will Be Perfect is a very much upbeat track that gets the juices flowing and compliments the on-screen co-op action nicely.
The fast beat makes a welcome change from the slower gloomy tracks from the OST and will lift your spirits as you take on the puzzles with your friend by your side.
11. The Friendly Faith Plate
An interesting techno and electronic beat, The Friendly Faith Plate is the soundtrack for those wonderful platforms which launch you hundreds of feet into the air in style.
This is another track that makes a change with its upbeat nature, and this one is a great song to help you figure out a level while in constant movement.
Classical music playing as you fly through the air avoiding lasers and firing portals maybe wouldn’t cut it. So that’s why this funky beat took over.
10. Exile Vilify
Exile Vilify is all about Doug Rattman’s woes, the sole survivor from GLaDOS’s attempt to wipe out all employees of the Aperture lab.
A character that isn’t actually seen in the games, Rattman exists through paintings and drawings on the wall. So this song is a tribute to the invisible character and his behind-the-scenes involvement in the Portal series.
Also responsible for the infamous line “the cake is a lie”, Rattman is an important character in the series and this song can be seen as his personal theme.
9. Wheatley Science
Here’s a track that perfectly strikes a balance between being sinister and lighthearted.
Wheatley Science sums up the oddball character of Wheatley and his light and dark sides.
In fact, this track can be said to represent the tone of the whole game series as you are always wondering whether it is all just lighthearted entertainment or if something more sinister is afoot.
Whatever the case, Wheatley Science is a great tension-building track that layers different instruments and is certainly a great listen.
8. Music Of The Spheres
Here’s a suitably atmospheric track that’s also rather eerie.
Music of the Spheres is another creepy song which accompanies you as you make your way through a large warehouse-like testing facility.
This BGM song has just the right amount of unsettling in it before a powerful beat kicks in and gives the track a deeply satisfying sci-fi feel.
That extra “kick” brings it to another level that captures how it might feel to be discovering a new alien species for the first time.
7. Love As A Construct
One of the best songs to solve puzzles to in the game series, Love As A Construct is an interesting piece that takes inspiration from a handful of sources.
For a start, as astute listeners have pointed out, there are elements of the track Cara Mia that feature inside this one.
Love As A Construct is an oddly calming that that will be your go-to for the next time you find yourself trying to solve a Rubik’s Cube.
6. I Am Not a Moron
The song which marks the transition of Wheatley from a friendly helpful robot to a power-hungry GLaDOS-esque machine.
It plays during the powerful scene where they exchange bodies and we see GLaDOS with human-like qualities and an amicable side for the first time, while we see the opposite in Wheatley.
The song is adequately powerful to match this transitional scene which flips our expectations on their head and marks a significant moment in the plot of Portal 2.
5. Science is Fun
This OST track is a brilliant piece which will ramp up your interest in the fascinating world of puzzles and logic.
Reinforcing the idea that the premise of the game, at its core Portal is a highly enjoyable series that plays with scientific ideas and theories to create an entertaining experience.
Science is Fun is a great lighthearted track to counter all the darker songs in the OST.
Playing with the Portal gun in the games is a hell of a lot of fun. So what better way to celebrate than with a fun musical track?
Toss this on if you’re thinking of conducting a few at-home science experiments in real life too.
4. Caroline Deleted
Deeply intertwined within the GLaDOS system is the former personal assistant to the CEO of Aperture Science, Caroline.
In one of the final scenes of the game, GLaDOS tells us how she is getting rid of Caroline and also proclaims that you were actually one of her closest friends, and not – as she presumed throughout the game – her true enemy.
The music for this scene is subtle and conveys the gentle nature of the admission by GLaDOS. It comes across as pretty subtle while giving us some closure on the game before we are sent up the elevator.
3. Cara Mia Addio
An emotional sendoff to GLaDOS, Cara Mia from portal 2 features the robot singing Italian lyrics in a surprisingly pleasant voice(for a robot).
Definitely a moving end to the franchise, a fat turret singing this track is the farewell that was needed to cap off the series in the best possible way.
It is a truly moving piece that will give you chills in a way not many other video game songs will be able to. Mostly due to the end of the rollercoaster experience of the games.
Cara Mia is the one classical Italian opera song that you will actually want to listen to for some weird nostalgia.
2. Still Alive
Here’s a song that many people still remember today from the original Portal game.
Still Alive features GLaDOS’s familiar voice singing about Aperture Science.
With a fun beat, the song contains some concerning lyrics to contrast with the music. But this is one of the most memorable video game tracks around to this day.
The ideal way to end the wonderful experience that was the original Portal, Still Alive is worthy of high praise and keeps you interested in the game even after you’ve finished it.
1. Want You Gone
This is Portal 2’s version of Still Alive and it’s just incredible.
Want You Gone is an even catchier tune that will have you humming along and singing to the hilarious musings and lyrics of GLaDOS.
This is a track full of personality that tells the story of the game and represents the character’s arc as she goes from wanting you(as the protagonist) dead to just “wanting you gone”.
Few games narrate their own events in such an original way. All through the perspective of one of the main characters and in a musical tone nonetheless.
So this is a very refreshing piece for the soundtrack and possibly one of the most iconic songs in gaming history if you understand the lore behind it.