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The Portal Device

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The subject matter of this article contains in-development information that was cut from the final version of an official and/or canonical source and appears in no other canonical source. It may also contain incomplete information since not all cut material is publicly known.

Alpha c1a1 01.jpg
The Portal Device
Game information

Brett Johnson[1]


  • c1a1
  • c1a1a
  • c1a1b
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The Office Warrens

The Portal Device[2] is a location and chapter cut from Half-Life. It was meant to be the first chapter in the game. A playable version can be found in the Half-Life Alpha.


This chapter is largely made up of a series of laboratories and holding cells where specimens captured from the portal have been kept for study. The Portal Device itself is a machine designed to open an interdimensional portal between Earth and an alternate dimension. It's been used to capture specimens without the danger of actually traveling there. According to the chapter summary, no human has ever ventured through the portal before.

An accident fractures the fabric of space-time and allows aliens to invade through the fissures. The level begins in the main control room following the disaster. The player, initially only armed with a crowbar, was to battle his way through the now-ruined and infested labs to escape.[2] Optional paths to progress through the labs are presented, and a number of puzzles must be navigated in order to proceed.


The chapter was cut following the game's significant reworking in late 1997. It eventually evolved into Unforeseen Consequences which shares the same general premise. While a majority of the levels were completely discarded, the broken airlock in c1a1 was reused in Unforeseen Consequences, and the flooded laboratory in c1a1b was moved to the chapter Office Complex.

Behind the scenes[edit]

Despite having similar placements in their respective revisions of Half-Life, the Portal Device should not be confused with the final game's Anti-Mass Spectrometer as the latter is only capable of examining crystal specimens. However, Decay features a device called the Displacement Beacon which was designed to open a portal and capture specimens on Earth without the necessity of traveling to the alternate dimension, similar to the Portal Device's original intended purpose.





  1. Early Test Facility on Brett Johnson's personal website (June 5, 2016) (archived)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Half-Life Alpha Walkthrough (WalkThru.doc) (September 4, 1997)

External links[edit]