Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Character Analysis - Doug Rattmann


Read it?  Great!  Meet Doug Rattmann.  He's never physically appeared in a Portal game, but he has remained a key part of the game's mythology.

In Portal 1, you are there, doing your experiments for some unknown reasons, things are becoming dangerous, and then you find this room:

This is our first hint that something is VERY very wrong.  While we knew things were wrong before, they weren't laid bare quite like this.  The mysterious author continues to help through the rest of Portal, offering written tips on where to go and how to beat obstacles.  He's the first to warn about the Companion Cube's demise (took it QUITE hard actually) and he gives his password for the players (not Chell) to find out more.

People really wanted him to return for Portal 2, and he did in his own way.  But he also got his own comic which sets up Portal 2 and the backstory to Portal 1.

From it, we can see that Doug Rattmann is a Paranoid Schizophrenic. I think this is actually a key part to his survival.  While everyone figured GLaDOS was murderous, he stayed with CONSTANT VIGILANCE and prepared accordingly.  He couldn't leave, so he worked to save Chell. 

And he continues in Portal 2... a bit.  He's still around but he's abandoned his hints for beautiful, if absurd, murals.

And there IS some gibberish you can hear walls in the walls in his dens.

So, what can we tell about Doug?

He's devoted.  HE's devoted to a cause (beat GLaDOS by any means necessary)  and he's devoted to Chell (who he's never technically met)  and he gives up the chance to escape in order to save Chell.

He is goal orientated.  While he could have simply ran away, he instead stuck around to give Chell clues on how to beat GLaDOS.

He's clever, even while insane. GLaDOS knew he was in the lab, but she could never find him.  Not only did he evade GLaDOS, he did so while crazy and in such a way he told Chell how to beat the puzzles.  Not an easy task.  And that's not counting the beans he ate while using old processors as a heatsink.

He has forethought.  He hid his medicine in case he needed it later.   His later dens are very hard to get into and are off the ground, so GLaDOS can't really access them.  When Chell does access the, presumably he keeps her from entering again if he can. 

(To go with the last two, he hacked computers so Chell was the first in the testing.  Not only clever but full of forethought!)

And, he's unbelievably tragic.  His best friend is a non existent cube, he watched every single member of work die, his sanity is constantly in question, he's injured his leg trying to save a woman he doesn't know, and even if he DOES escape, there is the Half Life battle above him. 

I really can't do this character justice. He may never actually appear in Portal, but he is so important to the world that GLaDOS would have one a long time ago, if he didn't step up to the plate. 

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