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The Aperture Science Material Emancipation Grill, also known as Emancipation Grid, Portal Fizzler, or simply Fizzler, is a testing element and anti-thievery enforcement generally featured directly before the conclusion of a test chamber in the Enrichment Center.
In test chambers, the grills serve as a means of challenge and resourceful thinking, whereas in administrative areas and at the entrance of the Central AI Chamber in Portal, it is used to prevent staff from stealing Aperture products. It also is very dangerous, as it can emancipate dental fillings, tooth crowns, tooth enamel, teeth, and ear tubes. (tympanostomy tubes)
During gameplay, the grills serve to reset any portals produced by the Portal Device, as when the player passes through a grill, the portals evaporate. In that way, each new test chamber is started with a clean portal network, and must use their assets properly within that section of the testing area. They also prevent test subjects from teleporting back to previous test chambers.
The grill's primary purpose is to vaporize unauthorized equipment to avoid stealing of products such as the Weighted Storage Cubes, Discouragement Redirection Cubes, and Turrets, and to prevent them being taken into subsequent test chambers.
In Portal, the grill's emitters are two curved emitters with two blue stripes running horizontally along the center of the emitters. they emit blue/white particles.
In Portal 2, the grill's emitters are also two curved emitters but have a blue stripe running vertically down the sides which disperse the fluid-like field. The field can be contained through the slides surrounding its emitters, rather than deactivating. Strangely, the broken grill found in one test chamber emits particles similar to those of the original grill from Portal, implying that the field emitted by the grill is the same, but has been altered somehow.
Prototypes from the middle 20th century stages of the grills were used throughout the Aperture Science Innovators' Enrichment Shafts when testing the Mobility Gels. The prototypes featured several emitters along each side to provide the stable grill and a barrier field. Some objects such as the squared metal panels found in the maintenance area before the first Rocket Sentry are not affected by the Emancipation Grill. This is likely a developer's oversight, since the player has no reason to take these panels in the following offices.
When an object is vaporized through the grill, it turns black and begins flaking pieces of itself, slowly hovering in mid-air before disintegrating in a loud distorted noise. In Portal however, disintegration effects are silent. The effect is similar to the effect witnessed when objects are hit with the Energy Ball fired from a pulse rifle in Half-Life 2.
In Portal, GLaDOS states that it "emancipates" dental fillings, crowns, tooth enamel, and teeth, but only in "semi-rare cases". She also states that a noticeable taste of blood may occur, although this is an unintended side effect. The Announcer in Portal 2 adds to this by stating that it may also emancipate ear tubes, which will cause a test subject to feel liquid running down their neck. If this happens, the test subject is to relax, lie on their back, and apply immediate pressure to their temples.
Rockets fired by Rocket Sentries can also be vaporized when passing through the grill, but will before disappearing, turn on themselves at a high speed instead of slowly hovering. When clipboards are vaporized through this element, they do not emit any fire or spark and vanish upon contact with the first wall. Each time Chell passes through a Material Emancipation Grill, the Portal Device will be shaken and the light on its body is turned off until fired again, indicating that all portals have been reset.
When being put through a grill, a Turret will emit a long "owowowowow" yell before vaporizing, whether it is disabled or not. When a radio passes through the Material Emancipation Grill, its music stops as the radio disintegrates. Since the March 2010 updates made to Portal as part of the ARG, the radio now has fizzling sounds ("dinosaur_fizzle.wav", "dinosaur_fizzle2.wav", and "dinosaur_fizzle3.wav") when disintegrating. These sounds are typical throughout Portal 2 whenever any object is fizzled.
Behind the scenes
- The Portal Prima Guide, the Portal subtitles and one of the Borealis’ blueprints refer to the term "Grid" instead of "Grill". "Grid" is used once in a subtitle through GLaDOS, while she pronounces "Grill" in-game. The subtitle token names also use the term "Grid". This suggests the term was originally "Grid", changed later to "Grill".
- Despite Portal having a common problem with the subtitles and its Prima Guide constantly referring to the Grills as "Grids", the mistake of using both "Grid" and "Grill" occurred yet again throughout Portal 2, even pronounced within the developer commentaries itself by Bronwen Grimes when explaining the changes of the design. And since the developer commentaries are usually made after a game's development is finished, it renders that "Grid" may not only be an alternate name, but a more official name rather than "Grill".
- According to Garret Rickey, the combination of the Material Emancipation Grills and the elevators serve a dual purpose. They provide a clearly identifiable end-point for each Test Chamber, while also addressing the more practical problem of how to keep players from portaling across level loads, eventually leading to the integration of Material Emancipation Grills in the tests themselves.
- The track "Taste of Blood" in the Portal soundtrack is a reference to the Material Emancipation Grill.
- There is a bug in Portal 2 co-op that allows transporting testing elements through the Material Emancipation Grill. One robot should stay in the Material Emancipation Grill while another robot should give him/her the testing element.
- In Portal, any irrelevant NPCs spawned from Half-Life 2 will also be vaporized by the grill. However those NPC will turn into reference pose instead of becoming a ragdoll.
Half-Life 2: Episode Two
List of appearances
- Portal (First appearance)
- Half-Life 2: Episode Two (Borealis blueprints only)
- Portal: First Slice
- Portal: Still Alive (Non-canonical appearance)
- Portal 2
- The Final Hours of Portal 2