Aperture Science achievement in The Orange Box

Aperture Science

Earn gold medals on all Portal challenges.

Aperture Science+0.3
5 guidesOffline Game ModeSingle PlayerStackableTime/Date

How to unlock the Aperture Science achievement

  • eln0rteeln0rte76,692
    26 Feb 2010 28 Feb 2010 13 Jan 2018
    230 26 40
    I would begin by saying that if you decide to tackle this achievement please be warned that it is one of the most challenging around. It's by no means impossible but if you choose to pursue it prepare for many hours of frustration and at times outright anger. However, this is nicely balanced out by the great sense of pride you will feel when you finally win that last gold medal and the achievement unlocks.

    You can of course use certain cheat codes (such as placing portals anywhere) and glitching tactics ('portal bumping') to make your life a good deal easier but you'll find no note of that here. If you wish to go down that road you will have to look it up yourself as this guide is purely for those who wish to win this achievement legitimately. I therefore hope what you find in this guide will help you as much as possible in your pursuit of this achievement.

    Below you will firstly find a FAQ which contains what I believe will be some of the most commonly asked questions in regards to winning this achievement.

    You will then see written mini-guides for each of the six Test Chambers which are in turn broken down into a further three subsections for portals, steps and time. The mini-guides are comprised of the target you must hit, a difficulty rating and some additional tips or tricks (if I can think of any which are useful!)

    Finally there are eighteen Youtube video guides which correspond directly to my own mini-guides referenced above. You will see by reading my guides that I often refer to a certain part in the video by the time.


    1) In What Order Should I Play Through The Challenges?

    It’s very much up to you but my advice contrary to the views of some others would be to take it chamber by chamber starting with portals, followed by steps and finally time. If you’ve not played Portal in a while it will take a little while to reacquaint yourself with certain techniques which will make winning the steps and at times even the portal gold medals tough at first. However, as you progress you will definitely find these become easier. The time challenges however, are by far the hardest to win gold medals on and it is best to split these up rather than to leave them all still to do at the end.

    2) Are The Videos In Your Guide The Best Available?

    Having spent many hours looking at different videos I would say they are the most helpful and straightforward when it comes to achieving the gold medals. You will also notice that the majority of the videos show the absolute maximum amount of portals, steps and time you can take to attain the gold medals. There are quicker methods out there but these are definitely the easiest ways to reach the target. However, if you are struggling don’t be afraid to look for alternative methods. Check out youtube and portalwalkthroughs.com but bear in mind that most of these are taken from the PC version of the game. Utilising certain PC-based tactics is close to impossible on the 360 version, in particular orientating yourself correctly to fire a portal as you emerge from a previous portal.

    3) How Do I Reach The First Floor Portal From The Lift Entrance In Two Steps As Shown In the Least Steps Videos? It’s Impossible – I Always Take Three or Four!

    It’s not impossible honestly. It’s simply a knack that will be like second nature given a little practice. What you have to do once the lift doors open is:
    i) Place the portals in the areas as directed by the video. Remember the portal you will be entering should be placed on the floor directly outside the lift.
    ii) Walk straightforward taking no more than two full steps and then just before taking your third jump forward towards the floor portal.
    iii) This way you should have taken no more than two steps when you emerge out of the corresponding portal. Easy as 1 2 3!

    4) Should I Save Regularly When Attempting The Least Time Challenges?

    Some will argue that you should avoid saving as it disrupts your flow. I however, would suggest that you should not be averse to doing so especially if you have just passed a particularly difficult section and you are matching or even better besting the time on the video guide. Taking it in stages really is the best way to go for many of these challenges and by saving at certain key points you will be thankful at not having to do that part that had you tearing your hair out all over again. The auto-save function of course will often do your job for you. At certain points in my challenge descriptions I have indicated where I believe it might be a good idea to make a save but take this is as simply a suggestion on my part. Save or don’t save at parts YOU are comfortable with.

    5) Should I Persevere With This Or Give In To Frustration And I Put My Foot Through My TV?

    Without question carry on! Best piece of advice I can give when one particular challenge is driving you crazy is not to become demoralised. You WILL beat it eventually just keep at it. The feeling of elation more than matches the feeling of despair endured in all the failed attempts.


    1) Test Chamber 13

    A) Least Portals

    i) Target: 4 Portals
    ii) Difficulty Level: Medium
    iii) Tips and Tricks: What makes this challenge particularly tricky is throwing the block on to the second button. I did this numerous often finding that I just missed the button or fell to the floor in the process. I have subsequently discovered that jumping and then pressing the right trigger will throw the block so this could make things a good bit easier. Not entirely sure on the reliability of this method but give it a go as I think once you've learnt the technique it will make completing the challenge significantly more straightforward.

    B) Least Steps

    i) Target: 10 Steps
    ii) Difficulty Level: Medium
    iii) Tips and Tricks: Make sure you can drop the block against the wall and not on the button itself. This is made easier if you crouch and you should be able to hit the right spot.

    C) Least Time

    i) Target: 19 Seconds
    ii) Difficulty Level: High
    iii) Tips and Tricks: Hardest part is at 0.11 seconds in the video where you have to fire the portal through the door in the brief moment it stays open followed by the second portal as you drop down to the floor. There is an alternative method which involves throwing the block in the same way as the in Least Steps challenge but depending on how good you are at this will determine which way you decide to go.

    2) Test Chamber 14

    A) Least Portals

    i) Target: 2 Portals
    ii) Difficulty Level: Very Low
    iii) Tips and Tricks: A rather simple and welcome two-portal technique.

    B) Least Steps

    i) Target: 10 Steps
    ii) Difficulty Level: Low
    iii) Tips and Tricks: As long as you’re reasonable at firing portals quickly into the floor as you emerge out of the ceiling shouldn’t have too many problems here. Try to land with just one step on the lift and then you should have no problem reaching the exit within the target.

    C) Least Time

    i) Target: 10 Seconds
    ii) Difficulty Level: High
    iii) Tips and Tricks: Numerous videos on this one and I’ve simply linked the one I eventually got it with. Took me many attempts and you may prefer one of the alternative options on Youtube. Practice ortientating yourself in the right direction as you emerge from the floor portal. Land well and you should make into the lift in time.

    3) Test Chamber 15

    A) Least Portals

    i) Target: 14 Portals
    ii) Difficulty Level: Medium
    iii) Tips and Tricks: Using the camera to knock the energy ball into the capture device at 1.04 is a little tricky but not too bad. I actually did it quicker than the guy in the video. Jumping onto the platform to get to the final room at 1.44 is also a little hard and when you get there don’t worry about leaping on to the lift to reach the exit. The guy only did that to show off! I never managed it successfully. Remember by using his method up to this point you will still have four portals to spare to finish off the room. So instead just use them to complete the chamber the normal way by manoeuvring the energy ball into the capture device. I won’t explain how to do this as you should know having played through the game at least once before.
    N.B. Just noticed that Youtube prevents the embedding of this video. Here's the original url - LINK

    B) Least Steps

    i) Target: 55 Steps
    ii) Difficulty Level: Medium
    iii) Tips and Tricks: Video for this is good because he completes it with eight steps to spare which laves a good bit of leeway for errors. This is most likely to occur at places 1.34 to 1.46 and 2.10 to 3.20. Although you are free to make some mistakes be careful not to take it too easy. You don’t want to find yourself over the step count by the time you reach the exit! Try to practice so that you keep as close as possible to his step count. This way you should have no problems!

    C) Least Time

    i) Target: 54 Seconds
    ii) Difficulty Level: High
    iii) Tips and Tricks: Once again this video should be encouraging as the guy makes a couple of errors and still reaches the exit in time (although just barely to be fair!). You may find it quicker to portal as soon as you exit the lift but I don’t think this will make any great difference. Try to make sure you get the energy ball into the catchment area first time. As long as you are at the same area at 0.23 you should be ok. Don’t worry too much about portal placement to get through the acid tunnel area either. He seems to be overly specific about where he puts them. Also fire a portal to the opposite wall at 0.44 instead of into the floor. This should also save you sometime. When you exit this portal it might be a good idea to make a save just so you have time practice orientating yourself in the correct direction at 0.55 to reach the platform with the exit. You may not need to but just an idea if you're having difficulties.

    4) Test Chamber 16

    A) Least Portals

    i) Target: 2 Portals
    ii) Difficulty Level: Low
    iii) Tips and Tricks: Not much to say on this one really. Follow the video correctly and manoeuvring your way past the turrets to the exit should present no serious problems.

    B) Least Steps

    i) Target: 40 Steps
    ii) Difficulty Level: Medium
    iii) Tips and Tricks: Like the steps challenge on Chamber 15 not too tough but it is possible to loose concentration and make mistakes if you’re not careful. It is not imperative to throw the cube across to side like he does at 1.13. Simply get into a position where you can fire a portal into the ceiling above the second turret in the corridor (also making sure it can’t see you) and then use the other portal to take it out with the cube. As with the other steps challenges just make sure you are keeping close as possible to the step count in the video and you should make it to the exit with a few to spare.

    C) Least Time

    i) Target: 52 Seconds
    ii) Difficulty Level: Very High
    iii) Tips and Tricks: Probably the most difficult of all the gold medal challenges you will face. Be prepared to try this time and time again before completing it. The video guide I’ve linked for it is definitely the most helpful around as its specific to the 360 version of the game. The best tip I can offer is at rather than using the method at 0.43 to disable the final turret you should instead lean round the corner and simply fire a portal at the camera above. This will then fall and take out the turret for you. If you manage this and are matching or even better beating the time on the video then ‘save’ here. This will give you time to attempt the final portals which will take you to the exit. However, basically everything from the moment the door opens after 20 seconds will, unless you are either very good or very fortunate, be a nightmare of trial and error. Good luck!

    5) Test Chamber 17

    A) Least Portals

    i) Target: 2 Portals
    ii) Difficulty Level: Low
    iii) Tips and Tricks: Very straightforward. Just follow the video.

    B) Least Steps

    i) Target: 150 Steps
    ii) Difficulty Level: Medium
    iii) Tips and Tricks: Sorry as I was unable to find a video which shows how to do this challenge perfectly. Instead use the video I have linked as a template and take note of what I say to do differently. First try to make sure that at 0.22, when his step count is 35, yours is something less, ideally 30 or 31 at the most. This is perfectly do-able. You just have to watch your 'step!' Also pay attention to the fact that his step count changes from 189 to 186 at 1.37. Therefore you do not want to enter the room at any more than 186 steps. Diverting the energy balls into their respective a catchment devices isn’t the easiest task so you also want to make sure you are standing in the right place to divert them. The third one is by far the hardest. Look on the video to see how he is angling the companion cube and keep it in this place until it activates the final lift. Try not to get frustrated and overcompensate with too many major adjustments of the angle of the companion cube or you will be there forever.

    C) Least Time

    i) Target: 127 Seconds
    ii) Difficulty Level: Medium
    iii) Tips and Tricks: Not as tough as some of the other time challenges. A good thing to do is that instead of utilising the companion cube to adjust the camera simply catch it in mid-air when using a portal to shoot it off the wall. Laying it down in the right place can be a touch tricky. Just try to make sure there is enough room for the companion cube to balance on it. Aside from this everything else is relatively straightforward.

    6) Test Chamber 18

    A) Least Portals

    i) Target: 16 Portals
    ii) Difficulty Level: Low
    iii) Tips and Tricks: See Test Chamber 17 Least Portals

    B) Least Steps

    i) Target: 85 Steps
    ii) Difficulty Level: Medium
    iii) Tips and Tricks: Only trick part is getting in and out of the room with the turrets. This video shows it being done with five steps to spare so if you are one or two off when you place the cube on the button you should be ok.

    C) Least Time

    i) Target: 113 Seconds
    ii) Difficulty Level: Very High
    iii) Tips and Tricks: Tough right from the get-go this one. You will need to practice the technique he uses at 0.10 a good few times before you can get on to the higher platform. From here it’s a case of trying to go as quickly as possible. The room with the turrets is also very hard and its worth saving once you drop down to the lower level with the cube. If you are matching or even better besting the time on the video when you place the cube on the button then you are doing very well. Its also worth while saving at 0.47 in the video. This will give you time to practice entering the final section. Finally make sure you are facing down into the portal at 1.12. This way you will find yourself almost directly at the exit after you emerge from the other portal hopefully with a second or so to spare.

    Finally I will say that this is the first time I have ever written a guide of this nature so I have no idea whether people will find it at all helpful. In fact it might be complete rubbish but hopefully not! If anyone sees ways it could be improved please let me know and I shall endeavour to make positive amendments.

    Aside from this if anyone has any further specific questions please let me know I will do my best to assist. Good luck!

    Guide not helping? View 4 more guides for this achievement.

    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    Gilbert PrimeA great example of an inconsiderate port in that the challenges were clearly created for mouse and keyboard. I just tried playing the Steam version and there's a world of difference. The mouse is so much faster and accurate. I think it's pretty telling that Valve nerfed this achievement into "Go for the Gold" in Portal: Still Alive which requires getting only 1 gold medal on any map.
    Posted by Gilbert Prime on 21 Oct 20 at 20:19
    TrombonafideThis might be a hot take, but I find the Least Time easier than the Least Steps challenges. I’m 4/6 on Least Time golds in two sittings, and 0/6 on Steps in as many.

    EDIT: Once I figured out the portal drop-in trick and could do it consistently, the Least Steps all came in about an hour.
    Posted by Trombonafide on 02 Jun 21 at 13:16
    Deadpool7132it really sucks theres no "noclip" cheat on the Xbox like there is on PC
    Posted by Deadpool7132 on 01 Jul 21 at 17:21
  • Have you got any tips or tricks to unlock this achievement?
    Add a guide to share them with the community.

    Sign in and add a guide
  • Removed Gamer
    Gamer has been removed
    107 17 51
    Y, A, B, A, B, Y, Y, A, Left +D, Right +D= Portals can spawn anywhere.
    This cheat is activated off the pause screen. Once you get to the exit SAVE, then make a new game. Once that is done, go and reload the saved game, then go into the exit door. Do this 18/18 for gold and wall-la!

    Proper thanks for this video goes to maltchievy on YouTube.com
    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    JulesFromSicilyDoes anyone know if it still works?
    Posted by JulesFromSicily on 22 Feb 21 at 18:19
    J ROLL 1998I entered the cheat and as expected am able to place portals anywhere; however I can't actually enter portals placed on walls that you otherwise cant use them on?
    Posted by J ROLL 1998 on 23 Jul 21 at 22:16
    PubLiicYes this still works. I used codes to get this achievement last night on my Series X.

    Some other useful codes:
    Spawn Energy Ball: D-Up, Y, Y, X, X, A, A, B, B, D-Up
    Spawn Box: D-Down, B, A, B, Y, D-Down, B, A, B, Y
    God Mode: LB, D-Up, RB, D-Up, LB, LB, D-Up, RB, RB, D-Up
    Portal Placement: Y, A, B, A, B, Y, Y, A, D-Left, D-Right

    You can save, enter the code then revert to the save and it will still be active.

    You can also change your crouch/jump binds from the face buttons so you don't jump or crouch when entering codes.

    You might want to consider upping your sensitivity for time trials.

    Save again at the very end and start a new game. Once loaded, then load your save and it'll think you did it without cheats.

    For time trials/steps I had to do frequent saves with perfect movement. Updating the save every time I did a section perfectly.

    For steps learning how to drop from the ceiling without taking a step is important. Check out some of the other steps video guides on how to do that. The most optimal start for steps is to take 2 then jump into the first portal.
    Posted by PubLiic on 18 Aug at 00:14
  • AbmaOnlineAbmaOnline132,210
    26 Jun 2009 23 May 2009
    90 6 1
    Not really a guide or solution, there are enough of these on youtube, but some general tips to show you which options are available in the game to solve the challenges yourself.

    Numbers needed for each challenge in every chamber:
    Chamber #: portals (bronze/silver/gold) steps (bronze/silver/gold) time (bronze/silver/gold)
    Chamber 13: 9/5/4 30/20/10 0:40/0:30/0:19
    Chamber 14: 6/4/2 55/20/10 0:50/0:20/0:10
    Chamber 15: 23/21/14 75/65/55 1:45/1:25/0:54
    Chamber 16: 9/4/2 70/55/40 1:10/1:00/0:52
    Chamber 17: 4/3/2 215/175/150 2:20/1:45/1:27
    Chamber 18: 30/25/16 150/120/85 2:10/2:00/1:13

    Some general tips:
    - First work on the least-portal challenge and try to reach gold, you will need the shortcuts for the step and time challenges.

    - Crouch while jumping gives you a little extra reach.
    - When entering a portal in the floor, jump to increase your exit speed.
    - Jumping in a floor entrance portal from a higher level, launches you just as high out of a floor exit portal.
    - Try to place your portals strategically, so you can reuse them as entrance or exit portal.
    - When you entered a portal for more then 50 percent, it is possible to shoot a new exit portal. Make sure you move back to the entrance portal before the new exit portal hits the wall, for the right effect.

    - Cubes, cameras and turrets can be used to redirect energy balls.
    - You can throw objects a little further by using the left or right trigger on your controller. Combine this with a jump and a little forward movement to launch objects over quite a distance.
    - It is possible to grab objects through a portal.

    Some tips to save steps:
    - When you have to walk, make your moves in one single motion. Every little correction to your move adds an additional step.
    - Jumping while moving saves steps and crouching while jumping saves even more steps.
    - Spawning a portal under your feet saves steps.
    - When jumping between two floor portals (from which the entrance portal was created by shooting it under your feet while standing on the ground), removing one of them when above it (by shooting another portal of the same color somewhere else, where doesn't matter, since it is only used to remove the portal bellow you) and landing on the floor, costs no steps. This is the same effect as described by 'a laundryman'.
    - Make sure you don't end up too close to corners, since you will not be able to enter a portal below you without using steps.

    Some tips to save time:
    - Using your exit portal as the entrance portal of your next move saves time.
    - Focus less on saving, since it disrupts your flow.
    - Practice a lot...

    Maybe some spoilers:
    - Every vertical elevator with an open top can be reached without powering it up (meaning in all six chambers only one elevator has to be powered up).
    - Every horizontal elevator can be passed without powering it up.
    - Use the trick with entering a portal from a higher level with two floor portals and crouching to jump onto elevators and over walls.
    Showing only comment.
    JaggexedgeOne huge thing you should keep in mind is that you have to keep your finished game save in order to save your progress. If you so happen to delete it or write over it, you will lose all your medal data (I had this happen twice without knowing it).
    Posted by Jaggexedge on 23 Feb 10 at 06:02
There are 2 other guides for this achievement
Do you have a question about this achievement? Please post it in the The Orange Box Forum