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Portal 2 Easter egg guide: 30 secrets and references you may have missed

For a supposedly “short” game, Portal 2 takes a long time – a long time to truly complete and fully appreciate, anyway. Did you blast through in less than a week? Then you may have missed some of the greatest, cleverest, loveliest, Valve-iest moments… as well as the chance to unlock a lot more Achievements or Trophies.

Not to worry. Here’s our guide to every Portal 2 Easter egg, secret and hidden reference we could find, in order of appearance so you can go back and experience them all for yourself.

Know of any others? Tell us in the comments.

Hotel painting

Chapter 1, Introduction

You’ve definitely seen this already – Aperture Science requires you to “stare at art” for “intellectual sustenance” during the tutorial – but stare a little closer when you wake up the second time. The painting’s not only darker because the room has grown darker. Based on the presence of the moon in the sky, the painting has somehow transformed from a day scene into a night scene.

Test subject packing slips

Chapter 1, Introduction

Wheatley hauls you through the crumbling facility so quickly that details of your environment can get lost in the blur. Take a moment, however, to read the creepy information plastered across the other test subjects’ rooms. Some are male, others female. Some are short and fat, others tall and thin. Most are adults, though the option for child exists. All are expired.

Rat Man Den #1


 

Chapter 1, Test Chamber 4

Remember “the cake is a lie” from Portal 1? Of course you do. That famous phrase was scrawled on the wall by Doug Rattman, a former Aperture Science programmer who witnessed GLaDOS’ initial attack on the facility and then survived on cans of beans while hiding out in various test chambers and maintenance areas. This is the first and easiest to find of his hideouts in Portal 2.


Rat Man Den #2 (with secret song)


Chapter 2, Test Chamber 3

Rat Man’s second hideout is much more elaborate, with two of his trademark murals painted on the walls. Even cooler, though, is the radio tucked away in a corner – it’s the only place in the game you’ll hear a song written and composed specifically for Portal 2, The National’s “Exile Vilify.” Available on the soundtrack, you can also listen to it (over and over and over) right here:

       


Rat Man Den #3 (with Rat Man’s final transmission)


 

Chapter 2, Test Chamber 6
Unlocks “Final Transmission” Achievement / Trophy

This isn’t the last of Rat Man’s hideouts you’ll encounter, but it may have been the last hideout he ever created. Grab the radio out of the trash that GLaDOS drops in this chamber and, as demonstrated in the video above, take it to Rat Man’s secret office near the ceiling. It’ll emit a mysterious screeching noise that, when decoded with special audio software, creates an image of a Companion Cube… on the moon?!

Also, listen carefully to the radio before you take it to Rat Man’s den. Sound familiar? That’s right – an instrumental jazz version of “Still Alive”!


Smuggle a Companion Cube


 

Chapter 2, Test Chamber 7
Unlocks “Preservation of Mass” Achievement / Trophy

GLaDOS specifically forbids you from taking anything out of this room, so of course you have to try, especially with a broken Emancipation Field at the exit and an adorable Companion Cube on the line. Watch the video for exactly how. Spoiler alert: GLaDOS isn’t amused.


GLaDOS quotes Moby Dick


 

Chapter 2, Test Chamber 8

In this room, GLaDOS provides helpful instructions on solving the puzzle – in true GLaDOS fashion, however, she provides these instructions at such a fast speed that no human could possibly hear what she’s saying. Fortunately, we have computers at GamesRadar. Unfortunately, when slowed down her advice isn’t actually helpful at all, just a random quote from the opening of Moby Dick: “And methodically knocking people's hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”

Play the video to hear for yourself. For context, here’s the book.

Next page: Hidden farts, secret developer commentaries and a turret with way too much information…

Topics

Valve

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144 comments

  • Nick90 - May 26, 2014 6:24 a.m.

    Great, thank u guys!
  • CaveJohnson - April 22, 2014 7:12 p.m.

    Guess what everyone? You can actually see Doug Rattmam in the game!!!!!! During turret opera, you can see him traveling with his companion cube! hehe..... I won't tell when or where you will see him.. >:-) A little gift from CaveJohnson ;-)
  • KingAntonius - August 18, 2014 5:57 p.m.

    Holy hand grenades...he's there! He almost didn't look human, extremely paranoid though.
  • jack-white - April 9, 2014 6:20 p.m.

    Hmm is that box at the end a message from GLaDOS or rat mans companion cube think of that one
  • Denelz - April 4, 2014 1:52 a.m.

    Anyone els noticed the moon cycle on the ceiling in the firs chapter among the paintings done by Rattman. The numbers are mirrored and it's some weird markings within the cycle. WHY MIRRORED NUMBERS?!?!
  • Zeusthemonk - January 1, 2014 9:59 p.m.

    One easter egg is when that you can leave the game and outside of the game is Glados and the cake with the companion cube
  • realdealman456 - March 3, 2014 6:14 p.m.

    How do you do that
  • McKnight - September 2, 2013 2:01 p.m.

    Here is a weird one, in the co-op hub if you jump off the right side you can clearly see a lamp post.
  • DiscardedSlinky - August 19, 2013 1:32 p.m.

    I read through all the comments and here are the ones you missed. 1.)My favorite one which is Rat Man muttering to himself behind a wall in the den with the secret commentary and coffee mugs. Stand close to the wall with the Mural and listen closely. This is what you'll hear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVckngF-xgM There is also a way to get under the room though there is nothing exciting down there. Shoot a portal through the fan in the middle of the room. 2.)A really funny one which is a Fat Turret in the elevator before you ride up. In the raw files of the game it is named "turret_wife" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbQYtI1lp-Q 3.)One I found myself actually which is in Chamber 7 the Companion Cude very softly plays the turret opera theme. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fbdHyr38Uc 4.)A core (Possible Atlas, or Wheatly) peeking his head out of a panel near the lift in chamber 7. I can't find a good video for this but I found it in the game myself 5.)You can trap yourself in many test chambers in Portal 2 which will comes with funny dialog. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJGXN93CNq0 5.5.)Kinda a Easter egg, but if you look closely in the turret opera you can see one of Wheatly's box turrets crawling around and a Companion cube jumping. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kPyGvqNn4Y 6.)In the very first room of the game not only does the Painting change to the moon and darkness the walls do aswell. Having a surfer on the beach being replaced with a wolf howling at the moon. 7.)SirMcMuffintosh gave a fantasic one. In the second Rat Man den, you see the file with papers flying out. Look at the numbers--- http://half-life.wikia.com/wiki/File:Ratman_thenational_02.png ----That made me wonder... Why those numbers? So, I decided to look around, and found this--- http://www.thinkwithportals.com/comic/#11 8.)The third project at the "Bring your daughter to work day" expo is signed by one "Alyx". This means that either Eli or his wife or both have worked at Aperture once.
  • SherlockandWatson - June 26, 2013 7:53 p.m.

    In Ratman den #7 if you throw a portal in the room underneath the big fan on the floor I'm told (well not really TOLD I saw a youtube video that just told you how to get there then ends) you can find Doug Ratman muttering to himself! ( I am on my way to chamber 17 to see if this is true)
  • Qwert5638 - June 13, 2013 11:32 p.m.

    Has nobody noticed the leopard-spotted turret during the cara Mia song? Look for it, it's at the back. Huge Easter egg!
  • zane-cole - June 24, 2013 10:36 a.m.

    its kinda hard to miss haha, that's the king turret,
  • pingpongpanda - June 9, 2013 12:17 a.m.

    You know the painting changes after you go to sleep? Well its the same thing with the wall with the palmtrees. It goes all stormy lol!
  • Dommo - February 21, 2013 6:37 a.m.

    In Cara mia there are these following things 1. There is the heart companion cube doing flips and flying in the background of the bit where there are the turrets in the rooms before that huge hall 2. Just after king turret does the loud base you can see one of wheatelys Franken cubes (turret cube morphs) walking along the row of turrets 3. That big turret from the quartet in the chamber 4. The painting of chell in the room where you get the blue gun there is e satanic voice that the other comment , there also a lab rat reference : the chell painting is the front picture
  • amelia-mia-garcia - July 17, 2012 8:28 p.m.

    They missed something on this list. In chapter 3 chamber 17 they say if you dont have commentary on there's nothing there. When you go into Ratmans hideout on a normal game if you stand by the graffiti wall with the picture of chell painted on it turn the volume up and make sure the music is on, if the music is off you wont hear it. When you stand by the wall you can hear Ratman chanting in the depths somewhere. Its barely audible but someone used software to clean up the sound. What he's chanting : Guilty, Doug Rattman! Nothing is a must; who's in charge? I had no choice! Help me, Uncle Johnson; help me to design. Look at me,.....combustible lemons. Mutilation, mutilation comes to [garbled] shift has started. The shift has started; I let you down, men. I feel pain in me now, pain; it's a horrid fume!.. She is dead, she is! Please, look at me, Doug! Children!... The prisoner's gone! The metal voice won! [garbled] Johnson! Will you help me? Help me work, Cave http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTJpYsfvM_Q
  • Wouzz - March 18, 2012 11:49 a.m.

    Tremendous compilation, I started a new game just for it! :) As a modest contribution, here's one I just found myself while playing, and that does not seem to be part of your (awesome) list: In Part 8 - chamber 15, at the beginning when Wheatley starts tearing apart another room on the right, stare closely at the part of the room that does not move (on its left). Zoom in and... WHOA! Who's this ? :) Here's a video of it, not by myself though: [SPOILER ALERT] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXACeach1kg
  • poly_dog - February 6, 2012 5:53 p.m.

    I was replaying the beginning part (The Courtesy Call) and found something that *might* be an easter egg. Remember Portal, where a cake icon was displayed on the sign for the test chamber? In place of that is where the incinerator leads to (the part where you replace the template turret with the defect, and you later see the turrets falling into there after being thrown in the incinerator). Just thought that was interesting... http://oi44.tinypic.com/1hp9pv.jpg It's in the lower right corner. That's where the cake icon used to be.
  • poly_dog - February 6, 2012 5:55 p.m.

    In addition: I noticed this in test chamber 4 at the beginning of the test chamber. I'm not sure if it's in any other ones. Please let me know if it is.
  • randomfangirl - January 28, 2012 4:20 a.m.

    since you added the Moby Dick quote... At some early point in the game, GlaDOS starts telling Chell that "[she] saw a deer today". This is also the title of one of the songs in the official sound track. It seems to be a misspelled qoute from Robert F. Young's "The Dandelion Girl", a scifi short story, were, on the first meeting between the two main characters, the following is said: "Day before yesterday I saw a rabbit, and yesterday a deer, and today, you." This is interesting because: a) There are plenty of time traveling references once you reach the 1952 aperture's facilities. b) The story is about a girl traveling back in time and becoming her husband's secretary before marrying him. Something about Cave and Caroline's relationship might be implied here.
  • HydroPlume - January 18, 2012 8:14 p.m.

    @BerylMoon That seems very likely, but there is one thing that isn't necessarily true. Why does Caroline have to be dead to become GLaDOS? Like Cave was talking about music on a CD, music can be copied, so why couldn't Caroline's consciousness be copied?

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