ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you’re looking forward to the Zombie Apocalypse.
Avoid if… you hate needles and anything scientific.
Address: 930 Old Monrovia Rd NW, Huntsville, AL 35806 (click address for Google Map)
Room – Antidote:
Description (from the company website):
Nevada Desert, United States, May 25th, 2015.
Dr. Walter Brandt is a high-ranking chemical weapons specialist for the United States government, part of a secret department that is only recognized by a series of mysterious numbers and letters. He has been developing powerful viruses capable of eradicating enemy forces with swift pace and deadly accuracy.
Foreign powers have noted Dr. Brandt’s work and have recruited him to develop a powerful virus capable of killing their enemies in hours. He has gone rogue and has become a threat to the US and potentially the entire human race.
You are a team of scientists investigating Dr. Brandt’s abandoned laboratory. You’ve been tasked with finding the only known antidote to virus TS-51 before it gets passed into enemy hands.
However, during the investigation a clumsy member of your team bumps into a shelf, sending vials of the highly contagious virus crashing to the ground. One of them breaks and sends plumes of deadly vapour into the air.
Immediately, everyone is infected but that isn’t your biggest problem. The chemical detection sensor has picked up the threat and shutdown the facility. Total decontamination will begin in 60 minutes (eliminating all biological organisms inside)!
Your only chance of survival is to scour Dr. Brandt’s laboratory to find the antidote. He has hidden it from the government through a series of riddles, puzzles and codes that only the smartest can figure out.
If you do not find the security override code and antidote within 1 hour the facility will self-destruct, and there will be no escape.
Rely on your team, intellect, and keen sense of observation to solve the riddles and unlock the secrets to find the antidote and to escape the facility.
Time is of the essence. Do you have what it takes to defeat Dr. Brandt and save yourselves and the World from destructive chemical warfare?
Difficulty (1-10): 6.8/10
Time Limit: 60 minutes
Party Size: 2-6 (not actually listed, but you can’t do this with only 1 person)
Staging Area: Stars and Strikes is a bowling alley with a small arcade, bar, private party rooms, and 3 escape rooms in the back (by the bar)
Metro Access/Parking: This place is in Huntsville, AL. I don’t recall seeing any public transit, so you’re going to want to drive. Large parking lot, though.
This is the video I took before we entered the room:
This is the video I took just after we completed the room:
Description of the room: The room is essentially a lab. There are cabinets, rolling carts, transparencies, tubes, beakers, etc. Felt like we were actually in a lab.
Understanding of the Mission: You’re investigating the Doctor’s lab to find the only known antidote to the virus he created and someone on your team accidentally exposes everyone. You now find it even more urgent to find the antidote and escape.
Did We Escape: Yes
Time Remaining: 2:07 remaining
Our Suggested Party Size: 4
Did the room challenge the entire team? For the most part
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Dwayne, Patrick, Mike, Jeff
Worth the time and money? Yep
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:
- We didn’t go anywhere: There was a bar outside the escape room.
|Overall Expectation (Summary)|
|I heard several things about Escapology prior to making the reservation for Antidote. Escapology is one of the top-rated franchises in the country – from what I understand – so I was looking forward to coming here with my co-workers for a good team-building exercise.
One of the group had done a single escape room (with me) prior. For the other three, this would be their first escape room (Escape Room Virgins – ERVs!). Let the shenanigans ensue!
|This is one of the more detailed stories I’ve ever encountered in escape room. The website and the briefing are identical. The video on their website is the same video you’ll see in the room. So if you want to get a good idea of what you’re getting yourself into, and whether or not you actually want to do the room, I suggest you watch the video on the website (or above).
That said, you’re a team of scientists/investigators sent to the lab of Dr. Walter Brandt, one of the world’s foremost chemical weapons specialists. After getting the cold shoulder from the U.S. government, he decided to sell his services to the highest bidder. Your job is to find the only known antidote and bring it back.
Unfortunately for you, one of your team members is a giant klutz and knocks several vials off the counter, at least one of which happened to contain the TS-51 virus… the one he was developing that can eradicate a population in a matter of hours. Your job now is to find the only antidote (as you were originally instructed to do), cure yourself, and exit the lab. All of this within an hour.
Oh, did I mention that there is also a contamination protocol that will self-destruct the building in 60 minutes? Yeah…
|As I said in the post video, this room was simple, yet deceptive. There’s not much in it, but what is there was well done. In retrospect, I can see how the record time is what it is. And I’m somewhat disappointed that I wasn’t able to help propel my team to a swift victory (and new leaderboard time).
Like I said, the mission was essentially to find the antidote within the 60 minutes, so you and your team of investigators can cure yourselves, find the code to unlock the door, and exit the lab before it self-destructs.
Again, simple, yet deceptive.
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)|
|I feel like it’s been awhile since I’ve said this, so I’ll say it now, slightly begrudgingly. There were some new things in here. There were several key pads to unlock doors. There were several combination locks. There was even a scale. I’m not going to tell you what the scale is for, but it was well used. Oh and a glove box. Sounds stupid right? It isn’t.
While yes, there were some combination locks as I said, the way to finding the combinations themselves was definitely unique to any of the room I’ve been in. Now, that may be because we’ve only been in a literal handful of scientifically-themed rooms, but – regardless – the puzzles were good, except for the actual riddle. Thankfully, Jeff was able to figure it out. I didn’t want to use a clue for a riddle. NOT. HAPPENING.
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)|
|When I said earlier that I could see why the record time was 25 minutes remaining, I say that because, looking back on the experience, we made a few stupid mistakes, mainly overlooking things. We found the last piece to the solution to the first lock after we had already opened it, for example. The solution to the TV was left where it was because we didn’t follow Rule #3 (shocker). Oh, and the vials…don’t get me started on those. None of us would have ever thought to do what we had to do with them.
Now that I’ve said a little too much without saying anything at all, the difficulty ranged anywhere from 2 – 6 (I would think) with the exception of the riddle. Thanks again, Jeff! Hahaha
|After talking to the manager of the facility (while watching the Caps destroy Tampa Bay in game 6 of the ECF), I learned that the facility that this room from Escapology is in bought into the Escapology escape room franchise. As such, they were given the specs for the room, but how it’s decorated is up to them. So, if you went to play Antidote at another Escapology facility, it may look completely different.
Having said that, I do have some comments on the decor. It looked like a lab, complete with bubbling cylinders and chemical cabinets. Everything not marked with a red dot (to signify it’s not part of the game) is used in one way or another. I was not impressed with the “light box”, however. Or the body on the table. Neither really fit well and would have been better off being reworked with other props. (Though neither really detracted from the room. But our GM can bite me for yelling at me through the speaker that I cheated by using my cell phone flashlight because your flashlight died multiple times.)
|Other than feeling like an idiot an times (because I always think that when we get a clue it’s going to be something ridiculous that we overlooked), it was a decent amount of fun. Several times things just clicked for me, and the ERVs in the group got to see how things go together.|
|Game Master (Summary)|
|Our GM was helpful, but not insultingly so. Aside from the time she yelled at me through the intercom for using my cell phone flashlight because the one we had stopped working when it was needed for a puzzle. *Pffffffftttttt* [If this were rated, I may want to give negative points for obvious reasons.]|
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)|
|Again, helpful, but not insultingly so.|
|I felt like there was a lot we just overlooked, and that pisses me off. I think it may be time for a mental reset. (Oh, and for getting yelled at by the GM for using my phone BECAUSE MY #*$!#@* FLASHLIGHT DIED!!?!?@#!@#!
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 7.7/10
Final Thought: As I said above, I’m mildly disappointed in the fact that we neglected to follow the rules and just stupidly overlooked some things. Granted, there were 3 total newbs (ERV’s) and 1 novice, but still, that’s what I’m supposed be there for. Escapology is also a franchise (you can buy their stuff and they give you the puzzles and mechanisms but you “build” the room however you want). So if you want to stay away from non-custom built rooms, now you know. I would like, however, to try out all of their rooms, now that I know a little something about the quality.