ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you love the board game Pandemic or the mobile game Plague Inc., or thought learning about the Black Plague in school was fascinating.
Avoid if… you are a hypochondriac.
Room Escape DC
Address: 3949A University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030 (click address for Google Map)
The Room – Hospital of the Black Death (a.k.a. The Cure):
Description (from the company website): You and your team are a group of archeologists searching for a lost, legendary treasure cache from World War II. You explore the most remote areas of Eastern Europe, imagining piles of glittering gold, and trunks full of rubies, emeralds, and diamonds. But it is not treasure you find.
You stumble upon a hospital that is not noted on any of your maps. It is decrepit. It is abandoned. Some members of your team think this lost, peculiar hospital is sure to house the treasure you so desperately seek. So, you enter. And now, you cannot get out.
You find this hospital was deserted because it was the site of a deadly virus outbreak. You and your group have all been exposed to the infamous pandemic: the Black Death. Even if you escape, you will not survive.
It is up to you and your team to devise a cure to save yourselves from this deadly pathogen. Quick: your skin is growing black, and darkness is setting in. You will have to work together to uncover the mysteries of this forsaken place. Your fate is in your hands.
Difficulty (1-10): 3 of 3
Time Limit: 60 minutes
Cost: $27 + tax per person, but use ERG15 to take 15% off your price on games booked between Mondays and Thursdays
Party Size: 2-8 people
Staging Area: Decently sized lobby with plenty of seating. Two separate restrooms located off the main lobby.
Metro Access/Parking: Parking garage around the corner, but no metro.
Description of the room: The room that you enter looks like a a room in an old insane asylum. Medical stuff is strewn around and you get an uneasy feeling that you’re about to be locked in this room that has some weird juju going on.
Understanding of the Mission: Find out the cure to the plague and make the cure before it kills you!
Did We Escape: Yes, and we were the first to escape from this room (it opened that night)!
Time Remaining: 2:22… close, but we did it.
Our Suggested Party Size: We had 7
Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes, and we were able to work on clues independently and help out when others got stuck.
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Katheryn, Mark, Stephanie and Tara.
Worth the time and money? Yes, and we actually got a discount for booking the entire room because we did two rooms in the same night (they also sometimes offer discounts to try out the new rooms on the opening nights/weekends).
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:
- The Green Turtle – sports bar w/ standard bar food. Karaoke was going on the night we stopped in.
- The Wine House – stop in for a glass of wine and dessert.
|JASON SAYS:||MIKE SAYS:|
|Overall Expectation (Summary)|
|I was looking forward to this one. I like most things zombie-related and was hoping I’d get to kill something. While that didn’t happen, we did stop everyone from dying horrible deaths.||I was pretty excited to do this room. A fan of zombie movies, bio-terrorism seems like a great theme for a room. It didn’t hurt that we were doing a “virgin room.”|
|The story reminded me of a show on Hulu called ReGenesis (that I loved) that ends with an outbreak of Spanish Flu. So, while I hoped we didn’t die, I was intrigued as to where it would all go.
|It was a compelling story. We’re archaeologists in Eastern Europe looking for treasure and we stumble upon an abandoned hospital where all hell breaks loose.
|Simple and straightforward, find everything you need to unravel the formula for an antidote so you can not die and then GTFO.
|Find the clues to obtain the formula for the antidote and concoct the solution.
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)|
|This room had some very clever puzzles, along with some obvious and not very obvious. An excellent mix.
|There were a few standard locks, but the puzzles were really well done. There were some great puzzles that we hadn’t seen before, and we actually followed Rule #3 without having to ask for a solution.
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)|
|As I said, there were some very clever puzzles here. The final one was, indeed, right up my alley and I killed it. But some of the others had us pretty good and momentarily stumped.
As Mike said before, we actually followed Rule #3 this time and were able to GTFO. I think, though, that this room might warrant a Rule #6. We’ll have to talk it over.
|The one puzzle stumped us for a bit, until we looked a little closer and saw what we were doing wrong. Attention to detail in this room is an absolute must!
A final puzzle was right up Jason’s alley. I stated working on it, but half-way through abandoned my paper and pencil (I offered to take notes). My bad.
|This was one of several rooms we’ve encountered where everyone was split up into teams fairly quickly. I bore quickly, so I’m more of a numbers/logic guy, but Tara, for instance, has way more attention to detail for some of the more… unique challenges.
The room itself, though, was pretty much what I expected it would be, for an abandoned hospital ward. The story and puzzles fit the theme very well and used the room itself excellently.
|The decor was a little sparse, but I guess that’s what you would expect in an abandoned hospital where a plague has broken out.
The clues were not fully linear in progression (meaning that you need to solve one puzzle in order to get to the next clue), which makes the room a better experience when working with larger teams.
We did have a technical issue on one puzzle, which the GM resolved quickly.
|I’m not sure if I had more interest for in this room knowing that we were the first to enter (and escape) it or if I thought it was just a cooler theme.
Public Service Announcement: In the event of a Zombie Apocalypse, seek out this ERG, for I will keep you alive!
|Actually, I think that I was a bit more anxious since we were doing a new room, wanted to escape and because the theme may have sunk in a bit more than I thought.|
|Game Master (Summary)|
|The GM for this room (and the other we did that night) was attentive and reached out to use more than we reached out to him. He saw us struggling and got to us before we got frustrated (and wasted more time).
However, as Mike says, having the videos give the backstory to the room separates the GM from being part of the group and being more an eye in the sky.
|The GM was good. He stepped in when he saw we were having technical difficulty vs. letting us waste too much time on something that we obviously figured out.
This was the first location that used video to provide the backstory and mission, so the GM was really there just to monitor the room.
If that is the standard, then really try and engage the team before locking them in the room.
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)|
|I don’t recall asking for clues on this one. Well, there was the one thing, but it wasn’t so much a clue…||I don’t remember asking for one.|
|Anger Level Score||ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score|
|We eventually used Rule #3 for everything, so I was happy with this room overall.
Rating: 0/5 Fists
|Only a small one here. While working on a clue with a friend, I saw that there could be an alternative way to come up with the solution, which eventually worked.
Rating: ?♂️ FacePalm – 1/5
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 8.1/10
This was a really cool room for a first run and was pretty well developed. Mike may have to later re-assess (once all past rooms are reviewed) about updating his Top 5 ranking.