ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you love everything Sherlock.
Avoid if… evil masterminds cause you to lose sleep at night.
Escape Room Live Alexandria:
Address: 814 King Street, Floor 2, Alexandria, VA 22314 (click address for Google Map)
The Room – Moriarty’s Madness:
Description (from the company website): As Sherlock, you have broken into Professor James Moriarty’s office… and he isn’t happy. What does he have planned and can you prevent it from happening?
The clock is ticking… Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
Difficulty (1-10): 6/10
Time Limit: 45 minutes
Cost: $28 + tax per person but use ERGUYS15 when booking to save 15% off per ticket.
Party Size: 6-8 (7 or 8 only if you book the entire 6 first)
Staging Area: Escape Room Live Alexandria has a large, open space complete with cow skin rugs and couches with ample seating located in the middle of all the rooms, so there is plenty of space to hang out if you get there early. The requisite restrooms are in the back and the decor includes extremely wacky artwork.
Metro Access/Parking: King Street metro w/ a .7 mile walk (or take the free King Street Trolley to Columbus Street); street/garage parking.
Description of the room: Professor Moriarity’s office is smaller than Sherlock’s, but it’s not the size that counts here. (HA!) It’s packed with cool stuff, hidden items, and maps.
Understanding of the Mission: Professor Moriarty has planned a nefarious attack and the authorities need Sherlock’s (our) help to sleuth the what, the where, and the how (because we already knew the who, the when, and the why).
Did We Escape: Yes
Time Remaining: 17:40
Our Suggested Party Size: We wouldn’t recommend booking the extra 2 seats, as the room is physically small. 6 is good, 5 would probably be perfect.
Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Steph, Dalia, and Rohan
Worth the time and money? Yes
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After: It’s Old Town, but we recommend:
|JASON SAYS:||MIKE SAYS:|
|Overall Expectation (Summary)|
|I think I mentioned when reviewing the Sherlock room that I’m a decently sized Doyle fan (that’s Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), so I was hoping for some clever clues, cleverer traps (i.e., red herrings), and cleverererer hidden objects. I got 2 out of 3 of those.||I was excited to do this room. This is perhaps one of the best nemeses in literary history (The Final Problem is one of my favorites in the Sherlock series), and we had such a good experience with the Sherlock Room, that this was the obvious choice for next on our list.
I will have to admit that I occasionally like to identify with the brilliant and cunning, yet horribly manipulative, Moriarty.
How can you NOT like the character that was devised by Doyle to be the perfect mirror image to Sherlock, and was created simply as a way to kill the famous detective?!
Ok, so I really wanted to do this room.
|In typical fashion, that bastard Moriarty is planning to blow some sh*t up. But Scotland Yard only knows when (in a little under an hour). As Sherlock, we need to stop it all.
|The inept and slow-moving Scotland Yard has discovered that the famed and dastardly Professor has put into action an evil plan to blow up parts of London.
You know, maybe Moriarty was just looking for some attention… did you ever think about that? Always overshadowed by Sherlock because he’s considered the “good guy.” The professor can’t help that he’s bad and just written that way (points if you can link this phrase to a similar one spoken in a popular movie from the 80s*), and always having his brilliance discounted when…
Um… yeah, I should probably stop ranting now considering the whole mayhem and death thing.
|Discover the location of what Moriarty is planning to do. And also what exactly it is. Multiple objectives!!
Rating: 8/10 (includes +1 for multiple objectives)
|Your mission is to find out what places have been targeted, alert Scotland Yard, and help Sherlock stop the attacks.
Even though we were supposed to stop Moriarty, there were multiple mission objectives to complete which just adds to the experience of the room.
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)|
|There were mostly non-locks in this room, which always gets high praise from this ERG. I knew there was going to be something weird with the map on the wall, and when Steph solved one of the puzzles, I found out I was right.
|We all had different puzzles to work on at different times, which means that this section gets high ratings from me. The puzzles and clues were well-placed and required us to use different skill sets as we moved through the room.
The one part of the mission was pretty awesome to solve and a hell of a lot of fun to figure out, but check my cohesiveness rating for more info.
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)|
|Nothing overly crazy. There were 1 or 2 that needed more than 2 people to solve and a couple times where we had to switch up the people working on puzzles, but nothing that we stumbled on.
|Nothing really complex. Some of the puzzles really required us to use our deductive reasoning and pay careful attention to detail.
|This was another room at Escape Room Live that worked well within its theme. The story fit the puzzles, the puzzles fit the story, and the decor fit everything. I thoroughly enjoyed having to use basically everything in the room to solve this one.
|95% of the puzzles and clues fit the overall theme and mission of the room, and the den was well decorated.
However, one of the last parts of the mission didn’t seem to fit the room (in dealing with the time frame), so I’m going to score this down a bit lower than I would have. I can’t give you any more info, but if you do this room, you’ll know the point I’m referring to when you get to it.
Comment on this post when you know what I’m referring to, and agree or disagree (just don’t identify what the mission objective was, or I’ll make like Moriarty and hunt you and you family down for revealing spoilers).
|Absolutely. While this one sometimes flies under the radar because everyone likes Sherlock better (as a character, not referring to the room), it’s still a great room for a slightly smaller group of people (if you had 8, I’d say go to Sherlock because the room is bigger, but for a group of 5 or 6, this is an awesome room).
And again, the thing with the map…
|I did really love this room, and I’m glad that Moriarty got his own room…even if it was just to set up his plan to be foiled again by Sherlock.
Keep Occam’s Razor (as referenced by Sherlock) in mind as you do this room: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
|Game Master (Summary)|
|The GMs here have been historically fun to work with. No questions there.||No issues here. The story and mission were outlined so that we went in the room knowing exactly what we had to do, but she wasn’t needed for anything more because we rocked this room.|
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)|
|I don’t think we needed any clues for this one.||No clues needed. We rocked our observational and deductive skills.|
|Anger Level Score||ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score|
|Nothing to complain about here (I know, right??). I had a genuinely good time with this room and my friends.
Rating: 0/5 Fists
|No stupidity encountered.
Rating: FacePalms – 0/5
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 7.8/10
Final Thought: So, while the puzzles and clues in this room may not have been the most complex, it all goes to show how a good story and mission can enhance the experience of the room. Linking this to one of the most famous literary characters and the primary nemesis of Sherlock Holmes makes this a winning formula for an Escape Room.
*= the movie from the 80s referred to in Mike’s rating was “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” with the quote spoken by Jessica Rabbit, “I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way.”