A Hollywood quality set…in Kent?!
Your visit to Transylvania has gone horribly wrong. Your beloved has fallen ill to a strange unknown disease. Drs from around the world are baffled by the symptoms and have failed to find a cure.
You have heard rumours Professor Van Helsing has been asking questions and you want to know why.
Van Helsing has seen this before, your beloved has been bitten by a vampire, and it’s only a matter of hours before they are lost forever.
As their condition worsens, you have no choice, you must travel throughout the night to Bran Castle, find the cure and escape before sunrise or face an uncertain end at the hands of the Castle’s Master… Count Dracula!
Liz often says that I write more in a review when I enjoyed a room, so I’ll apologise now because this could be an essay as I really enjoyed this room (I’ll try to keep it short though)!*
We decided on a day trip to do Detention at Ctrl Alt Esc in Margate as it was the last room there that we hadn’t done, but because we kept hearing good things about Dracula’s Chamber at Clever Dilemma in Faversham, we thought we’d break up the train journey back and stop off to see what all the fuss was about.
If you’re arriving by train then the location couldn’t be more ideal, I’d guess that it is a two-minute walk from the station, if that. We were welcomed (by name) when we arrived by one of the owners, Rob. It’s a small thing but having someone know who you are when you arrive goes a long way to make you feel welcome and looking back at other rooms we’ve done it is certainly a rarity.
The waiting room is a very large space, with a large space and some items to keep you occupied while you wait, not that we needed to wait as it seemed like the entire Clever Dilemma team was there to greet us and all were willing to have a chat. They do have a leaderboard on display (we were about 40 seconds off it) but they wanted to make it clear that they want people to focus on enjoying their room rather than achieving a fast time.
After chatting for ten minutes or so and talking about escape rooms and Clever Dilemma’s plans for the future (new room coming soon!), Rob gave us a brief health and safety briefing and then Nicolette took us up to the room to give us the lowdown on what we were there to do.
Being honest, first impressions from outside the room weren’t great. There was some ivy around it, some ‘mood’ lighting, it was dark, and I’m pretty sure there was a ‘fire door exit’ sign on the door – I’m pretty sure Dracula wouldn’t care about fire safety! However, that is me being very critical and literally as soon as we stepped in the room, everything changed and this room went to another level entirely.
Dracula’s Chambers starts with some simple puzzles to get you warmed up but once you’re in the main room there’s a good mixture of difficulties. At one point we felt like we were blitzing the room, and then it hit us, that puzzle, there’s always one puzzle that seems to stump us and this was a doozy; we wasted a lot of time on it. Once we had a clue and then ultimately solved it, it made sense but up to that point, we didn’t have a clue.
Early on there is a big search emphasis on the room and the GM does a good job in hiding items you need in some places you perhaps wouldn’t normally think to look, for once searching wasn’t our downfall.
At one point, nearing the completion of the room, we solved something using outside knowledge with no pointers from anything we had found within the room. This is a big fail for a room as everything you need to solve the room should be contained within the room, we later found out that we weren’t as good at finding things as we thought and there was something hidden in the room that we could have used.
We’ve done rooms in LA where you get the overflow of film set designers from Hollywood so the quality of their rooms is high, this room is the same quality. The attention to detail was very impressive and as a first room it is solid, even as a fifth or sixth room it’s still great.
When you enter the room you are given a lantern to use for lighting and this comes in handy for the first room when you are ‘outside’ but once you get into Drac’s Pad the lighting level improves and you are able to see what you need easily enough.
Some die-hards who prefer high tech rooms may get put off by the number of padlocks, but as I quite like a good padlock it didn’t bother me.
We spoke at length after the room about the design and it’s even more impressive when you realise they have done this all themselves. I praised them on the quality of one of their puzzle/props as it was the best one I’ve seen used in a room and apparently that prop alone cost £150, this attention to detail and desire for the best came through in everything in this room.
If you needed a clue (we needed one or two) then you could request one by pulling on the butler’s bell. Clues were delivered via the TV screen in the first section of the room, this also displayed the countdown timer. Some overly critical people could say they should have done something more creative with the clue delivery system, but we didn’t care as it was simple and effective. Clues were unlimited if and when you wanted them and were delivered very quickly so the GM was obviously watching everything.
After the game, Tazzy (our GM) gave us a very detailed walkthrough of the room where she explained how everything flowed and pointed out anything we had missed. This was a really nice touch as it did clear up a few points in the room that we hadn’t noticed. Once again this walkthrough showed their passion (and knowledge) for the room they have built.
This is a lovely place and the entire team made us feel welcome and their passion for their room was very apparent. It’s great to see family-run businesses like this pop up and if they keep the same attention to detail in their next room, a wild-west themed room opening in May 2019, then it is going to be a must-do!
This is not a scary room and is definitely family friendly and enough to keep everyone engaged. There is one minor jump scare near the end (two if you’re Liz and jump at a duck’s fart), but it really is minor and adds a nice little humour to the room.
*Sorry, I failed. It’s an essay.
Team: 2 players (escaped in 44:17 – with one or two clues)
Address: 27 Preston Street, Faversham, Kent, ME13 8PE