Dark, creepy, jumpy
The hotline has had an anonymous tip that may lead us straight to Jack the Ripper’s lair! Get your detectives together and surround the location, catch Jack before he escapes.
We were last in Eltham just before the world locked down due to Covid. It was a weird time where masks were a foreign concept and hand sanitiser was just starting to become more popular. Despite the world locking down, Eltham Escapes have been busy and since our last visit they’d opened up three new games, so it was about time we planned a return to see what they’d been up to.
The location brought back memories of our last visit, but the reception had obviously had a bit of an overhaul. With a comfortable sitting area, lockers for our possessions, and fairy lights all over the place, it was a comfortable place to wait for our game.
On arrival we were greeted by George, who would also be our GM for this game. We spent a little time chatting with him about escape rooms and then it was time to get going with our triple-whammy of games, first up – Nightmare on Ripper Street. We knew very little about this game other than the fact that it was Eltham’s ‘horror’ themed game and based on Jack the Ripper (obviously).
George took us down to the entrance to Ripper Street and proceeded to give us our mission briefing. From what I’m led to believe, and I could be wrong here, but if you’re in a larger team then there could be an option for a split start here, but as we were just a team of two, we started in the same spot (I was told this by a third party, so could be completely wrong). With the mission briefing out of the way, we opened the door and set our sights on catching Jack.
As you’d expect from a room called ‘Nightmare on Ripper Street’, our experience did indeed start in the street. This is of course Victorian England, so don’t expect modern street lights making this nice and brightly lit, instead you’ll find a very dark game in general, and despite there being times where it does get lighter, this is still dark in many places.
It was clear to see from the set that this was a step up from where the games at Eltham used to be. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed our previous visits to Eltham, but this just had more atmosphere and immersion about it. Part of this was that pretty much everything felt era-appropriate – no combination locks here, just good old fashioned keys and hidden tech.
Despite this being a horror themed room, it’s more on the creepy side than the horror. Ok, there are plenty of jump scares but there’s no live actor in the room with you. (Although we were verbally threatened by The Ripper himself at one point.) The creepy atmosphere was enhanced by the use of sound, with ambient noises playing which added to the overall ‘edginess’ of the room.
Despite being set on the ground floor of the venue, this room does contain stairs and there is one point where at least one team member will need to be comfortable crawling.
This game started out in a very linear fashion with each puzzle leading on to the next, but as the game progressed it did open up a little and we were able to split up (just a little). I’d assume if you play in a bigger team and have a split start that the gameplay may be slightly different to how ours was.
As I mentioned earlier, the game used some tech and era-appropriate padlocks which considering the low level of the lighting worked well. Some of the tech however, we’re not sure if it was glitchy, could only be completed at a set time, or had to have the GM trigger it. We completed some tasks early on but nothing happened until we tried again later, or having had the GM intervene, so that’s a bit of a mystery for us.
The puzzles themselves were quite varied; observation, searching, pattern recognition, logic, communication and teamwork. All of the puzzles fitted the theme and nothing felt out of place with any of the puzzles. One of the search elements felt particularly tricky, and there is no way we would have found it without some intervention from our GM. There was also something else that seemed to randomly open so we’re not sure if that was because we did something, or it was just delayed tech.
We also gained access to one thing that in hindsight we wondered if we should have had access to it so soon. This slowed us down immensely as we were trying to work out ways to interact with it, but it wasn’t possible until much later in the game. I’m also not sure if it’s a puzzle, but we spent a while at a loss for what to do until our GM chimed in and told us we needed to do something – nothing signposted us to the fact that we needed to do it, and it didn’t feel like the normal thing to do. Another mystery.
Our GM, George, managed to keep us on track and we got out in decent time. If we needed a clue then we simply had to request one, although there was also one point (as previously mentioned) where we didn’t do something that we apparently should have so he did let us know about that.
The clues themselves came in the form of pre-recorded, in-character clues, which did help with the immersion more than a walkie-talkie would have. If the pre-recorded clues weren’t cutting it then the GM could send in his own clues. All clues came over the speaker system, and there was no timer in the room.
The story felt like it was missing something in this game, but the set design was spot on. Some questionable tech as well as some sneaky searching left us feeling a bit confused at times, and like we were guessing more than solving things.
Saying that, this game was a step up on the earlier games by Eltham and if you’re looking for a nice little horror room to give you a scare or two, then maybe it’s time you visited Ripper Street?
Team: 2 players – escaped in 35:33
Address: 3 St Mary’s Place, Eltham, SE9 1BL
*Disclaimer: we weren’t charged for this experience, but this has not influenced our review.