There are dark rooms, really dark rooms, then Crypt-ic
The door creaks closed. In the pale light of your lantern, abandoned skeletons cast terrifying shadows on the walls. Frantically, you open your dusty satchel, praying for answers. Could this be all that remains of legendary explorer Crispin Sheppard, who mysteriously vanished all those years ago?
Rumours of an ancient curse shroud the stones of this pitch-black tomb. You’re sure this is where the treasure is buried. But now you’re all alone in the dark-and in the cold air of the crypt, something primeval is stirring…
Before going into Crypt-ic we were told by a few gamesmasters that this was their favourite room at Escapologic, simply because, and I quote, “it felt like real life Indiana Jones”. No pressure for it to be good then!
Unlike the other rooms at Escapologic, the briefing for this room took place outside the room. We were handed a satchel containing essential items left by the previous explorer Crispin Sheppard, most notably his journal which would aid us in our mission. Arguably more important than the satchel were the two lanterns we were given.
When you first enter the room the first thing that hits you is the darkness, there’s not even a dim glow of a countdown timer in there. The first area is pretty tight so moving around in bigger groups could be interesting, but it opens up pretty soon after that and you get some more room to move.
Surprising to us we liked this room, no it wasn’t the best room we’ve ever done, but it was fun and the story worked well. A bit of refinement here and there and perhaps better lanterns and we’d have enjoyed it even more.
Crypt-ic is a very linear room with the direction dictated by the room design and the story so there isn’t any room to go off track.
There’s a fair amount of searching required, particularly early in the game which can be tricky in a dark room, but it certainly isn’t a hard search. Then as you progress through the room there is more searching and some puzzles which require getting the grey matter going.
In a dark room arguably the biggest puzzle is the darkness itself and that was the case here. Flick on a light, easy room. But in darkness this room became much more challenging which strangely I liked.
There was one section of the room which you could see, just, if you ate your carrots but it was hard to solve without getting closer. So in a way it was fun to be able to ‘see’ what you needed but not quite be able to make it out in the poor lighting, I say ‘fun’ but ‘incredibly frustrating’ would also be appropriate.
I’ve never really been in a crypt so I can’t really compare this room to one… actually that’s a lie, I’ve been in the Catacombs in Paris so I’ll use that as a comparison. Dark? Yes. Creepy? Yes. Bones? Yes. So in that sense the room was good on design.
Crypt-ic is dark, really dark. If you turn out the lanterns there is nothing, except a small atmospheric flicking lantern in one area (it doesn’t help). It’s often easy to design a spooky room by simply turning off the lights as it will hide all manner of sins. However, even with only our flickering lanterns we could see that they had taken time to design this room properly.
In places there was a bit of wear and tear, broken wall dressings or things being a little worn down but generally it was fine.
Our least favourite bit was the ending, it was so close to being a cool ending and then it just went a little flat as the immersion broke when you could see the wood used for making the (nearly) cool ending, and a regular door that you would find in any diy merchants. Although the GM did his bit by giving us a little jump scare at the end – he may have got rude words in response.
Our GM gave us the briefing (in some sort of character) and fed us little nudges throughout the game when they were needed. The nudges were perfectly timed for when we were being a bit stupid and just needed prodding back in the right direction.
If clues or nudges were needed then they were delivered over a speaker system in a creepy ghostly voice of the King whose crypt we were there to rob. Arguably there was a secondary clue system in this room which was the journal you were handed before you went in. There’s no point reading the entire journal, there’s just too much of it. But if you looked at it when stuck, it might just give you some guidance.
As a team of two this room worked out well as we were given two lanterns, which I gather is standard. However if you are a bigger team then this could be problematic as you really can’t do anything in this room without a light.
The room could possibly be classed as creepy, but it’s certainly not scary, and certainly not Butcher level scary!
There are some areas of the room which are less accessible and involve crawling or negotiating areas with low ceilings, and stairs.
Team: 2 players – escaped in 40 minutes with a couple of nudges
Address: 21-23 Castle Gate, Nottingham NG1 7AQ