Like living the movie!
The exorcist opened the door with the number 13 and met a seemingly innocent girl possessed by a powerful demon.
But his forces are not enough to save the little one.
Are you brave enough to help in his difficult task without losing your own soul?
After the Acropolis, the history, and the food, Athens might be best known for its escape rooms, most particularly its horror themed games. And one of the games that has put it squarely on the map and cemented the city as one to visit for escape room enthusiasts world wide, is El Exorcista. This game has appeared in the Top 15 games in the TERPECA awards since debuting at #10 in 2019, jumping to #4 in 2020, falling to #14 the following year, and finally reclaiming the #10 spot in the most recent polling at the end of 2022. In other words, it was a no-brainier that we would be paying No Exit a visit.
Unless you ask very nicely, and sometimes, not even then, the majority of the escape rooms in Athens operate on a later schedule when compared to others across the globe. So to give our brains a break, we spent the morning floating in the Med, and getting thoroughly covered in sand. But by the afternoon, we’d had enough sand and sea, and it was time to make our way back into town. No Exit has two venues, one in Ilioupoli and the other in Neos Kosmos, but the Ilioupoli venue housing El Exorcista is conveniently located within walking distance of the Άγιος Δημήτριος Metro station and a large shopping mall. So after a quick stop off for a snack at the mall, we headed off to exorcise some demons.
We arrived at No Exit, and despite the warm welcome from the lovely owner, there was a palpable atmosphere from the moment we stepped over the threshold. The tension in the air was almost thick enough to taste, and was thoroughly unsettling. As we stowed our belongings in the trunk provided, and removed anything that might provide us with additional light (goodbye Fitbit), the feeling of unease persisted, until we sat on the couch to receive our instructions. Then, the lights went out, we heard a crackle, and the radio began to play…
As the music faded away, we were told to step outside and enter the door with 13 on it. Moving from the darkened reception, into the bright, Athenian sunshine, was disconcerting enough, but then we were once again plunged into darkness as we stepped through door 13. Although our eyes adjusted to the gloom, our bodies never really adjusted to the atmosphere, and the tension only seemed to build. We followed the narrative (which pretty faithfully follows that of The Exorcist for anyone familiar with the film/book/play) moving through the spaces with trepidation, never sure what we would encounter.
If I were asked to describe El Exorcista, the first word that comes to mind is “cinematic” – followed swiftly by “utterly terrifying.” And that wasn’t just down to the actor playing the little girl, although she certainly played her part! (More on that later.) But if we ignore the exceptional performances, it was the absolutely stunning practical effects combined with exceptional lighting and sound design that gave El Exorcista some truly show stopping moments. With this combination, No Exit have created a fully immersive game that was legitimately like a physical interpretation of a video game.
Of course, El Exorcista wouldn’t be an escape room without puzzles, and there were plenty of those to be had. Being a horror experience, those puzzles were naturally on the less complex side, but that by no means makes them easy. But they were absolutely logical, clever and fair.
The structure of the game was formulaic, and entirely linear, due to the fact that it is heavily driven by the narrative. But between the terror, and the structure of the puzzles, at no point was anyone on the team left out of the action. The puzzles themselves evolved out of our surroundings, and nothing ever felt explicitly like a “puzzle.” Instead, it was a problem to be solved, or a task to undertake, and everything served to either further or compliment the underlying narrative. These things, of course, often relied heavily on observation, logic and teamwork, but that’s beside the point.
Even the simplest task becomes more complex if you’re scared out of your mind, so never fear, help is available throughout your journey if you’re a bit too shaken by the events of the game to use your brain to its fullest potential. However, there are no walkie talkies or screens to be had here. Subtle lighting cues could push us in the right direction, but if we required any explicit help, this came from the heavenly voice of Father Damien to gently guide us back in the right direction when we faltered on our path. When we were struggling, timely, but cryptic intervention always came at the perfect point to avoid any frustration, without ever actually needing to ask for it.
This section also seems like the perfect opportunity to give a massive round of applause to the actors. The performances by Father Damien and the young girl were absolutely incredible. I have no idea how they did what they did, but they deserve a standing ovation. I don’t often say this, but although I was legitimately terrified at points, I would play this game again in a heartbeat, just to relive this experience, and that is entirely down to the actors.
I have never experienced anything quite like El Exorcista, and I think that goes for the rest of the team as well. We were, quite literally, dropped into the middle of The Exorcist and I have never felt more immersed in a game. I was terrified out of my mind, resolute in my task of exorcising the demon, and totally blown away by not only the game itself, but also the performances. There is a reason this game is heralded as a “Must Play” by enthusiasts across the globe.
Team: 4 players – time is not important in this game
Address:Dedousi 13, Ilioupoli 163 46, Greece