RATING: 0 Keys RESULT: Loss REMAINING: X:XX
Dallas’ first room is also Dallas’ worst room.
Dr. Moriarty has been performing some horrific human experiments, whilst trying to gather evidence you are captured and then left tied up inside his house with a bomb set to explode.
The story makes little sense. Why does the evil Dr. Moriarty not use you as one of his human experiments? Instead, he plants a bomb in his laboratory to not only kill you, but he will destroy all of his valued work.
In fact, you do not start off the game tied up, handcuffed, or even simply blindfolded. Dr. Moriarty should not be so worried because the evidence you gather will be so illogical, it would never hold up in court.
Dead End starts off in a dimly lit room with black painted walls. It is decorated with jars of organs, test tubes, and a few other items I have seen in the Halloween section of Target.
The largest eye sore is a door with four locks dangling from it. The second half of Dead End looks slightly better, but not by much. There is an initial small hallway with black pieces of fabric hanging from the ceiling, and then we are met by a larger room with a corpse laying on a table with fake organs and eyeballs falling out of it. There is also a metal bin of plastic appendages on the floor and red paint splattered on the walls – perhaps it’s supposed to be blood?
Dead End is even adorned with its very own laughing skeleton. Unfortunately, the many locks dangling from drawers and other parts of the second room are what stick out the most.
One thing that makes the Dead End artificially difficult is that it’s dimly lit and the flashlights you find in the room barley work. After getting frustrated, the GM kindly brought me a brighter flashlight, but he said I was lucky because they “usually don’t do this”. So you intentionally make the room impossible for people with night blindness? Or maybe it’s just an excuse for not resetting the game properly.
We finally made our way through the door of the first room and into the second room. We had no idea where to start. There is no flow or gating to the second half. Once you find what seems like a four digit answer to a puzzle, it has to be entered in all of the four digit locks until one finally opens. After we powered our way through some illogical steps, we finally needed a hint.
If Dead End even deserved 1 Key, the hint system alone forces it down to 0 Keys. Not only does Escape Expert firmly limit you to three clues, but they reduce your available time by two minutes for each hint. That’s right ladies and gentleman, it literally costs you money to use a hint. If I pay for an hour of game time, that’s what I expect. We had to use three clues on a single puzzle (reducing our time by SIX minutes), and we still did not understand it after we finally “solved” it.
As the GM walked in, I was eager for them to walk me through the rest of the room to at least see if there were any saving graces to the puzzles or the story. Instead, I was handed a 20% off coupon to come back and play again.
The owner claims that the 10% who do escape are the elite, and the other 90% are just not good enough sleuths. What he fails to mention, is that it takes returning two, three, or sometimes four times to defeat Dr. Moriarty’s evil plans. Those who succeed on their first attempt approaches 0%. An escape rate this low points to a massive design flaw. There is zero flow to the rooms, and over half of the steps are illogical. Sometimes, the largest hurdle is viewing the digits on a lock due to the lack of working flashlights.
Taking away time from the game for using a hint is dishonest and an insult to the customer. They have used their hard-earned money to play a game and have fun for sixty minutes. Dead End is absolutely designed to be unsolvable and to require hints, and it is the only game at Escape Expert where it is “against the rules” to walk you through the rest of the room. It is very apparent that they designed this room to be a CASH GRAB, and I don’t take those words lightly.
I certainly will never collect enough evidence to catch Dr. Moriarty or even know if there was really a bomb planted in his confines. Perhaps the name Dead End means you’ll be dead before you ever see the ending.
Venue: Escape Expert
Location: Plano, Texas
Number of Games: 5
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 8 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.