RATING: 4 Keys RESULT: Loss REMAINING: X:XX
Who knew sneaking into an old castle to find a way to kill a legendary vampire could be so fun?
It was in the 1890’s when the entity that became known as Count Dracula was first encountered in Transylvania, Romania. That country’s borders could not contain Dracula however and he established lairs, or resting areas, around the world where he could retreat for safety and recovery. An educated individual by the name of Professor Van Helsing first encountered and diagnosed a victim of Dracula’s and it was he who determined that garlic and stakes were powerful weapons against the vampire. Stalking Dracula throughout the countryside soon became the primary vocation of Van Helsing. Along the way he was joined by several associates who also dedicated themselves to chasing down the vampire, with the primary objective always being the death of Count Dracula. Over 120 years later, Professor Van Helsing and his group never achieved their goal. Dracula still walks the earth, claiming more victims and amassing an army of vampires. YOU have stumbled into one of Dracula’s lairs. If you are lucky, it is abandoned. If you are unlucky, you may encounter the famous vampire himself. Can you defend yourself against Count Dracula?
Upon reading this story, and watching a short video which covers the basics, starring Van Helsing himself, you find yourself in one of Dracula’s lairs, but as I will touch upon later, it really should be described as Dracula’s Office.
It is a little unclear who we are in this story, but for one reason or another, we find ourselves following in Van Helsing’s footsteps to rid the world of Count Dracula once and for all. Throughout your adventure you will be amassing a “kill-kit” by gathering up necessary supplies that anyone with the most basic knowledge of vampire lore will appreciate like Holy Water, Garlic, a Rosary, etc. They could have made this story be as simple as exploring the castle, but they went a step further by tasking you with actually figuring out a way to kill Dracula. As far as stories go, fighting a legendary vampire did excite us as we entered the room.
As previously mentioned, the first impression of this room is that the name should be changed to “Dracula’s Office” as that is pretty much what you find in here. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does lower your expectations a bit if you were excited to find out what a castle of a legendary vampire would look like. Though it could easily be argued that Dracula’s Office is a terrible name for a room.
I do not want to spoil much because I want you to experience the environment with fresh eyes, but I want to let you know that while this room may be not what you were expecting to find in Dracula’s Castle, if you make it far enough, something is revealed that helps make up for the office feel. Trust me, you’ll know that moment when it happens, and you too will most likely think it is cool and find yourself swept up in a castle environment.
I am a sucker for physical puzzles, and I am honestly disappointed at how little I see them implemented in most of the escape games I’ve played. And yes, this room has plenty of locks on drawers to solve, but there are two physical puzzles that really stood out to me. The first happens very early in the game, and took us a while to work it out. The second physical puzzle which happens in the later half of the game, is something that will be remembered for a long time since it was just so much fun to play. I started that second puzzle doing the grunt work, and not able to see the exciting part, and I had to switch out halfway because it was too fun to miss.
Besides the physical puzzles, there were other more standard-style challenges done with a unique enough twist that they still felt fresh. There was also a surprising amount of puzzles which kept us moving for the entire hour. Everything flows in a nice linear fashion, which is great for smaller groups, and since this game maxes out at 6 players, you shouldn’t run into a problem of being bored while others are doing things.
My only complaint regarding the puzzles came with their inclusion of wooden puzzle boxes. These are often a “you can either do them or you can’t” type of challenge – and as such, they probably shouldn’t be a step within an actual escape game.
I will be honest, it took us a little bit to really get rolling, and it was making me feel like this room might not be that good. However, once we figured out where to begin, things very quickly started to rise and turn into a really fun time.
It is also easy to forget that you are supposed to be finding a way to stop Dracula in the first half of the game, despite the small reminders throughout, but by the second half, the narrative really focused on that element and it was much more enjoyable.
If you scare easily, there is not much to fear in this room, even with the Dracula theme. There is one moment at the end that might frighten you, but it is such a satisfying and fun conclusion that even if you aren’t the one doing it, you can still watch from a safe distance and enjoy how this adventure wraps up.
All in all, this venue run by two brothers with a passion for quality is a great stop if you find yourself in the Largo area. My metaphorical hat goes off to them for creating a really fun game – especially since this was the first one they created on their own. As they continue to grow, I look forward to see what they can do with more themes as their first original was a homerun.
Venue: Escape Room Extreme
Location: Largo, Florida
Number of Games: 3
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 6 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $25 per person Monday-Friday / $28 per person Saturday and Sunday.