RATING: 5+ Keys* RESULT: Win REMAINING: 21:03
Occam is dead. We were framed for his murder. The Evil Genius is still on the loose. Who’s up for a classy night at the museum?
All current evidence leads to the Norcross Art Gallery, owned by the infamous multi-millionaire Lang Norcross. Mr. Norcross has a questionable reputation at best, but could he be in league with the Evil Genius?
Across the moonlit street lies the building, violently at rest, as if it were a dormant volcano. No matter, you have no choice. Even if there is only a sliver of a chance that there is evidence inside, you must go. What secrets hide between the marble statues, antiques vases and priceless paintings? Only one way to find out…
With the trail going cold at the scene of the crime, we leave Bill Occam’s apartment to desperately search out any lead we may have left. Perhaps there’s something to the rumors that Lang Norcross is collaborating with the Evil Genius. It’s time to investigate.
To the untrained eye, the Norcross Art Gallery appears to be just that, with no nefarious ties to speak of. But we know that nothing is as it seems at first glance when it comes to the Evil Genius. Our night out at the museum is anything but carefree, as we again quickly become very active participants immersed in this story of sinister betrayal.
We’re about to learn that art comes in all shapes and sizes – old and new, framed and sculpted, and yes, even good and evil.
At first glance, things within the Norcross Art Gallery really are on the up and up. The modest-sized featured display space is currently home to the Garden of Earthly Delights a limited time exhibit which brings priceless statues, vases and paintings from more exotic lands. The space is distinctly museum, but not in the least bit distinctly… evil.
But like all successful super villain schemes, this is but a front. It will take the most attentive of detective work to discover the top secret entryway, but once you do, the more sinister among you will be treated to a far more suitable display of much more evil art, naturally on loan from the private personal collection of the Evil Genius himself. This gallery is darker, more foreboding and feels distinctly dangerous.
Evil Genius Escape Rooms brings this world even futher to life with in a way most authentic to any established museum you may have previously visited: the audio tour. Don a pair of white headphones for a custom-recorded audio tour of the Garden of Earthly delights in the “good” gallery, or trade them for a pair of black headphones for a much more befittingly threatening tour of the “evil” gallery, that is, if the Evil Genius doesn’t catch you first.
The entirely story-driven, organic integration of puzzles we experienced in Chapter 1 is back bigger and better than ever in this sequel. Norcross Art Gallery feels even less like an escape game and all the more like an honest to goodness (badness?) investigation.
Seamlessly blended within its setting, we find ourselves required to look with a close eye at every piece of fine art on display before us and determine inconsistencies among them that could potentially link Norcross himself to the Evil Genius.
Nothing here – not for one second – felt like a puzzle for puzzle’s sake. To the contrary, everything flows intuitively at an incredibly satisfying pace – and not just because we’re secretly snooty painting connoisseurs.
Perhaps you noticed an asterisk next to the 5 Keys score above. Norcross Art Gallery has without question earned it’s prestigious 5 Keys score – however, the Evil Genius is hiding an even better secret. For those who have not experienced Chapter 1: Occam’s Apartment, an unprecedented opportunity is available to you at the time of booking. Choosing to play both games back to back not only gives you the chance to see two 5 Key games in one night, but turns them into one epic, flowing two hour long experience the likes of which no other venue we know of can offer.
With this ultimate evil experience comes a new set of rules: Occam’s Apartment and Norcross Art Gallery are no longer two separate games; they’re one. What that means is any time leftover in your hour for Occam’s Apartment is added on to the hour you would receive for Norcross Art Gallery! And naturally, the story never stops. There is no intermission. Exiting Occam’s Apartment immediately thrusts players into the continuation of its storyline in Chapter 2, with no return to the real world in between them to even catch your breath.
Unfortunately for us, we had played Chapter 1 at a time where it was the venue’s only offering. However, had we played this ultimate evil double header, where Evil Genius Escape Rooms truly reinvents the wheel for what a sequel story can be, that total package would without hesitation receive a 6 Key score from us.
But the story doesn’t end there. Call it a spoiler, but you should already know that no self-respecting super villain is going to be caught that easily. Evil Genius Escape Rooms is already hard at work at another sequel to this epic adventure, with the page turning soon to Chapter 3: The Morgue!
Venue: Evil Genius Escape Rooms
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Number of Games: 2
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 6 people
Group Type: Private / You will not be paired with strangers.
Cost: $99 per group (for up to 2 people.) Prices vary for additional people.
We thank Evil Genius Escape Rooms for inviting us to play this game. Although complimentary admission was generously provided, that in no way impacts the opinion included within this review.