RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Loss REMAINING: X:XX
Sealed inside another bunker, but this time we never want to leave.
The date is August 1, 2009, and you are the first to arrive at your new military post inside the Ochs-Bragg Missile Complex (OB-16.12). Shortly after your arrival, a sudden event inexplicably triggers a total lockdown of all doors and controls and immediately initiates what appears to be an automated missile launch countdown. Can you stop the launch, prevent a global nuclear war, and retreat to the radiation-free safe zone before it’s too late?
This is about as serious as a mission can get: preventing a global disaster by stopping the launch of a nuclear missile. Upon arriving at the military post, the entire facility undergoes an automatic lock down. With no familiarity of the controls or launch abort process, we are left to our own devices to work out how we’re going to save the world.
As you walk down the hallway to play The Bunker, you are transported into another place in time, and the full-blown immersion into the story begins to unfold. From that point until you complete – or fail – your mission, you are living and breathing the story that Escape Experience Chattanooga has so impressively told.
Rarely are we so impressed by the outside of an escape room that we find ourselves lingering and wanting to take photos before we’ve even started playing the game itself. We crossed the chain length barricade and were presented with the intimidatingly awesome and authentic presence of the bunker door: a massive door built into a rock wall strong enough to certainly withstand whatever outside forces test its fortitude.
Because our senses were telling us that we absolutely were underground in a secure bunker complete with rounded passageways and poured concrete floors, it was no surprise when we heard – and felt – very authentic war-like noises overhead. The floor, raised about 6 inches up from ground level, rumbled by way of some unseen sub-woofers underfoot for an impressive and realistic effect. The lights flickered as unknown events – perhaps bombs dropped by the enemy – explode and crash into the earth overhead. Next, we suffered a short pause in darkness as our shelter lost power and the generator kicked in. Flashing yellow lights advertised the danger we now found ourselves in. At that point, we were officially on the clock.
The entire game space turned out to be absolutely enormous and much bigger than we previously thought, thanks to a very well-hidden secret passage.
The fantastic scenic detail of seemingly working steam and air pressure pipes running along the corridors is an impressive site to take in. The realistic communication and control rooms could surely function as the real thing if ever needed – all of the required components are in place. We were salivating at the turn of every corner and excited to see what the adventure held in store for us next. Even a locker room area where employees of the military post kept their valuables was appeasing.
It is quite clear that a great deal of time was spent on research in order to make every single aspect of The Bunker seem authentic. The scenery is pleasantly reminiscent of the 80s movie, War Games. We spoke to the gamemaster afterwards, and he said the movie had definitely inspired the décor. The finer details, such as giant monitors and a Commodore 64 computer in the game finale, aided in this wonderful nostalgic nod to the movie.
All in all, this is the truest feeling of being underground without actually being underground. As if that is not enough, Escape Experience Chattanooga has layered on the whole realistic experience of hearing, seeing and feeling the sights and sounds of The Bunker.
The Bunker shines just as brightly when it comes to puzzles. All the challenges stay true to the story, and by the end of the game, we felt as though we had learned the skills to save the world, should we ever need to.
Through a series of physical tasks and intellectual challenges, we restored communications and made our way to the mission control room, where we were faced with a tough choice that we won’t share since it is part of the exciting story. While the earlier spaces consisted of just the right amount of discovery and problem-solving, we eventually got in a pattern of working both together and separately to locate the tools and skills we needed to make the necessary repairs and advance further in the game.
The course of the game is very cleverly designed in that each adjacent area is visible, but requires the proper ID card to actually access it. We ended up losing some valuable time right at the end of the game because we lost track of what ID cards we had collected. Though we did not finish, we did not need to complete our mission to enjoy it any more.
Simply put, The Bunker is incredible. By all accounts, it is one of the best bunker rooms yet – and we have played our fair share of them. This is a great example of how sometimes even a more cliché theme that we’ve seen many times before can be executed in such a way that it’s a total home run for a venue.
The entire experience – every aspect of it – was truly more like a production than a game. We are in awe at how Escape Experience Chattanooga raises the bar scenically, story-wise, and game-wise with each new offering – and they’ve been great for a while now.
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Number of Games: 5
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 8 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.