RATING: 5 Keys RESULT: Win REMAINING: 5:03
Why would anyone want to collect our skin? It would make an ugly lampshade.
The last things you remember are going up to a van to help a strange guy who was having engine trouble and a sharp and sudden pain in the back of your head as everything faded to black.
Now as you try to sit up, your senses are slowly come back to you. You quickly realize that you are trapped in the bottom of a deep well! Overhead, way out of reach, you see a light and hear a door slam shut.
As the fear starts to take over, you recall the news stories about a manhunt for a serial killer that was identified in connection with bodies that had recently been discovered around Baton Rouge. Or more accurately, parts of their bodies…
Can you solve the serial killer’s twisted puzzles and make it out of his house of horrors before he returns to make you his next victim?
As we enter the sewer, the rancid smell and constant sound of dripping water immerse us right away. We feel helplessly trapped as the opening twenty feet above taunts us. We must find another way out before The Collector returns for us!
It is not quite clear when we will find the exit to these grotesque confines as this adventure is expansive, adrenaline inducing, and completely twisted. 13th Gate Escape is no stranger to creating immersive environments, and The Collector is another great testament to that.
If there is one thing 13th Gate Escape knows how to do well, it is designing sets. There is simply nothing quite like it, and words cannot do it justice. They are able to elicit an emotional response that few venues can do.
We start in a deep, dark sewer decorated with stone walls and mildew growing between the cracks. There is a circular metal hatch in the center of the room, and a locked passage flush with one of the walls. There are some old clothes tossed on the floor giving the sense that we are not the first victim. Not only is the scenery impressive, but The Collector plays on all of of our senses (well, maybe not taste).
We reluctantly head down a dim hallway with several victims in body bags hanging from the ceiling. Would we be next? The walls are mainly bare except for one sign that reads “Turn Around Before You Die”. If that does not induce a lump in your throat, I am not sure what will.
As we find our way into the killer’s kitchen, it is amazing that flies are not swarming the area. There are plates stacked on the counters, and the sink looks recently used – most likely to rinse off human flesh. There are food particles, stains, and puddles of blood everywhere. It feels like we’ve been transported to Hannibal Lecter’s kitchen, if of course he wasn’t nearly as meticulously organized. The large chain squeezing the refrigerator shut begs the question – “Do I really want to find out what’s inside?”
We finally make our way into The Collector’s bathroom. The room is a bloodbath. Literally, there is a bathtub full of blood. It is brilliantly disgusting.
The sewer is void of many objects, which presents the challenge of “where do we go from here?”. There is a little bit of scavenging involved and a logic puzzle that commands a decent grasp of the English language. The beginning of the game starts off at a slow pace, but it gains momentum going forward.
The actions in the middle of the game are straightforward and linear. There are several rooms to traverse, but each one only has a handful of activities, so the game is easier to tackle than the initial impression.
There is one particularly fun physical step in the The Collector’s bathroom that may get a little… messy. Unfortunately, there is one physical task that turns out to be more frustrating than fun. However, it does at least makes sense within the scope of the narrative.
It is worth mentioning that The Collector makes use of Escape Room Boss. We must carry around an iPad and scan QR codes for automated hints. The QR codes look completely out of place on the otherwise gorgeous sets. There is also an inherent problem with automated hints – they often tell us what we already know.
13th Gate Escape should be on every escape room and haunt fan’s bucket list. It is one of a handful of venues that is 100% worth traveling long distances to visit. Their expert set designers create immersive worlds that cannot be given justice with words on a website. Simply put, it is something you MUST experience for yourself.
The Collector has an expansive set that truly made us feel trapped by a wicked serial killer. Will you make it out alive? Or will you be turned into The Collector’s new favorite couch?
Venue: 13th Gate Escape
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Number of Games: 5
GAME SPECIFIC INFORMATION:
Duration: 60 minutes
Capacity: 8 people
Group Type: Public / You may be paired with strangers.
Cost: $28 per person