Please see part 1 for a fuller introduction and build up to this post. This review of The Vampire Chronicles is based on a visit from December 2015.
“Oh” our host said when she noticed us sat in the waiting area “how did you enjoy that?” “Yeah, it was… okay” was about the best I could muster to go along with my fake smile. “Are you ready for your next game then?” Trying to remain positive I said we were, and headed off to play The Vampire Chronicles:
You hold the key to breaking the deadlock and potentially ending the 1000-year war between humans and vampires, and you have been marked for death by Ambrogio; the Vampire King. His vampire subordinates have killed your family and caught you and your comrades, whilst simultaneously holding you captive in his castle. You are given 60 minutes to navigate your way through his cursed lair to escape and bring an end the war and finally bring peace upon the land.
I’m not sure you can be caught whilst simultaneously being held captive, but that wasn’t the worst part of the briefing. In the room we were joined by two hosts. “This is a new member of staff who’s learning how to do introductions.” I had no problem with that, it shouldn’t make any difference to us. What I had a problem with is that the new member of staff proceeded to play on her phone for the duration of our introduction. This would have been rude at the best of times, but considering the room was almost pitch black (because, you know, vampires) the bright glow of facebook was a massive distraction and mood breaker.
As the hosts left the darkness became complete. And there was no torch. The first part of the game is to be played by feeling your way around. This took us far longer than it perhaps should have done, but that accompanied with our carried over mood meant we weren’t having much fun. Eventually we got through this and turned the lights on. And from that point this room was transformed into an enjoyable game. The puzzles were challenging, and they revealed something that I’d never seen in an escape game before, which put a massive smile on my face (for a short while).
Near the end of the game there’s a puzzle that requires, by my definition, external knowledge. External knowledge that I didn’t have, and was only partly understood by one of our (three person) team. We understood what to do, but our ability to solve it boiled down to little more than brute forcing a range of plausible answers. This was a downer at the end to match our displeasure at the start. The worst kind of (and misunderstanding) ‘s#!+ sandwich’.
This time our host was there to greet us, and we were led away to have our photo taken. Maybe it was because we were struggling to smile, or maybe it was just more poor service, but we never saw that photo.
I’d really like to recommend this room as there are parts of it that are excellent. But it also has bits that I don’t like, so it would have to come with pretty heavy caveats. As for Escape Room Preston, I really hope they have sorted out the customer service side of things; the people of Preston and the escaping community deserve better (and can get it down the M55 in Blackpool).