Always with my finger on the escaping pulse, here’s a review from back in July 2015.
As I’ve probably mentioned before, coordinating The Animals to be in the same place at the same time is more challenging than some of the rooms we face. But as R2 had to pass through Liverpool Airport on his way home from a work conference there was ‘no escape’ so we took the chance to play Exit Strategy’s Illuminati room:
Reclusive conspiracy theorist Ziggy Roswell has gone missing!
No one believed him when he claimed that The Earth is run by a cabal of shape-shifting intergalactic lizards.
He claimed that they run the EU, NATO, the NSA, The Vatican, China, Russia. That they control every war, every uprising, all the intelligence services. That the moon is a hollow, reality-controlling super computer, and that they use wifi to enslave the human mind.
No one believed him, everyone thought he was nuts…But maybe he was on to something.
Enter his world, find out what he was working on.
See what info he’s left lying around and eventually work out what’s become of him.
I’d been somewhat intrigued by this description since the first time I read it, not really sure what to expect. And pretty much everything I experienced on the visit was unexpected.
Exit Strategy is in a shared office building on the North side of Liverpool city centre. As with many such buildings you can’t just walk in off the street; you must press a doorbell and wait for a response. We searched for a bell labelled Exit Strategy but couldn’t find one so tried another that sounded (somewhat) plausible. A lady came to open the door, not from Exit Strategy, complaining that their bell must have fallen off again. We thought that seemed unlikely, only to turn around and see a doorbell on the floor!
Acknowledging that we weren’t to blame the woman helpfully agreed to show us the way, leading us down some ‘rustic’ corridors, past some ‘vintage’ facilities to a basement room. You could argue that we weren’t actually in Exit Strategy yet, but still the first impressions were lousy.
Finally in the premises proper we were greeted by our host. As usual we were spectacularly early so the room wasn’t quite ready yet, but we were offered a free drink while we waited, which was nice. A few minutes later the room was ready but we were still mid-drink. We said we would leave them in the reception earlier, but we were told that it was fine to take them in with us as long as we were careful. That was certainly a first. There was no risk of getting Diet Coke or Budweiser mixed up with the contents of the room, but remembering whose was whose was a challenge we soon gave up on.
So the room itself. Well, the intrigue of the introduction quickly evaporated. Ziggy Roswell’s “world” is a 1950s-ish style office decorated with various non-distinct tat; the likes of which I’ve seen many times before. And, as usual, we had to solve some puzzles for no real reason other than to escape. Speaking of puzzles, there were a couple of original touches and some twists on established themes, but no real stand outs. Had we not become obsessed with the completely wrong approach to the final puzzle this would have been our quickest escape ever. After 15 minutes of head scratching we gave in and asked for a clue. With that we were quickly out, with still near 15 minutes to spare.
So the site wasn’t very nice and the game wasn’t very special. The hosts were nice guys and their relaxed approach was a change from the sterile niceties you sometimes get, but I’m afraid that’s not enough for me to recommend the Illuminati to you.