ahh, london. there's always something a little bit obscure just lingering around the corner, in the shadows, waiting to pounce on you when you least expect it. it's normally a niche bar in a car park, or pop up shop in a meat locker, or a water-powered space shuttle that gets people talking and us gals out late on a friday night, but not this week. this week it was all about saving the hooman race from the sheep-pocalypse in the latest addition to the locked-room game hype that's taken the city hostage: clueQuest.
one of the founders of london's number one escape room (according to trip advisor - and who can argue with that?) tells us that their newest room addition, 'the revenge of the sheep' was created to "further explore the motivation and story line of the saga's key antagonist - professor BlackSheep, and see what else was up his sleeve"; this is the final in a series of three prof. BlackSheep stories, each getting progressively harder as they evolve. which means we were not only facing the last installment in the series, without any knowledge of the previous games, but we were also facing the hardest one.
with one or two previous attempts at locked-room games under my belt, and an assembled team of some of the finest brains in london, i was sure we would succeed. especially as this isn't actually a locked-room at all; you are free to leave whenever you like. it's just if you fail, humanity fails with you.
no pressure then.
now, i've been sworn to secrecy as an honorary agent of clueQuest (agent star, thanks for asking), but what i can tell you is this: clueQuest is a secret agency that has been around for centuries, working quietly for a better world. after world war two, an attack was carried out against the agency, causing the deaths of many agents. the board at the time decided to create advanced agents, infused with animal qualities (night vision, excellent hearing, etc), to avoid future casualties. project PLAN52 was launched.
mr. Q - the leader of the agency, pushed for human experiments after decades of development, but this led to another catastrophe for the agency; most agents were turned into animals in an unexplained explosion while finalising the serum, then lead scientist - professor BlackSheep, suddenly turned his fleecy back on the human race, and became the world's most dangerous villain. in 'revenge of the sheep', the professor has created a sheep mutator which is capable of turning hoomans into sheep. the aim of the game: deactivate the sheep mutator in under 60 minutes, or the whole hooman race is doomed.
again i say: no pressure then!
the hour spent inside the room went by in a blur. before i knew it, we'd been in there twenty minutes, and seemingly getting nowhere, then before we could breath properly again, we were unlocking boxes and solving clues to take us through to the next room, and into a whole 'nother level of difficulty! the last ten minutes were the most tense i've ever felt, and with the whole team working against the professor, we scrambled to get those last clues solved... and the right keys in the right locks... to finally... stop the clock! and with no less than five seconds to spare!
i tell you what, the adrenaline that was surging through us in those last few seconds had us drained the minute the door was opened, and were congratulated for saving the hooman race (you're welcome). in chatting to our lead agent richard on debrief, we discovered that not only was that technically the agency's hardest room, but also, we had completed the challenge in "good time" and with "not too many clues" - which is always a nice ego boost. except when you find out that the current champ completed that challenge with thirteen minutes to spare, with zero clues and no radio comms to mission control. so... that guy's a punk.
the girls and i had a bloody brilliant time though, in overthrowing that damn BlackSheep, and now the fab team over at clueQuest want to give you the chance to win a game for you and your friends! how nice of them, eh! all you have to do is follow the details in the rafflecopter below: