“In the ruins of Neo-Chicago, you are the last hope for The Resistance. You must break into a secret facility and stop the malevolent technology contained within. It is up to you and your team of freedom fighters to save the future!”
This was the last escape room I did in Illinois before moving to Seattle, and I got a huge team together to take on this mega room. It was the first escape room for about half the team but, unlike my failed attempt at The Cabin, this large team was very interested in getting into the game. Everyone took to it pretty quickly and got a chance to show off their puzzle-solving skills. We managed to eke out a win with just four minutes left on the clock. All in all, this experience was a delight!
The story lived up to CU Adventures high narrative standards, giving us an abundance of story and charm. The story had a really cool cyberpunk narrative: We were sent to Neo-Chicago in the 1980s to stop a rogue AI from destroying the world. The build team clearly had a lot of fun with the environment, starting us in a well-built alleyway with scant more than an old-fashioned phone booth, some graffiti on the wall, and some litter on the ground. With that, we soon infiltrated a top-secret laboratory, with both decor and computers that looked like they were straight out of Sci-Fi films like Alien or THX-1139. Our nemesis, Ethil, was a rogue AI hellbent on world destruction and was written with characteristic CU Adventure humor and aplomb. She felt like a cross between GLaDOS from Portal and M.U.T.H.E.R. from The Venture Bros.
The puzzles in this room were superb, and felt far more mimetic than any other Escape Room I have been in. Since the room has been discontinued, I can talk in a little more detail about some of the puzzles. The very first puzzle was figuring out how to get inside the AI facility. It involved interpreting graffiti on the wall to determine the code needed to punch into the payphone keypad. It felt very real. There was, of course, a computer to hack into, with a custom coded game that you had to beat in order to proceed. The final puzzle, shutting down the AI involved splitting the team in to two, and having one team read a display and call out the commands for the other team to enter into the computer code. If I recall correctly, there were multiple phases that required interacting with different controls. It was a tough solve, which just made our success all that much sweeter.
I would recommend the hell out of this game, but unfortunately this puzzle was discontinued when CU Adventures moved to their new location. The closest game CU Adventures has currently is Calling All Villains, another adventure suited for larger groups. I haven’t played that one yet, but you can’t go wrong with their rooms.