The Elevator at Hellscream

THE ELEVATOR ESCAPE ROOM

Played April 2017
Colorado Springs, CO

60 minutes
Up to 6 players
$28 USD/person

Hellscream Haunted House & Escape Room
hellscreamhaunt.com
3021 N. Hancock Ave.

RATING: 9 / 10

Best time: 52 minutes, 6 people using 4 hints
Escape rate: 30%
Clues allowed: 4 by walkie talkie

Did we beat it? 
No, but close!

REVIEW

Whether you're an experienced room escaper or trying a game for the first time, the exhilarating rush you get from solving a puzzle to unlock a new room can be addictive. The Elevator escape room at Hellscream Haunted House spans 6,000 square feet and amplifies that excitement with challenges spread across three floors and nearly a dozen rooms - all accessible from a real, working elevator.

Before you arrive, you're able to choose whether you want the game to be more difficult and more scary. This aspect is really different from most other rooms which are built with relatively rigid difficulty levels that translate into higher or lower escape rates. If you choose to have the room be more difficult and more scary, the clues are hidden a little more craftily and live actors are added to amp up the fear. I really liked having this option to customize the experience!

This escape room ranks high on my scale for uniqueness. Set inside a sprawling haunted house, this is the only escape game that I've played with a functioning elevator. And since the room is contained within a spooky property, the frightening audio, bloody props, and foggy, dark rooms make the theme incredibly immersive.

Once inside the elevator on the ground floor, there's a simple word puzzle to unlock buttons to other floors. There's a little math and decoding involved, so the first puzzle is a nice warm up. This initial challenge also eliminates a ton of game play explanation and helps players understand the role that the elevator plays in advancing the game.

FIRST FLOOR

The Elevator is designed to be really tactile and challenges your physical dexterity with several skills-based obstacles. On the first floor, one room is almost all physical challenges so having someone on your team with patience and a steady hand will be key. There are several electrical components (think industrial grade fuses and using alligator clamps to juice up a fuse box) to activate as you progress through the game; plus a handful of word puzzles and numerical padlocks.

From here, you unlock another room - a creepy meat locker meets deli - with a lot of 'mystery meats' you can be certain include remains of perished patrons and zombie victims. Both rooms on the first floor can be pretty overwhelming in terms of deciding how much to scavenge or where to look for clues; so this will be an adjustment for experienced escapers. The game designers make the clues relatively accessible, so don't get too hung up in how far to dig into boxes or searching every prop. We lost a lot of time by overlooking clues and going back to scan for items that were in plain sight - so search well when you enter the meat locker. 

The meat room has a really nice variety of riddles, physical challenges, and locks. My favorite part was their use of spices, which ultimately leads you back to the elevator where you can unlock the next floor.

SECOND FLOOR

Once there, it can be a little confusing as to which corridor or door to take. You should find a flashlight relatively soon after entering the floor, which helps you progress through the spooky caverns. One mistake that I made was rushing to seek the next clue versus really examining my surroundings after finding the flashlight - be sure to do that. This is another place where you want to really acclimate yourself on the props because that familiarity comes in handy later.

This floor had a really neat sound-based clue, which I've never seen used in an escape game before. There are quite a few key-based locks, including an old fashioned heart and Houdini lock. At this point in the game, your time is probably winding down so I recommend using the walkie to get a time check. It's not always easy to see the time clock and it's more likely that you'll overlook an important clue with the pressure of the game's impending end gnawing at you.

To finish this floor, there's a cool scavenging challenge that you must complete to get a lock for the final room. You'll find a hanging dead man and a riddle to solve. Don't overthink the riddle and once you have the solution, you can return the elevator to the first floor and win the game. Keep in mind - all letters and symbols on the final padlock are fair game, so be careful that you don't sabotage your chances of winning by thinking too narrowly about a solution.

Overall, this is definitely the most elaborate escape game that I'd ever played! You cover a lot of area in multiple floors and several mini rooms; plus players work back and forth between rooms to solve the clues. The fright factor is in full effect and dialing up the scariness with live zombies and freakish ghouls only makes this experience even better for groups.

The only thing that I'd add is a bit more backstory before you enter into the elevator to explain the carnage that players will encounter. Aside from that, I think this room has the potential to be one of the most unique live action escape experiences in the nation. Really enjoyed it!

Local tip: If you escape any of the Hellscream rooms using 2 clues or less, you get free tickets to their haunted house experience.
 

ABOUT HELLSCREAM

Located just off Interstate 25 at Hancock and Fillmore in Colorado Springs, Hellscream is one of the top-rated haunted houses in the nation and deemed one of the scariest haunted houses in Colorado and the midwest. With three floors of fright, it's no surprise that when Jeff and Vince stumbled upon a Groupon for a local escape room, they were inspired to convert their multi-level haunted property into a creepy backdrop for live action escape games.

Spoiler: their instincts couldn't have been more right.

Together, they designed and constructed their rooms completely from scratch - neither played any escape games beforehand for ideas or inspiration. Jeff, who earned his undergraduate degree in engineering from Colorado Technical University in Colorado Springs put his technical skills to work to fully-automate the rooms. He wired up both Hellscream escape games with electrical switches, triggered lighting, fog machines, strobe light effects, and more. The coolest part? Jeff controls the rooms with his iPhone and can dial up the creep factor with one tap.

Hellscream has two rooms - The Elevator and The Manor, which we reviewed here. They also host murder mysteries and zombie laser tag at their 15,000 square foot property.

Check them out on Twitter and watch for discount offers on their Facebook page.

-- Melissa

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