Game two at Locked In was The Secret Lab. A few months ago, a vote was held on the UK Escape Room Enthusiasts Facebook group, asking people to name their top three favourite UK games. A lot of familiar names popped up – games such as Lance of Longinus at Time Run in London. But one that we saw appear on quite a few submissions was “The Secret Lab” at Locked In, Edinburgh. We’d never heard of it before, but it went straight onto our list, and all these months later, we’ve finally played it…
“The Kensie Research Lab was a marvel of 70s technology, with the best equipment money could buy. Situated in Edinburgh, smack in the middle of an old veterinary hospital so not to raise suspicion, the lab was designed around the research and creation of vaccines and viruses, both airborne and fluid. The mastermind behind the project was professor Lyall Kensie, a brilliant bio-chemist and an avid cinephile. He had a vision of a world where every illness could be healed simple medication. In this world, there would be no need for war. But Lyall wasn’t alone. Along for the ride were his two sisters, Isla and Elise, both of them brilliant in their own fields of physiology and molecular science. They were triplets, inseparable by nature for as long as they could remember. They would have probably been featured in the newspapers as “The genius three”, if only they had any interest in fame. Instead, they chose to focus their efforts on their work. And my, what work they did.
As the government placed pressure on Lyall to weaponize his creations, he became distraught. Seeing the obvious ramifications of lies and half-truths of representatives of the world’s biggest nations, he became obsessed with the notion that lying was in fact a virus. All it needed was a vaccine. After months of isolation, Lyall, Isla and Edith finally sent a note to Buckingham Palace. Smelling of champagne, it read: “To those it may concern. We have cracked it. We have found the cure. More news will follow. Signed, Lyall, Isla and Edith Kensie.”
Expecting more letters, her majesty the Queen waited with baited breath for days, but with no prevail. Three weeks later a ragged and torn piece of paper arrived at her doorstep. It read simply: “There was an outbreak. It is contained. Never open the lab again. Isla.” The three professors were never seen again, leaving people to speculate on their whereabouts. The lab was sealed up and not opened since. Scribbles on the outside of the door indicated whatever virus was in there, Lyall had named it “L.I.E.”, and its primary attribute seemed to make the host unable to utter a single truth. The lab faded into obscurity over the years, causing rumours and legends to popup, some of them more accurate than others. But then, yesterday, during a simple blood test, a patient in the Marchmont Medical Practice right here in Edinburgh, was tested positive for the L.I.E. virus. No-one knows why, but the infection has started again. If we don’t recreate whatever vaccine the professors invented 44 years ago, the city will be obliterated by government officials in an effort to purge the danger. They will not risk it infecting the rest of the country or the world. We can’t allow this to happen. We must enter the lab.”
WOW. I don’t think I’ve ever been so overwhelmed at a first glance of a room. The lab looks stunning, really making use of the building it’s in, but there is SO much to take in. It’s a huge space, filled with so much to do, so we couldn’t hesitate to take it all in for too long.
We somehow found a starting point and set about finding item after item, not knowing when or where we’ll need it. Every time things started to come together, you’d find yourself getting distracted and working on something else. The room just kept on giving, but the quality of puzzle never deteriorated. There’s some brilliant tech bits in the room, and a lot of very innovative challenges. The game was sometimes linear, sometimes not, and it had a great flow. Nothing was too difficult, there’s just a lot to do!
Overall, this is a definite 5* game that goes right into our top ten. Really creative puzzles, and a beautifully designed room with a lot of attention to detail. This is a must play!
Host: Our game was hosted by Dexter & Dorothy (see below)
Clue System: Clues were delivered via a 70s dot matrix printer
Success? Yes, we escaped in 65 minutes and 41 seconds (it counts!). There is a 60 minute limit on the game, but it’s not recommended to be played by teams of two. Larger groups also take on an additional puzzle at the start of the game, which is taken out for smaller teams.