THE ELEVATOR SHAFT - The Basement LA
This is Matt's game No. 1. (His very first!)
Venue: The Basement LA
Address: 12909 Foothill Blvd, Sylmar, CA 91342
Game: The Elevator Shaft
Here is a carbon copy of my Yelp review, posted originally on 01/01/2018:
THE ELEVATOR SHAFT // Grade: A
This is a review for the *new* 2nd chapter in the Edward Tandy series, "Elevator Shaft". The Shaft, as I like to call it, is the updated, improved version of "Boiler Room". RIP, BR. I've never done the Boiler myself, but from what I can see from YouTube, all the old puzzles have been scraped.
Fun fact, this is actually my very 1st escape room. My friend, an escape room enthusiast, introduced this super high quality room to me, a room virgin at the time. I've been addicted to the escape room high ever since. Darn you, friend! For what it's worth, he brought me to an extremely well-made room as my first, so I am thankful for that. On the down side, now I have incredibly high standards for all the rooms I book and play--any room that is any less disappoints me.
Back to the room! Like I said, I'd never done any room related to Edward Tandy before, and I was jumping right into chapter 2. Did it matter? No. Because as intriguing as the backstory was, it's still the usual "escape within a set time or be killed" tale. For the Shaft, you're placed in the elevator shaft by the cannibalistic serial killer, with a falling elevator above you, waiting to crush you flat. You have 45 minutes to gtfo before you become pancakes. So get to work to deactivate the system!
(The Shaft fits 6 players max; my group had 4. We lucked out; no strangers grouped with us, though it's a possibility at this venue.)
Now, let's go over the A+ visuals. Basement LA is known to construct extremely detailed, horror themed set for all of their rooms. And yeah, the Shaft was exactly that.
We started off in total darkness, then the lights came on, then we heard machine or mechanical sounds, and THEN we saw an elevator ON TOP OF US! And yes, the elevator did move up and down throughout the entire game. I'd imagine it'd just fall down on you when you run out of time. (Shrug!) The look of the elevator above was spot on. It looked like it's made out of old, rusty metal. (However, later on in the game, when the elevator came down far enough, you could actually touch it, you'd see that it was made with movie magic--not metal at all. It presented no actual danger. People who are tall, no worries! You won't get hurt! But you might have to crouch down during certain parts of the game...)
Without spoiling what else you could see inside the room, let me just say from wall to wall, everything was decorated perfectly to make your immersive experience as real as possible. And since the room was kinda small, just like a real shaft, the claustrophobic feeling really set in. Coupled with the right lighting effects, this made me really feel the horror theme and the urgency to escape. It's super scary in the most fun way possible.
Since this was my first escape room, I did not know what to do at first. The puzzles themselves seemed fairly difficult at the time, but now looking back, this linear room provided fairly simple, direct, yet creative puzzles that were suitable for a beginner like me. Every single puzzle was well incorporated in the goal of deactivating a falling elevator. They didn't feel like puzzles, but instead, they felt like tasks that you had to complete in order to go from step 1 to step 2 and so on. Everything made sense. I was stuck at first, but once you found the first step, you're good to go!
These puzzles came in many variety. I really loved them. Again, these kinda set the standards for me for my future rooms. (Tip: read all the text you see... much like reading a manual while operating machinery...)
And guess what? There were special effects, and a lot of it! Since this room didn't feature a live actor like Basement LA's other rooms, they really up'd the special fx department. Every single effect you could think of, this room provided. With that said, wear comfortable, preferably older clothing (and shoes) when coming to this game. Don't come play wearing your best or your most expensive garments. They may or may not get somewhat damaged, haha!
With every puzzle we solved, something related to effects would happen. Not only did this add to my experience, it really gave you a sense of if you're going in the right direction, and it moved you along the game effectively. For the majority of the game, you won't be given a clock, so you would have no idea how much time has passed. But we didn't seem to need it due to these special fx cues.
Finally, let me briefly touch on the clue system and the staff: I have no idea if there's a clue system because my friends and I never got stuck, and we didn't need any clue. Escaped with 0 clue given, with about 8 minutes to spare! That's how we roll! The game master was professional and friendly, and she complimented "these guys were really smart!" Lol. That was the icing on the cake for us. With such a positive experience, how could I not give the Shaft 5 stars?!?!
And now, your turn. Go get kidnapped and be tortured by Edward Tandy. You won't regret it.