ParaPark Sydney: Crime Scene ’95 [Review]

10644603_1468038586750152_3457013907361142564_nLocation: ParaPark, Sydney , NSW, Australia

Date completed:  December 2015 (2 players). Succeeded escaping!

Creativity: 8.5; Difficulty: 8.5; Atmosphere: 6.5; Fun: 7.5.

Requirements:

  • 2-6 players.
  • Basic English (for hints only)
  • At least one team member with full mobility

ParaPark’s story of Crime Scene ’95, according to their website, is one in which players have to investigate the site of a murder committed by a serial killer. At the briefing, however, we heard a much more interesting story.

We were told that we were the killers and had to go back to Crime Scene ’95 to retrieve some incriminating evidence before the detectives show up in an hour. This turn of events actually suited the escape room far better!

Guess it was time to embrace our inner Dexter Morgan.

Set within an sealed off apartment under investigation, Crime Scene 95′ opens in a room with an odd sense of decor. Whilst the items in the initial room are not scary, you do get the sense that the serial killer (presumably us is this case) had a thing for the morbid. Similar to 9A Gatewayinitial room is more of a warm up and is quickly by passed through a quick association / spot the difference challenge. What follows is an extremely challenging escape room which tests the ingenuity of players through complex and layered mechanical puzzles.

True to it’s Hungarian origins, one of the main draw cards of ParaPark is the way in which technology is used, not as an in-your-face ostentatious display of visual effects, but rather like a subtle undercurrent that necessitates lateral thinking. To successfully retrieve the evidence and leave the room, players must figure out how to best employ the items around them and how they work. Furthermore, there are no obvious cues to what players need to do for most of the puzzles of Crime Scene 95′. You just have to experiment with what is available to you and be observant. This is definitely a hard room.

Without spoiling anything, at one point I was telling Pá how to assemble something, and this dialogue happened:

-And the last one is the xxxxx one. Did you get it?
-Yep, I did.
– And what is it?
-It´s a… I have no idea of what the hell it is.

Having and understanding of basic concepts from high school physics and electronics will help players out immensely. The room is also very heavy on association and deductive logic. The only drawback was that at some moments we weren’t really sure how our tasks related to either versions of the story, so the atmosphere was not as strong in Crime Scene ’95,  differently from 9A Gateway.  This is a very small complaint to be sure. The game was enjoyable regardless.

We have to compliment ParaPark on good game and puzzle design for Crime Scene ’95 as there was never a need to make leaps of logic and there is a reasonable flow to the room. The layered puzzles mid game could be reasonably deduced and some in-game directions were there to support players. There was also no language requirements for the puzzles and English was only used to talk to the gamemasters.

The final challenge of the room was very memorable as it was the first time we had to construct the means of our escape. This puzzle involved McGyveresque mechanical intelligence, teamwork and good communication skills.

 

Out of the room

Service: Gamemasters were friendly, briefing was very good and they were attentive to our movements during the game.

Communication: You can get unlimited hints via walkie-talkie. The radios we used on the day were not very good and we had some issues with the sound, but the hosts said they were aware and would work to improve it.

Surroundings: ParaPark is within close driving distance of Macquarie Centre and Macquarie University on the north side of Sydney. Access to the location is best done by car. There are plenty of parking spaces available.

At ParaPark we also played 9A GatewayCrime Scene 95′ was also reviewed by Escape Rooms in Sydney.

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