ClueHQ Warrington – The Betrayal of Cluetankhamun
The Team: TDM, Mr Carrot
Just over a month ago the long lost tomb of Cluetankhamun was unearthed for the first time in over 3 millennia. A team of explorers were sent in to recover the Cluetan Crystal, a jewel believed to possess the power of the Nile. It has been several days since last contact with the exploring party so it’s time to send a new expedition down into the tomb to retrieve the crystal. But watch your step – Who knows what happened to the last exploring party.
We managed to get parked almost opposite the venue where there’s space for about 7 or 8 cars, though it’s worth noting that we were there when it was quiet in the evening, and I can’t imagine getting quite so lucky during the day. There’s a decent sized car park round the corner though if this is the case, which I think is Pay and Display.
The actual location of the venue is great – it’s set in the arches of a bridge with a large dimly, but atmospherically lit reception area just inside the doors. There was however, a quite unpleasant smell in the air (according to Mr Carrot), and when he asked about it our host acknowledged it and said that they’d not been able to trace the source but had tried all kinds of things to neutralise it with limited success. It bothered whiny Mr Carrot and his poor sensitive nose a lot more than it did me though, as I didn’t think it was really too bad and was probably how I’d expect bridge arches to smell anyway.
The hosts themselves were great, and after one of the usual kinds of briefings, they set a introduction video playing on the large reception area screen and told us the adventure would begin once we’d watched it. They pointed the way, then vanished through a door!
I really liked this, the way you had to make your own way to the room, which made a refreshing change from being led all the way in as we’d experienced in other venues. It’s only a very simple thing, but it’s the kind of thing that sticks in your head for being different somehow, and makes the visit more memorable.
Once in though, we then had a couple of issues with the room itself…
Very early on we wasted a LOT of time searching for something which ended up being high up behind a bright light, and even when we were given a ‘clue’ (told where it was) we still had trouble seeing it. Maybe we’re just slightly more sensitive to light than most, but it felt like having to read the expression of someone interrogating you while they shone a spotlight in your face! I’ve spoken to other people that have done the room since this though, and they didn’t really have a problem with it, so I’m thinking maybe it was just us…
The second issue was that there seemed to be a huge amount of four digit combination locks in the room… a really HUGE amount. I swear at one point we must have had about 15 or more unsolved ones on the go (this is probably exaggeration, but it certainly felt like this many). The result of this was that when we solved something we then had a large number of locks to enter numbers into with no clue as to which was the correct one. This problem was exacerbated by the fact that we found one of the puzzle solutions quite ambiguous, which meant we were wasting time trying the wrong solution about 15 times. Extremely frustrating!
These issues aside though, we loved the theming in the room and there was a really nice variety of puzzles including some large physical props which are always a bonus and in this situation worked really well. Lighting was used to great effect, and the clue screen displayed continuations of the video intro story as time progressed.
In the end we actually ran out of time, but still enjoyed the room immensely. Very disappointed not to finish, but we’ll definitely be back for the other rooms.