The Secret Lab – Locked in Edinburgh

Our first stop on our Edinburgh trip was to Locked In. I’ve heard rave reviews about this company, with enthusiasts polling the Secret Lab as their favourite! The game is designed for more than 2 players, but me and Ian were thankfully allowed some extra time so that we could experience it.
Our host was an excellent story teller, using humour and drama to entice us. I’m so useless at catching names, but he was brilliant! 

Game story (it’s quite long but basically it’s about a L.I.E virus!)

1972 was the longest year in the history of mankind due to two leap seconds being added to its total length, an event that has since not been repeated. It was the year that U.S. President Richard Nixon ordered a development of a Space Shuttle Program, totally unrelated to the fact that the Russians had just managed to land the unmanned Spaceship Luna 20 on the Moon. It was the year of multiple plane-crashes, the premiere of The Godfather, the release of arcade versions of Pong, the frst arrests of the Watergate scandal and the victory of the west over the east, where Bobby Fischer defeated Boris Spassky in a chess match held in Reykjavík, Iceland. Also, there was the Vietnam war going on.

It was a year of tension. Knee-deep in the cold war, America and Russia engaged in a global staring contest, daring each other to make a move, each of them praising its independence of the others products, people and intelligence. Embarrassingly self-aware and ruthlessly cunning, each country prepared for the worst from the other. By taking pre-emptive precautions, research on defence systems like missiles, weapons and viruses were given increased funds. One lab in particular has a very interesting story.

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.

When we were let into the room, I couldn’t help but let out a “wow!” as the room was so aesthetically pleasing. Since this building is an old veterinary hospital, they had utilised the old cages and used them for different cells which contained lots of different challenges. It made for such an effective mode of gameplay because it was so clear where we needed to look to next. 

At NO point in this game did we stand still! The flow of this game was so utterly smooth, with many hands- on tasks that worked perfectly with the theme. As the theme was 1970s science Lab, the puzzles were still high tech but in-keeping with the period in which it is set. There were also lots of keys and padlocks thrown in which I know will appeal to many enthusiasts. 

The clues were delivered by a printer in the middle of the room, which again kept in line with the theme and it was very quirky. 

I would definitely recommend this room! We managed to escape in 68 minutes with 2 clues. There is certainly a lot to get through for a larger team, and our host said the beginning part of the game was removed as for just the 2 of us it wasn’t very practical. 

Highlight of the game: 

I loved the mini puzzles and how they incorporated technology but with a 1970s twist! 

Any drawbacks? 

I can’t think of any! 

Overall Opinion:

I can definitely appreciate why this is a favourite with enthusiasts. An beautifully flowing game. 

Want to know more about the Secret Lab?

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