In 1990, Channel 4 introduced us to the best game show ever devised, The Crystal Maze. With Richard O’ Brian at the helm, he guided teams of contestants through the Maze’s four zones, with the hope of gathering enough crystals to take forward into the Crystal Dome.
Every weekend from the age of 6, as I am sure so many of you did as well, I was sat in front of the TV wanting nothing more than to take on the challenges in the Maze myself. So imagine my excitement when it was announced that The Crystal Maze would be crowd funding for a live immersive experience. I couldn’t get to the website to throw my money at them quick enough. £500,000 was the target and a month was the time limit. They smashed their original target within a week and by the end of the month, they had raised a gargantuan £927,252.
The Crystal Maze had it’s official opening night on Saturday 12th March and I finally managed to live a 22-year-old dream. It was everything I wanted it to be. I regressed back to my six year old self for the whole 90 minutes. Obviously it isn’t THE Crystal Maze but dear god do you get The Crystal Maze experience.
Upon arrival, you sign a sign a waiver and deposit your belongings, in the lockers. Then you find your team colour and don one of the maze Bomber Jackets (unfortunately they didn’t go with the shell suits). Four teams go through the Maze at once and all start in different zones. When everything is ready, each team is taken through to a different area and put in a room. Here they play a small introductory video, culminating in a small intro from Richard O’Brian and then enters your maze host.
There are 20 Maze hosts in total and each has created their own characters to entertain you as you proceed through the different zones. After a quick chat and introduction to your host, a Captain and Vice Captain are chosen. Then the moment the Crystal Maze theme begins, you take off at a run to start your first Zone.
All four Zones have been re-created (Aztec, Industrial, Future and Medieval) and every challenge you come up against are all games that are seen at some stage during the original shows run.
We have all spent much time watching teams tackle The Crystal Maze on TV and shouting at them through the screen because they have missed a blatant clue to win the crystal. I can tell you this though; it is much harder when the time is against you. Everyone has their head stuck through a window and everyone has their own idea on how you should be doing it. However, nothing beats that feeling of solving the challenge, grabbing the Crystal and racing for the door like your life depended on it.
Then there are, of course, the lock-ins. If you time expires or you get stuck with an automatic lock-in you get sent to that zones “prison area”. If you should end up here, you can take on a challenge to get yourself out or your team can buy you out at the cost of one crystal. However, if your time in that zone expires, you get bought out regardless. So for those of you concerned about getting locked in and missing out on a zone or the legendary Crystal Dome, have no fear, everyone goes to take part in each zone and everyone gets to the Crystal Dome regardless.
When you get to The Crystal Dome, each team counts up the crystals they collected and then one by one, the maze guides take their teams into the dome. You enter the Dome, hold on to the rail and then your maze guide shouts those famous words “WILL YOU START THE FANS PLEASE”. The fans kick in, gold tokens go everywhere and the moment the light goes green you are jumping around like madmen trying to fill that letter box with as many gold tokens as you can.
After everyone has gone through, the tokens for each team are totaled and you find out which team came out of the maze victorious. There is a chance for photos with your team and maze guide afterwards and then you can move on to the bar, enjoy a drink and watch other teams come through the Maze on four screens set up in the bar area and if you are still around when they finish, watch them take on the Crystal Dome.
This is without a doubt, a must do event! For lovers of the original Crystal Maze show it is a chance to relive and take part in something that most of us would have grown up with. It is absolutely a-MAZE-ing. I was buzzing from the moment I arrived at The Crystal Maze till the moment I woke up the next morning.
This is a fantastic Five Star experience. Whether you are on your own, with a couple of friends or even a whole team of people you know, it is fun on a scale that I can’t even begin to describe.
Hurry up though, spaces are disappearing faster than you can say “Mumsy”!!!