In regards to Subspecies: Operation Lockdown, did anyone go into this attraction back in 2015? I’m the type of guy that wants to know everything about every attraction there and this one seems to be the one that no one talks about. I actually remember not wanting to do this when I was at the park during Scarefest 2015 because it was too long and I thought that I’d just do it next year. But next year came and it didn’t return.
Can anyone spill the beans about what happened during the massive 2 hour experience?
I did enjoy Lockdown, and I would have been pleased to see it return for the following season. It would have been a good base to improve on and expand.
From the start, the pricing and marketing weren't ideal, there are understandable factors that would have influenced both of these, and pricing is also a very subjective issue. As you've highlighted, it wasn't completely clear what the experience would entail, and whether the experience would be both enjoyable and the very subjective issue of value for money.
This was also something that affected the Ultimate Sleepover, which has been one of my favourite experiences to date (and would love to see return), but as with Operation Lockdown, by the time word had got out, it was broadly, too late for people to attend. With neither returning for a second year, those that may have been keen to do it in the second year were then not able to!
Lockdown was more conservative in its approach and was effectively designed into the Sub Species maze; it utilised the full maze as well as one additional room.
The experience took the form of an escape room, but crossed with a scare attraction. The evening started outside the Sub Species entrance where most of the safety bits were completed by an operative in character.
You'd be lead through the control room, and after descending the steps, rather than turning right down the corridor, you would all enter the additional room to the left (the old boiler room).
This room would be the 'base', where you'd each put on a hazmat suit (white painting coverall) and would undergo the briefing. The group would be split in two and need to undergo various puzzles and challenges with a view to saving one of the characters. I don't want to spoil any of the puzzles in case they come back, but they would be consistent with those in an escape room, or similar puzzle challenge, but with the intensity of the setting as well lots of interactions from the actors.
You'd need to navigate the maze, to move between some of the puzzles/challenges, which would mean avoiding roaming characters in the maze sections who would try to rub red 'blood' onto your boiler suit.
In the shipping containers part of the maze (just after the crawl tunnel - on the left side's ending), you'll still see a small room which was the location of one of the puzzles, which also involved traversing to other locations in the maze to collect pieces of the puzzle.
Your team would ultimately be assessed on achieving your primary mission, as well as personal points for particular achievements or problem-solving, points would also be deducted for the amount of staining on the suit you were wearing.
There were also some personal objectives you would need to undertake, although with varying effectiveness!
The setting was excellent and the actors were fantastic, I think the major issue with the experience would mostly come down to the people you were grouped with. For those not expecting a puzzle based experience, those who were shy or not talkative would make working as a group tricky as well as limiting those working through the puzzles and proposing solutions.
I do like escape rooms, although if you don't beat them, or achieve as much as you would like, they can be a bit anticlimactic, this can also be exacerbated if you feel some of your team weren't particularly supportive. I do wonder if this would have been better if you were more in control of the groups and perhaps entered as a team of 4-6, such that is more of an experience shared with friends. In my case, the friends I attended with were split between the two teams, which was good for mixing things up, but would mean you were very dependent on the public you were grouped with.
I do think it's a shame that whilst Alton Towers have tried these new ideas, they, unfortunately, have been short-lived and have definitely left a much-missed gap in the Scarefest line up.