Communications on site have ceased. It is believed this is the epicentre of the outbreak leading to the uprising. We urgently need survivors to enter the base to achieve what others could not. Before communications broke off we received one last horrifying and spine chilling warning... Things here are far from normal…..
It's a grey day Chesterfield; the darkening clouds above threaten a rain that never comes. It’s perfect weather for an apocalypse.
Thirty-three strangers line up between mounds of gravel sheltering us from the real world. The derelict warehouse looms two hundred feet away. In between us and it is a wasteland of rubble, human detritus and abandoned vehicles. To say it looks menacing is an understatement.
A heavily armed SWAT team arrives screeching in a smoking truck. They shout, they’re aggressive, they pick on people. One guy further down the line whispers “I didn’t sign up for this.”
We’re being barked orders, talk of infection. We’re less than a minute in and the adrenaline is pumping.
It isn’t real. It isn’t real. It isn’t real….
They pull three from the line, forcing them to their knees. One of them is the whisperer.
One of the SWAT guys whips out a pistol and shoots two of the three in the head. The whisperer drops, face to the gravel…he didn’t sign up for this.
The pistol reports echo out over the waste ground. This is the real world. It isn’t a film. Shots have been fired and everyone looks around nervously, at the SWAT, at the bodies, at the building that waits with broken windows like empty eyes.
It isn’t real. It isn’t real…
We’re marched away, leaving the bodies behind.
“Thirty-one now..” one of the SWAT guys smirks beneath his gas mask.
We run single file towards a darkened doorway, leaving the apocalyptic carpark and into the warehouse. One guy is sweating already as he’s not at his fittest. Something screams from the dark, another laughs. It’s from upstairs. Not our group. Others.
We’re in the dark, bumping and nervously laughing into the personal space of stumbling strangers. Behind us something screams. We’re been chased. Some of the SWAT team fall back behind to deal with the threat. Gunfire rattles through the dark as the screams get closer. There’s smoke, making the darkness thicker and giving it taste.
We reach a bunker, a Guns and Ammo stronghold that’s our safe haven for today. The SWAT team are firing through the open door. They slam it shut and a cacophony of thumps resound against the door seconds later. They want in.
If any of us has heartbeat below 120 beats per minute, then they’re already dead.
It’s now they make us sign the waiver.
What are we fighting? They open the door, the other side is caged off, but still a horde of zombies try to get in, pushing hungry arms through the bars. One of the SWAT guys grabs my sister and forces her towards the door, towards the unwelcome embrace on the other side. She screams. The SWAT opens fire. It’s louder in the confines of the bunker.
We get briefed; missions, guns (an offer to upgrade to a massive semi-automatic penis substitute; maybe next time), how to kill a zombie, health and safety bollocks. We’re split into three teams; my sister is taken away. (Later I see her leading her team of eight cowering men into a darkened room. Apparently, she found a dead rat and threw it at them. She’s got my sense of humour.)
We get a pistol each. Each team gets a radio (my brother-in-law got this privilege, though he didn’t realise that you had to keep it turned on all of the time), a ruck sack to bring back intel and a few of us torches, there’s not enough to go around to make the dynamic worse for some us.
We head out. We’ve got to search for key items. It’s 90,000 square feet over four floors, plus a weed and rubble strewn carpark. It’s dark, and there’s zombies. Let the fun begin…
Even though it isn’t real, it is real. The zombies lumber after you in tradition slow walker fashion, but as you complete a mission on move onto the next, they become harder to kill, taking more shots to drop in traditional video game fashion as you get deeper into the narrative. I found myself surprised at having to take more shots to drop one. The actors play their part very well, sneaking up on us silently. Being stalked is an exhilarating experience in the close discomfort of the dark. Ever footstep could be an opposing team on the search, or it could be one of them.
You shoot one, they stay down for 30 seconds before they “Respawn” and get back up, which adds to the open world video game tension of the whole experience (fuck VR)
We’d been warned about the Titan. The one who can’t be killed.
“Don’t waste your shots. Just run.”
We’re halfway through a mission when a chainsaw revs up , shattering the sneaking silence we’d being trying maintain as we search for a laptop vital to our mission.
We look at each other with the most whatthefuck expression I’d ever seen. Then he arrives. A towering lovechild of Michael Myers and Leatherface.
He has a chainsaw
A fucking chainsaw.
He chases us. We head inside a building we’ve not explored yet and head upstairs hoping to hide, because that’s what people do in horror movies.
The rest of the group cower against the back wall. The only thing between Titan and us is a flimsy, wafer thin plywood door.
My hero complex takes over and I pull the door shut, leaving the others cowering behind me. My brother in law grabs a plank and holds it against the door (even though it opens outwards. He panicked.) to reinforce it.
It does nothing.
The chainsaw revs on the other side. Titan knows we’re all in here, so in traditional slasher fashion of knock knock, the chainsaw screams and emerges through a gap in the door, down towards my hands holding the handle.
It’s like a film. It’s better than any virtual reality game
Because it’s real. But it’s not. The chainsaw has no chain. It’s all bark and no bite.
I let go of the door. My brother-in-law throws the wood at Titan and he falls back. We barge past and our team escape. We never find the laptop.
One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen happened in that abandoned warehouse. My brother-in-law and I were surrounded, our only escape was through a door into a darkened room. From nowhere a zombie clown pops up behind the broken window in the door, screaming and spitting at us. He could have shot him, but, being as gung ho as he is, my bro-in-law entered action man mood and deliver a swift front kick to the door, sending the clown on the other side arse over tit to the floor as the door twatted him in the face.
I’ve never seen guilt from kicking a zombie clown in the face, but that day I did. But a quick hug and a check to see he was okay and we were back in the game.
Zombie Uprising gets more and more intense. It’s very immersive and it takes some people out of their comfort zone. We had a few drop outs who couldn’t handle the pace, others didn’t like the intensity (apparently, my sisters team were all wimps. Except her. Robinson blood.) It’s fun though, you’ll be scared and laughing at the same time because you won’t know which way your mind will take you.
Because it isn’t real. But it is. But it isn’t. Keep telling yourself that and you’ll be fine.
If you’re planning a Stag/hen, it’s a fantastic day out for the price and memories will be made, friendships tested and forged as you work out who will have your back. Even if you’re not part of group, individuals are made welcome. At three hours long, the experience is a well put together package for £70 (cheaper for groups), and I definitely came away happy at how much I’d experienced.
If you’re a Walking Dead or Z-Nation fan, this is essentially a zombie theme Park for those can’t wait for the apocalypse.