The ‘90s have had a revival recently; Robbie Williams and Craig David are blasting on the airwaves, chokers are fashionable and scrunchy sales have hit a new peak (maybe). But there is something better than all of the above, a show that kept generations on the edge of their seats, whose bald-headed host seduced hearts (possibly) and whose seemingly moronic contestants had us all swearing at our TVs. Have you guessed it yet? That’s right folks, The Crystal Maze has been resurrected from the game show graveyard and brought to life in Angel, only now we’re in 2016 and we’re not watching it, we’re LIVING it. Yes, we went to The Crystal Maze and yes, our lives have changed forever.
In the words of the great Richard O’Brien: ‘To the Crystal Dome’, and after a few selfies and team talks that's exactly where we headed -a gaggle of seven valiant DMN staff, ready to take what the maze had to throw at us. Recreating The Crystal Maze was never going to be an easy feat, but through incredible set design, heaps of challenges and lively hosts, the venue in Angel has aced it. From the moment the doors opened, the London streets were left behind and we were deep in the darkest depths of game show land.
True to the TV programme, the set is split into the four original sections: Medieval, Futuristic, Aztec and Industrial. Within these four zones, each game was divided into the themes skill, mental, mystery or physical. We wildly dashed after our guide, Killer (sporting a full head of hair rather sadly), as she led us on a whirlwind of games. Corridors of doors hid giant rooms of mad challenges, from clambering up ropes and dodging spiders to mind-bending logical puzzles.
You know when you watch a game show and think ‘those people are literally morons, it can’t be that hard’? You were WRONG; it turns out it is that hard. We asked for The Crystal Maze experience and we got it. Our leader, 006, picked a member of the team to complete each task while the rest of us peered through the windows, yelling (and swearing) instructions. When we weren’t playing, we were scaling climbing walls, sliding down tubes and shimmying on ladders to reach another time zone - no detail had been left unconsidered.
And then we reached the final frontier. We had each completed two tasks with one person doing three (15 in total), including trying to solve a murder and running across spinning barrels. Some had fallen and failed, and others had grasped a crystal or three (I want it on my gravestone, people) and it was time. Time for THE CRYSTAL DOME.
That’s right, start up the fans and grab madly at the air because there is a real-life dome in which to snatch papers. The amount of crystals dictated how much time we had to collect golden tickets. Yet again, it was harder than it looked; as the dome swirled with gold and we grasped unsuccessfully at the air, the clocked ticked and the rest of the teams looked on with a distinct air of scorn. And then the night was done, and we were left to return to our civilian lives, knowing that a parallel universe of magic and wonder is but moments away.
Crowdfunding has brought the world beauty (putting the Tardis into Orbit) and it has brought the world sadness (Moby Dick being translated into Emoji Dick), but perhaps its greatest achievement is The Crystal Maze. Everything about the experience has been planned to a T; the games are suitably hard and even if you’re not actually doing a challenge you still feel part of the experience. It’s the most fun I’ve had that doesn’t involve tequila in a very long time; it's no wonder that the amazing format is getting a brand new opening in Manchester for next spring.