Can you escape Sadako?

Can you escape Sadako?

Enter a real-life horror game if you dare; just be sure to find your way out before the ghost finds you

Friday the 13th has long been associated with bad luck and horror. But this year, instead of just being scared for the one day, you can extend the fear, thanks to a game inspired by one of Asia's most popular horror figures, Sadako.

Clues HK is stretching the hair-raising excitement beyond the 13th. Starting tomorrow, it opens the doors to its "escape room", which puts participants in a scary setting from which they have to escape within an hour by finding clues and solving puzzles.

The game is inspired by the new movie Sadako 2, which opens next Thursday.

Clues HK specialises in creating settings such as crime scenes and parlours of horror for entertainment.

Escape rooms are based on the popular Japanese online puzzle game Takagism, where players need to click through a mysterious room and find clues that will open the locked door.

Similar puzzle games have been hugely popular in Asia. In Japan, shopping malls and even baseball fields have been used to host such games.

Though there are other similar venues in Hong Kong, Clues HK creative manager Tam Ka-ming believes their concept, and its link to the film, is unique.

Tam says Clues HK is "the only one in the city that features rooms based on [the movie] ... It's tailor-made - we specialise in escape rooms inspired by real crime and horror events in Hong Kong."

One reason for the rooms' popularity is that the rules are simple: get out before time runs out.

In the Sadako 2 game, groups of four to six participants need to flee within 45 minutes.

The room has five sections. The first is a surgical room. "This is the starting point because it is where Sadako [a baby possessed by an evil spirit] was born," says Tam.

The next section is a bridge, which symbolises the link between the real world and Sadako's world. Then there is the famous water well, which is where Sadako died and out of which - in the first movie - she climbed before crawling out of a television and killing people.

Afterwards, you enter a children's room. "Players will have to find clues from those scary drawings on the walls," says Tam. "The drawings were inspired by little Sadako's drawings, which are really horrible and scary."

SPOILER ALERT: A hint from Tam is to use ultraviolet light. "Players will need to use a UV light to reveal some of the clues, but the UV flashlight is hidden in the room," says Tam.

Those who have succeeded in previous levels will find themselves in the final room, a church. "To find the escape door, players will need to look for secret drawers," says Tam.

It's only with teamwork and calm, CSI-like detective work that players will be able to escape in time, as there are lots of clues - and time pressure and panic can make them lose focus. Then again, if players are scared out of their minds and haunted by uneasy memories of Sadako's murderous power and creepy, long-haired appearance in The Ring, they'll do everything they can to escape the rooms quickly.

But to further motivate participants, the first 100 successful players will be rewarded with a ticket to watch Sadako 2.

For those who want to try their luck at this game, Tam's final piece of advice is this: "Get rid of your fears."

Maybe not an adventure for the very faint of heart.

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