It was Saturday 22nd September and time to start the “Theme Park Guide” Halloween season. The venue in question was an abandoned cotton mill in Chesterfield, a market town in Derbyshire, where, as rumour has it, a Zombie Uprising has begun.
As we pulled up to the gate, the setting sun bathed the factory in golden light, which heightened the anticipation that was building in the car. After a few minutes sat at the closed gate, we were greeted by three military personnel who ordered us to drive through to park our cars for the evening with the instruction to keep our windows and doors shut. Members of the military faction paced up and down the rows of cars, making slight remarks to the passengers within and several moments later, we heard a earth shaking explosion behind our car accompanied by the instruction to jump out and get into a line where we were to be assessed and split into teams.
Our team (consisting of myself, Chris, two brave faced men and two petrified looking women) marched towards the 90,000 square feet building and after a short safety briefing was led into the building and towards the safe zone, passing several abandoned rooms filled with oil drums, temporary fencing and barricades whilst the noise of the undead hordes surrounded us from every angle. Eventually, we made it to the safe zone, a bare-bones room, with the walls covered in used shooting range targets and other military paraphernalia, hardly luxury but I’ll take it over the dystopian scene we had just run through.
Once all the teams made it into the room the military commander provided an insightful presentation into our mission and it turned out all of us taking part have a unique gene that slows down the speed of the infection, so, therefore, we have been summoned to go into the building and obtain various resources left throughout the facility. The commander also told us about the zombie symptoms and how to neutralise the zombie threat.
At the end of the presentation, the team revealed that they had reason to believe that a new superhuman known as Project Titan had been developed and created within the facility and unlike its zombie counterparts acted more human, was fast and unfortunately for us, was invincible.
Everyone was then handed their airsoft weapon to take down the zombie hordes. As standard you were offered a pistol, however, there was the option to upgrade to either a shotgun or machine gun for an additional charge, we stuck with the pistol with the option to purchase more magazines at a later date.
Each team was provided with a rucksack to store the items we had to retrieve throughout the night, which also contained some survival resources, consisting of a walkie-talkie (to communicate back to the safe zone) and a few small torches for the party, which were split between the group.
Just as we were getting acquainted with our equipment the lights of the safe room went out and in panic, some of the military team went out of the safe zone to investigate.
There were a few moments of peaceful silence until all of our walkie-talkies activated at once. “WE NEED HELP OUT HERE...KZZZZTTTTT… THERE’S TOO… KZZZZZZTTTTT” It seemed like we have our first mission… Search and Rescue!
All four teams charged into action and went on their way, with little idea where to go, however, our team headed forward into the darkness and eventually came in contact with our first infected. The zombie was slow at first but once it saw us it picked up the pace, as he charged towards the team, those quick enough took their first shots and thankfully, the zombie then slumped to the ground. We were aware that the infected only stayed on the ground for a short amount of time so we needed to move quickly.
After a few minutes of searching, we approached an abandoned caravan. inside it, one of the military personnel hiding terrified in the corner. Our team escorted him back to the safe zone and to our surprise, we were the first team back.
Throughout the night four missions were given to us, the remaining three missions involved retrieving various items throughout the building, from mobile phones to collecting different coloured liquids in test tubes.
Each mission increased in difficulty as we had to adventure further into this labyrinth of a building, full of large open spaces and endless corridors that often led to dead ends which on one occasion forced us to be trapped in a room with the dreaded Project Titan and his Chainsaw.
By the end of the evening, we were somewhat defeated. Some missions didn’t go our way and we felt we could have done better, so all of the team were amazed to finish the evening in second place.
Overall, we would highly recommend a visit to one of the Zombie Uprising events. They are great fun and well worth the price they charge as the event is very immersive and really sets the scene, from the great work of the military team, who are professional whilst still maintaining character and the Zombie actors who we feel sorry for shooting so often. The event will try and break you though, it is definitely not a walk in the park… more like an exhilarating and thrilling run through the factory! And we loved every minute of it!