Are you a fan of that film where people escape dangerous situations by solving visual, word and logic puzzles? Me too! Dasshutsu Game Dero! (Escape Game Dero!) attempts to recreate those dangerous life-or-death style situations from the movies but with the added interest of mental challenges.
OK, let’s begin by meeting the contestants. Usually there are two teams, but this is a special episode so there are going to be three. Like many Japanese games, many of the contestants are regulars. They change the rules and the set-up regularly so what’s given in this feature may be different in other episodes.
The guy who looks like he’s wearing a paperbag on his head in the corner is the show’s host and narrator Ryota Li. The guy with the dollars on his hat is apparently Terry Ito and seems to be the comissioner, and today he’s putting up 1m yen for the winning team.
Right, according to a translation on Wikipedia, this translates to something like “Unravel the mystery behind closed doors game variety DERO Escape!” (usually abbreviated to Dero Escape Game) and the slogan is “Do feel like the climax of the movie.” We’ll probably just stick to calling it DERO from hereon.
Here are today’s three teams.
The show is split into three rounds. Each team will take part in round one simultaneously. Each team will get their own round two, and the two teams with the best scores will go through to face their own round three, so six games will be played today.
Each game is opened with a wireframe schematic. Each game involves the contestants being locked inside a room, and having to solve challenges to unlock it. Contestants are led into each room as they are blindfolded.
When the room turns red that means the game is about to begin.
Three platforms have come out of a hole in the wall. Unfortunately the floor the contestants were standing on has retracted to reveal a bottomless pit (the reality is it’s CGI, from the camera angles the drop looks more like 6-10 ft). Two people from each team stand on each platform.
An explanation graphic explains the game.
The pit in action.
OK, the game. Teams will get asked to solve visual puzzles of four kinds. Unfortunately the platform they’re standing on retracts at a rate of 2cm per second they don’t shout out the right answer. To help they have a plunger they can use for grip when the platforms get really small, and each team is entitled to pass once. The last team left standing earns a point for each surviving member, but teams must answer the same amount of questions to end the game (i.e. if Teams A and B survive to round five,Team A dies on round five, Team B must still complete round five to end the game)
Round one. Poochy.EXE who has our thanks describes it thusly: “They take a picture of an ordinary object and replace each individual part of the object with a word or short description of the part, written exclusively in kanji (Japanese characters borrowed from Chinese) with all the grammatical particles and conjugations stripped out wherever applicable. The words/descriptions are still in the same relative locations and roughly the same shapes as the parts they replace. The contestant then has to guess the original object (as opposed to a phrase in most rebuses).”
This one’s quite easy, I suspect.
The computer read-out of length is used often throughout the show. This is the end of round one, each team still has their pass.
Round two is my personal favourite, it’s the hidden picture round. This normally takes two forms. The first, as you can see here, is the same object repeated over and over. But can you work out what it is? The other version is one large object hidden in some sort of pattern, although it might be at an unusual angle.
As time passes, the picture will zoom in or put itself at a better angle to help the contestants.
If you yurn the picture through 90 degrees, you might make out that the pattern is full of camels. Clever, eh?
Game three is the celebrity faces round. Two celeb pictures but you only see half of each at a time. The midpoint moves around the pictures, so you will get to see more of them as the time ticks away.
However, it looks like we have our first casualty!
The view from the pit.
When someone “dies” we’re treated to a balck and white replay. Incidentally, even if someone falls off, their partner still has to complete the round.
Here’s the final game, working what the word is when it’s recreated from blocks of differing heights and shown at an angle. This game is repeated until a winning team is found.
Yatta! Stage clear! Etc.
And she’s allowed to leave the room in a more dignified fashion.
One survivor = one point for the team.
Game two is played by three members of the same team. They are each led into boxes.
But oh-no, there is a timebomb in each box! And all the bombs appear to be linked! To help, each person is supplied with a pair of pliers and an earpiece so they can communicate with their teammates.
To survive, they’re going to have to work together to answer three multiple-choice questions against the clock. Each one appears to be in the ranking style, but it looks like they only need to collectively cut one answer for each one. And they’ve got to finish within eight minutes or they all lose.
When they select an answer, the person who represents that answer cuts their wire…
… but if they’re wrong, the bomb “explodes”, they get a face full of CO2 and they’re eliminated from the game.
With just one person left the game played as before would be very easy. Unfortunately for the contestant, when they unscrew their cylinder they find they have two wires, and thus would still have to make decisions.
The next game is my personal favourite room. A corridor 15m in length. The contestants are chained by the foot…
… but at the other end is a terrible monster. Aiee!
To begin with the contestants are dragged to the far end of the corridor towards the monster, and three panels block off the corridor, each one with a word puzzle.
The contestants race forward to the first puzzle. To escape the room they must solve each puzzle to unblock the corridor and reach the big exit button at the far end. But all the time the monster is enroaching upon them! It seems to move at 5cm a second, but when it reaches the yellow “danger” zone slows down a little.
If the contestants feel the monster is getting too close they can turn round and punch it on the nose. This will roll it back to the 3m mark but it comes at a price…
…the monster opens its mouth and the chain attached to the loser is yanked back through it so the contestant gets eaten! If the monster reaches the red zone then all the remaining contestants die (I think, would be happy for clarification)
I’d like to show you more of this game, but this team are useless and don’t get past the first puzzle.
The next room is the final of the this week’s round two rooms and it’s in a quickly shrinking room. Each contestant is harnessed to a wall which is closing in. The only way out is to exit through the “safe zone” in an entirely different room 15m away. How to escape?
Each player looks through a hole in the wall at a screen and is asked a question. Contestants register their answers by pressing one of two buttons. If all three agree on the same correct answer three times, the game is stopped and one of them is released.
But they haven’t escaped yet! The potential escapee must participate in the Keybox challenge!
To unlock the door in the Safe Zone and escape, three keys are required. In the corridor between the danger area and the safe zone is a perspex container containing lengthy keys which the player uses rods to pick up from one tube and drop through the other. If he thinks he has time, he can go for more than one, as three are required in total.
At the othyer end of the corridor, the keybox. Put the key in and twist it round. But what happens after the thirty seconds expires?
This does. The effect is not instanteous, so you still have time to sprint out as the walls close in.
This guy fumbles the key and gets “squished”. However, he managed to turn the key in time so it’s a “stage clear!” for the team, or the two surviving members of it at least.
At this point the team with the lowest score is eliminated, and the other two have one more challenge each. Both are similar in that it involves a treasure hunt of sorts, correctly solving puzzles which lead to keys which open boxes but the situations are slightly different. Each one also has an endgame.
In this one the contestants are manacled to the wall and the ceiling begins at 3m and apparently drops 1cm every three seconds (although close inspection suggests that whilst the graphics give an indication of the time limit, the celiling won’t drop past a point the players can’t complete a puzzle by the looks of things). Lots of different objects around the room and three boxes. In this first puzzle the contestants must play sumo (the box out on the right features a puppet sumo referee). This leads to a clue.
Through some means and wordplay, the answer is “shruiken” – the viewer gets three potential ideas as to where the key to the box might be.
In the next box, a photo and a DVD upon playing of which a suggestion than looking at something upside down turns a chair into a cow. This is probably a very clever Japanese word puzzle, but obviously I have no idea.
Also in each room is a telephone. Their teammates are watching and listening, and if the team in the room need help they can phone up their watching teammates and have a thirty second chat. However, it looks like their teammates can’t just give an answer directly, they can only hint at something if they’ve worked it out (again, happy for clarification here).
This final one I can work out though, the contestants correctly identify that it’s something to do with the word ‘hand’. If you trace out the word ‘hand’ on each of the three grids, the characters created tell them to look in the statue of the toilet.
Inside the third box is a screwdriver which enables them to unscrew a panel on the wall.
The ceiling is paused. To escape the room they must partake in the duct challenge!
The airduct is opened up and the ceiling restarted. One contestant pushes one of the three buttons in front of them, it releases a key. The contestants must work out which manacle it opens, and that freed person…
…must crawl through the air duct as fast as they can and hit a button. The button is protected by a panel the contestant has to slide up. There is otherwise nothing nasty in the duct other than cobwebs, it’s a pure race against the clock.
Button hit, all the power goes out. The room then resets, but did she get there fast enough?
Yatra! Stage clear! etc., three points to the team.
The final game played by the other team is in a similar vein. They have to climb down a ladder into their locked room. It’s a similar sort of thing – solve puzzles to find keys to open boxes (the final box has a combination lock on it)
But oh no, the room is filling up with water!
As before, the team are allowed one thirty second phone call to their teammates. The phone is kept in a waterproof bag. The aim is to open the third box to release a remote control, which stops the water.
But that’s not the end! To escape the room they must play the Last Answer Quiz. A question comes up with many different answers, the contestants are required to find enough to fulfill a quota. The problem is the water has restarted, and if the contestants give a wrong answer then not only is the question thrown out, but they have to endure a thirty-second time penalty whilst the water keeps poring in. Three correct answers unlocks the door and lets them escape.
And after all that it’s a draw, and they both seem to split the million. How lovely.