UPDATE: 5Wits TOMB has closed, but 5WITS has opened another interactive attraction to replace it.
The new kid on the block among Boston attractions is 5WITS TOMB. Since September 2004, this live-action immersion experience takes you inside an Egyptian tomb recreated in a Fenway storefront. Unlike playing the video game or watching the movie, this is not an endeavor to be undertaken alone. You’ll need a whole team (at least 5) of archaeologists to solve the mysteries of the tomb and make it out alive. Sometimes brute strength will be necessary. Other puzzles will only be solved with ingenuity and intelligence. Some require teamwork. It doesn’t hurt if at least one member of your team is really tall.
You receive cryptic instructions from the distracted expedition director, Dr. Cavendish by speakerphone from London. Your goal is to figure out how to enter the tomb, determine what happened to the professor who was lost in the tomb ten years earlier, find the Pharaoh’s burial chamber and discover if his mummy is still there. Oh yeah, watch out for traps and curses.
Your guide distributes flashlights. Your first challenge: figure out how to open the entrance. The 13-year-old on our team had that problem solved before the guide finished speaking. Your flashlights expose a chamber covered with hieroglyphs with a life-size statue of the seated pharaoh to one side.
The face of the pharaoh appears projected on a sheet of water coursing down one wall as his voice booms over head. The pharaoh challenges you in turn with tasks to prove that you have the eyes of a falcon, the strength of an ox, the courage of a lion and the ears of a fox before being able to pass through to the next chamber.
In the next room, the pharaoh’s voice follows you, testing your ingenuity and teamwork with a pair of puzzles to be solved. A slowly descending ceiling threatening to crush you adds a sense of urgency as you scurry around the chamber trying to complete the last puzzle and get out alive.
Mission accomplished, you may proceed to the burial chamber. Here, the pharaoh requests your assistance to find his mummy and return it to his sarcophagus. If you fail, the chamber will be flooded and you’ll all be drowned. Your hieroglyph recognition skills will be tested, along with your attention to instructions and memory skills. Remember, if you fail, you will die. And the death experience, while startling, isn’t nearly as fun as challenging your wits and strength and solving all the puzzles to emerge from the tomb alive.
While the cynical teenagers in our group were obliged to comment on how corny the whole experience was, that didn’t stop them from fully participating in solving every puzzle and completing every task. The grownups freely admitted to having fun. Very young children might be frightened by the special effects.
Each expedition takes 45 minutes – finish on time or die trying. Don’t worry if you don’t have a group, you can join up with the next one leaving for their adventure. Groups leave every 15 minutes. There are also specially written productions for educational groups and corporate teambuilding groups. For current schedule and pricing information, visit www.5-wits.com or call (617) 375-WITS.