5 Ways to Turn Arkham Asylum into an Escape Room

Photo by  Quentin Rey  on  Unsplash

Photo by Quentin Rey on Unsplash

We’ve been obsessed with Batman—a.k.a. the Caped Crusader, the Dark Knight, the World’s Greatest Detective, Sulky Superman—since his debut in 1939. Now, eighty years later, old Bruce Wayne is still turning street thugs into lumpy gazpacho and has starred in more glitzy Hollywood films than you shake a Penguin at, and with the critically acclaimed Joker releasing this week, Batman’s rogue’s gallery is finally getting the spin-off treatment it deserves (not the one producers think it needs right now… looking at you, Suicide Squad).

While barely touched upon in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, nor in the films that succeeded it, every Batman fan knows that the pointy-eared vigilante doesn’t hang up his cowl until the villains are under lock and key, often in the foreboding Arkham Asylum. It’s not exactly clear how secure the Asylum actually is, since the Joker tends to slip out of it quicker than a cartoon bar of soap, but that irresistible atmosphere and dingy reputation would make for the perfect escape room. With Bat-fever striking harder than ever, here are a few ideas that we hope will land us that sweet licensing deal from D.C.—though we might have ruled it out already with that Suicide Squad jibe.


At Can You Escape?, we love our immersive story briefings that get you hyped for your escape room experience, and setting an escape room in Arkham Asylum is the perfect way to get in the mood from the very beginning. Batman has busted you up, and you’ve been thrown into a damp holding cell while you get assessed. The warden locks you up and throws away the key. Just when you’ve counted yourself out, the psychiatrist comes in for your examination, but wait: it’s Harley Quinn! She tells you that she’ll get you out on one condition: locked in the Asylum’s vaults is a viciously potent supply of Joker Gas. Retrieve it, and you can get revenge on that pesky Bat once and for all! You agree, and the power cuts out; when the emergency power comes online, you notice that all of the Asylum’s security measures have gone haywire, turning the once-sober corridors into a playground for supervillains like yourselves! Be quick, though: once the power comes back online in sixty minutes, the guards will regain control.


You exit your cell and see that the warden has been trapped, and each of his keys has been stolen by one of Batman’s feared nemeses. You don’t care about the warden, but you’ll need those keys to gain access to the vault. In one corner of the room is a mirror array alongside a number of sensors. As you draw near, you hear the Scarecrow’s hacking laugh: “The vault is mine! Am I supposed to fear you?” A series of levers adjust the mirrors. By finding smoke canisters hidden in the room and hooking them up, you can spray them to reveal a series of lasers; adjust the mirrors accordingly, and the lasers will hit the sensors and release the key you need.


You hear almost primal grunts of effort, and a door in the room begins to buckle under stress: Bane is trying to break in! Thankfully, you have access to a console that remotely controls his supply of Venom, the drug that gives him superhuman strength. By collecting and studying notes left behind by neurologists at the Asylum, you can figure out how to disconnect Bane from his fuel—but be careful: for every wrong move, Bane will shriek with pain and strike even harder at the door, reducing the time you have left. Apply your knowledge correctly, and the door will open; Bane will have shuffled away, leaving behind his key.


Catwoman doesn’t really care about unlocking the vault—she’s got her eye set on Gotham Central Bank—but since she happened to swipe a key from the warden’s pocket, she’s going to make you work for it. She’s already escaped, but she’s left behind an audio tape and a ball of yarn. By following the instructions on the tape, loop the yarn around hooks on the ceiling. If done correctly, the string will depict a number combination that can open a locked box containing the third key.


What Arkham Asylum escape room would be complete without a riddle or two? Painted on the wall in UV writing are four symbols, each with a number next to them. By disassembling the Riddler’s cane that you can find in the room, you’ll reveal a scroll inside with four riddles in sequence, for example:

I’m an object of wonder, of near limitless power,
I can conjure an eagle, a dragon or flower;
You turn me off daily, to escape all the chatter;
Of infinite hues, only grey matters.

The answer, if you guessed it, is: a brain! So you know that the number next to the brain on the wall is the first digit for your padlock. Repeat for the other riddles, and you’ll have your fourth and final key.


You use the four keys you’ve acquired and enter the vault. Harley Quinn speaks over the intercom and congratulates you. She and the Joker have been following your progress and they’re very impressed. So impressed, in fact, that they’d like to test their new Joker Gas formula on you! Under its influence, you’ll have no choice but to use your skills for the Clown Prince of Crime. A large Joker face grins at you from the far wall and gas begins to seep out. Thankfully, you have the opportunity to neutralise the agent before it’s too late. Take the canisters in which the agent is contained and hurl them into the Joker face’s mouth. Get enough in within a minute, and you will have bested Batman’s most feared rival.


Once you’ve succeeded, the warden enters the room. It turns out that there was never any issue with the Asylum’s security, but you’ve just been put through a rigorous test. You might have been acting out of vengeance, and then out of self-interest, but it’s clear that you have abilities that would be very useful in the field. He’d like to induct you into a special team that takes part in lethal missions—a suicide squad, if you will. Stunned, you ask about Margot Robbie, Will Smith and, to a lesser extent, Cara Delevinge. The warden has never heard of these people, and wonders if the Joker gas has had an effect on your after all. Congratulations!

Sound good? It’s clear that with a vast array of villains, Arkham Asylum would make for a great escape room. What did we miss? Let us know by tweeting us at @canyouescape! And if you think you can solve puzzles better than Batman, and without any of the fancy gadgets, why not have a go yourself?

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