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Fringe Review: Undercover Adelaide – The Spy Experience

A live-action game pitting spy against spy in a race against the clock to complete a number of missions and interfere with other teams’ missions.

Presented by Fire Hazard Games
Reviewed 14 February 2016

“You get out of it what you put into it”, so we’re told from an early age and Undercover Adelaide is a prime example of how true it is.

This live-action role playing adventure pits spy against spy using modern technology to send you forth on missions. Hard core players can change their clothes between missions, disguise themselves in a wig or hat, or whatever else captures their imagination to stay undercover – although it’s BYO disguises. For most though, the intrigue of the game itself is enough. Either way, this unique 90-minute interactive game brings with it a wave of fascination and frustration. This trick is to blend in with the crowd – that bright blue shirt or colourful handbag are going to make you an easy target.

Teams of 1-3 players use their mobile phone to access each mission and complete it within a given time frame. As one mission is completed, the next is revealed with points earned along the way so a winner can be declared at the end. There’s bonus points for interfering with another team’s mission, and you lose points if caught out or photographed by plain clothed operatives along the way.

Missions vary from team to team but may include locating other agents for clues, spying on other teams, finding objects, decoding secret messages or planting them yourself. The missions are often vague, leading you to points on a grid where you have to work it out yourself although, thankfully, you can abort if a mission proves too tough a challenge.

Some extra instructions wouldn’t go astray at the beginning of the game. The first mission or two is really about finding your feet and getting your head around it. After that, the pace picks up but at times the missions can be impossible – like trying to locate a hidden message in a food court or attempting to retrieve an irretrievable message that another team decided to shove into a sealed grate.

The clever technology is controlled from Headquarters where the game begins and ends. Each team needs one mobile phone, charged up and with internet access. There are limited loan phones available. After logging in, the system sends through missions, allows you to enter any code words, and uses a tone to warn you when time is running out. You’ll even get photos of any operatives you’re targeting – or, at least, a photo of what they looked like at the start of the game.

For safety, all the action takes place within a defined area and players are provided with an emergency number. Undercover operatives also patrol the playing field to spy on the spies and keep an eye on things. If you’ve ever felt paranoid before, wait until you know someone’s watching…but who?!

Wear comfortable walking shoes because you’ll assassinate at least 5,000 steps, probably many more, but it’s the one thing you won’t be noticing.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

Rating (out of 5):  3.5

Venue: Aperitif Bar, ibis Adelaide, 122 Grenfell St, Adelaide
Season: until 13 March 2016
Duration: 100 minutes
Tickets: $20 – $23
Bookings: Book through FringeTix online or at a FringeTix box office (booking fees apply)

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