Asylum: Origin of the Infection
RAM Training have been providing hardcore combat training with a horror twist for a number of years now. Having taken part in the original Zombie Bootcamp, along with Wolfmen we thought we knew the format, but when we were invited to take part in their new event; Asylum - Origin Of The Infection, dubbed as their most extreme event ever, we knew this wasn't going to be a walk in the park!
We arrived on site on the outskirts of Droitwich just after dark, pulling up to the locked gates. We were interrogated by a soldier wanting to know who we were, why we were there and demanding to see identification. We were told that if we tried to leave we would be shot. It was a nice strong start to the evening as it gave us a hint of what was to come.
We drove onto the abandoned industrial estate and waited in our cars nervously for further instructions. We read through the rules and signed to say that we understood them and would abide by the instructions given at all times. Soon after we were led into the facility and took part in a decontamination procedure. Everything remained very serious as the soldiers barked orders at us. We were led through dark corridors into a dark briefing room lit only by a TV at the one end. The briefing consisted of a well produced video which explained that Worcester County Medical Facility had been experimenting with a drug designed to sedate patients and things had gone wrong. The drug had the opposite effect, rage filled patients occupied the wards and our job was to go in and secure the facility.
We were given our kit which consisted of various safety pads, body armour and riot helmet. The first thing to note is that the Kevlar vest is incredibly heavy and does make it somewhat difficult to move around- this isn't some kind of imitation kit designed to make everyone look cool - its there for your safety but it really drums home the realism involved in this event.
Before we knew it, we were taking part in our first bit of training for the evening which involved the use of large Armadillo shields which linked together to form a wall. Our objective was simple, to hold back and pin down one of our instructors for the evening who was heavily kitted out in padding. We worked hard to nail the technique which was as aggressive as it was physically demanding. With each practice, our instructors made it harder for us.
A short break later and after a little more instruction, we were being driven into the heart of the action, feeling a little under-prepared as we entered the facility. From here on in, it became difficult to see. Much of the action was lit by torchlight and our helmets made it quite disorientating. We made our way through the linear maze encountering the various inhabitants and trying to rescue the hostages. To start with, we held back a little, but once we'd been pulled or tackled to the ground by one of the actors, it does encourage you to let go a little, and that's when the fun begins. You literally have got to have eyes in the back of your head and if you let your guard down the patients really do take advantage. We're yelled at by our instructors to get stuck in and we respond to the inmates with full force. We can't help but feel sorry for the poor actors!
Getting back to our briefing room, we're given chance to rest a little (and God knows we needed it) before our final mission. This time we're told that the patients will really exploit our mistakes and that we must be extra vigilant. True to form, the actors really didn't hold back and weren't afraid to fight back, one of the group we went through with was very nervous going in and despite lots of encouragement from the group leaders, decided halfway through it really wasn't for them. The situation was dealt with quickly and they were lead to safety without fuss whilst we battled on. This final mission was aggressive and gruelling from start to finish and it was interesting to seeing how our group worked as a unit relaying information and working as a team. By the end we stumbled back to our briefing room thoroughly shattered.
Clearly the theming in the place is a bit sparse. Every so often you'd catch a glimpse of Heras fencing covered in sheeting. But in reality, you have very little time to even focus on the scenery and it's so dark that most people would probably miss it anyway. The emphasis is upon the action which is so fast paced that it really doesn't matter.
No cameras are allowed at all inside the experience, imagine how long a camera would last in such a physical environment not to mention having somebody stop to take pictures would really kill the atmosphere. You are however, given the chance to subscribe to a photography package at £6 per person taking part. We felt this was great value providing a nice souvenir for less than cost of a couple of pints of beer - the quality of the images were great and really captured the atmosphere.
Priced at £120, it's an expensive night out, but it is a real treat! The high price tag is justified as it is a totally unique experience that will test even the hardiest of souls. It's easy to see what an excellent corporate team building exercise this would be (as a group of total strangers we grew as a team quickly through necessity) or how much fun this would be with a big group of friends.
All in all, Asylum: Origin Of The Infection is a fast paced, physical attraction that really puts you through your paces and although it won't be everyone's cup of tea, is a whole heap of fun that really gets the adrenaline going.
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