2.8 Hours Later: How to stagger through a zombie apocalypse in Manchester and limp to tell the tale

Living through a zombie apocalypse essentially boils down to one thing – survival of the fittest.

At least that’s the case with 2.8 Hours Later, the zombie survival game that returned to Manchester over the weekend.

How I managed to drag my ambling, out-of-breath self through then without being ‘infected’, is anyone’s guess.

Saturday’s apocalypse was the second of a five-night run in the city for the popular game which has also been staged in various locations around the UK.

Based in Trafford Park, groups of eight survivors are tasked with navigating through various terminal points spread across the industrial estate.

The end goal is to collect some uninfected water for you to return back to the ‘Asylum’, the game’s HQ.

PLEASE DON’T EAT ME: MM’s Kenny Lomas readies himself for the Zombie-athon

Of course, being a zombie apocalypse re-enactment, you must also deal with the legion of undead who have infested the many roads and buildings in the area.

And when I say deal, I mean run – for your lives.

Some of the brain-munching terrors hobble around and can be easily avoided with a brisk jog, while others wait until you get close and choose to sprint right at you, 28 Days Later style, as poor Jonny sadly found out.

Let us all lift a glass for Jonny, a heroic soul who was ‘infected’ as the group sprinted though a narrow road almost immediately in our game, before we knew that zombiefication doesn’t always just make you a moronic, flesh-eating Neanderthal.

You see becoming a zombie, at least for some, can give the sprinting skills of an Olympic runner, and Usain the zombie had poor Jonny set firmly in his sites.

SCREAM TEAM: Quiet moments like this are in rare in 2.8 Hours Later

I was also very nearly zombie-supper after narrowly escaping a snarling female flesh-eater.

Somehow I managed to make it through to the safe point, much to my amazement. Poor Jonny though was not so fortunate.

Luckily if you are caught you are still able to carry on with the game, you just get tagged with an ultra violet mark which lets ‘agents’ back at the Asylum know you are infected when (or if) you return from your mission.

When you make it to your first terminal point, a member of the group must input two pass codes that have been instructed to you at the beginning of your mission.

After a rather poor effort from one of our group during the demonstration (I won’t name names to spare blushes), I decided to take the reins on this one.

I suppose I had to contribute something to the group as my running and map-reading skills were somewhat below par.

QUARANTINE: Agents at the Asylum check to see if you’re infected

These tight, tense indoor moments were where 2.8 Hours Later was really at its best.

The indoor sections really add an extra dimension, giving a much needed change of pace from the frenetic game of tag outside.

All of the actors in these sections, some of whom were amputee actors, also help keep you immersed in the game, and really should be applauded for their efforts.

Particular recognition should also go to the make-up artists, who did a fantastic job in making the bumbling flesh-eaters look as convincing as those you’d see in something like Shaun of the Dead, and really made the scripted moments feel so much tenser than they had any right to be.

BRAAAINS! Survivors get the full zombie treatment once their mission is completed

Even with seven other people around you there is still a real sense of anxiety – especially when you actually come face to face with the walking dead with very little space to run.

Unfortunately there simply weren’t enough of these moments during the game, and the buildings we did visit were exited far too quickly.

Another surprise was just how quick we managed to complete the course.

We finished in around an hour’s time, far shorter than the two to three hours we were told it might last.

And the game itself, while fun and at times scary, was essentially just several games of British Bulldog.

While there was a slight feeling of disappointment at how short-lived the whole affair was, there was a real sense of pride from finishing the course free from infection, especially considering George, my fitter and much more agile younger brother, gave me no chance of survival.

I’M A SURVIVOR: MM’s Kenny Lomas somehow managed to scrape through 

Everyone in our group appeared to thoroughly enjoy the game, despite its shorter-than-expected running time.

But while it is a great concept, tapping into the fascination humans have had with zombies for decades, I couldn’t help but feel the game didn’t play to its strengths as much as it could have.

That said, 2.8 Hours Later is still a unique way to spend your evening, especially for those who love horror and all things zombie-related, and it is also a great place to meet new people.

If flesh-eating zombies rock your boat then it really is a no-brainer (no pun intended) to give 2.8 Hours Later a go next time they rock up in town – just make sure you get in some sprinting practice first.

For more information, click here.

Related Articles