Unleash Your Inner Jason Bourne
The mission for cinematic adventure is on in Las Vegas.
BY CHRIS LEWIS
Las Vegas built its reputation as the place to fulfill fantasies. Ever since Bugsy Siegel opened the Flamingo, the city has promised to transport us to somewhere else and maybe even transform us into someone else. In the past, most of those promises revolved around luxury, fine dining, and a chance to earn fabulous wealth. Now, live adventures are
popping up all along The Strip to help visitors scratch a different sort of itch.
Like the character Jason Bourne from “The Bourne Identity” film who awakes one morning and learns he’s an assassin, you now have the opportunity to live the action-packed life of someone else—even if it’s only for an afternoon. Play the role of a Special Forces commando, mercenary-for-hire, demolition man, or expert sniper.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read through the following adventures and pick one or more to your liking. Be ready to train with experts with real-world experience, look like the real thing, and live a scene straight out of the movies. As always, Nevada Magazine will disavow any knowledge of your actions. And thankfully, this message will not self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck.
ADVENTURE COMBAT OPS
My team and I just spent the last half hour learning weapon safety and CQB (close quarters battle) inside a monstrous warehouse just a few miles west of The Strip. “Gator” and “Wombat,” our two instructors, are now teaching us the finer points of how to properly clear a room. They would know: both men are Green Berets and the number of combat missions overseas they have conducted is more than the combined ages of the greenhorns they’re training right now.
Just as we get the hang of it, the warehouse goes black; sirens sound off, and growling is heard at the other end of the building. A message is relayed on the wall behind us via video. The apocalypse has started and we’re under attack by zombies.
It’s just the beginning of the experience provided by Adventure Combat Ops, where you and your teammates don real gear, carry airsoft assault rifles, and fight off the zombie threat after learning the “tools of the trade” from real-life spec-ops warriors, who will then lead you into battle.
As the strobe lights spin, fog machines pour out a thick mist, and Wombat barks at us to get moving, my body pumps adrenaline like this is for real. In the end, the zombies were finally put down. They looked heavily padded so I don’t think our shots hurt too much, but each did die a long, drawn-out death.
“It pulls up and to the left,” Kyle, my weapons instructor, warns me after I shoulder my Heckler & Koch UMP .45 submachine gun. It’s straight out of Call of Duty but feels light like it’s not a real gun. I’m reminded otherwise after I squeeze the trigger—it kicks like a mule. As I look over my paper target, Kyle remarks, “not bad.” But I know better, and vow to stick to my Xbox.
Battlefield Vegas is a 5-acre complex with an indoor shooting range, a vehicle museum, and the largest selection of weapons you can rent in the entire city, according to Operations Manager Matt Supnick.
“You could add up all the guns from every range in town and it wouldn’t equal what we have onsite,” Matt says.
At your disposal are hundreds of weapons to fire from World War I to present-day, including handguns, assault rifles, submachine guns, and heavy weapons like a 20-mm minigun.
On the museum side, I notice a solitary car with an M1 tank about 200 feet away. Up walks Joe and Travis Jacobs, who are celebrating Travis’s 30th birthday. Joe is from New York and Travis is a seventh-grade math teacher from Dallas. Joe has a surprise for Travis—he bought him the tank crush experience.
“Are there height requirements for tank drivers?” Travis asks as he struggles to squeeze his lanky 6-foot frame into the tank’s driver seat.
Five minutes later, the two men admire their work. What was a car is now a flat pancake of crushed metal and glass. The tank crush cost $3,000. Was it worth it?
The wide grins on their faces tell me all I need to know.
LIVE ESCAPE ADVENTURE
The stars of this summer’s “Suicide Squad” are granted a temporary pardon to get out of prison in exchange for their help. But you’re not that lucky. You have to escape using only your brains and cunning. Do you think you’re up for it?
You can find out at Live Escape Adventure, where you and your friends choose one of three adventures to test your wits—find your way through Pharaoh’s tomb, track down a delinquent debtor, or break out of prison.
The easiest, according to owner Bret Hilby, is Payback. You play the role of an underworld loan shark collecting on a large debt but find that your mark has fled and is attempting to leave the country. You must unravel the clues and discover where she’s headed.
The next hardest is Wrongfully Accused. You’re wrongfully convicted of a series of horrible murders and have a date with the electric chair that evening. Fortunately for you, a prison riot breaks out distracting the guards. Can you find your way out of your cell and escape your fate?
Pharaoh’s Curse is the most challenging. As you enter a recently discovered tomb, the gate closes and you are trapped. You must explore the tomb and escape before you become another victim of the Pharaoh’s curse.
Bret recommends you bring some friends (more heads are better than one). Your group has one hour to solve the puzzle, and don’t think these adventures will be a cakewalk. Bret says the solve rate for Payback is around 50 percent while Pharaoh’s Curse and Wrongfully Accused is 40 percent, at best. And no cheating—cell phones are prohibited.
Curious how you stack up against Katniss Everdeen of “The Hunger Games?” Impact Archery has 20 indoor shooting lanes and is the largest range in Nevada, according to owner Charles Roof.
Inside the facility is a full-service pro-shop that caters to both target shooters and hunters.
If you’re visiting or new to the sport, you can rent equipment and certified instructors are available for lessons. There are even rental packages geared toward the newbie that include a little instruction time.
It’s a sport the entire family can enjoy, Charles says, adding that 5 or 6 is a great starting age. After you’re comfortable with your skills, consider participating in one of their leagues, which is available to adults as well as kids.
If you’re looking for more of an adrenaline rush, then Archery Tag might be the game for you. Think dodgeball or paintball with bows and foam-tipped arrows. Each game lasts 15 minutes. Teams start at opposite ends, and after the whistle blows, you’ll rush to the middle to collect as many arrows as you can. After that, I suggest finding cover as soon as possible. Archery Tag is played every Saturday.
GET READY FOR YOUR CLOSEUP
Whether your taste in movies is wildly adventurous or just a little on the weekend-warrior side, there’s no reason to sit in front of the TV wishing you could be part of the action. Channel your inner adventure hero, and remember: In Las Vegas, no mission is impossible.