THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you love zombie movies, or the Resident Evil movie or video game franchise
Avoid if… you neither like zombies nor being touched by one (or participated in way too many (in)voluntary lab experiments)
Laurel’s House of Horrors:
Address: 935 Fairlawn Ave, Laurel, MD 20707 (click address for Google Map)
Contact and Website: 240-278-4545
Description (from the company website): Come experience our newest escape room “Resident Horror”. Work in a specially-designed laboratory to help find a cure for the un-dead break-out before it’s too late. Hit the wrong button and you’ll let the zombies loose!
Difficulty (1-10): Not listed
Time Limit: 25 minutes
Cost: $15 per person
Party Size: Up to 8.
Staging Area: It’s an old movie theater that is supposedly haunted.
Metro Access/Parking: Not metro accessible at all. The theater is in a strip mall so there is plenty of parking.
This is the video we took before we entered the room:
This is the video we took just after we completed the room:
Description of the room: You start off in a lab with a zombie chained up in the inner room.
Understanding of the Mission: You have to figure out how to get to the next room without getting killed by the zombie and then find the antidote to the zombie plague.
Did We Escape: NO. We needed like 3 more minutes.
Time Remaining: See above
Our Suggested Party Size: 6 (our 8 was a little crowded)
Did the room challenge the entire team? No. There were times that 1 or 2 people were standing around.
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Alphonzo, Eric, Eric, Mark, Katheryn
Worth the time and money? It’s cheaper than a normal room because it’s only 25 minutes. Probably worth tacking on as a second room of the day, but I wouldn’t go specifically for this one.
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After: Just call it a day and go to Five Guys.
|JASON SAYS:||MIKE SAYS:|
|Overall Expectation (Summary)|
|Locked in a room with a Zombie. Does that say enough? Idk. But that’s all I got.||We’ve heard about rooms where you are locked in with a zombie, and this was intriguing enough in the description to make us want to add it on to their other two rooms we were doing. I LOVE the Resident Evil movies and video games (on which this is loosely based), so I was expecting it to be a pretty awesome room.
|You’re in a lab trying to find the cure for the outbreak and wouldn’t you know it, there’s a zmobie in the lab. Well, shit. Figure out how to get the cure while keeping the zmobie at bay.
|You are locked in a lab that has a zombie chained inside an inner room, and it’s only a matter of time before he escapes and starts chewing on you.
|Multiple objectives! W00t!
Rating: 8/10 (This is probably higher b/c there’s a frickin’ zombie in there, but STFU and leave me alone.)
|Yay! Finally a room here with multiple objectives. We had to avoid the zombie, find the cure and then escape the lab (to escape with said cure).
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)|
|Holy padlocks, Batman! Not necessarily a bad thing in this case because it’s a 25 minute room, but still. The puzzles themselves where pretty legit. (I mean, a blow dryer, for real? WasUpWidDat?)
There were a few things we’d never seen before, some clever uses of stuff we have seen before, and oh yeah, a ZOMBIE.
|So. Many. Combination. Locks. This is a lab, after all, so a few magnetic/RFID locks would have been a nice touch (the tech in Resident Evil could have been translated better into this experience… or OOHHHH!!! A laser puzzle! but not one that chops you up into hundreds of tiny pieces).
However, the puzzles that we had to solve were pretty great and ran the gamut from visual to logic to items that were hands-on using some props.
And watch out for red herrings. They made us seem further behind than we actually were.
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)|
|I don’t even know where to start on this one. There was so much going on in such a small space that it was hard to get a handle on everything that was going on. Having 8 people was also a bit much, again because of the space problem. But hell, we had no problem with people double-checking other peoples’ work!
In fact, that was probably what got us that far in this room. Two puzzles specifically jacked us up. You’ll know which ones when you do the room; of that I’m sure. (One is literally a science experiment that was poorly documented and the other looks like a children’s toy, fyi.)
|So, we had a team of veteran players in this room and we still failed, so it’s actually a pretty tough room to do in a limited amount of time (25 minutes, which is the shortest room we’ve ever done). There was a good range of complexity in the puzzles… some were obvious and quickly resolved, but others did require a lot of thinking/logic and group work. I think that we were all so amped about keeping the zombie at bay that it kept some of us from sticking to the puzzle long enough to get it solved and to pass along our thoughts).
Two puzzles really stumped us, and there is no Game Master to call upon for a clue. Maybe this could be integrated in the form of The Red Queen… ask her for a clue and the timer drops by a full minute?
But, had we had just THREE MORE FREAKIN MINUTES, we would have gotten that last fucking lock off the door and beaten the room. Poor zombie is stuck for eternity in a dirty lab coat.
|The first half of the room, I was a little slow on the uptake, which is unusual for me in these things. I found the first item and proceeded to go to the other side of the room, and didn’t realize that someone had already been over there, but hey, inadvertent Rule #3 usage!
In the second half, basically everything you had to figure out was to open the door (3 locks on that last door, fuckers), so there wasn’t much in terms of cohesive gameplay, per se. Everything was riding on getting that door open by removing the 3 locks.
Decoratively, it looked like a lab…
|I surprised myself in jumping right in and solving two of the first parts of the main puzzle with some help from the teammates. I LOVED the fact that I got to use a prop to figure out the next part of the puzzle.
The zombie is a great addition because the constant noise, groaning and banging against the chains and doors is a huge distraction when you’re trying to keep your mind focused on the tasks at hand.
The space is smaller so you’re kinda crowded around the puzzles you find at first, but you can spread out and all work together on different ones once you progress a bit further. No problem in following Rule #3 here (and how many times have I ever said that?).
However, the lab was well decorated and the puzzles lent themselves to the theme, but – as I mentioned earlier – a bit more tech in the room (as this is supposed to be a high-tech lab) would have been a better fit to the flow of the room.
|I think the novelty of having a live actor/zombie in the room wore off pretty quickly once the frustration set in. I had a decent time in this room, but was incredibly frustrated by the childrens-toy puzzle. Overall fun had, on a 1-10 scale, I’d say…6.||It’s hard for me to say that I haven’t had fun in a room, even one that we failed. There were parts of this room that were frustrating, but that’s all par for the course.|
|Game Master (Summary)|
|We didn’t really have a GM for this one (unless you count the zombie, who was giving very basic hints/pointing at things). No clues allowed, 25 minutes, you’re on your own.||No Game Master, so that was a new experience for us. I was a bit annoyed at the end – after we failed – when the zombie wouldn’t tell us the one clue we stumbled upon, and simply said “you’ll have to do it again to figure it out.” I call bullshit on that because I’m not paying to do the room again when we got through 95% of it. We luckily figured out where we messed up. Didn’t make it any better, but at least it gave us closure.|
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)|
|No clues allowed in this one.||No clues allowed or given.|
|Anger Level Score||ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score|
|I was particularly pissed at this room (a) because we didn’t get out (only our 4th failure…) and (b) because of one of the puzzles. After talking to the manager after we left the room, we literally figured it out 3 minutes later. *headdesk*
Rating: 👊👊👊👊 Fists – 4/5
|The last puzzle that we didn’t solve was pretty complex, so I felt more frustrated than stupid. However, I will give this a
Rating: 🤦♂️ 🤦♂️ FacePalms – 2/5
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 6.9/10
Final Thought: This was a new experience for us in having only 25 minutes to get through the room, and an active staff member providing constant distractions and becoming part of the room. Overall, we failed on the merits of the design of the room, so we can’t hold that against the experience.