ESCAPE ROOM REVIEW – THE QUICK AND DIRTY
Play if… you love The Walking Dead.
Avoid if… you have a fear of hospitals… or zombies… or hospitals with zombies in them.
Laurel’s House of Horror and Escape Rooms:
Address: 935 Fairlawn Ave, Laurel, MD 20707 (click address for Google Map)
Contact and Website: 240-278-4545
The Room – The Rising Horror:
Description (from the company website): “The Rising Dead” is inspired by the hit zombie TV series, with hints of the hospital scene from the first season. This new game is one of our scariest yet, with the added pressure and motivation of a live-actor zombie. Can you get out of the quarantine room into the hospital lab? Bring your friends — you’ll need all the help you can get!
Formerly “Resident Horror”, this escape room experience has re-launched as “The Rising Dead” starting in August. A live actor is part of the experience* (incidental, but not intentional, touching may occur due to unpredictable activities of the dead).
Difficulty (1-10): 3/5 (medium difficulty)
Time Limit: 45 minutes
Identifier: R2 (revamped from Resident Horror)
Party Size: up to 8 people
Staging Area: It’s in an old movie theater that is supposedly haunted, so pretty damn creepy.
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:
Note: The ERG were given the opportunity to try out this room for free, with the understanding that we would continue to provide an honest review and follow the same process we’ve used on all of our other ratings.
Description of the room: You start off in a hospital room that is connected to a hallway… and another room with a heavy lock on the door.
Understanding of the Mission: Make our way through the hospital, get to the lab, find the medicine, and escape before the zombies get us!
Did We Escape: Yes
Time Remaining: 13 minutes
Our Suggested Party Size: We’d recommend 6 if you all have escape room experience; 8 if you have some newbies or ERVs (Escape Room Virgins) with you.
Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes
Members of our team (other than the ERG): Mark, Eric, Shannon and three of the employees from Laurel’s House of Horror.
Worth the time and money? Yes
Where to Eat/Drink Before/After: It’s in a shopping center in Laurel. Lots of places to eat. We had Five Guys before doing one of the previous rooms.
|JASON SAYS:||MIKE SAYS:|
|Overall Expectation (Summary)|
|As you probably remember from previous posts about this location (specifically here, here, and here), I love anything horror related. So when Travis asked us to come check out the new version of this room and give it our blessing before it opened, we couldn’t help but oblige. The changes and additions made to the original room were well placed, well designed, and totally awesome.||One of our few failures came from Laurel House of Horror’s Resident Horror room, so when the chance came to redeem ourselves with The Rising Horror (a revamp of Resident Horror), I was all in. As you may remember from previous posts, I love a good zombie movie and Laurel’s House of Horrors normally does a great job with how their rooms are designed, so I had some high expectations.|
|You’re in a hospital. The undead are lurking around every turn (and they’re being surprisingly quiet if you ask me). All I need to do is find the cure (it’s in the lab) and get out without getting turned. Sounds easy, right? It was, this time at least.
|You find yourself in a hospital, and the place is trashed. There is blood on the walls and it is eerily silent. Someone has been infected and their only hope is you.
|Make your way from the isolation room into the lab and find the cure for the virus outbreak. Then make your way back out. All with a zombie in the room with you. You must trap said zombie on your way out so it can’t follow you.
Game on, zombie; game on.
| You need to make your way to the lab, find the medicine, and then escape without being eaten by zombies… and there are zombieS in the experience with you. I hope that you don’t startle easily during your multi-objective mission! Remember: the undead are attracted to noise!
|Puzzle Diversity (Rating)|
|Going into this room, I expected to see a couple of puzzles from the first room, but mostly new stuff. I wasn’t disappointed. This is now a 2-room…room, and everything in the beginning was new. Definitely stepped up their game here. Once we escaped into the lab, we saw some familiar things, but mostly new items and puzzles. (Come to think of it, only 1, maybe 2 things were repeated).
There were still some locks, as well as 1 or 2 puzzles from the first version, as I mentioned, but the additions made you feel more like you were in a high-tech lab, one of the issues we brought up the first time. There was a good mix of basically things we haven’t seen before (that sounded better in my head) and so this is getting a high mark from me.
|I liked a lot of the puzzles from the original room, and we saw only a repeat of a few of them. Since they doubled the number of rooms in the experience, they added a lot of new puzzles and clues to figure out.
It was pretty cool that they didn’t duplicate the types of puzzles we had seen before, and that they kept the neatest of the ones we saw. I was particularly happy to see that one of the lab puzzles was still in rotation.
There were a few new additions that were things that we hadn’t seen before, so some heavy thought went into the design of these rooms.
|Puzzle Complexity (Rating)|
|The only thing I would rate down here is that the puzzles in the first room took me literally less than 5 minutes to figure out (I think there were 4 or 5 of them). Now, we talked with an employee after (Jackie, the zombie from the video) and she had explained to us that there were some people who never made it out of the first room, which was a bit of a shock to me, however I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised because people of all walks come to these things.
That said, there was a sufficient mix of difficulties in the puzzles, and the live zombie really adds a sense of urgency (and distraction!).
|The biggest change is that they made this an experience with multiple rooms, which definitely stepped up the challenge. We had a number of experienced people with us, and were teamed with some of the location’s employees who I don’t think had ever done an escape room before.
That being said, I don’t think that the puzzles were all that difficult, since we moved through them pretty quickly. I think that we made it out of the first room in about 7 minutes.
There were some interesting puzzles that were better solved with some teamwork, and there was the constant distraction of “live” zombies who kept trying to get into the lab with you. Make sure that you have a big or strong person who can pull a Hodor for you.
There was a puzzle that did throw me for a loop for some time, and we ended up solving it in a different way than what was probably anticipated.
It’s good that the room isn’t overly complex because you don’t have a Game Master to give you any lifelines or clues/hints.
|If I were to take this and go room by room (which I’m obviously going to do now that I said it), I’d tell you that the first room seems like an afterthought. And that’s true, really. It was. Don’t get me wrong, it’s well done, and the experience itself is definitely worth the price of admission; I’d just be remiss if I didn’t point it out.
That said, I definitely felt like I was in a derelict hospital and that there was going to be someone to eat my face around every corner. The lab looked the same as the last time, but that was to be expected; it was the puzzles (and locks) that we commented mostly on originally. Additionally, the way the zombies react to your presence is awesome (you’ll see when you go). That was probably my most and least favorite part.
|So, the one thing I rated this location down for on Resident Horror (which was a take on Resident Evil’s storyline) was the number of combination locks in what was supposed to be a high-tech lab. Well, they did a good job during the revamp to include what you would normally find in a hospital, so I liked that quite a bit.
The place had some weak lighting in some areas, and some dark corners in others, so I did actually proceed a bit cautiously in case there were extra zombies lurking around.
The addition of multiple zombies was pretty awesome. There is one point where you have to make a difficult decision and actually plot your escape from the room on something that isn’t puzzle-related. I’m not going to spoil that here though.
Other than that, I really did feel that I was in a hospital that was abandoned and a lot of sketchy stuff was going on, but Laurel has a knack for designing some great sets, so I shouldn’t have been that surprised.
|I can easily say my favorite part was right at the end with what you need to do with the zombie. You’ll see.||I had a really good time in this room. I was wondering how good it would be after doing the original room, but they stepped it up and I had more fun than I thought I would.|
|Game Master (Summary)|
|This one has no GM (just as the original didn’t) and it works perfectly well that way.||No GM. No guide and no nudges. You are on your own, which is all the better to make you feel like you’re in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.|
|How Helpful Were Any Clues Given, if any (Summary)|
|No GM basically means no clues. Well, this time and for us, at least.||No clues.|
|Anger Level Score||ERG (pronounced URG, as in “we should have known better”) Score|
|Nothing really to report here.
Rating: — Fists – 0/5
|Just a small rating here. I worked too long on one of the puzzles and felt a slight annoyance once we figured out how to solve it.
Rating: FacePalms – 2/5
ESCAPE ROOM GUYS’ OVERALL SCORING: 8.6/10
Final Thought: It’s great when we do a revamp of a room and we see that a lot of the items we may not have liked all that much fixed in the new room. The original room, which we failed, seemed to be too short a time, but the expansion to multiple rooms and adding new puzzles and challenges made this a pretty great room to experience.