supermooseman's Sam & Max Episode 203: Night of the Raving Dead (PC) review

Putting aside reused material, this episode is one of the best.

Night of the Raving Dead starts of differently than other episodes, and actually has Sam & Max about to be squashed by a soul-crushing machine. Max asks Sam how they got into this mess, and then the credits roll and you start from the beginning of the story. It's a neat touch, and it's really cool when you get to the bit you saw at the start, and it all clicks together.

The plot, without spoiling the clever twist, is that zombies have invaded the town, and it's up to Sam & Max to go to the 'zombie factory' to try and find out what is going on and hopefully stop it. You can't get there straight away however, and you have to walk around and question people about what they know.

Some changes have been made to the street outside the office, such as Bosco's now being shut (he doesn't feature in this episode at all, which will no doubt be explained in 204). Sadly, the robot is still there, and once again you cannot interact with what the rats have got set up. You won't really be spending much time in the street anyway, but more time travelling back and forth to different places in your Desoto - take this as you will.

The game is challenging, and features some of the best puzzles that have been in the episodes so far. They'll have you scratching your head, but not in the way which will have you clicking every inventory object with everything you can in sheer annoyance. The hint system is also going well and strong, but you'll still feel much more whole if you complete the episode without any help.

Graphically the game is still running of the same engine, but a couple of new animations have been added (such as a fan favourite of Sam putting his hands in his pockets). The outside of the castle is superb, and has rain pouring down and lighting flashing in the sky and reflecting off the location below.

The music is, as always, a stroke of brilliance from the talented Jared Emerson-Johnson. One of the best pieces of music in the game has to be in Jurgen's castle's secret room, where a stunning violin piece is played out, which perfectly complements the setting, such as the open ceiling onto the rainy night sky, and the overall horror theme of the game.

The humour of the game has become much darker than before, and can b described as 'grittier' and much more like the old comics, but this is for the best. The clever innuendos in the game are hilarious, which makes the game feel much more mature, without becoming stupid for the sake of a joke.

The massive blow to this episode is the locations that have been lazily recycled. In one part of the game, you have to go back to the set of Midtown Cowboys to film another episode. The set is nearly unchanged from its Situation: Comedy counterpart, which is a total letdown. Sybil's is also back open, but that has only a few new additions, such as some gifts on the floor - a complete overhaul would have been much more welcome, especially since its likely we'll be seeing Sybil's shop again soon. It is a shame on Telltale's side, and it brings the game down because of it.

Another problem is that a lot of characters from season one are making their return, something which isn't met with much particular enthusiasm. Among the returns are Mr. Featherly, Superball (although he has quite an amusing door guarding role) and Harry Moleman. It would have been much more fresh and unique if new characters had been made specifically for the role, rather than add to all the recycled material.

Apart from these two (slightly big, granted) issues the game retains the excellence of other episodes, if not more so. This is the best episode of season two thus far, but, as usual, the build-up this season suggests that something much more epic is just down the road for Sam & Max...
1 Comments Refresh
Posted by Thordain

This episode was probably my favorite of season 2.

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