Sam and Max visit Stuttgart’s creatures of the nightclub
Thank goodness, I was worried there for a bit. After the lackluster Moai Better Blues, which was a bit on the short side, the latest Sam and Max episode brings the comedic adventure series back to where it belongs. In Night of the Raving Dead, you’ve got some of the best music in the series so far, a great new villain, and plenty of interesting puzzles.
Let’s talk about the music first. The mash-up of styles in Night of the Raving Dead is utterly entrancing. From the jazzed-up gothic horror theme when you first arrive in rainy Stuttgart, to the tear-jerking solo violin when you encounter a heartless Frankenstein monster, the sound designers have truly outdone themselves in this episode. It’s leaps beyond the goofy “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” refrain from Moai Better Blues.
It also helps that the new characters have a lot more personality than episode 202’s stone heads and sea monkeys. Night of the Raving Dead introduces Jurgen, a pensive vampire pretty-boy who own a haunted disco called The Zombie Factory. Jurgen is a riot, with his uppity attitude and twin nipple rings (which he painfully hangs his thumbs from—yikes!). He’s also a big fan of the strange TV show Midtown Cowboys, so you can be sure you’ll revisit that set from Sam and Max Season 1.
Jurgen has unleashed zombie hordes on Sam and Max’s neighborhood, but they’re not that harmful, even if one of them does steal Jessie James’ disembodied hand from the office. The zombie subplot means that Sam and Max will really get to see how the other half “lives”, which leads to one of the finest moments of the season so far. You’ll know it when you see it.
Sam says not all vampires are fruity, just the European ones
The puzzles are much improved from Moai Better Blues as well. Some of the multi-part missions involve sapping Jurgen of his cool and hooking up Frankenstein with the soulmate-seeking Sybil (who has dumped Lincoln for his Easter Island indiscretions). These puzzles are clever and creative, but they seem to be a bit simpler than they were previous episodes. Of course, if you get stuck, the adjustable hint system is still just as subtle and helpful as always.
Although a few characters (like Bosco) are MIA this time around, and my personal favorite Stinky only makes the briefest of cameos, Night of the Living Dead might be the best episode to start with if you’re new to this season or series. The season premier, Ice Station Santa, does a better job of reintroducing the characters, but Night of the Raving Dead has a brilliantly original story and some really fun new locations to explore. For a really solid adventure game episode, crack a glowstick and download Night of the Raving Dead.
What does this score mean? Check out our review scoring breakdown.