Sunday, July 5, 2020

Haunt: Uncomfortably Dumb

Once again, my progress in Haunt has been painstakingly slow.  I mentioned early on that I've become trepidatious about mainframe text adventures, and I thought it was because they were longer than the games on home computers.  That could still be part of it, but they're also harder.  The prime audience for these things would have been college students with an interest in computers, and back in 1979 that meant you were smart.  I, on the other hand, am dumb, at least in comparison.  (On the subject of my own intelligence, I like to say that I'm either the dumbest smart guy in the room, or the smartest dumb guy.)  Games like Acheton, Zork and Haunt make me feel very stupid, and I DO NOT LIKE IT.  Perhaps that's why I prefer CRPGs - most of the time if you're bad at a game you can still brute force your way to victory.  With difficult text adventures, if you're not smart enough then you're just outta luck.  Go play Space Invaders, dummy!

That said, I did manage to make some progress.  Not a lot, but enough that the last fortnight wasn't a total loss.

The first thing I figured out was how to get to the unicorn head mounted on the dining room wall, which was too high for me to reach.  As I suspected, I was able to climb on the stool from the bar.  The head was too firmly attached to the wall to take, but the horn came away easily enough.  Taking it gave me some points, which means it's one of the treasures I need to find.  Whether it has any further use, I have no idea.

I also fully explored the underwater sea.  The sea measures 6 rooms by 6 rooms, and when I first explored it I didn't find anything.  I soon figured out that going up took me to the surface, where I killed a sea monster and found a beach with a fountain of youth.  What took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out is that I could also go down: the 6 x 6 ocean was also 6 rooms deep.  I didn't even figure this out, really.  I actually went into the water with something heavy in my inventory, and got dragged to the bottom.

On the bottom I found an octopus guarding a treasure chest.  My first instinct was to kill it with my speargun, but I'd already used that to kill the sea monster on the surface.  I tried FIGHT OCTOPUS, just on the off chance. It didn't work, but the message it returned said that I'd be "just the sort to wrestle an octopus".  I took the hint, and tried WRESTLE OCTOPUS, which worked.  The dragon puzzle in Colossal Cave Adventure had primed me for this one.  Unfortunately, the chest was too heavy for me to take up the the surface, so I need to come back to this one.

In the cliff to the east I found a tunnel, which led to two areas of note.  One featured a giant eel, which knocked the speargun out of my hand before squeezing me to death.  I had the chance to enter one command before dying, but my choice of PLEASE LET GO was not the right one.

Glad this is a text adventure, because I've had nightmares about
video game eels in the past.

The other area was a cave, where I found some diamonds and a dead body with a note.

Impressive that John Laird predicted 1998 Aussie drama Seachange sixteen
years early.

I have no idea what relevance Diver Dan may have, not to mention B___ie and _ec_l.  The first one could be Bennie, or Bertie, or Bessie, but none of those is helpful.

North of the sea is a beach, and the fountain of youth.  I did some digging in the sand, and found a conch.  I also gathered up some of the water in an empty bottle.  Earlier I had found a dry garden bed, and my intention was to pour this water over it.  The problem is, I still haven't figured out how to get back outside of the house, so I'm a bit stymied.

The only other thing I did was eat the LSD cube from the fridge.  Previously this had made me act erratically and at seeming random, but this time it gave me a vision where a moose said "Fa Lowe, why her?"  Once again, I'm stumped.  It seems like every little bit of progress I make just gives me something even more baffling.

Haunt hasn't exactly done wonders for my productivity on the blog, and when you pair it with Rogue (which I guess is the exception to my "brute force" strategy that I mentioned above) it feels like I've accomplished very little of late.  With that in mind, I'm going to try to make next weekend's post my final one for Haunt.  I've no doubt that I'll be hitting some walkthroughs, so expect me to be extra guilty and ashamed of myself next time around.


  1. Just wanted to leave a thumbs up, really like your writing style, the posts flow really well when reading and I always let them pile up so that I can read a bunch of them before bed, great for unwinding.

  2. Could those names be "Beanie" and "Cecil" perhaps? As in "Cecil the seasick sea serpent"?