Sunday, June 21, 2020

Haunt: Underground and Underwater

I've opened a bunch of my posts lately with an apology, and that's how I'm going to start again today: sorry for the lack of updates around here lately.  Unfortunately, I haven't made much progress in Haunt or Rogue (not for lack of trying in regard to the latter).  I figure today I'll write about what I've done in Haunt, and list out the various problems I'm having to see if doing that jump-starts my brain.

Last time I mentioned that I had possibly had a sleep-deprivation-based hallucination where I ended up on the bottom of the ocean in Haunt.  I'm happy to report that I was not hallucinating, and that the game does feature a subterranean ocean.  Unlike the protagonist of the game, I'm holding on to my sanity for the moment.

I also solved the mystery of how I got down there.  There's a maze of ducts in the game that is deceptively simple; at first glance, it looks like a 9x9 grid.  The trick is that it has three levels, and there are two places where you can go up and down cycling through those three levels endlessly.  I couldn't find any exits on what I designated as the "upper" level, but on the "lower" level I found a duct that exited on top of a fridge in a kitchen.

The kitchen was empty except for the fridge and an exit to the west.  I opened the fridge and found a white cube, which was otherwise undescribed.  I figured that it was probably a block of ice, or maybe some tofu, so I popped it in my mouth.  This turned out to be a bad idea; I had just eaten a cube of acid, and my character proceeded to take a whole bunch of actions that ended up with me dying on the ocean floor.  Definitely something to avoid, although I do wonder if there's somewhere safer for me to take it.

West of the kitchen (after a quick reload) was a back hall, with a closed elevator.  I ignored that for now and continued west, into a dining room, where I found some silver candlesticks and a unicorn head mounted on the wall.  The candlesticks were treasure (marked with exclamation points).  As for the unicorn head, it was too high on the wall for me to reach, so I left it for now.

The elevator back in the hall opened with the press of a button, and I stepped inside.  It had a bunch of graffiti, all of which I'm sure is relevant.  "Homer turns my head" is obviously a reference to turning the bust of Homer to open the secret door in the library.  "Homer kisses dead goats" is a mystery to me, as is "L__t g_e_ _ere!".  I thought the last one might be "loot goes here", but I didn't get any extra points for dropping treasure in the elevator.

The elevator had five buttons.  "Open Door" was self-explanatory.  "Halt" apparently only works when the lift is in motion, but I've yet to find a situation where I could press it while the lift is moving.  "H" refers to the floor that I was already on.  Pressing "P" took me to a floor where the doors opened onto a brick wall with a sign that said "under construction".  I'm hoping that this is a gag, or a puzzle to solve, and not a sign that the game is incomplete.

The only button that got me anywhere was "B", which opened into the airlock of a bathysphere.  Inside the airlock were some coins (a treasure) and a loaded speargun.  I took the speargun and, after messing around with some buttons, was able to open the airlock and make my way out onto the ocean floor.  It ended up being a 6x6 area with impassable boundaries on each side: seaweed to the south, a rocky cliff to the east, an ice wall to the west, and a sandy cliff to the north.  This seemed suspiciously pointless.  Surely there had to be more to it than that?

Eventually, I figured out that I should try swimming up.  Sure enough, I found myself on the surface of an underground lake, and I was immediately under threat by a giant sea monster.  Not much of a threat, it turns out, because it died instantly when shot with the speargun.  Sometimes the most obvious solution is the best one.  You can also avoid the monster by surfacing near the ice wall.

This guy must have rolled terribly for hit points.

After swimming around for a bit I discovered that the sandy cliff to the north was actually a beach.  All I found there was a pool of water, with the following message: "unta  o  out".  I've got no idea what this could mean.  I tried drinking the water, and for some reason the game mocked me for being a baby and killed me.  Is drinking water something people were ever mocked for?  I mean, it wouldn't surprise me in 2020 to be honest, but it is a weird one.

One of the odder game deaths I've encountered.

That's where I'm at in Haunt, which is pretty scant progress.  I'll list the various mysteries that I've yet to solve below:

  • The old garden outside of the mansion is described as dry.  I figure I need to water it (which might be something I can do with the subterranean pool, maybe).
  • The safe with the three-number combination lock.  I haven't seen any clues to this.  I could always try to brute force it by going through every possible combination, but I don't fancy doing that.
  • The maze in the wine cellar.  I found a trapdoor there that led me to the torture chamber (and a sexy encounter), but it's possible that there's more to find.
  • Dracula.  He's in a casket in a dark room on the upper floor, and he won't leave that room.  I don't have anything I can kill him with, I'm pretty sure.  Though now that I think of it, that underground pool could be holy water.
  • There's a dead end where the sweet sounds of Alice Cooper can be heard.  This can be silenced by pulling a cord on the floor, but I have no idea what purpose this serves.
  • I need something I can stand on to reach the unicorn head in the dining room.
  • What's the purpose of the cube of acid?
  • What do I do with the underground pool?  What does "unta  o  out" mean?
  • Can I get past the "under construction" brick wall?
  • What does "Homer kisses dead goats" mean?
  • What does "L__t g_e_ _ere" mean?
  • How do I get down from the balcony after I've climbed the ivy at the back of the house?
  • How do I get out of the house at all?
  • How do I stop myself from going insane and committing suicide?

That seems like a fairly comprehensive list, though I'm sure I've missed some things.  Here's a list of the inventory items I've discovered so far.

  • Two bus tokens.  These can be used to take the bus at the beginning of the game, or they can be eaten if you want to be quickly transported inside the mansion grounds.
  • A watch.  You start with this in your inventory.
  • A bone that once belonged to the Missing Link. A treasure.
  • A bowl of candy.  This can be given to the monster upstairs to open a path to the bar.
  • A wetsuit.  Required to explore the ocean floor.
  • An antique chair.  It's a fragile treasure, which will break if you try to sit on it.
  • A piece of modern art, which is revealed as a Rembrandt when you pour turpentine on it. A treasure.
  • A book with hints about killing vampires.
  • Some gold.  Treasure.
  • Turpentine, which is used to reveal the Rembrandt.
  • A stool in the bar.  I can't remember now if it can be taken, but it seems like a possible option for reaching the unicorn head.
  • A diamond corkscrew.  Treasure.
  • Some rope.
  • Matches.
  • A cube of acid.
  • Some silver candlesticks. Treasure.
  • A piece of jade.  Treasure.
  • Soap.  Washing with this reveals a gem inside, which is another treasure.

So I've located eight treasures.  They're generally worth 15 points when you pick them up, and the instructions say that you get more points for dropping them on the lawn outside the mansion.  The game's top score is 440 points, so I could possibly be halfway there, depending on how many extra points that entails.  It's difficult to say.  I'm going to plug away at Haunt for a little bit longer, but I think I'm reaching the point now where I might need to look up some hints.


  1. A guess: the pool is water of youth, but you are too young already. Give it to someone older?

    1. "Fountain of Youth" is almost certainly what the sign is meant to say - thanks! There aren't any obvious candidates for it, though.

  2. If you'd rather not stab at random, I could give a hint, although I'd need an idea what you're wanting to know about.