Haunt: Escaped (but not Finished)   4 comments

As a word of warning, I’m spoiling the end of the game, even though I haven’t reached the end of the game.

This picture is mainly here for spoiler space, but I’m sure all of you can agree $8500 for a computer is quite a deal. DEC ad via Vintage Ad Browser.

There’s been a “unicorn horn” I’ve been toting around for a while, but it never occurred to me to BLOW HORN. This causes a spirit to appear with a cryptic hint.

As your family is sheep, the gold that is YOUR color must be found before you can escape this estate.

Hmm. “Family sheep”, gold that is “your color”. This must mean “white”, but what could the “gold” be then? There is actual gold in the game but it wasn’t referring to that.

It was in fact referring to a bone in a grave I found before even entering the house:

>dig

Luckily, the dirt is soft.
There is a open grave.
There is a bone here that you identify as from the MISSING LINK!

A little extra persistence yields:

>dig

There is a large pipe that goes through the grave.
There is a lever on the pipe labelled ‘Emergency Release.’

Pull the lever and a truck eventually comes to do maintenance. You can sneak on the truck, escape, and get the endgame message:

VaVoom! The truck has started up.
Bump bump! You feel yourself being driven out of the yard.
As you drive by the gate you hear from the speaker:
‘Good job son!’
The truck drives on for a while then stops.
Your open the truck door and find that you are outside the walls.
You’ve escaped!
In the distance you here the trumpeting of a bull moose. James Watt is here with a check for $10,000,000 to buy the land for the Department of the Interior. He assures you that the government will not sell the land, but admits that he may allow some leasing of mineral rights. You have the option of selling it and making big bucks, or you can donate, with the restriction that it be perserved in its current state.
What is your choice? Sell, or donate?

>SELL does not go well:

Hmm. I don’t think your father would have approved.
Oh my god! Out of the forest a moose comes charging at you.
He is coming right at you. You can’t escape.
ARGHH! He gored you, but missed James Watt.

>DONATE leads to the “win”:

James Watt accuses you of being a reactionary idiot.
He stomps off, mumbling, ‘Those strip miners are going to be real disappointed’, and walks right through a pile of moose turds.

I think you made the right decision.
The party’s over.
Your final score is 40
The total possible is 440
Rank Novice! Are you scared of your own shadow?

Unfortunately, I can’t translate this into a “final win” yet because I can’t escape the house! When you go in the front door it shuts and locks behind you:

A booming voice proclaims:
‘YOU WON’T GET OUT BY A DOOR.’
‘… at least alive!’

There’s also a handful of treasures eluding me, including a safe with a three-number combination (and no text anywhere I’ve found yet hinting what that combination might be). Next time it’s either going to be victory or deadlock.

In case you’re curious as to who James Watt is, he was appointed by Reagan as Secretary of the Interior (1981-1983). This is the cover from MAD Magazine, October 1982.

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Posted August 7, 2018 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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4 responses to “Haunt: Escaped (but not Finished)

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  1. “As your family is sheep, the gold that is YOUR color must be found before you can escape this estate.”

    You are the “black sheep of the family”, so you are looking for “black gold”: oil or coal. Hence the “leasing of mineral rights” that comes up in the end-game.

    • ah-ha! That makes sense. (Although if I had actually settled on that at first, I would have no idea what to do, so the other understanding was more of a hint?)

      • I had the same thought as Mike, and it seems (especially for the general mood of the game) that the most likely source of the phrase “black gold” is the Ballad of Jed Clampett; “Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.”

        Don’t know if that’s helpful. My association with Texas tea is the Benny Goodman song “Texas Tea Party,” where “tea” is marijuana, and I guess you found some marijuana in the game, but that seems pretty remote.

        Unless it’s just that you’re releasing oil out of the pipe.

      • Given the author stated there were puzzles inspired by Saturday morning cartoons, I wouldn’t put it past him to also be inspired by the actual theme song to Beverly Hillbillies.

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