Ghost Town: The Hidden Candle   2 comments

I’ve made progress, although it took a bit of meta-knowledge to do so. (Complete spoilers follow.)

Via Bonanza.

The last map I made marked a particular room:

I’m on a ridge above a narrow ravine I see
mountains in the distance

Some obvious exits are: NORTH

I noticed >GO RAVINE told me

Sorry I can’t
its full of sage brush, tumbleweed & is impassable

After a bit of thought, I took some matches I had and applied them.

I should note this is similar to the point on Strange Odyssey where I got stuck because I could take an exit that was in the room description, rather than in the list of objects. This time, explicitly thinking of that moment, I didn’t have the same issue. I’m learning! (… to solve brutally difficult early 80s text adventures. I don’t think that can go on my resume.)

And look, a mine! Finally, some geographic suspense? (Alas pretty much not, you’ll see why in a moment.)

In any case, before going down into the mine, I found taking the “Sagebrush charcoal” and mixing it with “Powder” and “Crystals” I found earlier let me get gunpowder. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything to carry the gunpowder around with, although I can think of at least two places where it might apply.

Going down into the mine led to darkness.

Lighting a match led to a long message about the match being lit, then going out. At this point I was *very* suspicious of a bug.

You see, I had decided I had suffered enough with TRS-80 emulators, and tried playing on something called ScottFree which will allows running the Scott Adams data files directly in a modern operating system. With the match, there didn’t seem to be any reason for the pause unless something was being displayed on the screen, and my danger-instinct kicked in that my interpreter was, alas, failing me. Switching back to a TRS-80 emulator (as seen in the screenshots above) resolved the issue.

Still: the match went out just the same; I could see the bullet and another exit down, but that was it. Having done enough games where wandering in the dark was a valid strategy, I decided to risk going down and checking again with a match.

Huzzah, a light source! Unfortunately, the very next room of the mine seems to be a dead end, so I landed in the same place I started – with no obvious blank spots on the map to fill in.

I did find something else interesting with the candle.

First let me mention there’s a “saloon” early on that includes a mirror that is fixed into place. There’s a narrow time span (marked by a bell sounding) where a ghostly figure plays an equally ghostly piano. I am unable to interact with either, however.

Later, after enough time passes, sunset falls and the town goes dark. A candle is needed to see anything. If you stand outside the saloon you can hear music inside, but if you go in with the candle still lit, whatever it was gets scared and disappears. (If you don’t have the candle lit, you can’t see, so it still isn’t helpful.) I’m not sure if the piano player is back, or there’s some other ghostly activity going on.

To top those things off, randomly throughout the game (from the very first turn) there’s a ghostly voice that keeps whispering “Vain . . .” This suggests something to do with the mirror in the saloon, but no matter of dancing or preening or gazing intently seems to be of use.

Maybe the *ghost* is vain? I still have no way to interact with them, so I don’t know what the ramifications of that would be.

Is there anyone out there who has beaten this game without hints before? (I don’t want any yet, I’m just trying to gauge the general spiciness of the game.)

Posted June 12, 2018 by Jason Dyer in Interactive Fiction

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2 responses to “Ghost Town: The Hidden Candle

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  1. Ah, Ghost Town. Yes, I managed to beat this one back in the day without hints. My middle school library computers had a few games available, and one was a combo disk of Pyramid of Doom and Ghost Town. Ghost Town is decidedly harder than Pyramid of Doom, but is nowhere near as obtuse as Savage Island (a game in which I never managed to make any significant headway at all).

    I won’t say any more than that at this time, but I do remember this one well enough to provide guidance on an as-requested basis should you ever need them.

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