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This doesn't belong on the gaming SE, so I'm trying my luck here. I'm looking for any info I can get on an old game that I simply known as "Haunt.bat".

Here is the back-story: In the mid 90's a relative of mine purchased a PC. I don't recall the exact year, it sat around doing nothing for a good deal of time.

The PC had a 3.5" floppy drive, a 5.25" floppy drive, and a CD Rom drive. Yes, the trifecta.
It ran Windows 3.1
It came with one of the keyboards you used to see that had a huge placard with a ton of (Corel?) hotkey shortcuts printed on it. At least 50...

The PC came pre-loaded with:

(So the PC was definitely purchased after or during 1992, this is the newest piece of software on it that I recall.)

It also contained two files: "haunt.bat" and "haunt.com". The "com" part may be just a false recollection, but I am positive haunt.bat was what I used to launch the game, and I am sure that the game wasn't just a sprawling batch file. These files were in a generic "games" folder, or directly on the C drive, I can not recall.

Launching the batch file presented you with the text title of the game (no graphics at all), which I believe was "Haunted Mansion" or "Haunted House" something like that.

You start in a room in a house, you immediately find a silver bullet or knife (something silver). You almost immediately encounter a werewolf that you cannot kill. Trying to shoot, stab, or do anything to the werewolf would just end in game-over. I always just died at the werewolf, I recall finding the silver item and thinking "yes! I can finally kill it" then, as per many c80's games, was greeted with "you tried to shoot it..." or "you can't shoot it", something like that.

There are no graphics, no bestiary, no inventory on screen, no list of available directions. No asking for your name, no asking for kin, etc. It just starts.

I have been searching for 20 years.
These games are not it:

  • Haunted House (TRS80):
    http://www.figmentfly.com/hauntedhouse/hauntedhouse.html
    This game does not feature a werewolf, or any silver items.
  • HAUNT (DEC20):
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HAUNT
    Couldn't find any real working copies of this, but I did manage to find some source code. No werewolf, but there are silver candlesticks.
  • Adventure 3 - Haunted Mansion (C64):
    http://www.gamebase64.com/game.php?id=141
    I heard that if you move around outside before going into the house for too long there's a surprise... but the surprise appears to be that your movements are nonlinear and you constantly get lost and move in circles, not a werewolf. Going into the house you can move around a lot, and you're immediately confronted with a small ghost that can eventually kill you and put you in "LIMBO" which did not happen in the game I'm trying to find. Lots of exploring yielded no werewolf.
  • Windsloe Mansion:
    https://videogamegeek.com/videogame/143110/windsloe-mansion-adventure
    This game starts outside a "Blair House", not in the haunted mansion. It talks a ton about "Pumpkin Man", who I do not recall. It also has a visable on-screen inventory and list of visible objects.
  • Transylvania:
    Asks for name, kin, etc. The name is obviously Transylvania, not anything Haunted.

Through Reddit I have learned of a game called "CastleQuest" that was available through Compuserve. This game sounds like the my haunt.bat. The problem is that this game apparently does not exist anymore, at all. Not even the original programmers have any of the code:
http://ask.metafilter.com/195777/Does-anyone-remember-the-old-CompuServe-text-adventure-game-CastleQuest

I have asked this question here:
https://www.reddit.com/r/tipofmyjoystick/comments/3carg3/pc80s_played_in_early_90shaunted_mansion_text/

Someone else has seemingly asked the same question previously:
https://www.reddit.com/r/tipofmytongue/comments/zn4z1/tomtcomputer_game_haunted_mansionstyle_text/

Neither have any resolutions, but both point toward "CastleQuest".
The only issue (besides it's complete non-existence) is that I absolutely did not access this game through Compuserve. I had an available internet connection, but connecting was a big deal back in the day, and I played this game with no connection, guaranteed. Even if the batch file accessed Compuserve for me, I would have been dead in the water with no internet connection. Of course, it's possible that the game was ported, but if that's the case I would imagine that at least someone would know about it.

I was reluctant to post this here, but chat convinced me to give it a shot. If anyone knows anything else this old game could be, please give me some leads.

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    This question might go unanswered for a while (as you know, these things are hard to find!), but this was the right place to ask it. – wizzwizz4 Jan 3 '17 at 17:07
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    As I am not 100% that haunt.bat is some port of CastleQuest I did not post all possible information regarding CastleQuest I have been able to amass, but for anyone interested here is a conversation between one of the many CastleQuest seekers and one of the original programmers (Michael Holtzman): club.cc.cmu.edu/~ajo/in-search-of-LONG0751/castle-quest/… – Gorchestopher H Jan 3 '17 at 17:20
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    Looking around and trying to remember old public domain/shareware games since what you explained sounded very familiar, I found a text game called HAUNT at: archive.org/details/msdos_shareware_fb_HAUNT – PhasedOut Jan 5 '17 at 19:05
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    There's what appears to be a Commodore 128 version of an adventure called CastleQuest at the link here, however I can't get it to work on the VICE C1q28 emulator. It's an .SDA file which apparently means Self Dissolving Archive, i.e. a self-extractor: cbmfiles.com/genie/C128GamesListing.php – Alan B Feb 8 '17 at 17:34
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    I've been looking for the same game. I knew it as CastleQuest and played it on CompuServe, but the details you remember are the same that I remember. – sheboodledee Sep 10 '17 at 2:16
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I know this answer isn't what you are waiting for, but I'm hoping it will help in some way.

Text adventures, as beautiful and complex as they are, were not difficult to code. There were many non-commercial games that did the rounds, even prior to the internet. I was passed several un-released text adventures on cassette for early micros I owned.

Several of the more successful commercial text adventures were developed using an "engine" that was then used as the basis of multiple games. Some of these engines were shared openly for other writers to use, and for those who couldn't code at all, there were even various "text adventure creator" programs available on several formats. All of this meant there were lots of text adventure games out there that were non-commercial, so it isn't surprising that you are struggling to find this particular one you played.

Rather than search for the title (which you are not sure of anyway) or details you remember about the game like the werewolf or the haunted mansion (which are pretty generic and probably in a lot of early games as well as other media) you might have more luck researching software houses or indie programmers of text adventures and see if you can look through lists of their releases. Something might jump out at you. A couple that spring to mind are Scott Adams (who wrote a game called Mystery Fun House - that isn't it, is it? Sorry I never played it) and probably less likely Brian Howarth who was more known for titles on the ZX Spectrum, not really PC. I played nearly all his games and was a bit star struck when I later met his son through my work!

Another possibly obvious thing I want to point out is that "HAUNT.bat" was, as you mention, a batch file that launched the game. Is it possible that "Haunt" was not the name, or part of the name of this game? I say this because playing games on DOS and Windows 3.11 was a bit of a nightmare. You had to configure your hardware correctly, and this sometimes varied from game to game.I had several "startup floppies" that configured my memory and other hardware differently for different applications and games so they would perform optimally. My point is that HAUNT.bat may not have been the out-of-the-box launch command for this game. Someone may have created it to run a series of other system commands in order for the game to launch. You may be hung up on the details you remember and they actually be hindering you from finding it. "HAUNT.bat" could actually be a red herring if that wasn't a batch file created by the software install itself.

Lastly, many text adventures were written in languages other than English, and then translated. Even if you are right about the title, the name you know it by may not be the name it was originally released under! Again, browsing lists of titles may help.

Hope this helps in some way and you find your game!

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    I was getting ready to explain to you why this didn't answer the question, but actually it could prove more useful to future readers than just "here is the game" because it explains how to find things. Well done! – wizzwizz4 Sep 4 '18 at 17:07
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    Thank you for your answer. As I mention in my question, "haunt.bat" is simply my recollection, and the handle I use to talk about it, perhaps misleadingly. The actual title of the game did have the word "Haunted" in it, haunted mansion or otherwise. Your answer has sparked something though, is it possible that the batch file contained a partial play-through? Another note: Castle Quest, was widely played, it was on CompuServ. – Gorchestopher H Sep 4 '18 at 21:32
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    @GorchestopherH This has fascinated me and I've been doing a bit more searching. Could it be Mystery Mansion Written 1981 by Olli J. Paavola? Apparently it did contain a werewolf. – Astralbee Sep 5 '18 at 9:13
  • @GorchestopherH Also, I didn't consider the batch file angle you raised, namely that it might have done more than set preferences - it might have launched the game part way, or from a save position. When I was 8 years old I was very proud of "hacking" a text-game written in BASIC and starting in a different room with a GOTO. Was the PC purchased second hand? Or could some bored PC store worker have played it whilst the machine was on display? Possibilities at least. The Werewolf may not have been the opening stage. Would a "haunted" mansion not have a ghost as a main character? – Astralbee Sep 5 '18 at 9:26
  • @Astralbee The PC could certainly have been used prior to coming into my (or my family's) usage. PC's were a weird thing back in the day, almost all of them were certainly touched to some extent after leaving the factory. As for a ghost appearing or not, I don't know, I never encountered one. However, from what I can gather, not having a ghost doesn't appear to preclude a game from having the word "haunted" in the title, neither does it bar the game from taking place in a "haunted" house. – Gorchestopher H Sep 10 '18 at 16:05

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