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Message in a Haunted Mansion Walkthrough

Welcome to my Message in a Haunted Mansion walk-through. (-: If you're new to my series of low-spoiler computer game walkthroughs, the idea is to point players towards things they might not have tried in each game rather than giving away puzzle solutions or offering step-by-step instructions.



These Nancy Drew games are structured a little differently than most graphic adventure games, though. In particular, you can solve most of the game's puzzles in any order you feel like, making a chronological walkthrough of little use, but the physical area the game is played in is TINY -- only 10-15 rooms per game. In light of this, rather than breaking my walkthrough down into "chapters" or "stages," I'm just going to break it down into areas, with a checklist of important tasks at the beginning and one of optional tasks at the end. Note that I don't tell you how to solve any of the puzzles--just where they are. If you've found a puzzle but just can't seem to get it right no matter what you do, UHS is a good place to go for a single hint that won't spoil the rest of the game for you.

Message in a Haunted Mansion: Key Tasks

If you find yourself getting stuck in the game, keep in mind that the answer frequently doesn't have anything to do with puzzles or additional exploration. The only times the plot of Message in a Haunted Mansion actually advances are after you've spoken with the NPC's, sent Nancy to bed, or both. So if you really have no idea what to do next, first make sure that none of the four NPC's have anything to say to you, next try sleeping till morning, and then try calling Bess on the telephone for advice. If all those things fail, take a look at this checklist of important tasks you will need to complete to solve the game (the order is largely up to you):

1) Talk to all the NPC's. Repeatedly. Having certain conversations with them is necessary for the plot to progress.
2) Solve the tangrams puzzle. I think this is necessary for your conversations with Rose to advance and the plot to progress.
3) Figure out how to get into the attic.
4) Learn nine Chinese characters (hanzi) and their meanings. (If you already know Chinese or Japanese, you can skip this step--the game uses real characters.)
5) Solve a musical puzzle on the piano, and use what you find there to learn a clue about the staircase (can't do till after #3)
6) Solve a puzzle at the staircase railing (can't do till after #5)
7) Learn the proper order of the symbols of the Chinese zodiac.
8) Put out a fire (that's a partial spoiler, but honestly, you find a fire extinguisher at the beginning of the game; didn't you already guess Nancy was going to find a fire to use it on? This won't occur until after #6, I think.)
9) Figure out how to open a secret door in the library, and explore it fully.
10) Figure out how to break into Louis' briefcase (can't do till after #9)
11) Ask everyone what "Gum Bo Fu" means (can't do till after #10)
12) Get Emily to send you a letter (call her on the phone after #10 a few times until her answering machine picks up.)
13) Once you've done #12, talk to Rose one more time to open a new puzzle area for you.
14) Solve the zodiac puzzle, the hanzi puzzle, and the two pyramid puzzles in your room. (You must have completed all of the previous 13 steps to do this.)
15) Finally, go down and find the treasure. It must be morning time for the object you found to work, so sleep till 6 AM first if it's night-time.
16) Succeed at the timed endgame challenge, and you've won! Everything else in the game is optional (see below.)

Message in a Haunted Mansion: Area Guide

The game does its irritating best to hide it by making it take dozens of useless clicks to get from one area to the next, but there are really only twelve rooms in this mansion, and three of them cannot be accessed until you have solved a puzzle to open the door that leads to them. (Click here for what a map of this game would have looked like back in the Infocom days.)

Things worth noticing in each area:

Nancy's Room

*The alarm clock is next to Nancy's bed; use it to change the game clock whenever you need to (you can use it as often as you want with no ill-effects.)
*Nancy has a journal in her suitcase in which she automatically records information about the case. Unfortunately, she never records any useful information which you might actually need later (like writing down the hanzi you learn, the information you find in books, the computer passwords, etc.), so you will still need to take all your own notes, but it's a nice idea that will hopefully be expanded upon in later games.
*Speaking of hanzi, you can find one in Nancy's room.
*There's a useful object in this room, but you'll need another object in inventory before you can access it.
*Near the end of the game, a new object and a new puzzle area will appear in this room; an NPC will inform you when this happens.
*And you can examine a few pieces of the Chinese decor up close, just for atmosphere.

The Upstairs Hall

*At different times in this hall, you may hear an eerie noise or a woman crying, or you may catch a glimpse of a ghostly figure passing by you in the hall mirror. Spooky!
*The heating vent in the hall can be examined up close, and opened if you have the right tool.
*The dumbwaiter in the hall can be opened, and if you've correctly manipulated it, a useful item and another hanzi can be found here.
*Once Rose has asked you to, you can climb the ladder at the end of the hall to open the door to the attic (you will need both a tool and the correct key, however.)

Abby's Room

*When Abby is in her room (between about 7 AM and 3 PM) you can talk to her here by knocking on her door.
*If you knock on her door after 6 PM, she will lead you downstairs for a seance.
*Between 3 and 6 PM, you can enter her room and explore around (don't let her catch you in here at 6, though!)
*There are several books in Abby's room; the one about Chinese horoscopes is the most important, but books about Western romances and the Art of Illusion are also interesting.
*You can learn another hanzi in here.
*You can examine the dead roses inside Abby's trunk and the trick mirror on her wall to make some deductions about things you've noticed around the mansion.
*If you attended Abby's seance, you can figure out how to open the cabinet and learn some more information; you can also use the tape player to play a tape you find elsewhere in the mansion.
*Everything else in the room is just for ambience.

The Lobby and Stairs

*A tool can be found in this area.
*The rope located at the top of the stairs can be unwound, to amusing effect (remember that with the 'second chance' button, there's no harm in trying such things!)
*There's a puzzle in the railings at the top of the stairs, but you won't be able to work it until you find a clue about it later in the game.
*You can't go out the front door, but you can note the address of the house there.
*There are two other interesting hotspots in the lobby, but you won't be able to do anything with them till the final puzzle of the game.

The Downstairs Hall

*The dumbwaiter in the hall can be opened, and manipulated if you have the right tool.

Rose's Room

*You can find Rose here during the day to talk to her.
*There's a tangram puzzle in the corner of the floor (Rose will point it out to you the first time you talk to her.)
*There are some reading materials in this room including the daily schedules of the four NPC's, the mansion's fire insurance policy, a magazine about B&B's and some letters on Rose's desk (you'll have to wait till she's gone to read those.)
*You can learn another hanzi here.
*As you approach the small table at the end of the room, the candles will sometimes flicker or spontaneously light.

The Saloon

*You can find Charlie here during the day to talk to him.
*A useful item can be found here.
*There's some particularly non-essential reading material down here--an old newspaper, a recent newspaper, and a book about mixing drinks.
*After Charlie leaves, you can find a tool in the area he was standing.
*If you go to Abby's seance, you can find some hidden objects in this room after it has concluded.
*The piano holds another hanzi and a musical puzzle you will need a clue from somewhere else to solve.
*There is a secret door in the saloon, but you cannot explore the area beyond it until you find a light source.

The Parlor

*You can find a useful item here (though you can't bring it with you, only save it for later.)
*The telephone is in this room. Calling Bess and Hannah is strictly optional, but you will need to call Emily a few times.
*Early in the game, you can find a letter in the desk drawer near the telephone. Later in the game, it will be gone.
*A box of documents can be found in this room, with some minor information about the house in them.
*There's also a book about Subterranean San Francisco which may be of interest.
*There are roses in a vase you can examine.
*Another spooky sound can sometimes be heard when you examine the niche with the violin in it.
*Creepiest of all, the wooden dragon on the base of one of the tables in this room sometimes moves its head as you approach it.

The Library

*You can find Louis here during the afternoon to talk to him.
*There are many books here which you can read, though all are optional and some seem singularly pointless.
*You can learn another hanzi here (not from any of the books)
*When Louis isn't around, you can hack into his computer (by solving a maze puzzle), both to learn important information and (optionally) to read a disk you find in another part of the mansion.
*Later in the game, Louis' briefcase will be left here and you can read a book and a few interesting documents from there.
*There is an important item hidden in this room.
*There is a secret door in here, but you need several special items to open it.

The Attic

*There are four important items up here.
*There is an important clue you will need for another puzzle.
*You can learn another hanzi here.
*There are some interesting reading materials up here, including a letter and diary written by E. Valdez. The romance book seems to be pointless.

The Secret Room In The Library

*An important item is hidden here.
*You can learn another hanzi here.
*You can spy on an NPC through the peephole in the wall.

The Secret Room In The Basement

*You can learn some information from a postcard and a book in this room.
*You can learn another hanzi here.

Message in a Haunted Mansion: Optional Actions

Have you:

*Attended the seance?
*Figured out how the seance was staged?
*Found the source of the spooky noises in the mansion?
*Figured out where the ghostly image in the mirror is coming from?
*Seen the two spooky effects in Rose's room and the parlor?
*Found the secret door from the saloon? (You can actually win the game without doing this, since you only need to find nine of the ten available hanzi to solve the hanzi puzzle.)
*Read Charlie's term paper and talked to him about it?
*Exonerated Charlie from blame in the fire? (It doesn't actually change anything, but you can get someone else to admit it was their fault.)
*Noticed the dead flowers Abby keeps putting in the parlor?
*Recognized one of the burned scraps from the fire as a letter to Rose that you read earlier?
*Figured out the identity of "E. Valdez"? (Abby is right for once, there really was one!)




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