Key & Compass presents:
Dr. Death's House of Horrors
by John Olsen

Dr. Death's House of Horrors is a MS-DOS text adventure game written with The Quill and is © 1992 by John Olsen. It was published as shareware, bundled as Nightmares From The Crypt, Volume 3.

The game begins with you in a jail cell and the walls are closing in! If you escape this death trap, you will find that you are still trapped in a wax museum called Dr. Death's House of Horrors. Yes, you are dreaming all this, but the only way to escape this nightmare is to find ten keys and learn how to use them.

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on Version 3.0 of the game. I used the DOSBox emulator to play this game in 2018 and 2019.


NativeHut FrenchForeignLegion Desert West Endof UpstairsHall East Endof UpstairsHall Office OvergrownGraveyard AfricanJungle StorageRoom CloakRoom LumberMill 1930'sPenitent-ary ShortAlley OutsideMuseum EntryHall LargeRoom ColonialVillage Old WestTown Top ofSteps AfricanVillage AmericanPlains LouisianaSwamp StoneCell MedievalDungeon ShortStoneHallway EuropeanCastle UnderseaTableau 16thCenturyFrance EnglishVillageSquare OuterSpace u d pull antlers e d x pull doorbell jump up u



Stone Cell

Walls are closing in!

> push table. climb table. jump up.

Short Alley

You don't need the bottle but this is your only chance to acquire it, in case you want to try to do something with it later.

> exam can. take bottle. exam bottle. e.

Outside Mansion

The fog prevents you from returning to the alley.

> exam door. pull doorbell.

You fall down a chute. A voice tells you to find ten keys if you want your freedom.

Short Stone Hallway

> drop bottle.

> e.

European Castle

It's a bit disturbing, but if you care to, you can take the stake and then put the stake back in the figure.

> exam cobwebs. exam coffin. open coffin.

> exam figure. exam stake.

> take gold key. exam gold key. ("CHARITY")

> s.

English Village Square

Note: Although you can take the hood and wear it, you don't need it.

> exam figure. exam hood.

> w.

18th Century France

Note: Although you can take the skull, you don't need it.

> exam guillotine. exam figure. exam basket. exam skull.

> pull lever. take copper key.

> exam copper key. ("SINCERITY")

> w.

Undersea Tableau

> exam diver. exam shell. take knife. exam knife.

> e. n. u. n.

Entry Hall

> exam door. exam machine. (Needs a quarter.)

> n.

Cloak Room

You don't need the hat or the ticket.

> take hat. exam hat. take ticket. exam ticket.

> drop hat. drop ticket.

> take quarter. exam quarter. s.

Entry Hall

> put quarter in machine. (See a man digging in the desert, then in a graveyard.)

> u. n.

Native Hut

> exam zombie. exam symbols.

> take book. exam book. drop book.

> s. e. n.

French Foreign Legion

> exam figure.

> dig. (Using the knife. You find lead slugs.)

> drop knife. take slugs. exam slugs.

> e.


> exam figure. dig.

> take steel key. exam steel. ("FRIENDLY")

> w. s.

East End of Hallway

> open door (with copper key). e.


During your time in the office, the portrait will tell you: "Each of the ten keys has a word engraved on it. Stand by the front door, hold each key, and say the magic word to release each lock."

> exam desk. take thread. exam thread.

> exam painting. (It's of the museum's owner, Dr. Death.)

> exam window.

> open door (with gold key).

Instead of going through the gold door, head back to the entry hall to drop off most of your stuff:

> w. w. d.

Entry Hall

Use the entry hall as your drop location for objects you'll use later.

> drop gold. drop copper. drop steel. drop slugs.

> e.

Large Room

Note: If you break the case with the axe, the suit of armour animates and takes you to the cell. Don't do that yet!

> exam case. (Has chrome key on velvet pillow.)

> exam armour. exam axe.

> s.

African Village

You don't need the toothpick.

> exam figure. take toothpick. exam toothpick.

> pick teeth. drop toothpick.

> n. n.

Outer Space

You need the magnet but not the candy wrapper.

> exam figure. take magnet. exam magnet.

> take wrapper. exam wrapper. drop wrapper.

> s. w. u. s.

Overgrown Graveyard

> exam hand. dig. take silver key. exam silver. ("MODESTY")

> n. e. s.

African Jungle

> exam figure. (has an iron key)

> exam scorpions. (Real ones!)

> tie thread to magnet.

> take iron with magnet. drop magnet. exam iron. ("LOYALTY")

> n. e.


> s. (The door slams shut behind you!)

Storage Room

> exam shelves. take mold. exam mold.

> exam head. pull antlers. (You fall into the cloakroom.)


> s.

Entry Hall

> drop silver. drop mold.

> e.

Large Room

> open door (with iron key). w.

Entry Hall

> drop iron key. e. e.

Colonial Village

You don't need the broken watch.

> exam figure. exam stocks.

> take watch. exam watch. drop watch.

> n.


> exam figure. take bronze key. exam bronze. ("FAITHFUL")

> e.

1930's Penitentary

> exam figure. take gloves. exam gloves.

> pull lever. take tarnished quarter.

> s.

Old West Town

Around this time, you start getting thirsty. The exact trigger is unclear, but I think it starts several turns after you arrive in the Colonial Village..

By the way, you don't need the sheriff's star.

> exam figure. take star. exam star. drop star.

> pull lever. (brass key falls)

> take brass key. exam brass. ("BRAVERY")

> s.

Louisiana Swamp

Sorry, but you really do need to drink some swamp water to prevent death by thirst.

> exam figure. exam water. drink water.

> w.

American Plains

You don't need the tomahawk.

> exam figure. take tomahawk.

> exam tomahawk. drop tomahawk.

> n. w. w.

Entry Hall

> drop bronze. drop gloves.

> put quarter in machine.

> e.

Large Room

If you have the brass key, it's okay to smash the case open.

> take axe. break case.

You're carried to...

Stone Cell

The walls are closing again.

> take aluminum key.

> open door (with brass key).

> e.

Medieval Dungeon

> exam aluminum. ("MERCY")

> exam figure. exam pit. exam crucible. (empty)

> e. u. n. e.

Large Room

> take chrome. exam chrome. ("HONESTY")

> w.

Entry Hall

> drop brass. drop aluminum. drop chrome. drop axe.

> take slugs. take mold. take gloves.

> s. d. w.

Medieval Dungeon

> put slugs in crucible. wear gloves.

> take crucible. pour lead into mold.

> drop crucible. open mold.

> drop mold. drop gloves.

> take lead key. exam lead. ("TOLERANCE")

> e. u. n.

Entry Hall

Assuming you're still carrying the lead key:

> say tolerance.

As you say each magic word, the key and its lock on the front door both disappear.

> take gold. say charity.

> take silver. say modesty.

> take iron. say loyalty.

> take copper. say sincerity.

> take brass. say bravery.

> take aluminum. say mercy.

> take steel. say friendly.

> take chrome. say honesty.

> take bronze. say faithful.

The front door opens to blinding white light. You wake up! You escaped!

*** END OF GAME ***



Also: There's many wax figures in the museum, but they're not characters in the game. However, the vampire figure will make a bit of noise if you either take the stake from its chest or put the stake back into the figure.


From the README.TXT file that is included in the Nightmares From The Crypt collection:


These games are Shareware, and are copyright (c) 1992 by John Olsen. If you play them, register by sending your $20 (US) Shareware fee to:

John Olsen
P.O. Box 181
Oregon 97132

By sending your Shareware fee, you are compensating the author for his time, effort, and creativity. This will encourage further efforts. And by sending in your Shareware fee, you also will become a registered user and receive maps, hints, and full solutions to all three adventure games. Specifically ask for CLUE KIT #4 to make sure you get the proper solutions, hints and maps for all of these games.


These games are copyright (c) 1992 by John Olsen. You are free to use, copy and distribute RINGS, RIDERS, and DEATH for NON-COMMERCIAL use if:

They are not modified in any way.

No fee is charged for use.

Only a nominal fee not to exceed ($5) for expenses and handling in copying and distribution.


The game ends when your character dies or escapes.

You can die in a few ways:

The death endings all conclude with:

You are dead. Your nightmare is over. You have failed to solve this adventure


You can escape if, in the entry hall, you hold each of the ten keys in turn and say the word written on them. The winning ending looks like this:

The last key and lock disappear. The front door swings open, revealing a blinding white light.

You are waking up! You have done it! You have escaped from Dr. Death's House of Horrors and survived this "Nightmare from the Crypt."



The ten keys | Useful items | Useless items

Note: You have a carrying capacity limit of five items. Also, you usually can't examine something portable unless you're holding it.

The ten keys

Note that you will need all ten keys to unlock the front door by saying all the words engraved on them.

Useful items
Useless items

I have no idea why there's so many unnecessary items in this game.

Thank You to my Patreon supporters

This walkthrough was funded via Patreon with