The First Mile (IF Walkthrough)

The First Mile is copyright 2005 by Howard Sherman and published under Malinche Entertainment. This "walkthrough" is by Doug Bolden, 2007.


This is not a walk through per se, since so much of this game can be done in any order. I also have not managed to find every single thing and get every single point. On top of this, there are supposed to be some easter eggs and the like that I may or may not have found. This is something of a summation of my progress and can act to help you along.

This walkthrough stands a fair chance of spoiling the game for you. Since there is no set path, it is not easy to list things in order of completion. I can pick an order but that might be the order you are working on. I AM going to put those things least spoilerific first and go from there.

This walkthrough also assumes that you will know some of the basics of the the IF genre. In general, I do not include directional commands. This is much more of a natural language walkthrough.

An Exploration checklist

Ok. Dead Rock has a good number of rooms. The first thing you are going to want to do is walk around and get a feel of things. YOu don't necessarily need a map, but you should at least walk up and down mainstream and make notes of which business is where. Go all the way down Main until you read The First Mile (the scene, not the game) and then pick a couple side streets and head up them. You want to study South Ivy Lane, North Ash, and Poplar Street. Once you have found these streets, make sure you can find the School, the Park, the Townhall, the Diner, the Firehouse, and the New Age Shoppe. You will need to find the dirt road at the end of Poplar. Look for the Brewery. Try to find the people in the woods (but leave them alone). Look for the lake, south of the memorial park. Also head down Ivy and look around for the mine and the trainstation. Once you get all these areas down, it can greatly increase the speed of play later and will help things to make more sense.

A Few Preliminary Items (the basic things you need to win)

The only basic things needed to beat the game are the fire axe from the Firehouse, the flashlight from the train station, and the dagger from the New Age Shoppe. You can switch the axe for either the baseball bat (North of the School in the Baseball Diamond) or the holy water (in the "historical residence": Johnson Manor) but overall the axe is going to be slightly more useful.

The surprising thing is that these items are the only things required to get my current highest score, at the early stages in the game. There are a total of three more items needed to finish it up, but they come at later stages.

Non-Combat Points About Town (Pre-Mine)

There are three things you can do to get points that don't involve confronting a bad guy and you can reasonably do before entering the coal mine. The first is you can find the typeweriter in City Hall and activate it (TURN ON TYPEWRITER) for 5 points. You can do the baseball field puzzle (hinted at by a dream): touch the bases in order from First to Home to get 5 points per base touched. That's 25 points. Finish the non-combat stage out by entering the phone company and then "pushing the guard" inside (it's a corpse). You will get 10 points for that. This brings your score up to 35 points.

Early Combat and The First Mile

Get the axe from the Firehouse. Head out to the lake (quickest way is to go to the Grove, south of the Intersection, and then head WEST twice and then SOUTH until you see a sea creature. Hit it with the axe. You might get killed here, but chances are you will win. This is worth 15 points. There are supposed to be other ways to kill the creature, but I have not had any success.

Once you get the dagger from the New Age Shoppe and the flashlight (in front of the Train Station), then you can go ahead and also do the First Mile puzzles. There are four of them. Head WEST and you will meet up with them (most are easy, as explained below). Once done, come back EAST since you are not ready to beat the game, yet.

  1. Getting past the darkness, requiring the flashlight (0 points)
  2. Getting past the manticore, requiring either the rifle (for 15 points) or the dagger (for 20)
  3. Getting past the lightning, which requires the dagger (0 points)
  4. Getting past the Fake Autumn Starr, which requires first picking up HER glass of wine and then toasting (25 points)

The last of the early points comes from the mayor. Head over to his house north of Ash Street. Go into the backyard. EXAMINE THE GRILL. EXAMINE THE PROPANE TANK. It mentions a hose and a vavle. CUT HOSE (you will need either the axe, the dagger, or the pair of scissors [from the Barbershop] to do this) and TURN VALVE and there you go. When you start to go south, the mayor will show up and get boomed by his grill. This is worth 25 points. There are at least a couple more ways to kill the mayor, and the next section will highlight the different point values for each.

Unelecting Mayor Shelby

There are a few ways to handle the "Mayor" Shelby situation and each one gives you different points. I have listed several of them but there are probably more.

As you can see, the grill puzzle only requires a couple more steps and is worth almost twice any other solution. It can also be done as quickly as picking up the scissors in the barbershop is accomplished and then heading north (something like 13 turns to complete).

The Hedge Maze

The maze is completely optional. In fact, since the object obtained from the maze will not grant you any more points than other solutions to later puzzles (like shooting the mayor or the manticore) then you could probably do better by skipping it. It can be fun for completionist sake, mind you, as involves a strange easter egg.

The maze is north of the Manor. There are a couple ways to get to it, through the house or around the house. It is composed of 11 rooms, and involves much the standard trick of "twisty little passages" but they are not quite all alike. In fact, the maze here is kind of easy because Sherman has an EXITS command which will tell you the exits for a room and a lot of the rooms differ in description. Only a couple pairs have similar exits so you can technically keep them separate by just noting their exits. If this is a little hard to keep track of, then you can drop items as you go (and either restore a save game outside the maze once you have mapped it out or just go back and get the items).

There are two things to do in the maze. The primary thing to do is fine the silver bullet (for the rifle which you can find inside the mansion). The other thing to do is find the statue. Once you find the statue, you can RUB STATUE a few times to make it come to life and give you some strange little interactions. I've found no real point in doing this.

The directions to the bullet are N, NW, E, S, S, S. Then you leave from there with W, S, NE, SE, S. If you want to go from the bullet to the statue, go W, S, S.

The directions to the statue are N, NW, S. You can then leave the statue by N, NE, SE, S. If you want to go from the statue to the bullet, the quickest way is N, N, N, S.

The Mine

The Mine is a turning point in the game. If you have not done everything in town that you want to do, it could be a good time to accomplish it. Most can be done after you get through with this stage, but once you get to the end of the mine you will go to a stage that is a one way trip, essentially, and so you want to have everything in place.

You will need a flashlight to get through the mine, and that is technically it. It is best to have at least the axe as well. You also might want to have holy water (which you can get from the Manor, upstairs, in the North Guest Bedroom).

As you head down the mine, there are 7 levels, with every other one or so have tunnels stretching out. At level 5, if you head west you will find a chasm. You can jump over it but there isn't much to be done with it just yet.

On level 7, you will find a bend. Head to the west and you will come upon an elemental. There are two basic ways to handle him and the simplest is just to hit him with an axe. This will shatter him. It will grant you 20 points. The other way is to PUNCH ELEMENTAL which will anger him, and then you lead him back up to the fifth level and to the chasm. Once you jump over the chasm the elemental will fall down into it and shatter. This way is worth 25 points.

The next room to the west of the elemental's Lair, is the home of a bunch of small elementals. You can leave them be, but destroying them with the axe is worth 25 more points. WEST again and you will bein a room with a purple light. WEST once more and you will inside the Dark Side. Up to this point you can go back, but onces you enter the light, you will have to complete the Dark Side portion.

Dark Side

There isn't much to explore before you get blocked, but your first goal here is to find Sheriff Riggs and then get him to follow you. He is EAST and IN from the first "dark side" scene. Riggs has one other piece of information you need. It is not super easy to figure out, but if you ask him about the survivors or about the woods (and those words, other words don't seem to get a response) then you will get him to tell you the password to get past the gunman.

With Riggs in tow, head back out and then north a couple of times until it curves to the northeast and you will face a demon. Without Riggs, you just have to turn back. With Riggs, you will be able to get past when he shoots the demon for you. This is worth 15 points. You can north into the Grand Hall until you can take off to the west. WEST three times until you see the portrait of a Lady. SEARCH PORTRAIT and you will get a gold ring. This ring will turn you invisible, a fact that will not help you in any practical way (and tends to freak out the townsfolk, so don't wear it around them) but it is worth 10 points.

Go back to the central hall and then go NORTH to the North Wing. You can explore around more if you want, but there is nothing significant left to do but go UP here.

You can go EAST or WEST to get a little background flavor, but eventually go NORTH and face the demon horde in Defeat.

At the end of the first round, Riggs will shoot a number of the demons and this will enable you to get more done. If you try to attack the old man from the get go, you will either be cast into the Abyss or the attack will be blocked. The absolute best thing you can do is GET AMULET, but if you have not played again the most logical is LOOK AT OLD MAN (which will mention the amulet). You get 25 points for Riggs' actions and 25 points for the amulet.

There isn't much you can do to Thomas/Tommy here. Once you get the amulet, you can go ahead and vanquish the old man. Sometimes, if you do nothing, you will die and sometimes you will be cast into the abyss. I am not 100% sure of what the difference is that triggers the two outcomes.

If you do get cast into the Abyss, you DROP COMPASS and it will show you the way. If you do not have the compass then you can wander a bit. There are not many choices involved to getting out (the correct path is N, N, E, U). Getting cast into the abyss can kind of mess up the end game, though, so I would probably just UNDO until you are able to avoid being sent there.

The two primary attacks on the old man are to hit him with something like the dagger or bat or axe AFTER Riggs shoots his demons. It will actually cut to a scene of you choking the old man and killing him and then you will go through a scene to Main Street and a weakend Thomas will be by your side. If you do not get the amulet, he will not be weakened. If you open the glass vail and THROW GLASS VIAL AT OLD MAN then you will start, instead, in the Church. If you have the amulet, this can simplify things, as will soon be explained.

Vanquishing Thomas

Much like Shelby, there is more than one way to kill Thomas. Most warrant you 10 points. The basic ways are:

  1. PUSH THOMAS into the glass when you are in the bottling center at the Brewery. This can be done many times. (10 points)
  2. When Thomas is following you, enter into the New Age Shoppe, but do this only once or he will kill Autumn (10 points)
  3. As he follows you, take him to the gunman in the woods (10 points)
  4. If you still have the holy water, you can throw some on him to accomplish the effect you desire (10 points)
  5. You can stab him with the dagger for 10 points, but you will lose the dagger so you need to be at the end of the First Mile section when you do it or seek the abrupt ending (the last one, below)
  6. You can stun him in the shack, but only in the shack (on S. Ivy, to the west side of the street). This will lock the door behin him (he will eventually get out) and is worth 15 points
  7. If he is in the shack, you can chop the tree down on him and this is worth 25 points, but make note of what I say below
  8. If you get the lighter and turn on the stove, you can blow him up in the Diner's kitchen, along with yourself, for a neat 100 points (treated by the game as a victory)

Methods 1-7 will each inflict a point of damage on him. Assuming he is not in immortal stage, he has 3 hit points. If you inflict more than 3 points of damage on him, notably by stunning him for the 3rd bit of damage and then chopping down the tree, you will not be able to see his specific death sequence and will not be able to win the game. If you chop the tree down on him, he MUST be killed by the tree or have a hit point remaining. He will eventually seek you out and you can finish it.

If he gets shot in the woods, he will run off and you have to wait until he comes back to you.

The Diner solution is the most points you can get for this, but is final. Afterward you do not get to make any more moves.

If you did not get the amulet, then there is a dirty trick you can play. Since he is immortal, you can simply PUSH THOMAS into the glass as many times as you want. If he ever kills you, just UNDO. Even an immortal Thomas can be killed by the Diner explosion, though.

The best pattern to do it, points wise, is to get the stun gun and the axe (if you don't have them), go to the shack. STUN THOMAS inside the shack, CHOP TREE outside, and then head back to the bit of Main Street south of the City Hall. Wait for him, then lead him into the Diner. GET LIGHTER. Go SE. TURN ON STOVE. TURN ON LIGHTER. THIS will give you a total of 140 points as opposed to the 75 points you get with the next highest solution.

If Thomas is immortal, it seems that stunning him and then knock the tree on top of him might be enough to break him of that. At which point you can kill him normally.

Once you beat him, assuming that you did not blow yourself up in the process or chop the tree on him after he took three points of damage (in other words, as long as you have seen his DEFINITE death sequence) then you will be able to head WEST from the scene where the Fake Autumn tried to get you to drink the wine (if you have completed that portion, if not then you can go west and do that now and then go WEST from there).

About Town (Post-Mine)

The easiest thing to do is go the New Age Shoppe and give Autumn the amulet. She will destroy it and you will get 25 points. If you missed the amulet, then there is no way to go back and get it.

A little more complicated is "fixing" the phones. You need to go the forest at the end (and NE) of Poplar street. Tell the gunman "Ozarks" (SAY OZARKS) which is the password that the Sheriff will give you. This is worth 15 points. Find Sean Doyle. He works for the telephone company. Tell Sean to follow you (SEAN, FOLLOW ME) and take him around to the phone company on main street. Find the equipment room and hand him the handset found by pushing the guard over. SEAN, FIX PHONE will lead him to repair the phone, but there is a sequence that kind of negates everything. It is still worth 25 points. Note, if you have not touched the bases at the Baseball field, then you will die after issuing this command.

Other Things to do Around Town

Once you get the gold ring from the other side, you can do a few things with it. If you are wearing it when you try to enter the New Age Shoppe, then Autumn will chide you for trying to sneak past. If you put it on in front of Sean or Jesse Dawson, the survivors will start hiding from you. If you are wearing it, then you can apparently just get the stuff from Fong's convenience store without having to have the stack of bills.

If you head east from the train station, you will eventually find out where most of the bodies are.

You can buy the things in Fong's as long as you have a stack of bills gotten from the bank.

You also can see several sites: Memorial Park, the Cabin in the woods, the tire swing, the library, the gulley (complete with cop car! heh), the steeple in City hall, the burned shack on Ivy Lane, the drug store, and the classroom in the school. Most just act to help add to the mood or fill in the gaps with the town.

On Poplar Street, you can find Dawson's law office. Head IN and UP and you can play with the radio. The neat little trick with it is to switch it back and forth from AM to FM a couple of times. This is just flavor text, as far as I know, but fitting.

The Absolutely Quickest Ending

Head WEST several times (12-14, I forget the precise number) until you get to the spot on Main where you see the school to the north. Head all the way up to First base. TOUCH BASE and then do the cycle of the bases and touch them all. PICK UP BAT. SW and then S and you will be face to face with young Tommy. HIT TOMMY WITH BAT. You will have beaten the game with 45 points and 30 moves.

The Breakdown of My High Score: 475 Points

Written by W Doug Bolden

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