Posted by Erik-André Vik Mamen.
First posted on 01 May 2006. Last updated on 09 August 2009.
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Bobbin wakes up under the crooked old tree.
The VGA version has a more polished look compared to the EGA version.
The evil Chaos is the main villain in the game.
The dragon can spot these sheep miles away. Can you save them?
Master Goodmold is from the noble Guild of Glassmakers.

"Long after the passing of the Second Shadow, when dragons ruled the twilight sky and the stars were bright and numerous," comes the epic adventure of Loom. Loom is a graphic adventure game set in a fantasy world inhabited by members of the Great Guilds. Each of these Guilds, including the Blacksmiths, the Shepherds, the Glassmakers, and the Clerics, possesses secret knowledge about its own crafts gained over generations. Among these Guilds are also the Weavers, who have decided to settle away from civilization so not to involve themselves with the earthly politics and affairs of the other mortals. The rules of the Weavers are strict, and they prohibit membership to any but the child of a member from their own Guild. Over the centuries, the fabrics woven by the Weavers have earned the envy of the whole world and their techniques have transcended to the realm of magic such that they can even weave the fabric of reality itself. However, the Weavers also bear a terrible curse in that many babies borne to mothers from their own Guild are stillborn. Just as the numbers of Weavers are rapidly dwindling, mystical circumstances lead to the birth of a healthy boy named Bobbin within this dying Guild.

Loom is the story of Bobbin Threadbare, a 17 year old boy from the Guild of Weavers. The game opens with a lovely musical score from Tchaikovsky, where the player finds Bobbin sleeping under a tree on the rocky island of Loom. He soon discovers that the Elders of the Guild are seeking to banish him from the island, for reasons that are not totally known to him. When Bobbin mysteriously finds himself saved from being suddenly turned into a swan as all other members of his Guild have become, he realizes that he is the only Weaver left on this mortal world. Alone, he must now set on a quest to save not only his own Guild but also the entire world.

Loom is arguably the most unique game title ever created by Lucasfilm Games. The gameplay in Loom is unlike anything ever seen in adventure games up to that time. This is because the game has no inventory items or verbs to click. The player uses a mouse to move the game character; but instead of selecting verbs to control the character's actions, the player uses a distaff. With the distaff, you can weave melodic tunes that control how Bobbin interacts with the world. To progress in Loom, you must learn to play small tunes called drafts that perform various actions in the game. For example, you can open doors, clams, and other items with the open draft 'e,c,e,d'. Likewise, you can close these items with the reverse draft 'd,e,c,e'. This way, you learn your verbs by learning your tunes. There are 3 levels of difficulty in the game. The story unfolds much the same across all these levels. On the easiest level you are able to see the musical tones you are playing, whereas on the hardest level you have to play the same musical tones entirely by ear. There is an extra bonus scene if you choose to play on the hardest level, albeit this extra scene mounts to no more that a 5 second animation.

The musical score used in Loom is taken solely from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. The music successfully creates an unique atmosphere to the game. The score is also a fitting choice considering there are indeed a lot of swans in this game! The game supports Ad Lib sound card and is a must add-on if you want to listen to the great music from the game. The internal speaker is a poor substitute since the music just sounds very noisy otherwise.

The original release includes a 30-minute Dolby Stereo cassette called Loom: The Audio Drama that contains a short audio narrative for the game. The casette is produced at Lucasfilm's Academy Award-winning Sprocket Systems. This audio drama is best described as an introduction that plays more like a prequel to Loom. It reveals the story behind the world where Bobbin lives as well as the forging of the Great Guilds. It also explains what happens when Bobbin is first born into this world and how Bobbin is raised since. When the game starts, neither the player nor Bobbin himself knows much about his own past. Most of this story is only revealed near the end of the game. As such, listening to the audio drama prior to playing the game may spoil some of the surprises later on. On the other hand, you may better understand more of the game if you know a bit more about the back-story.

The game is released both Floppy Disk and CD-ROM versions. The original release is the 16 color EGA Floppy Disk version. This release uses standard MIDI and is the classic version that is most widely distributed. Later, a "Talkie" VGA CD-ROM version is also released. This version is made back when CD-ROM is still rare, so it is less widely available. The CD-ROM version includes remade 256 color VGA scenes as well as CD music and speech. The EGA version uses Version 3 of the SCUMM engine, whereas the VGA version uses Version 5 of the SCUMM engine. The voiceovers in the CD-ROM version are the same as those heard in the audio cassette (both sound very good). However, it also cuts out a lot of the original dialogs. Most of the dialogs and cut scenes have been shortened to a minimum in the CD-ROM version. Because of the CD audio, the game cannot support extra audio when you are controlling Bobbin except when weaving the distaff. The original version has tunes playing while Bobbin wanders at some locations. Generally speaking, the CD-ROM version is for fans who already know of the story of Loom who simply fancy better graphics and sound. The CD-ROM version also includes the bonus scene, even when playing on the easiest level. The game includes "The Book of Pattern" that serves as an illustrative textbook of spellweaving for the player.

A major drawback of Loom is the fact that you have to remember or write down all the drafts learned in the game. If you miss or incorrectly remember a draft, it is bounded that you get stuck in the game sooner or later. The drafts function as an inventory, except that you store what you need with your pen instead of a chest inside the game. As with any good game design, Loom forces you to learn all the drafts before allowing you to proceed further into the game in order to avoid any potential dead end. To make Loom all a little more complicated, some of the drafts change every time the game is played so that you cannot just follow your notes from a previous game. Unfortunately, Loom is quite short. Compared to other Lucasfilm Games titles such as Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders, Loom is only about half or a third in length.

The ending in Loom is deliberately left to be somewhat open. Loom is intended to be the first game of a planned trilogy, but writer Brian Moriarty has never been given an opportunity by Lucasfilm Games to complete a sequel. The second game in this supposed series is rumored to be called Forge and the third game is rumored to be called The Fold. These games are intended to continue the events of Loom, but with Rusty Nailbender and Fleece Firmflanks as the playable characters. Since these sequels are unlikely ever to be made, we shall ever know how our villain Chaos is truly defeated in the end. Regardless of the fate of this series, the great story arc and magical atmosphere in Loom certainly makes this game an instant classic.

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