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LOOM (PC) artwork

LOOM (PC) review


"Once upon a time in a land far away lived a young boy called Bobbin Threadbare. Bobbin was a shy fellow, keeping his face constantly hidden beneath a grey hood, with only a shining pair of bright blue eyes visable admist the shadows. He was also an outcast in his own village; a shunned boy of seventeen who had no friends save Hetchel , the old woman who raised the boy and introduced him to the art of weaving. "



Once upon a time in a land far away lived a young boy called Bobbin Threadbare. Bobbin was a shy fellow, keeping his face constantly hidden beneath a grey hood, with only a shining pair of bright blue eyes visable admist the shadows. He was also an outcast in his own village; a shunned boy of seventeen who had no friends save Hetchel , the old woman who raised the boy and introduced him to the art of weaving.

Whereas most would scoff at such a profession, the weaving process in the land of Loom is much unlike the one that we are used to. Instead of fashioning mere fabrics out of cloth, the weavers of this world literally weave together the fabrics of reality, thus controlling great power and guiding the fate of the world. Despite this gift being bestowed upon him, Bobbin never considered himself special....until he fell victim to a most peculiar event.

One night Bobbin was taking a stroll through his home town, minding his own business, when he was drawn by voices coming from the largest tent in the village. Being a curious boy, he could not simply pass by but rather he stopped and listened to words that whispered of his fate, his forgotten past and his role in things to come. Yet, before he could grasp the situation fully, the entire population of the tent turned into swans and disappeared through a portal. Bobbin was once again alone.

That's where the intro ends and where the player takes control of a majestic adventure that will take them through time and space in pursuit of destiny.

Loom was made by Lucasfilm, a company now known as Lucasarts. Also known to the world as company that made the most fantastic adventure games of all time but now rather spends too much time and money making endless Star Wars games. Loom contains no tie-fighters, but is instead one of those adventure titles that can be classified as a masterpiece and one of the first titles to run off the much-beloved SCUMM engine that powered such classics as Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle .

That's not to say it's a carbon copy of the games that it shares its engine with; one of the first thing you'll notice about Loom is a complete lack of user interface. There is just your character and the mouse cursor. However, unlike in most games of that time, there's no controls for your character, no text-prompts with which to direct him with. Left mouse button lets you interact with objects and people while the right mouse button allows you to examine said objects and people.

One of the most important aspects of the game is how Bobbin can effect the world around him. His method is very simple.

Music.

At the very begining of the game, Bobbin will find a distaff which will enable him to produce notes which will be shown as a musical score on the lower part of the screen. In the world of Loom, the sounds that Bobbin produces via the usage of his distaff will result in a whole range of events. At the start, the changes he can make using this will be minimal. For instance, he might be able to change the color of cloth from white to green, a small effect which can be achieved by the rather poor selection of notes he has at his disposal in the early stages. However as the game progresses, and as Bobbin travels the worlds in pursuit of his fate, his skill with making wondrous things happen via the usage of sounds will evolve. Later on, as new notes are learned, he will be able to turn night into day, straw into gold and perhaps even bring the dead back to life.

And that is what this game is all about. The journey. Not only the journey to new and fantastic locations, ranging from the opposing worlds of Shephards, a land where nature and lush greenery thrives, or the vast scapes of The Forge, where machines and technology take precident. In those journeys, accompanied by a musical including many a recognisable track (like a rendition of Swan's lake, for instance) to enhance the sensation of fantasy, Bobbin will discover the meaning of friendship, but at the same time discover the depths of depravity that his enemies can succumb to. However, not for a moment will his adventure lose the momentum or charm to represent a lovable fairy tale that urges you to surge forever onwards.

Truly if there is something to hold against this game then it suffers from being the only released chapter in a cancelled trilogy. The lack of a sequel that would help conclude the over-branching story of Loom is conspicuously and jarringly absent. Without this, you are left with a cliffhanger ending and a story that sadly will never be told fully. But if you are willing to let that one slide, and see past the archaic graphics of the game, even the fragment of the entire story told will be enough to fulfill you.

Rating: 8/10

darketernal's avatar
Community review by darketernal (January 11, 2007)

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