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DescriptionThe Age of the Great Guilds has arrived. Communities and states comprised of people united by a common trade were created. The Guild of Weavers has achieved such mastery in their trade that they discovered the secret of weaving the very fabric of reality. They were treated with suspicion by other guilds, who eventually accused them of practicing witchcraft and banned them to a secluded island, which they called Loom.
Bobbin Threadbare is a young man from the Guild of Weavers. He is outcast from the guild and blamed for the lack of prosperity in recent times, though he does not know why. On his seventeenth birthday he is summoned by the Elders of the guild, who intend to decide his fate. However, shortly thereafter all the inhabitants of the village except Bobbin are turned into swans. Bobbin finds out that he is the child of the Great Loom, found by Lady Cygna, who tried to use the loom's powers to save the guild. Bobbin's stepmother Dame Hetchel teaches him the art of weaving magical drafts, and Bobbin embarks on a journey to find the lost flock, and the answers to his questions.
Loom is an adventure game that sets itself apart from other titles in the genre through its unique gameplay system: the player character does not carry items around, but rather manipulates objects through the use of spells (called "drafts" in the game). The drafts themselves are woven by playing magical notes on a special instrument called "distaff". All the puzzles in the game are solved by learning and correctly applying these drafts.
Each draft is a sequence of four notes within one octave. The player learns new drafts by exploring the environment and interacting with it through a simple point-and-click interface. Once a draft has been learned, it may be applied in a different situation in order to solve a problem. Drafts range from simple general actions (such as opening) to more specific and complex commands, e.g. turning straw into gold. Drafts can also be "reversed", i.e. played backwards, in order to execute the opposite action (for example, closing something instead of opening). As the game progresses Bobbin learns to play higher notes on the distaff, allowing him to access more drafts.
The game features three difficulty levels, differentiating them by changing the way the interface works. The easiest level displays names of the notes as well as marking the correspondent areas on the distaff; Standard level features the distaff with the marks at the bottom of the screen, but no written notes; whereas Expert does not display the marks at all, requiring the player to memorize and play the drafts by ear.
The CD DOS version of the game has enhanced 256-color graphics, audio tracks, and full voice acting. However, it also removes a few close-up scenes and conversations. The FM Towns version preserves these scenes and includes similar graphical and musical enhancements, but has no voice acting.
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The Press Says
Cancelled sequelsApparently the Loom sequels were NOT cancelled due to poor sales. According to Brian Moriarty (post):
Contrary to popular belief, the LOOM sequels were not abandoned because LOOM didn't sell well. LOOM has sold more than half a million copies in various formats since it was published in 1990. The reason the sequels weren't made is because I decided I wanted to work on other things, and nobody else wanted to do them, either.
GraphicsAt the time Loom came out for the PC, it was pushing the edge of what could be done with graphics cards. Many people bought it primarily to show off what their fancy new graphics card and SoundBlaster could do.
Hebrew versionLoom was actually translated and released in Israel in a Hebrew version, which unfortunately did not include the 30-minute audio cassette.
ManualLoom came with the "Book of Patterns", a beautiful booklet containing description and history, drawings and a place to write the notes, of many "drafts", meaning spells. Many of the drafts in the Book of Patterns do not appear in the game at all, such as Folding, Waterproofing, Blessing and Aphrodesia.
The manual has a passage that reads:
We believe that you buy games to be entertained, not to be whacked over the head every time you make a mistake. So we don't bring the game to a screeching halt when you poke your nose into a place you haven't visited before. Unlike conventional computer adventures, you won't find yourself accidentally stepping off a path, or dying because you've picked up a sharp object.This is possibly a not-so-subtle jab at most Sierra adventure games published up until the time this passage was written.
Radio dramaThe original Loom (not the CDROM re-release) was packed with a 30 minute drama on cassette, adding much depth to the story.
ReferencesThe three elders who appear in the beginning of the game are named after the three Moyras of the Greek mythology - Kloto, Athropos, and Lachesis.
References to the game
ScummVMStill got a copy of Loom lying around somewhere? Have you been desperately wanting to play it, but can't get it to work on modern systems? If so, check out a program called ScummVM, an ingenious program that lets you run Loom and other classic LucasArts (as well as a few other) adventure games. It's free and 100% legal as long as you use an original copy of the game.
SecretsThere is a bonus cutscene that plays near the end of the game (when you return to the island). This scene only plays if you are playing at expert proficiency mode.
SoundtrackApparently an ultra-rare Japanese re-arrangement of the soundtrack was sold by Brian Moriarty on eBay for $238.03. According to the seller:
Here's the story behind this unusual disc: In late 1990, the Japanese record company Meldor approached Lucasfilm. They wanted to produce a pair of soundtrack CDs based on Lucasfilm games. The first disc was to be a collection of songs from Maniac Mansion, Zak McKracken and a few other titles. The second disc was to be devoted entirely to Loom.An enhanced soundtrack (with an added overture not heard in the original version) for Roland MT-32 was written by George Alistair Sanger (The Fatman). As of 1999 it could be downloaded from Lucasarts' website.
The music heard in Loom is actually taken from Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Swan Lake" -- a pretty appropriate choice, considering the part swans have in the game's storyline. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, a romantic ballet composed in 1875 and 1876, consists of over 50 movements. As a shortcut for those keen on hearing orchestral renditions of the Loom music, here's a list of the in-game pieces (in order of appearance) and the movements they correspond to:
Loom Theme Act 1 No. 4: Pas de trois: I. Intrada: Allegro The Elders' Council Act 4 No. 27: Danses des petits cygnes: Moderato Crystalgard (The City of Glass) Act 2 No. 13: Danses des cygnes: IV. Allegro Moderato The Shepherds / The Dragon Cave Act 1 No. 6: Pas d'action: Andantino Quasi Moderato The Blacksmiths' Guild Act 1 No. 4: Pas de trois: IV. Moderato The Cathedral Act 1 No. 4: Pas de trois: II. Andante sostenuto The Loom (Finale) Act 2 No. 14: Scene: Moderato
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theoutrider (480) added Loom (Atari ST) on Jan 06, 2004
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