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Loom (Atari ST)

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MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.7
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Loom appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Cancelled sequels

Apparently 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.

Graphics

At 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 version

Loom was actually translated and released in Israel in a Hebrew version, which unfortunately did not include the 30-minute audio cassette.

Manual

Loom 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.

We think you'd prefer to solve the game's mysteries by exploring and discovering, not by dying a thousand deaths. We also think you like to spend your time involved in the story, not typing in synonyms until you stumble upon the computer's word for a certain object.
This is possibly a not-so-subtle jab at most Sierra adventure games published up until the time this passage was written.

Radio drama

The original Loom (not the CDROM re-release) was packed with a 30 minute drama on cassette, adding much depth to the story.

References

The 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

  • In the game Monkey Island, another game created by LucasArts, if you enter the bar at the beginning of the game one of the pirates is wearing a button with LOOM written on it. All he says is "Aye," but if you talk to him about Loom, he will give you a lengthy and rather blunt advertising plug. This is another example of LucasArts off the wall humor.

  • The seagull seen eating a seashell in Loom has made several appearances in later LucasArts games, such as The Secret of Monkey Island (on the dock outside the Scumm Bar's kitchen) and Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge (on the top of the pile of maps).

  • Loom was parodied in Space Quest IV by Sierra. Roger Wilco browses games at the store, among them are one called "Boom" with the following description:
    The latest bomb from master storyteller Morrie Brianarty, BOOM is a post-holocaust adventure set in post-holocaust America after the holocaust. Neutron bombs have eradicated all life, leaving only YOU to wander through the wreckage. No other characters, no conflict, no puzzles, no chance of dying, and no interface make this the easiest-to-finish game yet! Just boot it up and watch it explode!

ScummVM

Still 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.

Secrets

There 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.

Soundtrack

Apparently 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.

Engineers arrived from Japan, made copies of the game soundtracks and disappeared over the Pacific. Months passed. Eventually, a handful of sample CDs was delivered to the game designers at Lucasfilm. This auction is for one of those sample discs. No other copies are known to have escaped from Japan!
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

Version differences

  • This is one of many wonderful early CD games where the audio is stored onto a Redbook audio track. If you drop the Loom CD into your CD player, you can listen to the dialogue and music. It's especially fun to hear all of the little one-liners from Bobbin back-to-back: "I guess that isn't a draft," "That thread's too high for me," "I like the view from the cliff better," ad nauseum... :)

  • The CD version of the game, in what was an apparently limited edition, included a much higher quality version of the original audio casette with (apart from the story itself) also included additional instrumental music. The dialogue varies quite a bit between the CD-ROM and original diskette versions of the game. It had to be rewritten in order to condense it enough to fit onto one CD-Audio track. During two sequence later in the game, blood and corpses were removed.

  • Loom was also ported to a Japanese computer called FM-Towns, it had the graphics of the VGA version and the dialogue of the EGA version (cue heavenly angels singing...). It was released in two languages--Japanese and English. Be warned, next to impossible to find. It version had all of the music from the 16-color version in CD quality (and able to play indefinitely). It had no voice acting, but all art from the disk version (including character close-ups) was in 256 colors and used in-game. The original dialogue from the disk version also remained. During one sequence later in the game, a puddle of blood was removed.

  • Loom had one console port: a PC Engine SuperCD (Turbo Duo in the U.S.) version. Although the PC Engine version was a CD based version, it isn't a port of the PC CD-ROM version. Instead, it's a port of the floppy version (all of the dialogue and everything is straight out of the floppy version, in fact) with enhanced CD music. There's no spoken dialogue anywhere, but that doesn't stop the fact that it was one of the better LucasArts console ports.

  • The 30-minute Audio Drama that was included on audio cassette was ALSO included on specially marked boxed-editions of the CD-ROM, as a second CD. The audio drama is presented in reference-quality stereo sound on the second disc.

  • The Windows CD version, to accommodate the size of the speech files, heavily rewrote and condensed the disk version's dialogue. Also, a lot of animation from the 16-color version was not used in this one (including the close-ups, which are still in the resource files on the CD.) In addition, music did not play over long periods like in the disk version, but only occurred briefly, during cutscenes.

  • The original 16-color diskette version of Loom had several lengthy music tracks from "Swan Lake" and closeups of the characters' faces in cutscenes.

  • There were actually two different 256-color versions: a VGA CD port for the FM Towns computer in Japan (in English and Japanese), and the more familiar CD version for Windows with full speech.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • September 1990 (Issue #74) – Special Award for Artistic Achievement
    • November 1996 (15th Anniversary Issue) - #81 in the "150 Best Games of All Time” list
  • Power Play
    • Issue 01/1991 - Best Graphics in 1990 (DOS version)
  • ST Format
    • Issue 01/1991 – #7 Best Adventure Game in 1990 (Atari ST)
Information also contributed by -Chris, Adam Baratz, Apogee IV, ArtfulGamer, ATMachine, Bizboz, Ingsoc, Mickey Gabel, NatsFan, PCGamer77, Satoshi Kunsai, Seer, Swordmaster, Tomer Gabel, Trixter, Unicorn Lynx, weregamer, willyum and Zovni

Contributed by Eurythmic (2610) on Jul 22, 1999. [revised by : 4 other people]. -- edit trivia