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Loom (DOS)

76
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.1
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  jorgeabe (14)
Written on  :  Apr 09, 2007
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars

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Summary

A genuine proof of inspiration, talent and creative freedom

The Good

First of all, I would want to clarify you that I played the two PC versions of Loom: the remake first, and then the original. Brief conclusion: play the original 16-colors version. Extended conclusion: the 256-colors version, due probably to audio-tracks limitations, is STRONGLY cut, even though it doesn’t appear to be. Pages of important dialogues were lost, together with subtle lines and cut-scenes which made a richer story. In the end, in the remake we have a rather confusing and inconclusive story for those who have to play it for the first time.

An adventure without inventory? Yes. In fact, there aren’t dialogue options either, and besides we interact by means of sounds which we’ll have to “weave them”. Weave them? Indeed yes. Friends, get ready to try a magical fantasy shaped like adventure, whose inventory are our ears.

The story begins in the audio tapes. Much people say they aren’t necessary, but remember Lucas Arts designed it in this manner originally. Besides, this tapes are easy of to get (go to the-underdogs.org). Also, you’ll need the book of patterns: read it first, as the manual says. Here we personify Bobbin Threadbare, a young born of extraordinary circumstances, in a fantasy world equally extraordinary which is geographically and ideologically divided into guilds (blacksmiths, crystal workers,…). Bobbin belongs to the one of the “Weavers”, who live separate in a island called “Loom” and perform stealthy a fundamental role into the “weave” of universe. Certain omens warn the Apocalypses is coming and someone is behind all of this. Will Bobbin be that “someone” as the Elders say? Well, you’ll have to find it out. I only mention you that also there is a “personal quest” for Bobbin. With this argument, the young innocence and ingenuousness of Bobbin walk through curious, comical and amusing situations, but the story doesn’t doubt to face him with serious tragic moments or truly transcendent circumstances: and here is where the game warns us that its childish and simple impression hides deep emotions and disquieting topics which it subtly invites us to ponder. All, without requesting tons of characters and dialogs, blood, etc; this is named disinterested inspiration, or, an easier way, art.

Although the first impression is an adventure with traditional gameplay (point & click), the thing is much more simple actually, but not less original and entertaining. Bobbin interacts by means of four-musical-notes arrays performed with his “distaff”. As we advance through the game, he (us) is going to learn more advanced “notes” which allow him to perform different actions, from open a door to become invisible. This combinations introduce themselves subtly, which we will have to write them down in our book of patterns (the one of real paper!) since some of this combinations generate randomly in each new game, so NO walkthrough will help us. For example, notes learned in order to “open” a door can serve us to “open” other things, in an extended sense. Also we can use it to “close” if we perform it in reverse way. Thus, a system which could have been used in a boring and simplistic manner, ends creating a challenging and entertaining experience, with lots of clever variants as the game progresses; yet its difficult and complexity don’t even close to the ones of other Lucas Arts’ adventures. In Loom there is no impossible or absurd obstacles: its gameplay is intuitive and fluid, but challenging and satisfying, due to its exquisitely designed and story-integrated puzzles, clear evidence of the natural talent for these matters of Lucas Arts’ people of those years. The “verbal” communication with other characters isn’t complicated either. Simply we double click on them and then we will establish the necessary conversation in order to the story advances, without we could choose any particular line such as in other adventures. Nothing wrong with this. As always, the dialogs are very well written, giving naturalness both characters and events. There are humorous moments, and other ones of absolute seriousness, and dialogs convey this successfully without seem artificial or dissonant.

The visual art is outstanding. Few pixels and few colors didn’t impede that the artists have achieved a beautiful magic world, palpable and well animated. The game’s main theme is a great piece, very touching if fit in any adjective, and throughout the game small melodies will enhance the emotional nature of each situation exceptionally (this details were lost in the remake).

The Bad

Is it short? Yes, it is. Is it easy? YES, IT IS! Does that really matter? Not at all.

If you are going to play it first time, don’t do it with the remake.

The Bottom Line

Loom is a charming and super-original adventure, result of an era where Lucas Arts had ball…, I mean… “courage” in order to innovate and surprise with its graphic adventures. Despite of its simplicity, Loom’s gameplay is far more entertaining than lots of super-productions with infinite inventories; and despite of its innocent and silly appearance, its story is far more touching than tons of adventures with “serious and mature” stories appearing out there. “Close your eyes, and listen…”, because that is how an original adventure should be played. An authentic masterpiece.