Written by  :  Tomer Gabel (4678)
Written on  :  Jul 11, 2000
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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Summary

Probably the single best game in recent history.

The Good

A word of warning: although the floppy version of the game is nothing to sneeze at, the CD-ROM version of Loom is what turns this game from a magnificent game into a genuine masterpiece, and although most of what I say here is just as true in regard to the floppy version, it primarily addresses the CD-ROM version of Loom.

Loom is a game of grand proportions, an ambitious project that is wonderfully executed. It is an incredible epic adventure set in an amazing fantasy world like no other. The sensation of playing Loom for the first, second and even hundredth time is unparalleled in any game to date. The atmosphere in Loom is so heavy, so realistic and yet adds a sense of fantasy like no other game. Playing Loom is an immersive experience, as enlightening and sensation-heightening as is possible without the use of illegal chemicals. Loom is incredible.

The first thing one notices in Loom is its wonderful, lush graphics. Just take a look at the screenshots: this game is beautiful. The backgrounds are the best I've ever seen in a game, and are accompanied by some of the best character drawings ever seen (particularly the image Chaos and the dragon). Whereever you look, Loom will show you the most imaginitive drawings in a computer game. The artistic creativity and realism in this game is simply unparalleled: take a look at the Forge - have you ever seen anything quite as fantastic, and yet realistic in a way?

The second thing about Loom is its incredible music. Music of this quality is rarely heard in a computer game (one of the notable examples is another creative masterpiece, The 7th Guest). Loom's original musical tracks (which are wonderful in their own right) are accompanied with perfect executions of Tschaykovski's famous Swan's Lake, and the game is largely based on concepts from the music. Every important point in the game is accompanied with background music of quality unmatched at that time (my personal favorite being the glass city). Add to this the outright MAGNIFICENT 30-minute audio drama on CD-ROM (even the casette version should feature reasonable quality) that includes plenty of beautiful music compostions, and you've got the qualifications of an artistic masterpiece. Loom does not fail.

Loom also excels story-wise. Featuring one of the most creative, well-told and immersive stories in a computer game to date, Loom merely uses the previously discussed qualities to leverage what could have probably become a book of great promise. The creative ideas used serve to heighten the game's atmosphere to levels that no other game manages to reach. I cannot help but love the way myths and religious symbols were used by the creators of the game: Chaos, for one, is simply a work of marvel. Intimidating and appealing at once, Chaos combines a perfectly fitting eerie, scary aura with surprising wit and personal charm. When Chaos is amused, she will provide entertaining commentary (or turn Hetchel into roasted chicken); but when Chaos should look scary, she damn right is. I don't know if anyone else has noticed it, but Chaos uses notes outside the C major scale (that is, half-tones, which Bobbin cannot weave) whenever she casts an "evil" spell, which I personally think adds a great deal to the atmosphere of any meetings with Chaos.
Loom's ending is, I belive, as good as they could make it; any other ending wouldn't allow any room for imagination (nor a sequel), and would also probably reduce the overall lasting impression of the game.

Also commendable is Loom's excellent, purposefully simple and minimalistic interface. Regardless of any feuds the designers might have had towards Sierra's games, the interface is without a doubt the most convenient of any game to date. The spell-weaving scheme is original as well as effective, and the design of The Book of Patterns certainly helps; none of the three skill levels are difficult enough to frustrate anyone, however the Expert skill level will provide reasonable challenge for those with with musical tendencies.

And last, but not least: the voice acting in the CD-ROM version of the game is spectacular! Every single actor is simply professional and does his or her job perfectly, and the voice acting in the CD-ROM audio drama brings tears to my eyes every time I listen to it.

The Bad

While Loom is generally perfect, there is only one thing that bothers me about this game: It is too short. Simply that. Anyone with some adventure-game experience will find it extremely easy (Loom's unique quality, that is both an advantage and a drawback), and most people will probably finish it in two, maybe three hours. It is that short, which is unfortunate... but it only goes to show that length does not necessarily corrolate with quality.

Another thing some people might find to be a drawback in Loom is actually due to the nature of adventure games of its kind: a completely linear plot. The game does not change direction, nor does it feature different endings.

The Bottom Line

Loom is a perfect adventure game, rewarding as well as enthralling. Anyone will find something in Loom: either the amazing music, the beautiful graphics the incredible story line... or all of them combined.

If you can find Loom in a local shop, get it, no matter the cost. You won't regret it.