Moby ID: 176

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 78% (based on 30 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 176 ratings with 19 reviews)

Limited musicality

The Good
Loom is a true oddity among adventure games. Developed by the same company which, just two years before, created a complex and very challenging globe-trotting adventure, it is a small experiment deliberately restraining itself to a single gameplay element.

Whoever first thought of making an adventure game consisting entirely of playing four-note melodies (called "drafts" in the game) on a magician's staff masquerading as a spinning tool deserves an award for one of the most original ideas ever conceived for this genre. Loom has no inventory, no puzzles in the common sense of the word, and generally no other actions but playing (or "weaving", as the game calls it) melodies on your distaff. Was there any chance for such a game to be accepted, let alone understood? Yes, but only thanks to the passion the designers managed to transmit through it, striking a chord with even the most puritan, hardcore adventurers.

The process of learning drafts is simple: you normally hear them when they appear as peculiar musical attributes of the few objects you can interact with, or when someone else uses them the same way as you do. You can then play the corresponding notes on your distaff. The expert difficulty obfuscates the names of the notes and also doesn't display them on your instrument; but even if you don't have a good musical hearing, trial-and-error will get you through most situations - especially early in the game, when you can only play four notes. Despite those limitations, the elegant simplicity of this system is magically captivating. To make things a bit less self-explanatory, you can also weave the notes in the reversed order, resulting in the exact opposite action. This leads to some interesting puzzles, such as casting green paint on clothes or, conversely, bleaching them, etc.

The story of Loom is somewhat of a philosophical fairy tale a bit reminiscent of those books children can enjoy, but only grown-ups can fully understand. It is very simple, yet also well-written and engaging in a way not unlike an archetypal myth told in a slightly different way. There is something strangely appealing in this seemingly bare-bones plot that steadily jumps between events with only sparse commentary. It is set in its own unique world of low-key medieval fantasy with a slight, yet noticeable apocalyptic tinge heralding darker times. I think this setting had quite a lot of potential that could have been used by other, bigger games, if somebody bothered to license it.

Loom comes in two versions on the PC. The original floppy release is among the best examples of EGA art. The CD version, however, boasts splendid 256-color vistas far surpassing the original, as well as snippets from a semi-orchestrated incarnation of Tchaikovsky's music, and excellent voice acting. However, it cuts out all character close-ups and even some dialogue, which is inexcusable for such a small game. Many fans - myself included - suggest the FM Towns version as a compromise: its visuals are almost on par with the PC VGA one, it doesn't cut out any content, and it has more of the high-quality music tracks. Its only downside is lack of voices.

The Bad
Like almost everyone else out there, I was charmed by Loom and for a long time didn't want to hear a single word of criticism directed at it. Only during the inevitable replay session I was able to form a more objective opinion. Thanks to its enigmatic beauty and intriguing idea, Loom got away with things that would have been never forgiven to any other adventure game.

No one tries to deny the fact that Loom is too easy and too short. That doesn't bother you the first time you play the game; you just make a mental note, still unable to liberate yourself from the spell it casts on you. That may change when you replay Loom and begin to realize just how limited it is. The challenge is, indeed, almost non-existing: there are only a few drafts you can play on your distaff, and that includes reversed ones and those given to you when there remains almost nothing to use them on. The entire adventure consists of the very small introductory island, a somewhat larger area with a few separate locations, and wherever the game takes you afterwards for a brief showdown. I did like the game's story, but it is really short. Just when you begin to figure out what's really going on, the game abruptly terminates the narrative.

While the concept of playing melodies to solve puzzles is undoubtedly brilliant, basing a whole game just on that one idea is a risky endeavor, to say the least. The persistence with which Loom refuses to welcome any other gameplay element is admirable, but they should have carried it further and made the system more complex and challenging. It's nice that casual players received a game where they were almost guaranteed to succeed, but the value of an adventure is chiefly measured by its gameplay-related content, and that's where Loom fails to deliver. Even some very linear adventure games can be revisited because people forget the solutions to their challenging puzzles - but Loom is very linear, very short, and very easy, which means it will be an identical experience no matter how many times you replay it.

The Bottom Line
Considering the fact that we are dealing with a woefully short, introductory-level adventure stripped of bare necessities, the success of Loom is nothing short of remarkable. Indeed, this is one of those cases where a game paves its way to stardom with little else but a single original gameplay element. And yet I find it hard to recommend it over LucasArts' better-crafted, more fulfilling titles.

DOS · by Unicorn Lynx (181794) · 2017

Music and magic are only two letters apart

The Good
Well, what is there not to like? This is definitely a break from the norm of LucasArts games: it is not humorous, it is dark, and there are no inventories or command bars. Much as I love "Day of the Tentacle" and the Monkey Island saga, I must say I worship "Loom". The graphics are dated now, but convey the magic of fantastical dreamscapes: a cathedral of woven tents, a spiralling path onto a mountain pinnacle, a blacksmith's castle made out of iron. The music (from Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake") provides a perfect background.

The story is at first vague, but compelling. Bobbin Threadbare is a orphaned apprentice in the Guild of the Weavers, who witnesses the metamorphosis into swans of the Guild Elders. However, this is but the first step onto a journey of unforeseen complexity and darkness.

The depth of this game is nothing short of wondrous. Two motifs intertwine throughout: that of weaving and that of music. The Guild of Weavers are not quite regular clothmakers and not quite wizards: their craft and their art is inseparable, and they are the caretakers of the Great Loom. (This may ring a bell if you've read "The Wheel of Time" by Robert Jordan.) Almost everything Bobbin does in the game he does with his distaff, which creates "weaves" based on music. I have yet to play a game where the hero is as potent and yet as restricted. As powerful as Bobbin is with his staff (commands you will execute throughout the game are, among others, opening the sky, stilling storms and turning into a dragon), as helpless he is without it. His powers unfold in a realistic manner, triggered by previous successes, like in any coming-of-age story.

The game world is only vaguely shown (it is a short game), but all the more compelling for that. It seems disjointed, perhaps post-apocalyptic, and consisting of unconnected islands or scraps of land, populated by mysteriously unconnected Guilds. Some names and events are references to myth and folktale (for example, there is one "straw into gold" weave). Others seem rather mythopoeic: the most haunting of these, in my opinion, is the giant scythe in the glass tower. Without any unsubtle telegraphing, it will hint of many possible symbols: the moon, or reaping death, or an element for cutting the threads of which the world is made.

The (first) villain is possibly the most entertaining, yet chilling, bad guy in any game I've played. Of course, from the company who has given us Darth Vader, that is only to be expected. And no, Chaos isn't bad either.

The Bad
It is too short. Also, with such an inconclusive ending, there should have been a sequel.

A slightly more serious fault, at least in my opinion... how to phrase this? Much as I enjoy LucasArts games such as "Day of the Tentacle", "Sam&Max Hit the Road" and of course the Monkey Island ones for their humour, some of the supposedly humoristic bits of "Loom" failed to make me smile. Perhaps it's the overall darkness of the game; perhaps I am merely losing touch. In between lovely touches of black humour, such as most everything said by Bishop Mandible, there are clichés... wow, the dragon is in fact a vain female, we have never heard that cliché before! (Maybe we hadn't, in 1990. I am not quite sure.) It is just a pet peeve of mine. I enjoy comedy, I enjoy anguish, but not in the same work of art.

I am certain the deliberate highbrow-ness of the game might get on someone's or other's nerves. Even I felt a little chafed by all the symbolism, allegory and myth-making, at times. Still, too much of a good thing is never bad. If only they had applied that to the length.

The Bottom Line
A haunting work where art, music and myth conspire to tell an original, dreamlike story. Definitely not your average adventure game, but well worth a try if you want to be swept away.

DOS · by Christina Nordlander (24) · 2003

A Graphic Adventure and NO Inventory? Surely you jest!

The Good
Everything. Even after playing it I can Easily forgive the fact that it was very easy. But what made LOOM so different from other Graphic Adventure games was the fact that all you interface was was yourself moving around the screen, and 9 musical notes.

That's it. 9 notes. You only started with 2 (I think), an as you progressed through the game, you learn more notes and you can weave more spells with the Magic contained in the notes.

On top of the interface, the 3 difficulty settings were welcome too. For people who wanted an EASY game, as the spell was shown to you for the first time, the notes on your interface would light up - therefore showing how to weave the spell. On the hardest difficulty setting, you had to have a pretty good ear, because all you heard was the notes. No visual clues at all. Great for us musicians who like a challenge :)

The Bad
I know a lot of people said that it was too easy. But I find that after playing the game I never weaved some of the spells in the spellbook! That might be because I played it wrong, but who knows. But my MAJOR complaint was that it was too short. Monkey's Island, Fate of Atlantis, and the others at the time took me a LONG time to complete. LOOM has so much potential to be a really engulfing game... Are you listening LucasArts? :)

The Bottom Line
An easy Graphical Adventure that will captivate you. Even if you are tone-deaf :)

DOS · by Chris Martin (1158) · 2000

Very innovative, yet overrated

The Good
----First of all a little disclaimer. I played the Macintosh version. It's common knowledge that Lucasfilm's Mac versions of its early adventure games looked and sounded better than their pc brethren. The pixel jaggies were smoothed out, the music used a better library of sounds, and in general the experience was smoother. I'm not sure which PC version the mac version compares best to, but from what i've seen, it looked and sounded even better than the CD rom version. In any case, i assume this review applies best to the CD rom version. ----

I'm a sucker for spellcasting, and i'm a sucker for adventure games. At the time Loom was released, you know, back when "Lucasarts" was synanimous with "quality", it pretty much blew me away with its originality. Here was a game with only one inventory item, your staff, and where all puzzle solution was done by knowing what spell to cast and how (casting "open" backwards equals "close" for example). The game also featured a truly compelling world that seemed properly fleshed out, it had shades of both fairytales and postapocalyptic nightmares, characters who all seemed to have their own agendas, and a player character who inspired a lot of sympathy, especially through his voice acting, where he always comes off as an innocent.

The first hour or so of the game is a real adventure. Learning how to wield your staff and your spells, seeing how many objects in the world you can alter to your liking can be a powertrip at times. From starting off with spells to alter colors and opening clams, to unravelling the fabric of reality itself. There's a lot of cool stuff to do here.

The graphics, for their time, were very very good. The game is essentially a showcase of pretty pictures, starting with the craggy outset island to the glass city, the iron city, the cathedral of the clerics.. Some very attractive pictures indeed. The character designs include some good if unoriginal concepts. Chaos, essentially a being of pure evil, looks purely malevolent, but also looks a lot like Maleficent from disney's Sleeping Beauty. This kind of derivative design is the norm for the game, sadly. But the craftsmanship is fantastic, and the end product is surprisingly adult.

The Bad

It's obvious a lot of heart went into Loom, but that gives more reason to be disappointed. The story, which starts off poetically and with a lot of emotional drive, jumps to conclusions. There's literally no time at all until you're confronted with the villain, and only one more encounter is what it takes for the ending sequence to begin. The game is, indeed, painfully short. This shortness is only emphasized by the linearity and simplicity for the gameplay. It is in essence a 2 hour session of simon says with dialogue, and there is rarely any opportunity for wonder, as the game's plot is spoonfed to the player. The story is also wildly inconclusive, with an ending i can only describe as "cop out". Actually a lot of the game gives me the feeling that the developers evaded a lot of problems and simply wanted to get the story over with. There are numerous plot nuances that are simply left behind after being introduced, and the ending isn't even a real ending. The bad guys won, yahoo. Obviously a sequel was planned, but we haven't seen any yet, and i doubt we will. This kind of ambiguous ending can really hurt a game, as seen in the recent Beyond Good & Evil.

A much touted aspect of Loom is its music, but i can't help but feel disappointed. The soundtrack is for the most part based off existing pieces by Tchaikovsky. Considering the extremely talented musicians Lucasarts employed at the time, just going for classics doesn't seem very inspired. Tchaikovsky is good, but not for a game, i'm sad to say.

Another problem is how the game flops into melodrama a bit too often, and the apparent depth of the storyline is betrayed by the developers' constant wish to move along. You're never given the opportunity to wonder.

Overall, i think what disappoints me the most now is how bad aging has been to the game. You can pick up Monkey island or Day of the tentacle today and they will still be incredibly entertaining games, while Loom is simply short and plain.

The Bottom Line
It's definitely a game worth checking out, particularly if you've been following Lucasarts' evolution, but i would never pay full price for this today. It's simply too short and unsatisfying, even for its time.

DOS · by Andreas SJ (21) · 2004

If this game was a girl, I'd marry it (...uh her).

The Good
EVERYTHING. To be serious, this is not just a game. To consider this a to be just another game would definitly be an insult. I've played a lotta games in my time, and this as the other guy said, would probably be the best game ever created for all time. Why? Pure and simple. The storyline. Never have seen a story line so touching, compasionate, loving. And this is a guy saying this. Ever felt good about yourself? This game gives you that and more when you finish it. Whoever made this one was definitly not human...

The Bad
All those tough puzzles in the end was worth it in the end...

The Bottom Line
A game, a story, a ballad. About a struggle for others, about sacrifice, about compassion. Its about pure excellence.

DOS · by Indra was here (20768) · 2001

an absolute triumph of the imagination

The Good

What, you want me to be more specific?

Okay... the storyline is fantastic, a complete world is created that we just glimpse through enough to get interested in, but it leaves a lot to the imagination. The musical aspect is terrific, yet simple enough to appeal to players of every level. The graphics were awesome for the time (EGA only, but man, some people could work magic with 16 colors only. It's a shame that it has become a lost art). Also, the difficulty level was just right - it was one of the few adventure games that I could beat without consulting any kind of walkthrough, and I didn't feel empty when finishing it - far from it. The music is great, was great for the time if you had a Roland MT-32 and the add-on disk. Of course, now the CD version is out and the music got even better. I was completely immersed into the game, my character, and the story. Also, depending on your musical talent, there were varying levels of difficulty.

The Bad
Nothing really. Could have been a bit longer. And there should have been made a sequel.

The Bottom Line
Unfortunately a sequel never happened. It didn't sell too well. Monkey Island 1 - with VGA graphics, etc - came out a month later and blew the EGA Loom away. People did realize later though how awesome the storyline and idea was, and even today the game commands a healthy sum on eBay - a true collector's item if you can get the 1990 original with Dolby Stereo cassette, etc. Nowadays, of course, there are compilations with like 10 LucasArts adventures or so and it's not all that hard to get, but well worth the effort. On a side note, I feel that Zelda - Ocarina of Time (for the Nintendo 64) borrowed quite heavily from Loom as far as the musical aspects are concerned.

Two thumbs up! I would give more, but that's all the thumbs I have...

DOS · by Gothicgene (66) · 2001

A bit short, but an amazing game.

The Good
This game was very amazing at its time. Being a huge fan of graphic adventures, I couldn't help falling in love with its plot and its characters. Loom also has a very innovative gameplay, where the typical "actions" of other games are replaced by combining music tunes. If you like music, you could even play at harder levels only knowin' the tunes!!

The Bad
The only disappointing thing in Loom, it was its length. It wasn't very long, and it was very easy to remember all the puzzles, so it hasn't a very high replayable value. More puzzles or a longer plot would have been great.

The Bottom Line
A good game, despite its length. Very different from other graphic adventures, without a complex inventory, but with a lot of magical and musical stuff in the gameplay.

DOS · by Emepol (212) · 2013

Beautiful Story that attracted me

The Good
There were so many things I loved about the game, The story line is DEFINITELY a great part of it. Basically bobbin threadbare is in a guild known as the weavers and the other weavers blame him on the problems they've had for 17 years since the day he was born and think that he is the problem to all, his stepmom hatchel defends him and was teaching him magic and the elders did not like it so they attempt to punish her with magic but there magic fails and they are all turned into swans, That leaves bobbin alone to search for them. The story is a great plot and brings a tear to my eye at times. I own the CD version so the graphics and voice are difinitely great, the voice acting is not anywhere close to cheap, it is very good acting and makes me think that the people in the game are real at times. I loved the music, the music was sort of dramatic sounding in my opinion.

The Bad
The game was very great but the story line at the end seemed kind of lacking. Where bobbin meets Chaos they don't tell much information about the ghost and why she wants to take over the world. I also thought the game was a bit short, it was nice length but I beat the game in about 1-2 hours. If the game was longer I would have enjoyed that.

The Bottom Line
I would definitely say this is a game to get. This is a very well done game and is an original classic. I grew up playing it and it was one of my favorite games along with monkeys island, ecos quest, space quest, kings quest, and out of this world. It is very unique from the other games as you don't have a bunch of items, instead you use a staff and use magic to react with items throughout the game. The magic is pretty interesting too as you use magical notes to cast a spell. I would DEFINITELY recommend the game though. I doubt it will happen but I hope they make a sequel or some kind of movie out of this game.

DOS · by Matt Cohen (1) · 2002

One of the best point/click adventure games

The Good
Well, good story, good characters, good dialogue, good voice acting. Of course the game is an interactive story and you never die, though it's true that you can become stuck if you forget the notes of a musical, magic spell. I haven't studied to find out where Brian Moriarty got his story ideas from, but it sounds inspired by religion and conflict within religion and the game may have quite a serious moral message in it, relating to religion, law, elitism, child abuse etc. There's an element of feminism too i.e the heroism of Lady Cygna, the mother of the male protagonist, Bobbin Threadbare.

The Bad
Frankly I wish the game kept its own record of drafts(magic spells) you've discovered, that way you'd never get stuck, because of forgetting a draft. Also, the story and gameplay get's a bit confusing after "Chaos" is released and the world is torn in two. I didn't find the ending quite satisfying enough. Certainly, the problems of "Planet Loom" weren't resolved and it was hard to comprehend what had really happened to it and how it was going to end up.

The Bottom Line
I say, one of the best point/click adventures, for anyone who is interested in such games. And you could suggest it to someone who isn't necessarily into adventure games as a game that's not huge and won't waste much of their time.

DOS · by Andrew Fisher (697) · 2018

'tis a great, great adventure game!

The Good
The game has a somewhat unusual GUI, a very simple one, and the way magic is used in this game is also good. Then there are the wonderful musics from Tchaikovsky, and from what I hear the CD version is really great too. :) The story is great although one might regard it as naive, and the ending is sure very surprising if you are tired with the totally happy endings many stories have... but I won't spoil it for you. :)

The Bad
'tis too easy. That's the only complaint. Although maybe it isn't such a bad thing.

The Bottom Line
A great, somewhat unusual adventure game, more like a tale than anything else.

DOS · by RmM (68) · 1999

Absolutely great, but a bit short.

The Good
First, the VGA graphics (I played the CD-ROM version) were gorgeous, typical Lucasarts wonder.
The Music and voice acting were above par and fitted the atmosphere perfectly
The story, while not very deep, was cute and reasonably interesting
The gameplay was (and still is) really something new : an adventure game with no inventory, where you just have to cast spells by playing 4 notes of music on your magic staff. Now that's a great idea !

The Bad
Well, as I said before, the story is not very deep and could have been digged a little more. But that's only a minor complain.
More seriously, the game was very(!) short. Expect to complete it in less than 10 hours ! Loom provides 10 hours of incredible gaming experience, but of course 20-30 hours is always better !

The Bottom Line
Despite its disappointing length, Loom is one incredible adventure game that will remind in your memory forever.

DOS · by Xa4 (300) · 2001

Different can be better

The Good
First off, this game is different than other Lucasarts games. There's no inventory, and one of the points of the game was for it to be easy. The game is like a story-teller, but with a more serious tone, with a few touches of humor now and then. The game is great to play, and sometimes a bit frightening, in the since of like a movie. I've yet to see this kind of magic in every other game.

The Bad

The Bottom Line
It's a game that's different, but good at being that. It's highly recommended though you will have plenty of trouble finding this thing.

DOS · by Jason Harang (38) · 2001

Perhaps THE most imaginative Adventure game from LucasArts

The Good
Well, first, the story is incredibly interesting. It is strangely interesting and it's unlikely you'll "get" the whole story until a couple times through. Second, the gameplay is really innovative. No inventory, just your Distaff with which you weave "drafts" that allow you to open doors, move obstacles, get past guards etc. Also, the graphics are excellent VGA (if you're lucky to get the CD version; it's pretty rare). Finally, the sounds, voices, etc. all blend in seamlessly making a beautifully rich world.

The Bad
Well, the game is VERY short. I got this game yesterday and played it for the first time in years and beat it in less than a day! It was kind of disappointing. Aside from that, the only other real problem with this game is the scream Bobbin Threadbare will emit when something happens to him, like being captured by a dragon. This long, terrible scream makes this game sound like he's being tortured. Something scarier than what LucasArts typically makes, so you may want to think twice before giving this to your 5 year old.

The Bottom Line
This game is quite rare (the full cd talkie version anyway). So, if you can get one, I would advise you take the opportunity. You won't regret it.

DOS · by James Kirk (150) · 2004

Loom is the epitome of LucasArts creative talent, and storytelling mastery.

The Good
The creative use of the staff in allowing you to weave spells. Having no inventory meant that it was easy to keep track of the one item you might have at times. Having the CD-ROM version provided the user with some of the best voice acting, and music ever in a game. The innovative plot of LOOM is an excellent example of LucasArts ability to weave a great story together.

The Bad
I wish they would play more music during some of the lulls in the game. I also wish the game was a little bit longer. Other than that the game, to me, seems to be quite flawless.

The Bottom Line
Loom is a medieval fantasy adventure through the eyes of a character named Bobbin Threadbare. Bobbin starts the adventure a mere apprentice who, unknowingly, is said to be fated to rip the threads of existence apart. During his quest Bobbin grows in experience and knowledge as he is drawn closer and closer to his destiny. If you enjoy games that have an original plot and that draw you into caring about your character then you will enjoy this game.

DOS · by Seer (55) · 2000

Small and perfectly formed

The Good
Yes it's charming and imaginative, but lots of older VGA adventure games are. What's different about this one is that it's as near as any game has come to being poetry for the computer. The fact that it's short is in its favour. It means the symbolism is stronger and the imagery more powerful, just like a fairy tale or Oscar Wilde's short stories.....plus you can complete it in one sitting which means you don't forget the storyline or why you started playing it at all, which let's face it, happens with some games.

The Bad
You need the CD version. It helps to have Thaikovsky playing as you go.

The Bottom Line
The protagonist turns himself into a swan at the end. What more can I say?? This game can change your life. Why aren't there others more like it?

DOS · by jossiejojo (37) · 2004

A bit aged but still magical, and very original.

The Good
----NOTE. I have only got the floppy EGA version of Loom which has no speech and I haven't heard the audio prologue. This is a shadow of the CD version so I'm told and I'll do anything to get my hands on a copy ----

There is a ton of atmosphere. The soundtrack is great and perfect for the style and plot of the game. Your character is mildly amusing at times. The interface is brilliantly simple and dead easy to use; with difficulty settings that help the tone deaf and provide a challenge, albeit barely, to those with a more musical ear. The game designers also deserve a hell of a lot of credit for creating a world like this and making it so enjoyable and original. It has a great take on the universe and death (i.e the living world is a 4D "pattern" that is made of a thin "fabric". Outside the pattern is where the dead roam. When someone dies, the fabric opens and the soul goes outside. The fabric can be torn, allowing the living and the dead to cross into each other's worlds) and has a lot of swans. Swans are a lot more classy than monkeys if you ask me. Some of the characters look great, like Chaos. The game also has a fantastic ending which is obviously too short, but fits perfectly and leaves room for a sequel. It's not overly happy either. Oh and the box cover is brilliant. A very beautiful game and no mistake, and with so much more elegance and beauty than most Lucasarts adventures.

The Bad
This is pre-Monkey Island and it shows unfortunately. There are no dialogue options, no alternate routes, it's very linear. It's also painfully short and easy. Which is unfortunate because a game of this quality really deserves to go on for at least as long as Monkey Island 2. The game is not that hot on narrative either and only one thing has much of a significant effect on the story and that happens a little too close to the end. While the landscapes are frequently gorgeous, you have to walk everywhere and there are some quite long passages to walk down that can't be skipped. Finally, the music could certainly be used more often. The game is frequently silent in scenes of interest. This may have been improved in the CD version though.

The Bottom Line
Incredibly original and clever. Worth buying at full price even today. Just don't expect it to last long enough or provide any real brain-taxing situations. No matter anyway, you'll play it again. Also the ideas and style are so promising it deserves another title made of them. Beg for a sequel. It could be the best adventure ever.

DOS · by Shazbut (163) · 2002

Fantastically compelling classical adventure

The Good
This game is a testament to what a rich and fertile creative development house Lucasarts was (is?), not only did they produce the greatest adventure games of their time, but every now and then they also took gambles and came out with offbeat, experimental games that shattered everything we seemed to know about these types of games (ok, maybe not so dramatically, but they still rocked!) Loom is perhaps the most obvious of these games, and one of the most interesting ones to ever come out of Lucas's coding house.

Sporting a näif fantasy-feel with a decidedly dark and edgy storyline and an innovative control scheme where instead of picking and using stuff over and over you have to cast spells using a series of basic music chords (played in your very own quirky magic wand (tm)), Loom is as far from traditional adventure games as you can get without throwing in a shotgun.

The graphics are fantastic and the music while technically limited (talking about the original floppy version here) is still excellent. Bobbin's quest is one of the most fantastic stories ever written for a video game, this is the kind of stuff that's emotional without crossing the line of cheapness, and that's really touching without taking cheap shots at melodrama. Death and destiny are dealt with using a remarkable finnese on this game, there's a sequence which I will never forget that has you meeting a (seemingly small at the time) character that died because of your merry "adventuring" actions and forces you to acknowledge the consequences of what you do. THIS is touching, THIS is powerful! And it's done with a great sense of simplicity and style, not with a million-dollar fmv sequence where the leads kiss as a pop song plays in the background and a bunch of flying blossoms make the world a-ok. Most of the people who think that sort of thing is "epic" should also remember about the magnificent ending of Loom, which hands down is one of the most poetically touching ones ever made.

....yeah, I'm still pissed about that other game. you know who. ;))

The Bad
Well, this is really an introductory-level adventure. It is simple and straightforward, and such simplicity in it's design (and the innovative interface) seriously limit the range of stuff you can do, it really all boils down to knowing which spell to cast when.

Aside from that I can only think of one thing: it's an adventure game. So yeah, it's got everything that is fantastic about adventures, but also everything that is so bad about them and caused them to whitter and fall into a coma. If you are solely into shooting stuff and talking l33t then I don't see what you are going to do with this.

The Bottom Line
A fantastic adventure game. If you are even remotely interested in the genre then pick this one up, its like the Rashomon of videogames, you know, not so well known to the general public, but clearly more poetic and insighful than the rest of the "Seven Samurais" out there.......(where the hell did this Kurosawa thing come from????:))

If you on the other hand are a veteran adventure gamer then I can't understand why you are reading this, you already know this game rocks! What's that??? Didn't play it??? Get the hell out of here and steal a copy before I "transcend" your ass!!! :))

DOS · by Zovni (10503) · 2002

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.

DOS · by jorgeabe (13) · 2007

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.

DOS · by Tomer Gabel (4539) · 2000

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Foxhack, Barbarian_bros, Alsy, Riemann80, Víctor Martínez, Terok Nor, Mr Creosote, Jo ST, LeftHandedMatt, RetroArchives.fr, Scaryfun, Patrick Bregger, Big John WV, Wizo, Cantillon, mo .