Long after the passing of the Second Shadow, when dragons ruled the twilight sky and the stars were bright and numerous, came the Age of the Great Guilds. Blacksmiths. Shepherds. Clerics. Each dedicated to the absolute control of secret knowledge. Another such Guild was the Weavers.
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The CD-ROM version of Loom offered here on Steam is absolute garbage. It's missing alternate puzzle solutions, dialogue, and art, and it's even been censored. If you want to play Loom, grab a copy of the Amiga version and play it with ScummVM.
No moatter how many times I restart the game or uninstall/reinstall I can't get past the water spout in the begining because the game flat out will not grant me the 'F' note. I've done everything on the island. I believe it to be some sort of bug. Game is...
Bottom Line: I'm glad to have shared this with my kids, but sad to have tarnished my own childhood memories of it. If you haven't played it, you should; if you have, keep it safely glazed in nostalgia.
Years ago, I played the EGA version of Loom. It came in a box with a book-on-tape that described the setting and the game's backstory and a lovely and creative manual that included a host of "drafts" (or spells) that weren't included in the game but which expanded its universe. The game charmed me before I even installed it, and once I did, I was captivated by its gorgeous art, which used minimalism to make a 16-color palette more than ample, and its beautiful arrangement and rearrangement of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. The gameplay was simple and approachable for a kid, with no inventory to manage, no death, scant dialogue trees to wade through, but the puzzles were clever and made me feel clever when I solved them.
In the quarter century since first playing Loom, whatever flaws it had were forgotten and its many virtues grew, as is the case when you fall in love with something as a kid. When, in interviews, I was asked about Primordia's inspirations, Loom was always among the first I mentioned, and I would always recommend it for people as an entry point to point-and-click adventure games. So, when my four year old was looking for a game to play after we did Primordia together, I naturally got us Loom.
It has not aged well, the VGA "talky" version is somewhere between the restoration of the Great Wall and the "restoration" of the Ecce Homo painting in Borja, which is to say not very pleasant. Moreover, I had forgotten (or been unable to recognize) many flaws that exist even in the EGA version.
- The additional VGA colors conceal the artistic feats of the original, and in some instances simply look worse. This video makes the case well: https://youtu.be/bRJD0OrGulU
- The sampling of the voice over is extremely poor, and many audio clips are mistimed and oddly cut.
- Most of the music was removed from the game.
- Certain scenes are shortened (not so badly, in my opinion) and certain parts were bowdlerized.
But even setting aside the problems with the VGA version, the game itself is ludicrously short -- we beat it in under two hours, taking time for the four year old to take her stab at the puzzles. While the game feels open and experimental and somewhat exploratory on the initial island, it becomes increasingly linear, and the last act of the game is *entirely* linear, with every sequence an exact duplication (in gameplay terms) of the last: Walk left, enter portal, cast heal, enter portal, cast close, walk left...
Bobbin is not as endearing a character as I remembered, and neither is Hetchel -- the loss of the audiobook introduction to her, perhaps -- and Chaos is much less threatening. While some of the puzzles remain relatively clever, others are easy and sometimes tedious (in particular, the main puzzle in the blacksmith guild, which is worsened significantly by voice over freezing you out of interactions). I appreciate brevity in games more now than I used to, but every sequence feels two or three puzzles too short, and as a result none of the characters ever has anything more than a cameo, save for Rusty, whose ambiguous role in the story is as puzzling to me at 36 as it was at 11.
Despite these ample flaws, I still think Loom is a very special game. Its gentleness and the novelty of its spell-based puzzles are undiminished with time, and many of the scenes remain striking, even in VGA. There are many other games where you'll get more bang for your buck, but I think it is still a good entry point to the genre, and an important piece of adventure game history, one that shouldn't be forgotten.
Does this include the original dither-heavy version?
I haven't played this game, but I've been looking forward to and while comparing versions I've noticed the newest one has traded graphical fidelity for botched art design. I've also noticed dialog is different (as in lines have changed) as well as music (...