When Loom was originally released by Lucasfilm a couple of years ago it was widely praised for its atmosphere and graphics, and widely chortled at for its simplistic gameplay. The decision to repackage it after Lucasfilm broke the graphic adventure mould with the likes of Monkey Island is a bit surprising, because the gameplay will obviously look even more lacklustre now. The atmosphere, however, has retained its charm and the storyline is as lunch-throwingly cute as ever; the central character is named Bobbin Threadbare and is a member of the so-called Guild of Weavers. When Loom was first released it was accompanied by an audio cassette which recounted the story so far, but the tape is nowhere to be seen in this budget version so I'll very quickly outline the scene as I remember it from the original. The Weavers have been ostracised by the other Guilds and live on an island worrying that the world will soon end. Bobbin was born at the wrong time in . the wrong place (seen as a bad omen) and adopted by an old crone after his mother was turned into a duck as a cruel and heartless punishment by the Elders. (It's a swan actually. Ed.) Wanting revenge, 17 years later the demon duck returns and transports the Elders to a void. Enter Bobbin.
The aim of the game is to find them, assisted by a staff with which you can cast spells. There are no 'puzzles' as such; there's no inventory and no Lucasfilm verb-list at the bottom of the screen. The gameplay consists largely of collecting spells and working out where to use them. Spells are represented as musical notes, so if you click on a pot of green dye, you'll hear a simple tune. Select another object and recreate the tune by clicking on different sections of the staff and you'll cast a dyeing spell. On the practice level the notes appear for you; this makes the whole affair, for want of a better phrase, a piece of piss. However, on hard-lad mode you have to do everything by ear.
And that's basically all there is to it. If you like a challenge then steer clear because it's just too easy. If you like a good story then it's highly recommended, because its atmosphere and price make up for the lack of longevity. Toby Finlay
Embark on the adventure of a lifetime with Turbo Technologies' new adventure, LOOM. You are Bobbin Threadbare, a young member of an ancient sect known as the Guild of Weavers. Loom is different from the many other adventure games because you play it, but complete it to experience its magic fully. Use Bobbin's distaff to weave magical spells (known as drafts) which will help you on your quest to destroy Chaos.
The spells are cast by using a series of musical notes that are discovered along the way. The game is highly detailed and even allows you to weave spells backwards for an opposite effect! For example, the draft of opening cast backwards becomes the draft of closing! Special note must be made of the beautifully detailed graphics and the brilliant CD-quality musical score. The spells, though numerous, are easy to recall when you get the hang of it!
Leave the friendly confines of our paltry little world and enter the universe of dark fantasy and incredible challenge contained within LOOM. Oh what a tangled web we weave...