Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Bit of Point & Click: Loom


Alright, so, I know that I already covered ONE lucasfilms' game, but really, how can I resist? This is another fantastic and memorable one filled with fancy and whimsy.

The game ORIGINALLY began with a 30 minute audiotape that came along with the packaging. One was supposed to listen to the tape before playing to be briefed on the history of this guild that the main character is in. Unfortunately, I haven't played that version for a two reasons:

1. Because I am broke, and that version of the game apparently sells for $100s now. and 2. Because I didn't play this until a lot later on in my life (again, see above: hundreds. of. dollars.). Luckily my tech savvy boyfriend has skills in the computer department and also has a PC (see my rant about my Macbook), otherwise I never would have been introduced to this lovely adventure.

Alright, so, I just begged Scott to tell me what the background info was (he was lucky enough to have heard the original tape, thanks to his best-friend Evan). He says that it was something about how this guild had used slight magic in the form of a staff which "wove" the patterns of reality. Originally they had just been weavers, so apparently people started to get sketched out, and persecuted them of witchcraft, which was no bueno. So they buy an island, and call it "Loom". Then the main character Bobbin Threadbare (see past posts from Lucasfilms in regard to their fantastic name-creation abilities)'s mother gets transfigured into a swan, because the elders want to ban her from the island. Bobbin is given into the care of Hetchell, an old serving maid, and Bob's your uncle (bahahaha, I'm so punny. I didn't even realize how much of a pun this was until I was spell-checking...BRILLIANT!)

SO then begins the actual game.
The game begins by Bobbin being summoned by a fairy on his 17th birthday to speak with the elders. Bobbin walks in as Hetchel is being punished (for teaching him a bit about the weavers' culture) in the same manner that his mother was: by being turned into a cygnet. A giant swan swoops out over the loom, and casts a transfiguration spell on everyone in the village, except Bobbin...turning them all into swans.
Alright, so right now it might seem like a bit of a stretch, but as I mentioned before "willing suspension of disbeleif" is key to Lucasart games. Without it, the whole thing would just be a big mess of rubber chickens with pulleys, and singing-magical-music-sticks. So keep an open mind, okay?
Hetchel warns Bobbin that a huge disaster is well on its way (it's actually called the third shadow, but that's way too much to explain in one blog post), so he decides that it's his task to find the flock of swans that his town has been turned into, and make sure everything is copacetic. In the process of this, he meets several of the other guilds (Glassmakers, Shepherds, etc...think Pastoral). Eventually, he encounters an evil cleric who steals his staff (the only means Bobbin has to save his town/guild/flock/whatever), and raises a zombie army. Are you still with me? Good.

The evil cleric (by making his zombie army) tears the fabric of the universe apart ( Get it, Get it? This game's about weavers) and allows an entity "Chaos" to enter. Chaos kills the cleric and summons an army of undead to destroy the earth. Bobbin reclaims the staff from the dead cleric and heals many of the tears in the pattern (which is noticed in the beginning of the game if you have "Monkey Island Syndrome" like I do), along the way helping many of his previous acquaintances (all of the pastoral folk previously mentioned), who were hurt or killed because they totally weren't as tough as Bobbin, and stood no chance against the undead army. Finally, he battles Chaos, who is striving to take control of the great Loom that controls his guild's history and future.. The battle ends as Chaos kills Hetchel (the lady that got turned into a cygnet) using the "Unmaking" song. But as always "one feather still remained intact"...I smell a sequel.
Eventually Bobbin gives up, because during most of the game he's been a snivelling brat anyway, and decides that he's going to turn himself into a swan too. SOOOO he does, and then he flies off with the rest of his guild, and his mother to live happily ever after. Pretty shitty ending, but it's cool, because the rest of the game is totally rad.
I love that this game requires the usage of the letter keys in order to play the songs with Bobbin's staff. It's a feature that hadn't really been included in that many games before, and I thought it really added a completely new level to gameplay. Honestly though, I do wish I had played this when I was younger. It's for sure an awesome game, but I feel like I would have appreciated it more (just like I appreciated Monkey Island more) when I was younger and didn't have much experience of what real life is like. I mean, people don't just go around turning into swans, and there aren't even guilds anymore (really).
However, something that I did find interesting about this game is the obvious Greek/Roman undertones that it carries. First off, the elders are all named after the Fates in Greek/Roman mythology, and the battle between chaos, and normality is a common duality that is played with by book, movie, and videogame alike apparently. Lucasarts' Loom was way ahead of it's time in this respect. It dealt with more heavy hearted aspects of like than The Secret of Monkey Island OR Grim Fandango did, but it still kept it in a genre that was kid-friendly, and easily navigated.

All in all, a pretty great game. It has aspects that can be enjoyed by all sub and age-groups of culture; and honestly, who doesn't like a little swan action every now and then?
Go Buy It!

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