Sunday, 10 November 2013

Game 37: Loom - Visions from the Darkside

Bobbin Threadbare Journal Entry 5: "Things are really messed up now! I never meant to hurt anyone when I set out on this journey, but I must accept that the death of Rusty will always weigh heavily on my conscience. It might seem like good news that Bishop Mandible is no longer alive to cause havoc across the pattern, but unfortunately the damage was well and truly done by the time the hideous spirit that he summoned from beyond destroyed him utterly. I must find a way to stop Chaos from destroying everything in his path, and to set things right in the pattern."

Don't be surprised when someone decides to come at you with a hammer!

I’ve completed Loom! If I’m to have any chance of getting through my final session in a single post though, I’ll have to get on with it. Without further ado, let’s rejoin Bobbin as he left Rusty Nailbender asleep on the ground to venture down into the Guild of Blacksmiths. The huge anvil-shaped structure had a flowing lava moat with a drawbridge and closed gate, so the first thing I had to do was figure out how to get in. A bare-chested guard appeared to ask me who I was and to inform me that “the gate opens for members only”. I figured the solution was to weave an Opening draft on the gate, but that turned out to be only partly successful. The gate did indeed open, but as soon as I walked in I was forced back outside by another guild member. I tried a few different drafts on both the gate and the man, but nothing seemed to work. There was something I was missing! I made my way back to the sleeping Rusty, and pondered how he might be able to help me. There were a couple of drafts I still hadn’t made use of, with the Reflection one seeming worth a shot. The description seemed to suggest that it would make me appear as the person I weaved it on, so I went for it. Moments later Rusty looked like me while I looked exactly like Rusty!

You assume too much

I simply can't compete with all these pectoral muscles!

I really should leave the guy a note or something.

I had no problem entering the Guild of Blacksmiths disguised as Rusty, with the guard welcoming me inside. “Hail, young Nailbender!” He did mention that someone named Stoke was looking for me and that his disposition wasn’t particularly friendly, but I was just happy to be getting in at this point. Inside were stacks of men forming metallic objects by beating them with hammers, but none of them paid any attention to me as I made my way into the inner complex. Soon I entered a chamber where a bearded man fuelled a fire with bits of wood. “Well, well, well. If it isn’t my faithful, TIRELESS apprentice, Rusty Nailbender. And look! He’s brought me a stick of wood. Exactly ONE crooked old stick of firewood for my poor, starving furnace.” Stoke abused me for coming back with one lousy stick after four hours of firewood collection, and I was beginning to think taking on the form of Rusty hadn’t been an ideal solution to my problem. At one point he mentioned that he would throw me into the fire myself if it wasn’t for my father, who was currently downstairs with the Bishop. Hmmmm...this Bishop was likely to be Bishop Mandible! Stoke took my distaff from me and placed it on the pile of waiting firewood, before pushing me into a cell and slamming the door! How the hell was I going to get out of there without my distaff!?

Couldn't they have made some metal railings or something?

I guess you were destined to have this job.

Ever heard of accountability vs responsibility?

The only thing I could interact with in the cell was some straw, but without the distaff I was pretty much screwed. Suddenly Bobbin got awful sleepy, commenting that “This straw must have a sleep draft spun into it. Can’t do much without my distaff anyway...” As my character lay down to sleep, I was shown a cut scene of the still-smoldering dragon flying past the Blacksmith’s guild. To my horror, it flew down upon the sleeping Rusty (who currently held my own form) and set upon eating him!!! “Well, I may not be much good with fire, sweetie. But young, firm MEAT is something I can REALLY sink my teeth into!” The scene switched back to the cell, where I transformed back into my real form. Had the dragon really eaten Rusty!? I couldn’t imagine such a gruesome thing happening to a recently introduced, innocent character, but figured it must have been so. Bobbin was just as concerned: “My robe’s not reflecting anymore. Something must’ve happened to Rusty. Hope he’s okay.” I had little time to think about it though, as Stock returned to throw the very last piece of wood into the furnace distaff!!! “Ten thousand swords to forge and the furnace almost cold! Here goes my new office furniture.” The distaff began to glow blue in the fire, and as it did so I was shown an image of Rusty’s bloody skeletal remains back up on the mountain. Wow! He really was dead!

Rusty's epic tantrums were well known among guild members!

Hang on...why does Rusty look like himself, yet in my clothes?

I can't come up with any witty or interesting remarks about this image. Can you?

Shit just got real!

Suddenly Rusty’s spirit appeared above his body, quickly realising that he was dead. “That weaver kid did this to me! Now I have to wait Outside. If I ever get my hands on him...” A portal opened in the sky, similar to the one the swans had flown through earlier in the game, and Rusty floated through it. To my surprise, Dame Hetchel flew back through it in cygnet form! “Back to the Pattern. That was easy. Pity that someone has to die for me to return. Now where can Bobbin have gone.” She looked upon the Guild of Blacksmiths, but decided they were too suspicious a lot to let a Weaver inside.  It was only the image of a swan that appeared in the smoke emitting from the chimney above the burning distaff that convinced her to take a closer look. Could she be coming to save me?! Indeed she was, flying down the chimney, grabbing the distaff, and then sliding it beneath the door into my cell. I eagerly picked it up, and set about escaping. I turned the straw into gold, despite wondering what that could possibly achieve, and then did the most obvious thing. I weaved Opening on the door and simply walked out of the cell. Stoke had mentioned that the Bishop was downstairs somewhere, and since that was the only place I hadn’t been, I made my way down. I reappeared in a huge room, with chains hanging from the ceiling and hundreds of swords on the walls!

... yes, I realise that's improbable at this point.

Hetchel quickly responded to the Swan-Signal. Someone must be in trouble!

Oh thank the pattern! There was an itch in the middle of my back that I just couldn't reach before!

A blacksmith was beating a sword at an anvil upon a pedestal in the centre of the room. Bishop Mandible soon arrived and spoke to one of the guild members, just as he’d done at the Guild of Glassmakers. The member informed him that “the final blade is being sharpened even as we speak, Your Excellency. My most skilful bladeshaper is seeing to it personally.” Mandible’s response revealed much, including the identity of the man to whom he spoke. “Then this is an historic moment, Foreman Nailbender. The forging of the ten thousandth sword marks the end of our preparations.” The Foreman requested an update from the bladeshaper, who raised the sword as he responded. “This metal is proud, Foreman! It does not yield easily.” Mandible and Nailbender wandered around the room, discussing the importance of the final blade and requesting updates from the bladeshaper. Only when it neared completion was control handed back to me, and I had a pretty good idea as to what I was supposed to do. I’d not used the Sharpening draft at this point, and didn’t intend to now (well not exactly). I reversed the draft, quite certain that decreasing the sharpness of the blade would be the result. It might have been too, but I was informed that the room was too noisy to spin any drafts! Initially put off by this situation, I eventually figured out that simply waiting until the blademaster ceased hitting the sword with his hammer to respond to the foreman was the key.

I realise now that having only one bladeshaper was a mistake, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

They couldn't possibly notice me could they? I mean, I'm only in their direct line of sight!

Unsurprisingly, the blademaster wasn’t too impressed with the result of my draft. “Foreman! What evil is this? A witch’s curse has befallen the blade! The edge has been mischievously blunted!” Bishop Mandible didn’t believe witchcraft had anything to do with it though. “You don’t suppose that fellow who’s been spying on us has anything to do with it? Perhaps he’d care to accompany me back to my cathedral.” So he did know that I was there!!! That can’t be good! From what I could tell, the Bishop and I travelled to his very gothic looking cathedral on the back of the dragon, where I was imprisoned in a cage. It was here that I finally found out the identity of the game’s villain. “I am Bishop Mandible, Transultimate Apostle of the Antisecular Conclave of Clerics. Your cloak and staff betray your origin. I studied the lore of your Guild at university.” The Bishop’s assistant was named Cobb, and it quickly became clear that he was a nasty piece of work! When I refused to answer the Bishop’s questions, he offered to “fetch the Instruments of Persuasion”, but thankfully Mandible instead decided to teach Cobb a lesson. The assistant seemed to think I was completely harmless, despite still having my distaff in my possession. The Bishop knew what I can do, and I rammed home his point by unlocking my cage using the Opening draft. “You see, Cob? An elusive breed, these Weavers. Luckily, they are quite helpless without their weaving sticks.”

Oh my! That is one awesomely cool looking villain lair!

Pleased to meet you! I am Bobbin Threadbare, High Haberdasher of the Darning Covenant of Weavers.


To my displeasure, Mandible proceeded to take my distaff, thanking me for being “kind enough to bring such a magnificent gift”. Bobbin informed him that he would never be able to harness the power of the distaff, but Mandible thought differently. We walked outside, and the Bishop told me to look upon his graveyard. He seemed convinced that the boundary between the living and the dead were at their most indistinct in a graveyard, and that he could simply rip open the pattern by weaving an Opening draft on the cemetery. “When the boundary is breached, the Dead will stream back onto the plane of the Living, eager to reclaim their place among us! An Army of the Dead! With myself as its supreme commander. An army nourished by the meat of the Shepherds. Armed with the swords of the Blacksmiths. And guided by the Sphere of the Glassmakers!” So there you have it! The connection between the three non-Weaver guilds that have appeared in Loom so far! I was taken back to the room of cages while the self-proclaimed “Lord Mandible, Ruler of the Universe” set about performing his madness upon the pattern. Cob stood guard at the door, but he obviously didn’t fear me enough to lock me up in a cage again. I immediately made a move towards the scrying sphere, but Cobb demanded I keep away from it. When Bobbin told him that he only wanted to “look” at the sphere, Cobb suggested the two of them make a deal.

Actually, it's about six feet of compacted dirt, but yeah, whatever!

What could possibly go wrong with this plan!?

Um... I'd do almost anything to get out of here, but well...what exactly are you suggesting here!?

Cobb offered to let me look into the sphere if I allowed him to look upon my face. “Legends say it is death to gaze upon a Weaver uncloaked. Naturally, we Clerics pay little heed to such foolish rumors. Still, I’m... curious.” I wasn’t witness to the result of this deal, but the screaming that emanated from the room and distracted Bishop Mandible from his task suggested it didn’t at all end well for Cobb. I was now able to look into the sphere, and as usual was given three separate visions. The first one was of the swan that I’d seen previously, the second of a cooked bird, and the third a black feather floating gently to the ground. What was I supposed to make of all that? I couldn’t find anything else to do in the room, so I made my way outside to see what Mandible was up to. There I witnessed him weaving the Opening draft and ripping a huge hole in the pattern where the graveyard had previously been. Bobbin appeared shocked at what was occurring here: “Wow! You must’ve opened everything within fifty miles of here! I have a very bad feeling about this.” Rightly so too, as a very evil looking spirit emerged from the portal! “Who dares disturb the peace of Those Who Sleep?” Bishop Mandible introduced himself and asked who he had “the honor of summoning”. The spirit responded with “I am chaos. Join me.”, before weaving a draft that literally ripped Mandible apart! This was done in a very graphic way too, with the cleric’s head flying towards the “camera” while the rest of him was thrown in every other direction!

I've survived looking at you, so you'll probably be alright to be honest

Winner winner...

No shit Sherlock!

Who would have expected Loom to be so brutal!

I’d always assumed that I would somehow cause the end of Mandible, so it was a bit of a shock to find that the villain had suddenly been replaced by another, much more horrifying one! Chaos drifted away, commenting that “it has been too long since my last visit” as he went. I picked up my distaff, wondering what I could possibly do to stop such a being. I made my way back inside and found that the dragon-like creature that had been caged up was no longer there. I briefly saw it walk past the door and outside, so I followed. While I was standing near the edge, the dragon came up behind me as if to attack. Bobbin jumped up onto the ledge, where he was then pulled into the portal and seemingly out of the pattern! Well I hadn’t really had a clear idea what was going to happen in Loom, but I certainly hadn’t expected the recently described turn of events. I could feel that the end was nigh, but in the present it has become apparent that I’m not going to be able to wrap this session up in one post. I’ll finish up now and try to get the Won post out over the remainder of the weekend. I apologise that my posts have been few and far between since I started the game. Work commitments have combined with a few social events to make finding the time to blog next to impossible. I have just booked in a month off work though starting in December, so things will undoubtedly pick up soon enough.

I can't help but think of Manhunter when I see this screenshot.

It's all good. I'll just use this fire extinguisher to direct myself over to the Chinese space station. Shouldn't be an issue!

Session Time: 0 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points: I've written a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I've not made any requests for assistance. Thanks!


  1. Nice to have a post again :-)

    Alternate solution for ruining the sword: Hfr gur gjvfgvat qensg.

    Had you played in Expert mode, you would've seen Cob's death, as that's the advertised extra scene. Here's a YouTube video: (Amiga version, but the only difference would be sound.) Apparently he was sucked into the Monkey Island dimension, where he will advertise Loom.

    Weirdly, the dialogue between Mandible and Chaos was actually expanded in the talkie version to be more dramatic. One of the few changes I can agree with, although I also like how hilariously abrupt Mandible's demise is in the original.

    1. I remember that guy in Monkey Island but didn't pick up on him being an actual character from Loom. Good find.

    2. Hah! That's really cool. I forgot all about that guy.

    3. That is amazing, I have played both games (Monkey Island at least a dozen playthroughs) and never caught that. Mad props for Laukku!

    4. I thought it'd be fairly common knowledge - they even have an image about it in both Loom's and Monkey Island 1's Wikipedia articles. :-P It's a lot more obvious in the EGA version, where they reuse the almost exact same drawing of him.

    5. I played MI before Loom in the nineties. I only made the connection because the Cobb encounter at the Scumm bar had seemed so random and weird. A few months later I played Loom and the guy looked almost exactly the same, so I was "You!"

  2. The part at the Forge was slightly different in the VGA version, it's missing a few bits:
    1. No close up of Rusty before he gets eaten by the dragon (the close-ups seem to be the main thing missing from most of the game in the VGA version)
    2. No explanation of where Hetchel comes from.
    3. No swan smoke-signal, so no explanation of how she knows to get the distaff.

    I wonder if this is the point where the cut content really begins to bite, since this is where the plot comes together.

  3. Yay! More Loom. Looking forward to your final thoughts on the game as well. I do wonder what would happen if you tried to sharpen the sword. Would Bobbin not let you, or would it just trigger awareness of your presence?

    1. He says that it is not a very good idea or something similar.

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks! I should point out that I absolutely loved the movie despite its implausibilities. I rarely see any movie at the cinema twice but I had to take my wife and go again. Simply breathtaking!

    2. Indeed. I had a similar take, though the implausibilities didn't bother me that much; I guess I am simply grateful that the movie was made at all :-)
      (Warning: Spanish!)

  5. "I can't come up with any witty or interesting remarks about this image. Can you?"
    Do I detect a create a caption challenge?
    Challenge accepted!
    Ok all I've got is..
    Whomsoever shall draw this stick from the fire shall be...well...burnt in all likelihood.

    1. How about this: Smoking distaff is bad for your stealth.

    2. Or perhaps just "The Smoker's Match"

    3. "Mmmffmmm mmhhMM mmFfmm MM!!!"

      Sorry, I had to pull my hoodie up to censor my extremely witty but downright family-unfriendly caption for a picture of a hard glowing object being shoved into a hot oven.

    4. I can't believe it took me this long to have a caption challenge. Keep them coming!

    5. Mr. Stokes: "Oh, so that's where I put my 3-wood"

    6. Summer Olympics of 8024 were almost cancelled, because someone had misplaced the Olympic Flame in a chimney.

    7. Here's one in dialogue:

      “Blue Flame! Blue Flame!”
      “Jimi, what have you been smoking this time?”

    8. They should have known a Weaver was there. After all, where there's smoke, there's fiber.

    9. Pointy stick on hot coals and covered with something blue? It’s smurf kebab!

    10. Little did Bobbin or Stoke know that the wooden stick was behind all this, planning to be finally reunited with its friends.

    11. And thus did they hotbox the forge, getting all therein what is recorded by chroniclers as "Really, really high".

    12. Bobbin was Stoked to see his distaff burn at both ends.

    13. Guild of Blacksmiths soon ran out of employees, because Mr. Stoke was so keen on firing his staff.

    14. Doom of Stoke's forge: burned out staff.

  6. Ah.. poor Cob.. well at least we'll never ever ever have to see or talk to him ever again. There's no possible way he survived that!

  7. Looks like a big sale on, including loads of adventure games for 60% off.

    Just over a day left (apologies if this has been posted before!)

  8. I think this post describes why the game stuck with me all these years. Causing the death of a child and watching the Bishop die like that were quite shocking at a young age.

  9. The Obduction Kickstarter just got funded! Wheee!!!

    1. Myst was never my cup of tea, but I'm glad this got funded! The more new adventure games the merrier! :)

    2. Oh man, Myst. When we first played it we had a 14" CRT that was really dark. We couldn't get very far in Myst, till Dad played it at a friends house, and on the larger screen we could see the switch inside the fireplace.

      That is a game I might play along when Trickster gets to it.