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LOOM Lost Sandglasses Puzzle


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While I'm reintroducing myself, here's another thought I had recently:


We all know about the lost room in Crystalgard in LOOM, right? The three giant sandglasses, in the deleted room file 21.LFL?


I think I've figured out what the puzzle was in which they played a part.


In the final game, Bobbin needs to look in the Glassmakers' Sphere of Scrying. To do this, he has to get past two workers high in a tower, who are polishing the Great Scythe. In the game as released, he can simply cast an Invisibility draft on them, and proceed from there. But matters were likely more complex in the original game, before the cuts.


The hourglass room apparently featured two capped hourglasses, which had run their course. The third one was open, and a Glassmaker stood by it full-time, pouring sand into it. (His job is essentially a magic ritual to avert the Third Shadow--the Apocalypse. Every time the glass gets near full, it is emptied again.)


Anyway, this guy would probably notice Bobbin casting a draft of Invisibility on the workers in the tower.


So Bobbin had to distract him first.


An Emptying spell, or its reverse as a Filling spell, would probably be too easy to counter. Instead, Bobbin would have to use the reversed Opening spell, to seal the hourglass shut.


This act would distract the workers--but not in the way Bobbin hoped.


Even as he sealed the hourglass, the Chromax Conundrum, that magnificent and mysterious diamond goblet held in a place of high honor, would shatter in the next room. Its purpose, unknown even to the Glassmakers, was therefore not merely as a drinking vessel; it was, in fact, crafted as a figurative canary in a coal mine.


(The surviving CES rolling demo of LOOM in fact still contains an image in the resource files of the shattered shards of the goblet at the base of its pedestal.)


As the Glassmakers nearby ran to inspect the shattered chalice, Bobbin would be free to cast Invisibility on the workers in the tower, and thus to get on with the game.


This puzzle was actually reused, it seems, in the Wits Path of Fate of Atlantis. There, Indy is disguised as a sailor on the German submarine, which docks at Crete. To escape the sub undetected, he stages a fire in one of the torpedo rooms, distracting the sailors and allowing Indy to make his escape--first through the sub's lower level and then through the sub's torpedo tubes at its other end.


This sort of reuse of junked puzzles wasn't unusual at all, I gather. In the finale of Day of the Tentacle, for instance, the player has to use a bowling ball to knock over the set of Purple Tentacles who are guarding the Sludge-O-Matic machine.


In fact, according to an old Computer Gaming World interview with Mark Ferrari, this puzzle was actually intended for The Secret of Monkey Island, where Guybrush would bowl away a set of ghost guards. It was cut for disk space reasons, but was resurrected for DOTT.


Additionally, the lost Hourglass Room in LOOM was quite possibly where Master Goodmold explained to Bobbin the history and purpose of the Great Scythe. In the final game, Bobbin already knows of its name and its great power, without apparently being told, when he meets the dying Goodmold in the wake of Chaos' release.


I do wonder, however, why that dialogue wasn't simply moved to another location. Text is a lot easier to put on disk than art, after all.

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