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Friday 7th July 2000:

Oblivion: "Castle of Oblivion"
(Size: 1.1 meg. No Alternative downloads.)
Speedrun demo: 0:15

This map is a mixture of metal and blue medieval styles, and consists of a complex, well interconnected system of rooms, courtyards, tunnels and waterways. With this sometimes chaotic design, it feels a bit cobbled together, not in build quality which is good, but with a lot of different areas that don't have much in common beyond the textures. This is accentuated by the diverse architecture being mostly good but sometimes plain. The blue sections have cool wooden pillars, nice arched tunnels and doors, but a few areas are drab with little relief from the navy blue textures. The metal sections have more interesting designs, and better textures, with good outdoor courtyards - a great castle style one is the design highlight of the map. A rock section with a broken bridge is a nice touch. Again some areas don't match the best designs, though angles are common and some curves spice up the looks. Good details like torches and windows are common but not universal, as are lots of riveted metal beams, which look impressive in places. A good map but the inconsistency hampers the potential shown by the better areas.

Rick's levels have a reputation for more exploration than you can shake a Fiend at, and this is no exception - indeed the layout and the secrets are the map's strongest point. There's route choices and non-linearity, and though you have to use certain switches and keys, there's various large, worthwhile side areas to explore. There's 7 secrets, again these are often in complex areas rather than just holes in the wall, making them interesting to find (I got the YA under the bridge without finding the secret). Combat is good too, with a wide range of fighting, monsters that are often well placed in the map, and a fair escalation in difficulty. Generally the combats flow smoothly and consistently, but there are plenty of notably good surprises - Shamblers kept giving me shocks =). Items and ammo are well done through most of the map, keeping ammo tight but giving little supplies just when you need it. However, again I ran out at the end, so be careful not to waste much, as there are some monsters you *need* to kill. You have been warned. More ammo was needed and it wouldn't have reduced the challenge much. Skill settings are well used making it an accessible level.

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