Map10 (Continuous) – Hollow Oblivion by Jason Fowler – Kills – 100, Items – 0, Secret – 100. Time 7:53. End Health 97, Armor 140. Death Count - Zero
Map08 (Pistol Start) – Hollow Oblivion by Jason Fowler – Kills – 100, Items – 0, Secret – 100. Time 6:30. End Health 100, Armor 0. Death Count - 1
Jason Fowler was a friend of Rob Berkowitz, and unlike the rest of us noobs, Jason was a professional level designer. At the time he worked on RoC, Jason was under contract to Ambrosia Software to design levels for their 3D shooter game Avara. More information on Avara here; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avara
I never played Avara, but I played Jason’s maps for RoC and really enjoyed them. Unfortunately for us, Jason was called back for further work on his Avara levels and had to leave the team. Although I personally never knew Jason, I seem to recall Rob saying that this map, Hollow Oblivion, was incomplete and just given a workable ending when Jason left.
As others have said, this map is short and sweet. It feels like very accomplished work and, in my view, has aged exceptionally well. To me, it has a feel similar to the first 3 IWAD maps.
The opening area is good-looking and beautifully constructed, especially the central shack which is quite cleverly designed. The opening fight is a nice bit of “hitscan hell” with a pleasing level of violence and some danger if you make any mistakes. I made one on pistol start and rushed into the open, not realizing that a hidden Chaingunner was about to dust me.
The Arachnotron on a lift was a cool feature. On pistol start, I was able to start infighting between the spider and the Chaingunner who lifted up from the crate. The Chaingunner won. A potential weak point of the map is that a player can leap towards the crate and wake up the Chaingunner before the trap is triggered. In Vanilla Doom, infinite monster height probably blocked the player from doing this, but in ports you can walk over his head and maybe get fired on.
Jason gets more work out of a small space by giving you Revvies on descending columns. On continuous play, I fought them from the open field, dodging their fireballs and shooting rockets. On pistol start, I ran to the Medikit platform and chaingunned the First Revvie, then closed the structure and SSGed the other. Fun!
The drop-down to the teleport puts you in a very dark area. Glad I wasn’t playing on GZDoom! ;) The Spectres provided nothing but SSG targets, so this linear area was the map’s weakest point, IMO. After this, the best part was the Chaingunner Surprise when you ride a lift up. I took more damage on continuous play. On pistol start, I blew them both away with one SSG blast.
The end is a slightly sloggy battle with Barons and Imps. I could have avoided this on pistol start because I came up behind them and the exit – marked this time! -- was right next to me, but I chose to get 100% kills.
Overall, this is a fine map with a very fun set of early fights. Once these battles are finished the map goes downhill a bit, relying too much on shotgunning meat instead of dueling hitscanners. This might reflect the hastily-conceived ending. In spite of that, this is a very sweet, well-executed map, one of the best so far.