The Imperials are in the midst of their attack on Hoth. Out on the front line, you receive word that the last transport has left. You immediately pull out, rushing back to find an X-wing to leave in, plus the coordinates of the rendevous with the rest of the Rebel Fleet.
I've always loved the Battle of Hoth. It's been a great example of action, drama, and pure excitement in movies for a long time. And aside from the abscence of John Williams' pounding soundtrack, here I think the author has managed to capture what the battle must have been like for those frantic Rebels trying to find some way to escape.
Quite easily the best thing about this level is the mood it puts you in right from the beginning. Your first instinct when you see the walkers on the horizon is to run, and as Imperials come at you from left and right, you never lose that first feeling of panic. The author has also made you feel like you're in the middle of an attack. Taking some cues from movies and the Talay level, there are passages blocked with ice and snow, and bodies of the dead rebels lying around. There are also blast marks, smoke trails, and explosions raining all around you.
The feeling that you are being hunted is also present throughout the level. Walls explode as you approach to reveal Imperial troops pouring through a gap in the defenses, and you need to either stop and fight, or try to push forward.
You can't go through this level without hitting the ice caves, and they happen to be my favorite part. The textures have been altered and combined with original Dark Forces ones to create dark caverns complete with the soft blue glow of ice. It's really impressive for such a simple trick.
That's not to say this level isn't without problems. Like the author says, you should avoid trying explosives in the ice caves. And there are some points where the level loses its illusion. Out on the front line the author needs to restrict your movement to keep the level small, and he does it by setting up an invisible wall. He continues the landscape beyond the wall, but it generates the feeling you're being confined, and when you look out across the snow fields, it doesn't feel real. And why are the Dark Troopers here? I think that three Phase 3s absolutely ruins the level. One might have been tolerable, if placed strategically and given a purpose, but these don't have a point. It really destroyed the level for me. Why the author would resort to using them when he's already created a level that's tough to survive in and to figure out is completely beyond me.
Hey, I really like this level, but the Dark Troopers just blew it for me. The feelings the author had started to evoke, the anxiety, fear, panic, they all just vanished at my first sight of them. But regardless, this is a good level you'll want to download. It tells the story of the Hoth battle from a different perspective, and that's always a good reason to try it.