I recently revisited Alton Towers in England. Last time I went, the
only thing I did was ride Nemesis. This time, I managed to catch up
on everything else. Here are my remarks.
Ratings are -3 to +5, 0 indicates a slightly favorable reaction.
Alton Towers is a huge, beautiful park with wandering paths. The
hills, layout, and sheer beauty are reminiscent of the Busch
Nemesis S Inverted B&M 1994
Rating: High +4
Walt and Claude strike again! Do these guys *always* have to
be so perfect? Even with my high expectations of Nemesis, the
ride astounded me.
Even if you are familiar with the B&M inverted layout, Nemesis
is difficult to describe. Nemesis combines B&M's engineering
brillance with the *best* coaster theming ever developed,
anywhere. I've always thought that B&M's layouts and curving
structures were very organic looking. So did the people at
Alton Towers as they and B&M developed a Bio-mechanical
nightmare using a lot of influence from Giger and Ridley
The theme is that a Alien-like monster, except this one is an
eight-legged arachnid-shape, has been unearthed in a rock
quarry. It is perched halfway down the quarry, oozing red slime
and ***. Water is rushing from outside into the quarry,
mixing with the slime, making a pool of ugly red liquid below.
The articulated limbs contain overgrown claw/fingernail-like
projections which twist in a grotesque fashion around the
creature. The queue line, track, and creature all twist
around each other, making one big semiorganic twist of mechanics
and biology. The guests, when they are in line, are part of
the theming. At several spots in the queue, the train speeds
by, blowing massive gusts of air on those in line. If it
weren't for the fence, one could easily be kicked in the face
by the people in the train. The station/creature is at a
midpoint height-wise between the highest point and the lowest
point of the ride. The inside of the station is themed
similar to the inside of a crashed spaceship.
B&M have always had brilliant transitions between their
elements. In the case of Nemesis, I think that the
transitions are far more fabulous than the elements. (And the
elements are spectacular)
The chainlift sends you out of the creature's mouth and up out
of the quarry. There is a turnaround, practically at ground
level, back down into the quarry. The first drop is
unimpressive. It is a series of two short hills that builds
up enough speed to do a right-hand half-corkscrew. After that
comes the best part of the ride: a steeply diving 270 degree
turn that first follows the queue line, then heads down a
narrow canyon with rushing water and lots of rocks. You pull
out of the quarry and head straight at the creature/loading
station. At the VERY last minute, you do a heartline spin
over the top of the station and head back up the other side of
the quarry, passing the excavation camp and heading into a
tight 180 degree turn. Out of the turn, there is a dive deep
into the quarry, almost to the red pond and through a vertical
loop. The loop exits into a tight tunnel under the queue,
twists around, does another corkscrew, dives into another
tunnel, then does a fast 180 into the brakes.
Nemesis is a bit too short of a ride to get a +5, but still
takes #2 on my steel list, just below Raptor.
Beastie S Junior Pinfari 19??
Big Apple S Junior Pinfari 19??
I'm too big to ride either of these.
Black Hole S Enclosed Twister In-House 19??
The Black Hole very much resembles an enclosed Schwarzkopf
Jumbo Jet, including the powered circular lift hill. Also,
Alton Towers went for the minimalist approach when it comes to
the cheesey themeing, all of which is quite effective. The
first drop promises a wild ride, the second drop starts to
make good on the promise, but right there, the ride ends.
Essentially, The Black Hole is one-half of what could have
been an excellent in-the-dark twister.
Corkscrew S Corkscrew Vekoma Intl. b.v. 1978
Essentially the same as the Vekoma Corkscrew running at
Playland in Vancouver, it features good, relatively smooth
tracking, some nice airtime, and a couple of tight turns.
New Beast S Jumbo Jet Schwarzkopf 19??
Rating: Low 0
The New Beast is one of the slowest Jumbo Jets that I've ever
been on; it just sort of tours around the course. Still, I
like the design and placement enough to keep it in the barely
Thunderlooper S Shuttle Schwarzkopf 1978/1990(RL)
Thunderlooper has a nice placement in the park near Nemesis,
but seems to lack some of the spirit that other Schwarzkopf
shuttles have. The brakes when re-entering the station are on
rather strong, but the lowness to the ground gives a great
sensation of speed. It's a good ride, but with Nemesis
looming in the backround, it's difficult to stay with more
than once or twice.