Just got back from Alton Towers today and I do admit that I don't think the park made too many mistakes with Sub-Terra considering the nature of the ride and it's reliance on effects. As with any ride with this type of reliance, tweaks need to be made and the ride will have a break-in period. You only have to look at Hex to realise a dark ride can go from awful to a masterpiece after six months of operations. I feel Sub-Terra is starting to grow into quite the attraction after the initial bad reception from opening. Saying this, as to be expected, it's not all the way there yet.
First off, the actors were very good and maintained a good sense of intimidating authority whilst still being rather witty! The batching room preceding the lift was good being dark with a short video explaining the idea of a group of eggs being discovered underground and that you are viewing one which has been deemed safe. You then move on to the lifts rather swiftly. This is where there could be some improvement. Apart from some lights and slight vibrations, it didn't feel like you were going down. Something could be done here to make the lift feel more authentic.
It's not until the lift door opens to reveal the caves that the level of theming becomes clear. The low level lighting, haze and rock really creates a good atmosphere. From here, another set of doors open to bring you to the ride area. With the giant egg centrepiece, lighting and other details of theming, this room is highly effective and the actors do a terrific job of rushing you to your seat. The ride sequence begins and if you didn't previously know there was a drop coming up, you wouldn't have the slightest idea! More explanation of the egg is interrupted with flickering lights and activity from the egg. Sirens go off and you get sprayed with water as smoke starts to billow from the centrepiece. Here is another complaint. It seems from other reviews that the lights are supposed to go out and when they come back up, the egg has hatched. This did not happen and thus, we saw the table turn slowly to reveal the hatched egg. Obviously, the effect was horribly ruined. More sound effects build tension until, what I feel, was one of the coolest things I've seen on a ride. Each of the four ten rows dropped independently at random intervals. Seeing the people disappear below the floor before you was truly strange. We were the last to fall so we saw each of the other rows fall before us.
The drop is admittedly average and could pack more of a punch. This could be down to the fact that the floor drops with each vehicle. The bottom room was quite disappointing. I couldn't see a thing. As far as I am aware, you were supposed to see the other eggs that Phalanx didn't harbour. However, the other elements here stole the show. Sounds of the monster screaming filled the room until the screams of riders drowned this out as they were poked in the back and the monster brushed past their legs! It even took me by surprise. Soon, each vehicle was pulled back up only to be greeted by loud sirens, flashing red lights and Phalanx operatives ordering you to get out as quickly as possible. The sense of urgency was overwhelming.
The second lift that took you to the surface again had a nice twist. This time, it felt as if you were travelling upwards as the floor moved and vibrated. Suddenly, the lights went out and the floor shook violently. The screams of the monster filled the lift and with one large jolt, the lift seemed to be smashed by the monster from outside. When the lifts finally opened, more actors rushed you out in what was a slightly underwhelming corridor as it was fully lit by the sunlight at the end. This could be rectified by utilising the black plastic flaps used at the first batching room.
Overall, I was thoroughly shocked. It surpassed my very low expectations by some degree! Obviously, there needs to be a few more adjustments before Sub-Terra becomes something to be described as amazing, but it is getting there. It's the finer details, which every effect-reliant ride should have, that need improving. I feel Nemesis Sub-Terra is a great addition to the park. I just hope that over the next few months, Alton Towers continue their improvements and bring it up to the likes of Hex.
Last edited by jason10
on Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:07 am.
I have nothing intersting to say here. Have a nice day!