Dark rides that are simple, but effective

Discussion in 'Rest of the World Parks and Attractions' started by Matt N, 21st Dec 2020.

  1. Matt N

    Matt N TowersStreet Member

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    Hi guys. Often when talking about dark rides, the most popular ones in the world wow riders with hugely complex ride systems, large-scale theming and breathtaking special effects. But have you ever ridden an attraction that doesn’t employ any of these things on such a grand scale, but is still just as effective, in your view?

    For me, one ride that comes to mind instantly when thinking of simple, but effective dark rides is Hex at Alton Towers. Technologically speaking, Hex is quite a simplistic attraction; none of the effects are particularly complex, and even the Madhouse ride system itself is relatively simple. However, the sense of drama and immersion the ride utilises during the ride portion and pre-shows, as well as a very effective use of the pre-existing Towers Ruins, make it a really enveloping, ambient and entertaining attraction, in my view; it’s my personal favourite indoor attraction in the UK.

    The other one I was thinking of is slightly more left-field, and one that might be controversial given that most seem to slate it, but I’d also nominate The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Florida for this category as well, although I’d say that it creates a very different sort of vibe to Hex. I know that calling a Universal dark ride simplistic seems proposterous, but compared to some of Universal Orlando’s more recent, technologically advanced dark rides, like Spider-Man, Transformers and Forbidden Journey amongst others, the ride uses pretty simple ride hardware and technology. However, there’s one key thing that makes The Simpsons Ride shine for me, and that is its scripting. Every part of the ride is full to the brim with Simpsons gags and witty one-liners, from the Simpsons theme park highlights in the queue to the Itchy & Stratchy safety video to the various gags on the ride itself. It’s one of the only rides where something as simple as a pre-ride safety spiel has ever made me laugh, and I absolutely love how Universal Creative and the Simpsons writers managed to cram gags into every corner of the attraction; in stark contrast to Hex above, I think the ride is effective because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Overall, I’d say that The Simpsons Ride is still one of my firm favourites at Universal Orlando for this very reason, in spite of the fact that the technology is quite simplistic.

    But what dark rides have you ridden that you’d call simple, but effective?
     
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  2. Thameslink Rail

    Thameslink Rail TowersStreet Member

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    Simple yet effective, Tyrant, London Dungeons (when working) is just a boat ride with a backwards drop that catches lots of people by surprise (helps that you can't see the ride before boarding and you can't see the drop unless you know what to look for). It also helps that they had a good actor to portray Henry VIII (Brian Blessed).
     
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  3. John_P

    John_P TowersStreet Member

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    I mean you can't get something more simple than the River Caves at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Can't imagine the basic premise has been altered in the 115 years it has operated.
     
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  4. Thameslink Rail

    Thameslink Rail TowersStreet Member

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    It's roughly the same although if I remember correctly the drop was a later addition. I would be interested to see the ride as it originally looked as attitudes to other countries have changed a lot as the empire has collapsed and civil rights organisations have come and gone.
     
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  5. John_P

    John_P TowersStreet Member

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    Yeah the drop was a relatively new addition (well in the last 50 years which is new for Blackpool). But you can still see the old troughs path, plus it sort of blocks the very last scene.
    I'm not sure about changes in the scenes, the old post cards I've seen show very similar scenes to what we have today.
    Wonder if they'll eventually revamp it in someway.

    Also another dark ride I love is Droomvlucht at Efteling, such a fantastic ride with beautiful scenes. So relaxing, and the last bit when your gliding (or coasting?) to the bottom. Just amazing.
     
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  6. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Haunted Mansion at Knoebels. A simple ride system with some good old fashioned effects but pulled off brilliantly!
     
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  7. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    The scenes and rooms have changed, and the route extended, over the years.
    The last extension was when the Watson Rd overpass went in.
    The important matter...What year did they put the drop in the River Caves...even the park staff have drawn a blank on that one!
     
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  8. RoyJess

    RoyJess TowersStreet Member

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    Traditional darks rides have always been simple but effective.

    Black lights effects, peppers ghost effects, animatronics along with lights and sound effects is all you need. A dark ride is all about theatrical effects.
     
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