A nightmarish underground adventure awaits anyone brave enough to explore the mysterious Phalanx facility at the entrance to Forbidden Valley. Phalanx Control have been investigating the legend of Nemesis and you are invited to join them to see the results of their recent explorations.
Deep beneath Forbidden Valley, The Phalanx discovered a giant alien egg within a long abandoned cave complex. They transported the egg to their field lab and have set up a viewing gallery to allow guests to get up close to this dormant and perfectly safe relic.
Sub-Terra is a story led drop tower ride, and once guests are seated within the viewing gallery, things begin to go wrong when the supposedly dormant egg releases the offspring of Nemesis into the cavern. 4D effects are used throughout the chamber to simulate the creatures scuttling through the shadows. During the ride sequence, you are dropped from the lab into a whole nest of alien eggs, as klaxons and alarms go off all around.
What follows is a frantic escape from the facility, featuring a pair of very rickety lifts, which are prone to Nemesis attacks. And before you escape back into Forbidden Valley, terror-stricken riders must pass through decontamination before stumbling back into the light of day.
Throughout the closed season development work continued and the park revealed key information about the ride, hyping up Sub-Terra's close links to the original Nemesis legend.
The teaser campaigns also focused heavily on the terrifying nature of the experience, culminating in a marketing stunt where the British Board of Film Classification gave the ride a 12A rating. On 24th March 2012, the ride opened to the public, billed as "Your worst nightmare: underground."
It turned out, however, that the ride would actually prove to be the park's worst nightmare - early reviews of the ride were not positive, resulting in very low guest satisfaction ratings. Many felt that the experience was far too short, lacking immersion and was generally not at all terrifying. The lifts at the end of the ride proved to be particularly anti-climactic, as instead of building to a big finale, they instead released confused guests straight back into broad daylight, wondering if 'that was it'.
The park took on board this guest feedback, and the ride closed between 21st-25th May 2012, to receive upgrades. The existing preshow and ride sequence was tweaked to make the overall story flow better, but by far the biggest changes came at the end of the ride. After the lifts, an additional shipping container was added, containing a scare-maze finale, complete with new effects and live actors.
These alterations created a much more complete ride experience, which more closely reflected the ride's billing as a terrifying attraction. The result was a much more positive public opinion of the new and improved Nemesis: Sub-Terra.
What Happened Next...
The ride never really managed to rise above its bumpy arrival into the park. Whilst the modifications were certainly an improvement on the original version of the ride, the height clearance of the building meant that the drop towers at the heart of Sub-Terra were too short to offer any real thrill. This meant that the attraction was too scary for some (due to the storyline and live action elements) and too tame for others (due to the actual ride itself), leaving an increasingly small segment of guests to enjoy the ride in its entirety.
The improved experience also relied very heavily on the scare-maze for the full effect, so as the number of actors dwindled over the years, so too did the effectiveness of the scares and therefore popularity of the ride.
And then the maintenance issues began - it was not long before the restraints on the drop towers began to cause issues and, by its third year in the park, Sub-Terra was experiencing long periods of downtime. After one final period of maintenance, the ride reopened in June 2015 with all new and very much more restrictive restraints, which it was hoped would finally solve the ride's reliability. But it was not to be, and the ride would close again on 8th August of the same year, this time for the long term.
Whilst the ride had ceased operation, in the following years, Nemesis Sub-Terra had somewhat of a second life as part of Scarefest. Not only did it feature as the backdrop for the Dark Apocalypse Scare Zone in 2015-16, but the promotional Sub-Terra egg from 2012's Big Egg Hunt also re-appeared in Sub-Strain: Hunt for the Cure, the park's one-time educational Scarefest experience.
From 2018-2019, the attraction building itself played host to Project 42, with zombies roaming the facility as guests entered a scare-maze to hunt for the cure to a lethal virus. The maze ran for just two seasons but its props and sets remained in place until 2022 when the building was cleared of all the Scarefest theming, ahead of an intriguing round of low-key maintenance for the facility, sparking a lot of interest in what plans the park might have for the site.
Over the years, the ride gained something of a mythical status, as rumour often swirled of a possible re-emergence or replacement for the ride, but had we been sub-terrorised for the final time? The ride remained standing, but not operating, within the Phalanx Facility until 2023, when it was announced the ride would indeed operate once again.
The ride reopened on 27th May 2023, with near identical operations to the last time it had operated back in 2015. A new logo and updated queue line videos welcomed a whole new generation to their worst nightmare: underground. The ride experience was much the same as when the ride first operated, with some strong elements, but an unfortunately muted climax, with the scare-maze portion of the attraction somewhat toned down for the ride's second outing.