Goliath, Walibi World
if The Louvre inherited a long-lost priceless painting by Picasso that
had been discovered by chance in storage. Critics hail it as simply the
finest ever work of art cast onto canvass, and this single painting
quickly becomes the new Mona Lisa, synonymous with the art of expression
through a paintbrush.
course, as any discerning gallery would do, The Louvre put this
masterpiece on display... by dumping it in the broom cupboard and giving
someone the key.
are very much the Picasso of the moment in terms of roller coasters. Not
only are their works of art eye catching and bold, more often than not,
they’re quite unlike anything else seen before.
terms of Mega Coasters, their first work of art in Europe was put
proudly on display at Holiday Park in Germany. Their anthology of rides
had much to be desired, but Expedition Ge-Force did more than tip the
balance back in their favour as it has taken root at the top of many
polls and top tens ever since its 2001 debut.
throughout the park like the Bayeux Tapestry, this is a masterpiece
they’re clearly proud of with the orange track threading its way
through the wooded park and soaring over the labyrinth of pathways and
the park’s river rapids ride.
presentation of Goliath, meanwhile, is comparably bizarre. If Walibi
World was a trophy cupboard, Goliath would undoubtedly be the biggest,
shiniest trophy of all. However, as it rewards the holder for being
Plank of the Month, it takes its rightful place right at the back, where
people can still stare in wonderment, yet maintaining an irritating
sense of anonymity. Like putting a Picasso in a broom cupboard,
Goliath’s presentation does strike me as an opportunity lost.
the placid landscapes of the Netherlands do little to allay the
ever-present threat of flooding, it certainly helps when it comes to
giving short coasters a spectacular presence on the horizon. The grassy
green track is held 150ft aloft with the slender deep purple supports
– which, for a mega coaster, is nothing to brag about – and sprawls
along the lakeside to the left hand side of the park.
my criticisms of this ‘mega’ coaster being such a recluse, from
parts of the car park it forms a remarkable landscape of serpentine
track gracefully rising high into the sky before dropping out of view
behind the tree line.
is at the end of a wooded pathway with the brash industrial-style
station nestled amongst the trees with the electric green track
contrasting the grey hues of the station and soaring into the sky above.
The rest of the ride is completely hidden from view until you walk
through the mainly cattlepen-style queue line against which the final
furlong of bunny hops run.
station is small, but gives budding heroes the chance to take on Goliath
from whatever seat they want – whether front or back. With two trains
and a moderate ride time, Goliath deals well with the queues, especially
when compared to an almost identical set-up on Expedition Ge-Force where
it takes staff almost ten minutes to push restraints down until they
hear the crack of bone.
rolling stock on Goliath is fairly comfortable, especially in comparison
to Expedition Ge-Force where you cannot move your entire lower body due
to the design of the floor.
trains are stripped down to the bare fundamentals – a seat and a
restraint. If you like the cosy feeling of sitting inside the train,
well, you’re out of luck as Goliath’s trains are like driving a
go-kart in a high chair.
bums on seats, the train starts the climb up the lift before Goliath
does everything in his power to keep your bum off the seat.
Swiftly climbing the lift, the ride suddenly becomes much less candid
with the entire layout mapped out beneath you.
as you climb, the realisation dawns that this has the potential to be a
wonderful, wonderful ride. Every element the discerning mega coaster fan
could want is there in front of you; a massive 135ft camelback hill, an
over-banked dive, helixes, sharp changes in direction, swooping dives
and ground hugging S-turns – surely this ride has what it takes to
fulfil the criteria to be simply one of the best rides in the world?
to find out.
absolutely no hesitation whatsoever, the train drops out from under you,
curling into a straight first drop tugging you down towards the ground
before climbing up into a massive straight camelback hill.
forces of the ride pull you not only skywards, but forwards too as the
train hovers in the sky before dropping into a ground-hugging turn. As
your eyes adjust to the speed, Goliath makes another bid for the sky,
this time tipping the train up onto its side and over into almost an
inversion before curling out and dropping into a sprawling ground-level
train peels out from this turn, rolls around to the right and smoothly
flicks back down to the left before going into a clockwise 380-degree
helix. With the train tipped to the right above the lake below, the
helix spirals upwards into another right-to-left flick into a swooping
dive into the first of three bunny hops.
the shadow of the lift hill, the tracks warps 40ft skywards through a
neat parabolic hill, the second repeating the gesture as you pass the
main queue line, and the third as you soar past the station building.
this ungainly assault on your body the train hugs the ground as it
sweeps around to the left, before recoiling back to the right through a
final S-turn and smoothly stopping on the short brake run.
is simply so much that works to Goliaths’ favour – the lakeside
setting, the powerful bouts of negative G-force and the potpourri mix of
ironically, these things also represent the mighty Goliath’s achilles
heel. The lakeside setting, while great, is very aloof. There is no
sense of getting a taste of the coaster before you commit yourself to a
ride. While it’s wrong to expect the entire ride to be open to
analysis, it seems a shame that it is a ride only enjoyed when you’re
ready to take on Goliath’s might.
powerful bouts of negative Gs are quite extraordinary. There is no
feeling of this being a natural force as there is on Silver Star –
this is a very artificial and manufactured force.
this is in no way a bad thing.
them, Ge-Force and Goliath boast just about the best airtime that
there’s to be had in Europe. Even the front seat isn’t immune from
the wonderful sensation of what must be the closest to space exploration
without donning a space suit.
of course, these massively obvious forces show up the lack of power in
other elements, most notably the helixes. The twisting turns in and out
of the helixes show how nimble, commanding – yet smooth Goliath can be
without having to use powerful bouts of airtime, and while the swoop
into the second helix is particularly forceful, neither of the helixes
are as exciting as by rights they should be.
what is good about Goliath is good – really good. The straight
first drop removes all need for comparison between this and Expedition
Ge-Force, and the camelback following is a nice nod to the similar
element found on Goliath’s German counterpart.
over-banked turn, nicknamed the Stengal Dive, is absolutely wonderful.
It is worth sacrificing the sublime airtime that this hill could have
provided for the obscure sensation of having your head tipped below your
feet on what is unanimously classed as a non-looping coaster.
makes the Stengal Dive yet more interesting, is that for all intents and
purposes, it isn’t really an over-banked turn as such. This is
another example of a very forced manoeuvre, much like Ge-Force’s first
drop or the sharp turns found elsewhere on Goliath, yet it feels so
natural it would feel wrong without it.
helixes are forgettable, but the ending isn’t. The first bunny hop
sets you up for the remaining two which seem to do all the hard work,
before a ground hugging S-turn highlights the remaining speed before
last orders are called.
Goliath is a cannily apt name – to some, it is an all-conquering
giant, but of course that doesn’t necessarily guarantee victory in any
showdown. Goliath is a wonderful coaster, but there is fleeting promise
of better things, which generally go unrealised.
MS 06 June 2005
▪ Amazing feeling of airtime
▪ Stengal dive is unique and highly effective
▪ Good mixture of elements with drops, turns and helixes
▪ Decent length, and powerful until the end
▪ Helixes don't deliver in
comparison to the rest of the ride
▪ Setting of the ride means it is hidden away to all but