Alton Towers deserve credit
and kudos for many things. The medley of rides at the park seems to be
spot on with a nice variety of family water rides, large white-knuckle
roller coasters and the de rigueur spin rides.
It is the spin ride that perhaps
the park is most keen on installing. With each simple glorified
fairground attraction that opens, it is delivered in a blitz of
marketing that may even over-shadow even Valhalla. This means that the
public are quite happy to queue for half-an-hour for an insipid version
of what can be found at a half-decent fair.
That is quite a harsh outlook,
perhaps, and what spin rides are good at in theme parks is to offer a
stark contrast to the sprawling undulations of a roller coaster, filling
in a plot that may otherwise be another souvenir shop and at least being
a small investment for the park, as opposed to large rides with no
Although the theming in the X
Sector is about as descriptive and explicit as the name, it is one of
the most impressive areas in that once you’re in the centre of it, a
simple 360-degree revolution will impress – not only do you follow the
course of Oblivion, but there is always something going on – a shuttle
from Oblivion plunging deep under the ground, the Enterprise skimming
the final turn-around of Oblivion, or the newest addition, Submission.
When moving, the ride appears to
be far more discouraging and menacing than when it does parked, when it
appears to be no more than a puffed up Sky Flyer.
Like everything else in the X
Sector, the flat-black colour scheme remains, this time with
electric-blue highlights. Built around
the black vertical structure of
the ride is a latticework star formation reaching the height of the
On the supporting arms of the
ride mirrors catch the sunlight, and on the counterweights high above
long spikes protrude from the side making Submission look like some
large-scale space age weaponry.
When the ride moves, each arm
moves in the opposite direction and the gondola turns in the opposite
direction to the arm. With the peaks of the star structure and the
spiked blades on the end of the arms, the ride is most certainly a crowd
puller and demands your attention.
With the black and silver
structure gleaming with vivid radiance in the sunlight, the blue accents
and spot-lamps underneath finish the ride off with a fantastic
pseudo-space-age theme, yet retaining the sense of anomaly that the
whole of the X Sector seems to portray.
The queue for the ride takes
place in the former queue for the Energiser splitting towards the end
for each gondola. The queue weaves under the final brake-run of
Oblivion, which is strange as Oblivions’ conclusion is almost as high
as Submission itself.
There are six rows of four on
each of the gondola arranged in the opposite way to a Pirate Ship,
whereby there are three rows on each side of the gondola facing the
outside edges. There are two gondolas, so mathematicians among us will
grasp that the ride seats a respectable 48 people.
Once everyone is sat comfortably,
the black over-head restraints will lower. Once they’re down, what can
only be described as a robust spatula will come down from the front in
the manner of a lap-bar and press tightly down on the over-head
Once the flap guarding the gap
between the gondola and platform has raised, the ride starts. As the arm
lifts the gondola, the gondola severely dips towards the ground leaving
half the riders staring at the close-hand ground and the other side
It only takes a few swings before
you see the spike on the end of the opposing arm fly past at close
quarters, the track of Oblivion and then the neighbouring gondola as you
and them are now fully inverted.
Without even pausing, you gyrate
back towards the ground and just as you think you’re going to hit,
you’re pulled back skywards in a frenzy of rotations. Without
stopping, relentlessly you head back towards terra firma, and on the
journey back to the sky, you slow before pausing for what seems an
As you feel the blood rush to
your head and the contents of your pockets slither to a near predictable
demise 35-foot below, the ride edges itself back into a downward fling,
over again before slowing to a crawl and up-righting itself once again.
The ride so far seems to have had
a rather subdued response both in feedback via websites and also from
when people get off the ride. Watch Samurai, and people will come off
grinning like Cheshire Cats, even after queuing for three-quarters of an
hour. People already seem to be rather nonchalant with the thrills
Submission claims to offer.
Despite you having anything up to
two rows of seats in front, nobody at Chance Rides has even made an
effort to tier the seats towards the centre. This means, if you’re not
in the front seat, you’ll be able to see nothing but the seat back in
Worst of all, the ride is a bore
– not repetitive – a bore. You could happily play a game of
stone/paper/scissors on it or have a conversation – it isn’t as if
people are screaming loudly.
The ride is hardly fast, which
isn’t always a bad thing, just look at Flying Circus. However, it
fails to exert high amounts of G-force on you, you don’t feel
weightless at any point, and it is never at any point disorientating.
Fine, this could be the fault of
the park running the ride on a low-fat setting. I don’t see how it
could ever provoke excitement, though, due to an audacious lack of
visuals and anything that could be mistaken as an out of the ordinary
‘force’ of any type.
The front seat is better. Under
the ride is a trench, so you get very, very close to the ground at some
speed (relatively speaking). So, the front seat
is passable – that leaves the ride as a 16-seater – not the high
capacity 48 riders per ride I harked about earlier.
may be a good stepping-stone for those willing to do Samurai one day.
Unless these people know that the ride is all show and no guts, then
they’re never going to ride it, and the marketing spiel that goes with
the ride will make sure of that.
▪ Looks spectacular
▪ Poor visuals unless you are in
the very front row
▪ Run on a terribly slow
▪ Restraints are very
painful, especially when inverted