To break up the flow of Benin Germany trip reports ( ), I've written a little something about my trip to Liseberg. Anyone who follows me on twitter or Facebook, probably knows what's coming. Alas, this will be a more detailed account of my trip.
So I'm just going to start with, great park. It features a good selection of flat rides, a well paced fun rapids ride and a very peculiar log flume. There's not many parks which have four very re-rideable roller coasters and Liseberg arguably has three that you can ride over and over again. Well what about the fourth? Well this is where my report begins, Kanonen, an Intamin launch coaster that I know many on here don't like. In theory I shouldn't either. It demonstrates everything I don't like about the majority of Intamin rides such as those horrible restraints, lowish throughput, an attempt at a ride that should never got off the ground. And yet after the first ride I thought it was fine. The more I rode it the more I really liked it. I can't put my finger on why either. The launch for example feels like there's a trim at the end as the train loses speed very quickly. The top hat isn't anything to write home about. I like the vertical loop which has a lot of hang time as the train pretty much struggles to get round it. The stengel turn contorts the train horrifically and ironically, the ground hugging turn kills any momentum the ride previously had. And the inline which is fitted into a tight corner, barely making it before slamming into the breaks. It shouldn't be enjoyable, in fact most don't like it I'm rather fond of its unassumingness.
So to put into perspective, this is nowhere near a top ten ride. That's okay though, as it's never going to pretend to be one, it never had an ambition to be fighting it out with Katun and Nemesis. No this is a take it or leave it launch ride. I'll take it but I know most will ignore and never return.
With that little bit of awkward out the way, lets now go onto the big guns, Balder a big player in the Mitch Hawker poll and the 2nd most popular (queue wise) ride at Liseberg. I want to put it out there that ironically, whilst being quite tolerant of rough rides, when it comes to woodies I expect a bit of the old shaky. These are rides that feel more organic then constructed, the wood flexing and creaking as a train rushes through its circuit, I expect a bit of activity, I'm fond of being thrown about a bit. Balder is not that ride. Balder is more concerned with treating you nicely, chucking you into forceful ejector hill at every hill but never pushing it too far. I think that's more a failing then a positive actually. Every hill chucks you into the same thrilling sensation and when it does 7/8 of the same type of hill it does get a bit predictable.
With that being said, it is a top tier ride. There isn't another woodie that I've previously been on that delivers such constant air time as this. Even the stunning Tonnerre de Zeus does lose a bit of momentum 3/4's of the way through. Here Balder delivers a thrilling and fast ride from first drop to break run. The little humps in particular are the rides highlight. One of the better woodies in Europe certainly but as relentless and out of control as Wodan? Not a chance.
[interestingly, my partner Chris, said Balder was boring and was so predictable that he found it hard to enjoy]
Onto a more classic attraction and a ride whose name I can't say without adding more ananana, it's Lisebergbanan, a classic if I ever did see one. This if you like is Schwarzkopfs crowning glory, a testament to the awesomeness of their rides, a people eating machine that is much loved by all that visit the theme park. One I thing I'm a big fan of is how it utilises the natural hillside to create a pacey, well designed attraction. Whilst never truly leaving its ground hugging nature, it uses the energy of the train in neat ways and never needs an extra kick like a second lift hill or launch area to get the train going again. We could use more rides like this in the modern era, too many parks concern themselves with gimmicks or tag lines and forget that getting through people should matter more then anything else. A fond favourite and very good in the dark.
And now, finally; Helix.
Instead of going through a full analysis of why Helix is so awesome, I'm just going to cover a few basis. I don't want to give too much away here for those who haven't been yet.
1. The drop out of the station into the corkscrew is a sublime way to start the ride.
2. The two air time hills are absolutely fabulous. By the end of my two days, the tops of my legs were aching from the sheer amount of air time.
3. The turn after the first air time hill is incredible. Think Nemesis's first helix and then add a lap bar, it's an incredible moment.
4. The middle half of the ride is sublime, seriously sublime. I cannot think of a ride out there that is as well paced and relentless as this. A perfect combination of layout, ride train and intensity.
5. The second launch into the largest inversion on the ride is brilliant. Look out over the park on your ride and just enjoy.\
6. The second air time hill. So good, it deserves a second mention. Utterly deceptive and yet awesome.
7. A fast moving queue line is always a good thing. If the queue is out the door, it's only an hour long. Worth the wait and then some.
So the real question when it comes to it is.. is it better then Blue Fire? I'm going to be controversial and say no. Blue Fire is far more fun and likeable then Helix but don't let that be a criticism. It's like saying do you want a million pounds or a million and one pounds. Both rides are so sublime and top of the field that it becomes irrelevant. And unfortunately in this age of lists and top tens, one has to be slightly better then the other. When it comes to the criticisms of Helix being it's throughput is slightly lower or its theming isn't quite as consistent as Blue Fire, thats just picking at straws. What we are seeing with these two rides is a demonstration of Mack's perfection. Intamin hasn't a hope of catching them now, even if their new lap bar is any good, it's too late for them to catch up with the diversity and perfection of the Mack model. All I ask is that the UK gets one soon, don't let this concept get away from us. Because if we got one, I'd have no doubt that Nemesis would be toppled from the top of the roost..