Jump to content

Derren Brown's Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon


Marc

Recommended Posts

7 hours ago, Matt N said:

Maybe they could do some sort of refurbishment to convert it into a more regular dark ride? I'd imagine that DBGT probably has more track than you might expect, so that could work!

 

If the wanted to a more conventional dark ride, they would pretty much have to rip out Ghost Train and start again. In terms of tracks, Ghost Train literally just has a pair of parallel train tracks, so a conversion/refurb wouldn't really do much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It really is an awkward one isn't it? Maybe just some new VR I guess then once Derren's name removed? Or maybe not even that - you wouldn't know Derren has anything to do with it other than the hologram and the countdown when you are "back in the room" on the VR or whatever he says.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The weird thing was that when we got on the train the actors kept saying “don’t take the headsets out of the bags yet” giving the impression that the headsets actually work.  My niece who I was with assumed the same (we hadn’t been on for a couple of years and a ton of headset were in bags) - after the first section my niece said she got shouted at by one of the actors for not using a headset - cos it was broken.  Apparently the actor was quite rude and shouted at her for not having a working headset - would make more sense for the actors to tell people that the headsets in bags don’t work but they didn’t and implied to take them out once everyone was seated.  I think my niece has only done ghost train twice before and due to covid and what was being said it’s an easy mistake to make, however I don’t think shouting sarcastically at a guest is the best attitude to have!

 

Honestly I wish they would flatten the thing - at least the arena was a decent space for fright nights mazes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds like they're being told to not say "headsets in the bag are broken" (or at the very least, to avoid words like broken), and then muddling up how they're communicating with it.

 

The attitude ain't great though. Wonder if that's them being told to stick within a character and them not judging when to tone it down correctly, or just poor staff

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, JoshC. said:

Sounds like they're being told to not say "headsets in the bag are broken" (or at the very least, to avoid words like broken), and then muddling up how they're communicating with it.

 

The attitude ain't great though. Wonder if that's them being told to stick within a character and them not judging when to tone it down correctly, or just poor staff


They definitely weren’t communicating well - if you were riding for the first time you might assume the ones in bags are the clean ones maybe.  Anyway I didn’t hear what was said as I had my head set on but apparantly the actor was both shouty and very sarcastic.

 

Also - do they no longer touch peoples legs in there?  That’s the main reason I went on 😂🤣.  The ride is so dead in the water.  We just had a woman coughing at the end - right in my face at one point so hoping she didn’t have a dose of covid.  Will the demon at the end ever resurface?  That was genuinely the best part of the ride

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To me, without the demon ending, the whole storyline is completely disjointed.

Granted the 'infected' ones are the more promiment ones in the storyline, but after they got rid of the demon in the tunnel/lights on a stick schtick for Rise of the Demon - it kind of makes the demon a bit... irrelevant?

 

They should either scrap the demon idea entirely and just focus on the people 'infected by the gas', or scrap the infected and go with the demon.

 

'Rise of the Demon' doesn't make any sense anymore - but to be fair, I never understood the idea of why a demon was involved when the gas was turning people infected?

Really, really poor storyline.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The whole experience is just a mess and it’s like they never really thought things through that well.  The 2 photo points in the queue are no longer in use so the ending part and the photo booth is pointless.  They had the bag drop the first year and then got rid of that after just one season.  Instead of fixing the mid section which I thought was a really good effect they’ve just hashed up a mini maze in there.  The pre show is so long and tedious and they’ve now added almost a second preshow with an actor which seems to go on forever and as a result the second VR section has been cut.  The initial second VR section was very odd so I do prefer the updated one but I would rather it have stayed what it was instead of cutting it to accommodate the actors speech which is quite tedious.

My favourite part was the exit/gift shop but they’ve fudged that up now that the demon is gone - it genuinely scared me the first time I saw it but now just a person coughing doesn’t have the same effect.

Even the shop looks pretty awful compared to how it used to be - half empty and selling other ride merch.

 

Its just not worth re-riding (I only do if I’m with someone who hasn’t been on and wants to try it).  There are so many options they could have gone for for a dark ride - even a bog standard ghost train would be better at this point.  All the hype surrounding it and it’s just a pile of crud - I guess it was a gamble they took which hasn’t paid off.  Wondering at which point it will just be called “ghost train” because I don’t think I’d want my name to be affiliated with it.  Maybe I’m being harsh - I just miss the arena in all honesty.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thought we'd do this today as the park was so quiet and could get a booked ticket. So we took the plunge, what could possibly go wrong?

 

Arrived at 1.30pm, the start of our timed slot. Entered the queue and there were already 2 groups batched (2 trains) in the pen, and a fair few in front of us. Queue time on the app jumped to 25 minutes - and we actually got in at 2.05pm so they were about right... my goodness though, that queue is so frustratingly slow. I think people (not me, I hasten to add) expect that you would be able to jump straight on with a timed ticket and not have to queue at all... that's of course not the case. I assume the timed tickets are still happening with DBGTROTD because of a heady mix of unreliability and slow throughput, meaning timed tickets mean a minimum/controlled number of potentially disappointed guests. Someone in front of us asked the batcher how long the queue would be, and she said "We aren't allowed to give exact queue times but it should be about 25 minutes" - clearly that instruction must come from past experience or management above with this ride (which is odd considering the app shows a time but maybe that's just a guess from number of timed tickets "sold")

 

Anyway, we get in and Dezza B appears (he hasn't aged a bit!) and talks about thrillseekers, scaring babies, keeping secrets and all that. We then enter the preshow. 

 

A man is on a plinth with a microphone saying he is from Minds Wanted and we are to go on an expedition to investigate with Sub Core and decipher what's real and what's not (or something). He asks for a lead volunteer for the group, asks them to count backwards from 3 and look left and right to test how intelligent they are, much hilariousness. He then gets us to remember a number and repeat it. He then asks if anyone knows what siderodromophobia is. Of course no one knows, and it's the fear of trains. Asks if anyone has this fear. Picks someone and double checks they don't have it... almost as if he's stalling for time... he then asks if anyone knows what arachnophobia is - bit random - much chatter ensues and then finally someone bursts through the doors saying Sub Core are "drilling in to our mind more like" and the Minds Wanted chap tells her to shut up and stop being a nuisance and tells us to ignore her and we go into the train loading. She roams around telling us to go back etc. Now, to be fair to both of these actors, I can't imagine this is a particularly easy role, but my god it just did not work. For a start, that pre-loading room was never meant to have people in it for that amount of time, it just felt uncomfortable and evident they were stalling for time.

 

We get on the train, and put on the headsets (read: me and my mate both have to hold them on because they will not stay on our heads despite all manner of adjusting the straps and velcro). Dezza pipes up "10...9... 8... 7.... 6.... 5.... 4... 3.... 2.... 1...." Here we go... "the night vision" mode kicks in, train starts to move... within seconds "Please stay seated and follow instructions from your ride hosts, we are sorry for the delay" (or words to that effect). I say to my mate - this isn't good, we've barely moved out of the station. Air con goes on, someone asks if it's OK to get off after about 10 minutes, which of course isn't possible because we are stuck in between the two stations.

After what feels like forever, the lights go back on with Sub Core on the screens and we get on with our JoURnEy. This first bit of VR had the old guy with the dog as always, and then a young girl - which I hadn't seen before. There was no jump scare as such from her, think she might have warned us to go back and tell us how the gas was effecting her.

 

Anyway, off with your headsets QUICK QUICK QUICK, we are ushered through a few switchbacks of fencing in the tunnels bit, lots of screaming and such.... we congregate in the main room where a couple of actors seem to have gone feral and are jump scaring etc cos of the fumes and that, and to be fair - it's clear who the scare maze actors are and those who are just normal ride ops being forced to try and act. That's no disrespect to those ride ops/staff, it's just a matter of fact, and I don't envy them for trying to have to make this all make sense. DID ANYONE REMEMBER A SET OF NUMBERS? No cos we've been stuck on a tube train for ages mate it's been a nightmare. 5631. 5..6..3.....1 OK, that's right. How does she know? What do these numbers do or where do they go, who is she telling them to, NO ONE KNOWS but it's immersive.

 

Back on the train we go quick quick hurry put on your headsets NO NOT THAT ONE IT'S IN A BAG quick sit down REMAIN SEATED. OK. My headset this time around was only working on the left hand channel. I'm not sure what's gone on here, but the second section of VR was not only a lot shorter, but actually felt like you were just watching TV, not sure how to explain it but previously it did feel that you were moving with it etc. This time nothing. Odd. Anyway, quick take off your headsets. DON'T GET UP REMAIN SEATED EVERYONE REMAIN SEATED. It's clear the train is in the wrong place for whatever reason as the lights are now on and you can clearly feel movement. Maybe that's why the VR felt dead? ANYWAY we are back in the station where we started - can you believe it? No, I can't but no one actually notices and please exit through the gift shop. Announcement from the staff member behind the photo purchase point (what do you mean there was no photo taking point anywhere in the ride, HUSH) - "Sorry everyone, someone's reacted badly to the VR and they've been sick on the stairs so we have to keep you here whilst we clear it up" WHAT. I mean, fair dues, the group behind us believe it but come on....

 

Suddenly stuff starts to shake, the lights go off and a coughing man appears complete with noises of a demon that appears briefly in the bit of second VR (and also on the ride sign outside) but said demon cannot be seen anywhere in the shop.

 

Exit into actual - very empty - real gift shop. 

 

Absolute disappointment and an absolute mess. I KNOW a breakdown doesn't help but even without that - this ride is a complete hotch potch of ideas and a storyline that doesn't make sense, or only makes some sense in parts. The staff are trying their best but please, Thorpe Park, just shut this thing next year whilst you decide how to fix it. My personal idea to get some money back is turn it into an upcharge year round 15-20 minute extreme long scare-maze experience. You could ditch the VR, maybe amongst the fellow passengers you could have actors who look like customers who become possessed/something during the journey I don't know....

 

Oh and what time did we get out? 2.50pm. We were in there for ONE HOUR TWENTY MINUTES (including the queue). Thank goodness the park was dead! I don't think I'm being particularly nasty on purpose here - like I always say, the Dezza hologram is good. The theming (Victorian train, building, interior, tube train stations) is top notch. The whole storyline, overall experience and VR? A complete disjointed disaster. Sorry.

EDIT: Just read Han's review above, so am pleased to see that I'm not going mad/forgetful and the 2nd bit was a lot shorter, and that it is a general shambles xoxox

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, it sounds worse than ever.  What a mess :( 

 

Thank you for sharing guys - I don't think I was planning on ever 'riding' this again tbh, but now I'll definitely give it a miss.

 

It's been 6 years since this opened now. Surely that's long enough for the park to give it a go now, before getting rid?

The whole thing needs bulldozing. In my opinion the park was better off with the unused Arena - it was less disappointing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just to add to what @Han30 said - I just can't believe that the second VR featuring the demon, which was actually quite good, has been cut so much, so that it now barely features the demon - which features in the name of the flippin' ride!

 

Also - that 1950s style microphone on the Minds Wanted plinth looked very familiar, I wonder if the Lycans will want it back for Fright Nights? Or maybe it was an "easter egg".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, MattyMoo said:

Just to add to what @Han30 said - I just can't believe that the second VR featuring the demon, which was actually quite good, has been cut so much, so that it now barely features the demon - which features in the name of the flippin' ride!

 

Also - that 1950s style microphone on the Minds Wanted plinth looked very familiar, I wonder if the Lycans will want it back for Fright Nights? Or maybe it was an "easter egg".

 

Not an easter egg... certainly just a 'nod to', or whatever other buzzword Thorpe likes using these days.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

So it's taken me a while to get round to writing this. But last Thursday I went on Ghost Train and...you know what, it was decent. One of the best rides I've had in years on it. Maybe since...2017???

 

Short summary of some of the good things:

  • Timed allocations worked well so only a short wait to get on
  • No shutdowns
  • VR worked well
  • A bit more of a scare in finale than just a person coughing (but no demon)

But note, looking at this, basically what I'm saying is "Nothing broke and it was a short wait to get on". Which kind of sounds like I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel for good things to say. The thing is, I do like the premise of Ghost Train, and it has a lot of potential, but it doesn't reach it, and it has a lot of problems.

 

Let me now go into a more detailed breakdown...

 

Pre Show

This was the usual and seems to do a good job at setting the scene. Feel like the screen needs a good clean though.

 

Pre Show 2

Sigh. This is...a thing. 

 

I'm very conflicted by it. It goes on way too long and is way too...cheesy, I guess? The stupid code thing (more on the later) is stupid. The interactions with the group are very hit and miss.

BUT.

I can see what they've tried to do. The how spiel feels very "Derren Brown". It's the same sort of thing that you would hear from the man himself in one of his shows (either TV or stage). And what it tries to do is pretty cool. The trouble is, it tries to shove together all the different ideas the attraction had / has to make it work. And it really doesn't. Honestly I don't even know what the plot of the ride is any more, with this pre show conflicting pretty much everything else, despite smushing everything into one.

 

I'd be interested to know if Derren had any input into the script here (I very much doubt it). If he did, it shows he's trying to have an influence. If he didn't, it shows that whoever wrote is trying to add the Derren-feel which the attraction needs more of. But it just doesn't work.

 

Hanging Carriage

You know the Victorian train carriage? The one which was a huge part of marketing? The one which you step onto, despite it HANGING IN THE MIDDLE OF A HUGE ROOM BY SOME FLIMSY CHAINS. That thing? Yeah, that's a big part of the ride.

 

You wouldn't know it though. There's a blink and you miss it reference in the script in Pre Show 2. But there's no build, no anticipation and, as a result, no reveal about how there's this huge, and really cool, illusion that plays a part in the ride. What a damn shame,

 

Scene 1

The VR and audio worked fine during this scene for me. Was surprised to see that the train had most headsets available too.

 

There was no "buttkicker" effect (when the train shudders when the infected person smashes onto the train). Can't remember if it worked on my ride last year.

 

Scene 2

Well damn, this is bloody awful.

 

You get off the train with the usual panic. Train staff urge you through the tunnels, with the threat of infected staff. I don't know how many actors were in the scene (I think 4?), but 3 of them were train staff, and one was "infected", but all they really do is wave their arms around.

 

I know it's hard to keep up scare acting levels of intensity, and I'm not expecting that per se. But dear me, there's just nothing interesting or exciting here. Nothing really happens. 

 

Then you recite the silly code. And that's a really kicker for me. I just don't like the idea.

I appreciated the effort of Pre Show 2 for having the Derren-vibe to it. Derren's shows have these sort of spiels, telling you either what to expect and/or telling you the 'moral of the story', if you will. But these spiels, whilst part of the performance, don't interact with the core of the show. 

This silly code memory/recital bit is likely an attempt at interacting with riders, and trying to mimic the idea of Derren "planting an idea in your mind at the start". But it's just stupid. And I don't like it.

Okay, rant over.

 

Scene 3

Again, no tech issues.

 

I've seen a lot of people talk about the scene being cut short. I think I can clear that up a bit.

 

When this new VR was made, the creative team knew of the issues the ride was experiencing, and the dreaded "green smoke" holding sequence. As such, they decided to design a holding sequence which could continue the story, but also cut out at any moment and not effect the story either. Really clever.

 

Now my memory of how this VR plays out is hazy, but I think the way it goes is something like whilst the train is stationery:

-People told not to worry, blah blah

-Train roof ripped off

-Girl on left side of screen gets leg grabbed, bashes head on window

-Demon walks through carriage, screams in your face

-Girl on right side of screen stands up, wants to get off, gets kidnapped by demon

-Remaining people on screen get picked off one by one

-When there's only a couple left, SubCore logo appears

 

I believe that holding sequence (which would only be trigged if the train in front is taking too long to load) starts shortly after the demon screams in your face.

 

In the past, it would regularly go into the holding sequence. These days, the ride only operates with 2 out 3 trains, which means that there rarely is a delay in train taking too long to load, meaning that this VR sequence doesn't reach it's holding sequence. As such, people think the VR has been cut.

 

(Disclaimer: I could be wrong here / might have gotten the flow of the VR wrong. But at the very least, I think the scene plays out exactly as it used to, and cuts at the right point)

 

Anyway, that explanation aside, the rest of the scene goes on. The motion base didn't activate to rock the carriage. I'm guessing they've given up the ghost with that.

 

Scene 4

With no photo op, this whole thing is a bit awkward, but I don't think people pay attention to the screens anyway. The actor in there asks if anyone left some sunglasses on the train. How he got them so quickly, whilst people are still entering the "shop" is anyone's guess. And where are these sunglasses, because he's not holding them? But again, people don't seem to notice those details, so oh well.

 

The shop then goes a bit crazy, and out pops an infected actor on the Ouija board, trying to grab you and being a bit crazy. It's a nice effort, but nowhere near as effective as the demon.

 

Speaking of the demon costume, I hear that - in short - it's buggered. Hence why it hasn't made an appearance. I think it's in some way telling that it's been buggered for so long and they haven't repaired or replaced it. It makes a huge difference to the experience and reviews. So have they not replaced because they're not given the funds? Or because they want to prove a point? Or because the attraction is on its last legs? Who knows.

 

On the topic of the demon, it also makes the very concept of the demon pointless. We have this idea of gas infecting people. Then all of a sudden, there's demons. Are these infected turning into demons? Have the demons just been released from drilling too deep?

It's always been an unclear problem with the ride's storytelling. But it didn't matter as much in the past, because the infected people would disappear and not be a part of the story once you reboard the train. But now they reappear at the end, with no sight of the demon.

 

Again, it's just this huge inconsistency, and is again indicative of this whole "chucking loads of ideas together and seeing what happens" approach.

 

 

 

So that's that. I came off Ghost Train pretty content with my experience, in the sense that everything worked. There were a couple of good reactions from others on the train (mostly at the jump scare bits in the VR) too, which is nice to see I guess. But the whole experience really is a cocktail of things thrown together, with different ideas from the past 7-8 years chucked about, in the hope of making an attraction. And that's a crying shame.

 

I think what Thorpe tried to do is admirable, and as I say, there's the ingredients of a good experience there. But really, it's beyond saving. It's time for Thorpe/Merlin to hold up their hands, say "We tried, but it didn't work", and replace it. But that's surely an expensive proposition....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a really nice summary, glad it all worked 'technically' at least, even if the experience is messy as ever.

Sadly it's not reflective of a 'standard' run-through 😂

 

I think the number of comments and confusion about weather or not the footage cuts out, and the surprise/acknowledgement at the number of working headsets available says it all about the attraction. 

It's a mess. Riders shouldn't be noticing this. It shouldn't be the go-to comment in a review. An attraction like this should be somewhat seamless. 

 

Completely agree with the comments on the hanging carriage.

It's easy to forget that both the actual ride vehicles and suspended carriage are incredible.

 

I remember first riding this when it opened, and how "wow" the suspended carriage and tube train interior was. It really does feel like you're sat on the tube, and the underground station is genuinely BRILLIANT.

 

I think that "The tube" element - train and station - is by far the most immersive and detailed theming Thorpe (maybe Merlin?) have ever acheived.

It's SO well done.

 

It all falls down though because those things simply fade in to the background because the poor technology and chaotic story come to the forefront.

We only get a glimpse at those incredible set pieces as we rush past them. There's no opportunity to properly take them in.

 

Most of the DBGT experience is spent in an unthemed, narrow corridor, or with a terrible VR headset in front of our eyes.

 

A waste and a shame.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really, really hope (probably somewhat naievely) that Merlin don't cut their losses with DBGT and actually invest a bit more of a significant amount of money into it. I know it already cost an absolute arm and a leg to get the product we receive today, but surely with the lessons learned after opening the attraction and taking feedback on board of guests riding the attraction, they couldn't make the same mistakes twice... or technically thrice because of Rise of the Demon.

 

Personally, I'd like to see them get rid of the entire VR section as it currently stands and completely re-do it.

For longevity, this could even be updated every season but obviously know this is very, very expensive to do and nobody could ever convince Merlin that it's worth it, but would really make people WANT to ride the attraction to see the new story. It's been essentially the same attraction with little to no re-rideability since 2016 and that's so disappointing for an attraction with fantastic potential.

 

The theming, the ride system... it's all fantastic. It's the storyline and lack of consistency that lets it down every. single. time.

 

The cheaper option would be to remove VR entirely, imo. Add screens in where the windows would be in a real tube train, perhaps add co2 cannisters (rather than smoke machines for quick dispersal.. or have industry grade extractor fans to remove all the smoke once guests deboard the train so there's no remnance left for the next train of people), strobes and actors running a frenzy inside the train. Probably a health and safety hazard because of the lack of restraints... so add some restraints too.

 

Having video screens instead of VR would also make switching up the story occasionally a hell of a lot cheaper to do too, as can just be done with one camera and no special 360 degree cameras would need to be used.

 

Oh, and bring back the demon costume. I don't care how much it costs to do, but do it. The coughing person at the end does not, and never will, have the same effect as the demon once had. It either needs to make a return, or all references to 'the demon' need to be removed. It's an absolute shambles.

 

Now I think about it, surely these changes wouldn't even be that expensive to implement.

But I guess Thorpe/Merlin's attitude to not even replacing the big finale demon costume probably says a lot more about the future of this attraction with an amazing potential than anything else.

 

I really don't think this attraction has much time left, and it's so so sad to see.

I mean, just look at the state of the Ghost Train Shop. It's bloody baron.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Inferno said:

Completely agree with the comments on the hanging carriage.

It's easy to forget that both the actual ride vehicles and suspended carriage are incredible.

 

I remember first riding this when it opened, and how "wow" the suspended carriage and tube train interior was. It really does feel like you're sat on the tube, and the underground station is genuinely BRILLIANT.

 

I think that "The tube" element - train and station - is by far the most immersive and detailed theming Thorpe (maybe Merlin?) have ever acheived.

It's SO well done.

Most of the DBGT experience is spent in an unthemed, narrow corridor, or with a terrible VR headset in front of our eyes.

 

A waste and a shame.

 

Yep, spot on - from the very off with this ride after my first run through all those years ago, I have always sung the praises of the hanging carriage, the tube train & station platform. They are all incredibly, incredibly well done and immersive and I don't really think anything else quite compares - in the UK at least - in a theme park. Swarm Island is definitely up there but DBGT's interior is a step even further up. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
On 5/30/2022 at 5:30 AM, RobF said:

When it comes to retire DBGT, who thinks maybe the hanging carriage area could be left and converted say to a plush restaurant on site 


Absolutely no way they would know how to operate something like that, they can barely run Fins Infinity 360 Grill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, StevenVig said:


Absolutely no way they would know how to operate something like that, they can barely run Fins Infinity 360 Grill

 

That's Vibes Bar & Kitchen to you, son! 😂

 

I see from the latest TPWW visit to Thorpe that DBGTROTD's fake shop ending was not operational at all on their visit - not even the white t-shirt actor version!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...