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Dave Cobb: Tomb Raider(s)

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You guys might've read the article I wrote and posted in another thread about flubbed and failed attractions. The list included TOMB RAIDER: The Ride (naturally).

I'm pleased to say that the article attracted the attention of Dave Cobb, a well-respected creative mind who's worked with movie studios, entertainment companies, and theme parks to develop some really cool rides. Mr. Cobb was the creative director and show writer for Universal's Men In Black: Alien Attack. Closer to home, he was the creative director and show producer for Italian Job: Stunt Track and Tomb Raider: FireFall.

While not a formal interview or anything, I did have the chance to direct message with him on Twitter, and he's given me permission to share a few things about Tomb Raider: Firefall as it relates to our original Tomb Raider: The Ride.

tomb-raider-2.jpg

I said to him, "I wish KI would've just placed a clone of KD's in the show building. I don't know the logistics, but to have the running water, flames, music, etc. paired with the goddess, theatrical lighting, etc. Wow."

To which he replied: "And I did a whole concept pass and budget analysis to do exactly what [you] described --- adding fire to the old one. Just a fire gag on the ceiling -- a ceiling burn like Backdraft -- but adding fire protection in the building was too expensive."

I mentioned how Tomb Raider: Firefall is a "great compromise" between a typical Top Spin and the lavish and outrageous version Kings Island had.

He continued: "Yeah and that's what it was intended to be: we loved the concept and the brand and PKD couldn't afford the building (or the Giant ride). The big thing we did better, IMHO, was "casting" the machine as an ancient "thing", used in ancient times for true believers to be strapped to in order to test their faith. Whereas the original never really made the machine anything other than the "emotion" of being Lara. We had a series of Lara's diary entries as signage planned for the queue, never happened."

He also uploaded a video of FireFall I'd never seen. Such an impressive ride in so many ways.

Just some cool thoughts from a guy on the inside.

To be clear, in 2008 both TOMB RAIDER: The Ride at Kings Island and TOMB RAIDER: FireFall at Kings Dominion were renamed The Crypt. Obviously our Crypt closed. However, The Crypt continues to operate at Kings Dominion today, and (usually) features fire, water, synchronized music, and even replica film props from the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider film series, all of which Mr. Cobb oversaw. Check out his website for more.

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I actually have that video on my HD. It is an amazing ride experience and one I believe KI really needs to bring back.

Both KI and KD version were very different from one another and comparing them is like apples and oranges, they just can't. I'm happy KD still has theirs but still very unhappy about the turnout with ours.

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I think, in general, a Top Spin is just a classic flat ride that strengthens any park's lineup. I still have this incredibly dumb optimism that one will return to Kings Island, and that it'll be impeccably themed when it does. An outdoor clone of Kings Dominion's Crypt would be absolutely fine. I'd applaud it, if it came with the rocks, fountains, waterfalls, flames, etc. Seems like it would be an inexpensive and unique addition.

My absolutely ideal would be that same clone of Kings Dominion's Crypt (including waterfalls, torches, fountains, etc) placed inside of our existing Crypt building. I know it wouldn't reach to the height of the building and that it wouldn't necessarily "sync" with the goddess or anything, but it makes too much sense. Why waste that incredible building? By plopping down a clone of KD's Crypt you'd have the thrill, the music, the water, and a STELLAR flat ride, and you'd ALSO have our goddess, theatrical lighting, mystery, suspense, and themed queue. It's just ripe for an out-of-this-world flat ride in an unbeatable location.

Mr. Cobb himself said that converting the building to being safe for fire effects was deemed too expensive, but this is a new era. Buy a standard suspended HUSS top spin, build it out with pools and fountains, etc., and fireproof the building. What an incredible dark ride / thrill ride we'd have, and I'm CERTAIN it would still cost significantly less than even a family coaster. The foundation is all there for it. Seems so ridiculous to waste a well-themed building built to Disney-esque standards... We need a flat ride anyway!

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They park is in desperate need of a flat thrill ride. This is where the park lacks. There's not much 'in-between' rides (other than Delirium). Tomb Raider: The Ride was a great addition and really did help fill that void. For me, TRTR was a 'goto' ride, meaning, it was a ride I would not skip as a pass holder. Like Banshee, DB, and Beast, it was a ride I never passed by. Even when it was the crypt (first version), it got rave reviews and the general public seemed to absolutely love it. I think it is because it was an experience that no other ride in the park could replicate and it appealed to the masses because it was a ride that was in-between a small less thrilling ride and a large roller coaster. Also, it was hidden away inside a building which made it mysterious. Most people tend to enjoy the idea of not having any idea of what they are getting themselves into. Personally when KI decided to take out the vertical door to the ride area showed lack of responsibility to upkeep the most simple of things like a rising door. Same when they made the choice to stop using the antichamber door in 2006. As a former TRTR worker, let me say that room was very much needed to help in separating guests. in 2006, only having one associate to separate over 50 people into 3 rows and have them stay in that row, make the 1 minutes announcement, collect large items, and still start the preshow video on time, and return large items at the rendezvous point while still having to load in the next guests into preshow... well, it was exhausting and almost impossible if you were not an expert.

Yikes, there I go again on a tangent. Sorry, I just really miss this ride and everything about it.

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Good stuff gyk and thanks for posting.. :) I haven't been to Kings Dominion since 2001 and one of the reasons I want to go back is to ride their version of The Crypt. I will also add to the idea that Tomb Raider was a unique and a "go-to" ride; I only rode it twice in its original form, but even during the years of The Crypt's 2-flip cycle, I rode it often. Although it was a shell of it's former self at the time, it was still enjoyable simply because it was something different.

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To be real, giant flat rides are way out. Parks hate to maintain them and capacity is almost always terrible. The colossal failures of TR:TR, the WindSeekers, and the Dollywood- Huss debacle alongside the near shutdown of major flat ride manufactures Huss and Intamin ring the end of very large flats being made for quite some time. The new trend is a package of 2-3 small flats that maintenance departments and families can enjoy.

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I think, in general, a Top Spin is just a classic flat ride that strengthens any park's lineup. I still have this incredibly dumb optimism that one will return to Kings Island, and that it'll be impeccably themed when it does. An outdoor clone of Kings Dominion's Crypt would be absolutely fine. I'd applaud it, if it came with the rocks, fountains, waterfalls, flames, etc. Seems like it would be an inexpensive and unique addition.

My absolutely ideal would be that same clone of Kings Dominion's Crypt (including waterfalls, torches, fountains, etc) placed inside of our existing Crypt building. I know it wouldn't reach to the height of the building and that it wouldn't necessarily "sync" with the goddess or anything, but it makes too much sense. Why waste that incredible building? By plopping down a clone of KD's Crypt you'd have the thrill, the music, the water, and a STELLAR flat ride, and you'd ALSO have our goddess, theatrical lighting, mystery, suspense, and themed queue. It's just ripe for an out-of-this-world flat ride in an unbeatable location.

Mr. Cobb himself said that converting the building to being safe for fire effects was deemed too expensive, but this is a new era. Buy a standard suspended HUSS top spin, build it out with pools and fountains, etc., and fireproof the building. What an incredible dark ride / thrill ride we'd have, and I'm CERTAIN it would still cost significantly less than even a family coaster. The foundation is all there for it. Seems so ridiculous to waste a well-themed building built to Disney-esque standards... We need a flat ride anyway!

This. So much this- a classic, normal-sized Top Spin placed in The Crypt building and themed as described would be a HUGE plus to Kings Island's flat ride lineup for not too extreme a cost, since the building is already there. Add a few more classic flats (Flying Eagles, Tilt-A-Whirl, etc etc.) and perhaps a smaller family coaster and then add some new slides to the waterpark, continue to improve the food and shows- and all of this could be done in the 5-year span between coasters. Then, at the end of the 5-year period, you add the big, awe-inspiring, possibly record breaking (so long as it doesn't hurt the ride experience or anything) coaster. And then BAM- Kings Island would suddenly be an A+ park ready to take on seemingly anyone with its well-rounded lineup of diverse attractions.

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Exactly. Even tiny family parks have HUSS Top Spins as a sort of "staple" of their thrill rides.

Cedar Fair has shown an interest in not only having Top Spins, but theming them. For one, they've maintained the theming on Kings Dominion's Crypt very well. Even greater evidence: when they relocated Geauga Lake's Top Spin to California's Great America, they went out of their way to add a pool, flames, waterfalls, fountains, lighting, etc. Even though the ride operated at Geauga Lake as just a typical carnival Top Spin, when relocating it they went out of their way to model it off of Kings Dominion's and include those details.

Last I heard, the Great America Top Spin was even using Tomb Raider: FireFall's synchronized musical score by Andy Garfield (VERIFIED, though it's not synchronized to the ride cycle there).

The point is, Top Spins are just such a standard and inexpensive line-up at amusement parks. Sure, Cedar Fair inherited a few well-themed ones, but they have since relocated and themed their own from scratch. It just seems such a no-brainer that such a thrilling ride fits at the park, and if they're going to get one (which most of us agree they should), it makes a lot of sense to use... oh, I don't know... the big empty building at the back of the park? Top Spins are fun rides anyway, but given the theming Cedar Fair inherited and then expanded upon, PLUS our theatrical show building that has Hollywood quality theming already built-in, it seems a fairly obvious fit!

Ah well. Maybe some day.

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Also if anyone (like me) has been searching rabidly for FireFall's soundtrack for years, even going so far as to email Kings Dominion to inquire about it, good news. Mr. Cobb has sent it to me with permission to share.

(My favorite part of the track is the odd, bubbling, hissing noise built right into the score at :57 that signals the fire igniting on the water... Whenever I heard it at the park, I wondered if it was part of the soundtrack, or the sincere sound of gas escaping. Great detail! You can also hear the "sound" of the gondola creaking and whining throughout, including the awesome sound of chains pulling it up to its high position. It all builds the story Mr. Cobb discussed of the ride being a stone and steel altar meant to test the faith of followers.)

https://www.dropbox.com/sm/create/TOMB%20RAIDER%20FIREFALL%20Attraction%20Soundtrack%20(1).mp3

Credit goes to the composer Andy Garfield, whose work will also be heard at the new Paramount Park in Spain. Mr. Garfield also scored Men In Black: Alien Attack and Survivor: The Ride. As well, he provided sound services for Frozen. See his LinkedIn page here.

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Wow! I can't begin to tell you how much I enjoyed reading this (and your article from the other day). Tomb Raider: The Ride has always fascinated me. When I started at the park back in 2005, that was still the "IT" ride - the one A LOT of people wanted to work on. It pulled a big line, was still the "new," "big" thing. I had the opportunity to work it many times and even see all the ins and outs. Eventually I even had the opportunity to supervise that ride's crew when it transitioned to "The Crypt's" two programs. It was tough knowing what all had been originally installed and intended and then see it become an attraction that had an empty queue by 9:30 most nights (made for very easy cleaning though).

Thanks for sharing all this goodyellowkorn182.

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Can't agree more with what GB and others have stated! TRTR was my wife's favorite flat ride in the park! This thread contents and conversation is what sets KIC apart from other enthusiast sites. I wish more of our threads looked like this one. Thanks for sharing what you learned!

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Also if anyone (like me) has been searching rabidly for FireFall's soundtrack for years, even going so far as to email Kings Dominion to inquire about it, good news. Mr. Cobb has sent it to me with permission to share.

(My favorite part of the track is the odd, bubbling, hissing noise built right into the score at :57 that signals the fire igniting on the water... Whenever I heard it at the park, I wondered if it was part of the soundtrack, or the sincere sound of gas escaping. Great detail! You can also hear the "sound" of the gondola creaking and whining throughout, including the awesome sound of chains pulling it up to its high position. It all builds the story Mr. Cobb discussed of the ride being a stone and steel altar meant to test the faith of followers.)

https://www.dropbox.com/sm/create/TOMB%20RAIDER%20FIREFALL%20Attraction%20Soundtrack%20(1).mp3

Credit goes to the composer Andy Garfield, whose work will also be heard at the new Paramount Park in Spain. Mr. Garfield also scored Men In Black: Alien Attack and Survivor: The Ride. As well, he provided sound services for Frozen. See his LinkedIn page here.

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