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Kifranatic

What happened to the Tomb Raider ride?

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I've ridden the ride many times throughout its lifecycle many years ago. I noticed the building it's in is no longer active. I've read that the ride was renamed to the Crypt and shortly shut down after. Is the ride still inside the garage? I really liked that ride and find it a shame they never tried to restore it. Very unique ride for its time. 

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8 hours ago, Kifranatic said:

I've ridden the ride many times throughout its lifecycle many years ago. I noticed the building it's in is no longer active. I've read that the ride was renamed to the Crypt and shortly shut down after. Is the ride still inside the garage? I really liked that ride and find it a shame they never tried to restore it. Very unique ride for its time. 

After losing rights to the Paramount IPs Cedar Fair had to make a lot of its newly purchased rides as generic as possible. Being heavily based on its theming, Tomb Raider suffered the most acute changes. The Crypt just couldn't live up to its predecessor and dropped hard in popularity.

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It's always semi-annoyed me that the didn't just end up moving the Giant Top Spin to a different part of the park.  Action Zone?  Most people wouldn't care, and it'd look great next to Delirium.

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The Giant Top Spin was the problem. The ride was a poorly designed prototype that was tearing itself apart. Exposing it to the elements would be like placing a standard laptop in your lawn during a thunderstorm and hoping for the best.

My long term hope is that we get a new themed dark ride, fitting the aesthetic of Rivertown, placed into that building. :-)

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The last year of the ride's operation as The Crypt used an incredibly tame and short ride cycle. From what I remember, this was to help ease wear and tear on the ride, but nothing was really done to substantially upgrade the ride systems. They were just prolonging the inevitable.

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17 minutes ago, hotrodyoda said:

My understanding was that they got all of those problems worked out and that it was closed due to a shift in the parks vision?  But, wudda I know...

The problems were not worked out and that’s why it was removed.

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18 minutes ago, KIBOB said:

The last year of the ride's operation as The Crypt used an incredibly tame and short ride cycle. From what I remember, this was to help ease wear and tear on the ride, but nothing was really done to substantially upgrade the ride systems.

The tame ride cycle was introduced mid-May 2009. In retrospect, it's kind of amazing it lasted almost three full seasons with such an underwhelming ride experience.

 

For what it's worth, the ride was originally built and tested outside in Germany. I realize a few weeks of outdoor operation is different from years of it, but I'd be surprised if the majority of the ride and its components weren't made weatherproof. Here's a few photos of it in Germany (source unknown; they've been floating around the web for 10+ years now):

9TY42uL.jpg

arQVccW.jpg

0QdnGAV.jpg

I've never seen that third photo until now, but it appears to be our (one and only) Giant Top Spin. I don't think any regular top spins had the A-frame support style, but I may be mistaken.

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4 minutes ago, TombraiderTy said:

The tame ride cycle was introduced mid-May 2009. In retrospect, it's kind of amazing it lasted almost three full seasons with such an underwhelming ride experience.

 

For what it's worth, the ride was originally built and tested outside in Germany. I realize a few weeks of outdoor operation is different from years of it, but I'd be surprised if the majority of the ride and its components weren't made weatherproof. Here's a few photos of it in Germany (source unknown; they've been floating around the web for 10+ years now):

9TY42uL.jpg

arQVccW.jpg

0QdnGAV.jpg

I've never seen that third photo until now, but it appears to be our (one and only) Giant Top Spin. I don't think any regular top spins had the A-frame support style, but I may be mistaken.

Ah, thanks! I totally forgot the ride operated with the final cycle for nearly three seasons. If I recall correctly, the water effects were originally removed not from Paramount's lack of maintenance (surprisingly), but due to corrosion issues.

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6 minutes ago, TombraiderTy said:

...amazing it lasted almost three full seasons with such an underwhelming ride experience.

I think this is one of the signs that the apocalypse is near...Ty admitting that the ride was at least underwhelming at one point in time! :lol:

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In retrospect, it wasn't just that the ride was poorly designed, it was also that early Cedar Fair management accelerated the problems.

Remember, previous company management didn't really care about immersive experiences (unlike today), and mainly focused solely on thrill rides. Once Cedar Fair lost the Tomb Raider IP, they decided that instead of creating a new story and theming, they would just strip out most of the ride's immersive elements and amp up the thrill factor. They tried making this less of a threat to the ride mechanism by removing a row of seats (I think it was only one row?). Regardless, the highly thrilling cycle used in the 2008 season probably redlined the fragile mechanisms of the ride far to often, leading to the tame cycle.

I think that even if previous management opted to change the storyline instead of making it into a thrill ride, we would be in the same situation today. That ride system was not going to last.

I know this is touched upon in the video, but I wanted to add a little more depth to my answers. :-)

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I'll never forget the first time that guests got to experience the 2009 version. 

It's important to note that even before Cedar Fair emerged on the scene: Tomb Raider was a shell of its former self. The ride, like many highly themed Paramount attractions, did not have its theme maintained. Not sure if this was due to a lack of resources or poor design (there was lots of blame going around), but the "totally themed, highly immersive, thrilling dark ride attraction" it was in 2002 did not fully exist in 2007. Many of the effects were gone, didn't work, etc. The best example was the spinning light that lined up with the door that you could eventually see struggle to spin. Still, I guess enough worked. 

The 2008 ride cycle was at least fun, then came 2009. 

The "boring ferris wheel" program was.... wow. It was bad. The queue itself looked ok, but the animatronic bat looked like a cheap thing bought at Party City. Shout out to the employees who did their best... warning guests about loose articles, trying to make things fun, even at one time resorting to Jungle Cruise-esque comedy routines in the pre-show to try and liven things up. 

That very first cycle: "Welcome back Crypt riders, how was your ride!?" Nothing but a chorus of boos and jeers. Every guest walking out of the exit was annoyed they had waited. 

That ride went from being one of the most popular with a line every night to having single digit riders by 9:15 PM. The only good part of that was if you worked it... you were heading home (or to the bar) at a reasonable hour. 

So, so, so, so bad. That generic wind howling... the empty box... the concrete floor covered in dirt... the skeletal remains of the "lava pit." 

And in the end, even with that mellowed out, boring cycle: the ride STILL didn't work properly. 

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When I rode Tomb Raider the first year it opened, I was so stunned that it was a ride existing at a Midwest theme park. I'd heard descriptions of it, but it didn't prepare me for how thrilling and well-themed it was; it was truly a scary ride (being held over the water or being unexpectedly flipped was such a thrill). It was great and quickly became one of my favorite rides at the park. 

I had a few years where I didn't end up going to Kings Island, but I went back in 2009 to celebrate my 30th birthday with my family. I knew it had been renamed the Crypt by that point, but I didn't know anything else had been altered. My sister and I made a beeline for the back of the park and then...what a letdown. Horrible theming in the queue, no theme at all in the ride itself. Just a few mild swings and halfhearted spins upside down. We got to the end, looked at each other and said, "Wow, that sucks now." And never rode it again. Now it's just a big ugly box looking out of place in Rivertown. I can't think of the last time a ride had that fast of a downturn in quality so quickly. 

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Wow, I am having SO many flashbacks to my life on here and KIExtreme from 2008-2011. It's also really entertaining to me that Defunctland's video about Tomb Raider: The Ride is being shared around here and quoted. Many of his videos are inspired by and based on the Theme Park Tourist articles written by @bkroz (with permission.) He, TombraiderTy, myself, and many others used to speculate quite a bit about The Crypt's future and how it could have been rethemed back in those days. It's just really interesting seeing all that stuff come full circle, in a way, ten-ish years later. I'm old.

So, if I could remember where I saw this, I'd link to it, but its location has been lost to the sands of time. I'm fairly certain it was here, but I haven't been able to find it via the search engine. It's been years, so this may not be accurate to what the original person said, if they were correct at all. Someone who worked for the park (in maintenance, I want to say?) once said that Tomb Raider's effects were designed in such a way that made them very difficult to repair without hiring the theming manufacturer(s) to repair them. I believe that person suggested that it was to help sell warranties, but the park/Paramount Parks didn't go for it. I want to say that the same thing was mentioned about Italian Job: Stunt Track? Even though Paramount by far wasn't doing a great job with theming upkeep, how nonfunctional TRTR's theming became in its later days would suggest that something was up.

I DO definitively remember someone (@Shaggy? @The Interpreter? someone else?) saying that TRTR was possibly intended to be the start of a huge transformation of the park, if it had been successful. Given the Universal-like budget and nature of the ride, I love to daydream about what could have been. I can't imagine Paramount would have stuck to the original themed areas forever.

I think Cedar Fair eventually got the hint that theming is what made TRTR what it was. In its last season (2011), the queue and ride cycle featured pieces of the Inception score. It wasn't the TRTR score or experience by any means, but I honestly think I appreciated that ride in 2011 more than any other year it operated as The Crypt. Lame as the ride cycle was, the Inception bwaah bwaaaaahs made it more of its own experience instead of it simply being "that ride that used to be Tomb Raider." It still was that, of course, but less so. I don't remember the exact track they originally played, but up till 2011, I know they played the Adventure Express "blowing wind" effect from before its second tunnel while The Crypt was loading/unloading riders. The Inception score just added more mystique to the whole thing.

The Crypt ride cycle switch was so jarring, too. If they weren't using Kings Dominion's Crypt's exact cycle from 2008 to mid-2009, they were using one very similar to it. It was forceful as heck. You'd go into repeated spins, and it'd about plaster you into the seats. And then it went to a ferris wheel that did flips. Like, it wasn't shocking that the ride was tearing itself apart. Even in the ferris wheel cycle, there was such a powerful CLUNK when the gondola would lock during the cycle to flip you upside down. I'm speculating, but it just felt like the ride system wasn't capable of doing much more than what it did as Tomb Raider. It just didn't feel built for intensity.

Tomb Raider: The Ride was such an anomaly. I truly don't think we'll ever see a seasonal park try something on that scale again. It was sincerely the sort of thing you'd find at a Disney or Universal park. I thought it was incredible: it's what got me interested in the industry. I also accuse it of giving me a preference for jungle adventure-y themes and rides and experiences, because visiting Ta Prohm in Cambodia is on my bucket list, and Volcano at KD, Crypt at KD, and Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland were/are some of my favorite rides, too. It's very odd and sad for me to see some of them go. But, that's the amusement industry and life.

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1 hour ago, standbyme said:

@Gordon Bombay Your entire post reads as if you are in court, under oath and can not tell a lie...thank you! 

Haha, thanks. It was more so... lots of coffee this morning and typing quickly while waiting in line for more. 

1 hour ago, TombRaiderFTW said:

I think Cedar Fair eventually got the hint that theming is what made TRTR what it was. In its last season (2011), the queue and ride cycle featured pieces of the Inception score. It wasn't the TRTR score or experience by any means, but I honestly think I appreciated that ride in 2011 more than any other year it operated as The Crypt. Lame as the ride cycle was, the Inception bwaah bwaaaaahs made it more of its own experience instead of it simply being "that ride that used to be Tomb Raider." It still was that, of course, but less so. I don't remember the exact track they originally played, but up till 2011, I know they played the Adventure Express "blowing wind" effect from before its second tunnel while The Crypt was loading/unloading riders. The Inception score just added more mystique to the whole thing.

Thanks for this post, @TombRaiderFTW. Ironically, I never touched again after 2009 despite being around until its removal. I totally forgot about the Inception score!

 It just didn't feel built for intensity.

I'm no engineer by any means, but this was always my impression too. Like, it was so big and required so much energy to do anything. When the ride would have an issue and break down, it performed normally and went about its proper "homing" procedures as intended... but the earth shattering sound and the shaking of the building made it seems as if the world was ending.

Tomb Raider: The Ride was such an anomaly. I truly don't think we'll ever see a seasonal park try something on that scale again. It was sincerely the sort of thing you'd find at a Disney or Universal park. I thought it was incredible: it's what got me interested in the industry. I also accuse it of giving me a preference for jungle adventure-y themes and rides and experiences, because visiting Ta Prohm in Cambodia is on my bucket list, and Volcano at KD, Crypt at KD, and Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland were/are some of my favorite rides, too. It's very odd and sad for me to see some of them go. But, that's the amusement industry and life.

I was never able to experience Volcano, but was its theme and design on par with Tomb Raider? Also, I just realized... that ride wasn't themed to the movie "Volcano?" 

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7 minutes ago, Gordon Bombay said:

I was never able to experience Volcano, but was its theme and design on par with Tomb Raider? Also, I just realized... that ride wasn't themed to the movie "Volcano?" 

It wasn't. The best comparison I can think of is Beast, but with a slightly larger budget for queue theming? Like, the architecture was well done and gave it a vibe, but there were no moving parts besides the ride itself and flames coming out of the top of the faux mountain it was built into. Definitely no story or anything like that. I just thought the vibe was really cool.

And nope, it wasn't themed to any movie to my knowledge.

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Can't watch the whole video now-but maybe someone can answer: Were there issues with both the theming degrading AND the ride itself slowly tearing itself apart? The theming issues were evident and I figured that was just a symptom of Paramount being out of the picture....but I'd assumed that the mechanics of the ride were sound as it was basically an indoor version of a standard ride. I never entertained the idea that the equipment may have been 'misused' 

In its prime, the pre-ride was scary and the ride itself was disorienting and very cool. Hanging over that bubbling lava water was quite an experience. 

 

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^ I wouldn't say "misused." It was the only ride of its size and type, and the Ohio ride licensing department (Department of Agriculture) doesn't allow rides to operate outside of manufacturer recommendations. It's more that the design itself was safe, but it wasn't a great concept for a ride system for how big it was.

Standard HUSS Top Spin models (Top Spin, Top Spin 2, Suspended Top Spin) are much smaller and more nimble with how they move. Ours was the only Giant Top Spin ever made, and its movements felt very... I guess the word I'd use is clunky? It was just very obvious how much power was going into moving the very heavy components. Like, I have no doubts that figuring out how to power the thing was a big hurdle for the park. You know how giants in movies are characterized by how slowly they talk and move because of how big they are, and they can accidentally punt normal-sized people into the next country with how grand and sweeping and powerful their movements are? It was like that, except for a ride.

So when they started running the intense first cycle as The Crypt, the clunks got clunkier. It wasn't anything unsafe, but it just felt like the whole system was being strained more. (The fact that they removed an entire row of seats from the gondola before that cycle was implemented does give the impression that the whole thing was too heavy to do the intense cycle as it was originally built.) And apparently it was being strained more, because its final ride cycle was incredibly tame--the ride spun like a ferris wheel, rotating forward twice (and locking the gondola once so you'd flip once), then rotating backward twice (again locking once so you'd flip once.) It was a gentler cycle, and again, you could kinda get the vibe that it was easier on the ride, too.

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8 minutes ago, TombRaiderFTW said:

Ours was the only Giant Top Spin ever made

Wow-Did not know this. The motion was indeed grand, sweeping, and very unique. 

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1 hour ago, HandsUp said:

Can't watch the whole video now-but maybe someone can answer: Were there issues with both the theming degrading AND the ride itself slowly tearing itself apart? The theming issues were evident and I figured that was just a symptom of Paramount being out of the picture....but I'd assumed that the mechanics of the ride were sound as it was basically an indoor version of a standard ride. I never entertained the idea that the equipment may have been 'misused' 

In its prime, the pre-ride was scary and the ride itself was disorienting and very cool. Hanging over that bubbling lava water was quite an experience. 

 

In addition to what @TombRaiderFTW noted, keep in mind too that the "movements" of TRTR were also a bit different than that of a traditional top spin. Again, I'm not an engineer, but the lava pit scene was a good example: rather than swinging, the gondola was locked and slowly moved downwards over the the theming as opposed to having momentum. If you ever stood in The Beast queue and heard the loud screech coming from the ride... that was energy being released. 

It was quite a bit different from other top spins, even the one that eventually premiered at PKD. 

As for symptoms of the theming... even before Paramount was gone, the theming had been degrading. 

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32 minutes ago, HandsUp said:

Wow-Did not know this. The motion was indeed grand, sweeping, and very unique. 

Yeah! I dunno if you've ever ridden another Top Spin, but they're very different ride experiences from what ours did. They're very disorienting and noticeably faster. They're worth a try, though I think the only one left in the U.S. at this point is at Six Flags Great Adventure. All the Cedar Fair ones are gone now.

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I only got to ride it after 2009 but even then I always liked the theming of the queue and ride area. The amount of detail this ride had was amazing, especially by KI standards, the only other ride I can think of that really comes close is FoF. I really wish I could've seen it in its prime, I'm sure it was beautiful.

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11 hours ago, Gordon Bombay said:

I'll never forget the first time that guests got to experience the 2009 version. 

It's important to note that even before Cedar Fair emerged on the scene: Tomb Raider was a shell of its former self. The ride, like many highly themed Paramount attractions, did not have its theme maintained. Not sure if this was due to a lack of resources or poor design (there was lots of blame going around), but the "totally themed, highly immersive, thrilling dark ride attraction" it was in 2002 did not fully exist in 2007. Many of the effects were gone, didn't work, etc. The best example was the spinning light that lined up with the door that you could eventually see struggle to spin. Still, I guess enough worked. 

The 2008 ride cycle was at least fun, then came 2009. 

The "boring ferris wheel" program was.... wow. It was bad. The queue itself looked ok, but the animatronic bat looked like a cheap thing bought at Party City. Shout out to the employees who did their best... warning guests about loose articles, trying to make things fun, even at one time resorting to Jungle Cruise-esque comedy routines in the pre-show to try and liven things up. 

That very first cycle: "Welcome back Crypt riders, how was your ride!?" Nothing but a chorus of boos and jeers. Every guest walking out of the exit was annoyed they had waited. 

That ride went from being one of the most popular with a line every night to having single digit riders by 9:15 PM. The only good part of that was if you worked it... you were heading home (or to the bar) at a reasonable hour. 

So, so, so, so bad. That generic wind howling... the empty box... the concrete floor covered in dirt... the skeletal remains of the "lava pit." 

And in the end, even with that mellowed out, boring cycle: the ride STILL didn't work properly. 

I remember getting off The Crypt in the "boring ferris wheel" program days and asking the ride op if they were ever going to revert back to the old (as in, Tomb Raider-esque) cycle. However, though it was a shell of what it was (I had ridden both TR:TR and the 9-flip insane version of The Crypt), I still enjoyed riding it back then as it was just something different. I loved how the gondola rocked up and down as the ride got started; that was a cool part.

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17 hours ago, TombRaiderFTW said:

I think Cedar Fair eventually got the hint that theming is what made TRTR what it was. In its last season (2011), the queue and ride cycle featured pieces of the Inception score. It wasn't the TRTR score or experience by any means, but I honestly think I appreciated that ride in 2011 more than any other year it operated as The Crypt. Lame as the ride cycle was, the Inception bwaah bwaaaaahs made it more of its own experience instead of it simply being "that ride that used to be Tomb Raider." It still was that, of course, but less so. I don't remember the exact track they originally played, but up till 2011, I know they played the Adventure Express "blowing wind" effect from before its second tunnel while The Crypt was loading/unloading riders. The Inception score just added more mystique to the whole thing.

I've mentioned this very thing before. As a film score enthusiast, I loved hearing it. Unfortunately, that was the only year I ever rode it, so I never got to experience it as any but Inception: The Unofficial Ride

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