I used my free birthday ticket to get into Phantasialand and see if Black Mamba would fulfill my expectations!
For those who don't know, Black Mamba is a B&M invert that opened about 3 weeks ago in Phantasialand Germany - the first B&M inverted coaster in Germany.
Like Nemesis at Alton Towers it is completely dug into the ground, only the loop, some of the 0G roll and the "junior immelmann" are standing above the ground, all the rest of the layout happens in crevasses and tunnels.
First - the themeing really is amazing, they did a very good job. I was afraid they would drive it a little too much toward halloween/terror, etc., but in fact it is very dense and creates a lot of moods - it seems "weird" sometimes, but I think that's exactly what really makes you feel you are out there in the African countryside - and all that in an extremely confinded space. It is sometimes quite hard to believe that the space it occupies used to be the parking lot for employees - and that the road around Phantasialand is nowhere further away than maybe 20-30 meters.
There are a lot of drawings and artifacts, mostly from Kamerun, and I think it is a nice touch that there is a shop (in between the lift hill and the vertical loop :) ), where you can buy artifacts from Kamerun.
The themeing is not for people who believe in Voodoo, anyway. :)
One thing about the casting of the staff at Phantasialand is that they do it type-aware - meaning that the staff at Black Mamba is all dark colored skin - now, you may object that this is a little critical, it does enhance the sensation of being in Africa though, and I did not feel that Black Mamba in any way compromises the dignity of African people - the China Town or the Dwarfs that were living in Phantasialand in the 80ies were in more danger that way, I find.
The music is mostly native African Music, apart from the "Black Mamba" themesong which sometimes is played in between.
In the station, the music is interrupted everytime a train is dispatched to make room for an exciting drum prelude while the train leaves toward the lift - this enhances the excitement greatly.
The ride itself is very cool - the elements are very narrowly spaced an rather small, so they feel extremely different in front, middle and back of the train.
In the middle (5th row) with eyes closed, it's amazing how little forces you actually feel. The ride pulls a lot of vertical Gs, especiall in the end - a sequence of intense helixes - but apart from the 0G roll and the top of the two corkscrews, there is no lateral acceleration at all - I couldn't when I was in the Junior Immelmann at all.
In the back, it's a totally different situation, there are a couple of moments when you get lifted out of the seat there - Black Mamba can get pretty crazy, the further you get away from the middle of the train.
Compared to the Batmans, if I remember it correctly, I found the corkscrews a lot less intense. But what the corkscrews are less intense, bring the helixes toward the end that really seem to test the limit of what is enjoyable :)
All together (I may add more to this later), it's a really great little coaster. The helixes in the end somewhat limites the re-rideabiliy for me, as hi vertical Gs tend to make me somewhat nauseous.
But ride and themeing really create the feeling of travelling through the bowels of the world - and in this way, I think the ride is no disgrace to African culture (the way "Geister-Rikschah" might be seen as mocking chinese culture). It also has a very nice dramaturgy, no MCBR and a really cool ending that I won't give away here, because it's a blow you should experience for yourself.
Now a short word on "Colorado Adventure" ("The Michael Jackson Thrill Ride"). Concerning the thrill aspect, this almost ranks equal with Black Mamba - it's a runnaway minetrain-themed coaster, and it really packs a punch! It has three lift-hills and is very very long, and features incredible moments of breathlessness! There is one thing though: The drop after the second lift hill goes into complete darkness, and there are a few sharp turns, one of them right at the bottom of that drop - it's really mean!
OK... I might add more to this later.
KEEP ON ROCKIN IN THE ROLLER WORLD! *** Edited 6/12/2006 9:48:59 PM UTC by CoasterDiscern***
whats a free birthday ticket?
Phantasialand lets you in for free on your birthday (I couldn't believe it myself at first, but it's true, they even do it for adults).
It's a really nice and charming thing to do, I must say!
About the rumored "Restaurant Fly-Through", it's not there. But when you walk around the Africa-Themed area which is embeded in the layout and also includes a food stand, the trains (or better: the feet of the riders) re-appear here and there.
It's a pretty nice mysterious atmosphere altogether.
*** Edited 6/13/2006 2:52:14 PM UTC by superman***
The longer I think about Black Mamba, the more I think it is the most perfect coaster-based attraction I have ever seen - all the elements work together really fine, and the landscapeing and the themeing look so "natural" (e.g. there is not a single place with a really flat floor or anything really rectangular) that it's really impossible to imagine it used to be a parking lot before.
The guest experience in which the ride is embeded is honed to the maximum, and the ride is really great.
I think it deserves an A+ in total.
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