Nemesis: Sub-Terra

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Nemesis Sub-Terra
Nemesis Sub-Terra Logo USE ON LIGHT BKGS CMYK.jpg
Alton Towers
Area Forbidden Valley
Coordinates 52°59′15″N 1°53′03″W / 52.98750°N 1.88417°W / 52.98750; -1.88417Coordinates: 52°59′15″N 1°53′03″W / 52.98750°N 1.88417°W / 52.98750; -1.88417
Status Closed
Cost £4,000,000
Opening date 24 March 2012 (2012-03-24)[1]
Replaced Dynamo
General statistics
Attraction type Dark ride; drop tower
Manufacturer ABC Rides
Model Freefall tower
Drop 6 m (20 ft)
Speed 21 mph (34 km/h)
G-force 3.5
Capacity 800 riders per hour
Riders per row 10
Height restriction 140 cm (4 ft 7 in)
Ride vehicles 4
Rows per vehicle 1
Fastrack available
Single rider line available
Handicapped/disabled access Wheelchair accessible

Nemesis Sub-Terra is a drop tower dark ride at Alton Towers theme park. The ride opened to the public on 24 March 2012. The ride has not been operating since June 2015 however it is still standing and listed on the Alton Towers website and it is currently unknown whether it will ever be in operation again.

It is loosely adapted from the concept of the park's 1994 inverted roller coaster, Nemesis. It is themed on the discovery of a nest of eggs in a network of underground caves.[1]

The ride[edit]

As the entrance is approached, one of the Phalanx operatives shouts orders at riders to move into the batching area in a group of 40 in front of an entrance of two fake lifts. Riders are then instructed to watch a pre-show video, which outlines the story of how one of the Nemesis creature's eggs have been made safe for viewing by the public. The Phalanx Operative then makes a special warning to riders that there are live actors present throughout the experience and anyone uncomfortable with this should leave the batching area. Riders then move into the lifts, where it is further explained that it is travelling down an underground shaft, whilst lighting and sound effects create the illusion of travel.

The lift door opens to reveal an underground cavern, or catacomb, just ahead of the main ride chamber – which remains sealed at this point. The cavern is themed with rock effects to give the impression of a recently excavated site.

The main ride chamber then opens, and the aforementioned egg can be seen in the centre of the room, with four sci-fi-style zappers focusing upon it. Four rows of ten seats face the egg centre-piece and riders are ushered into the seats and told to pull down their lap bar. Details of the discovery of the alien egg are then played via TV screens, and riders are told that it has been displaying signs of life. Midway through this presentation however, the TV screens cut out and lighting effects lead riders to believe that there has been some kind of power failure. Sirens then start to go off, and after a few seconds the lights go out altogether. The lights are then restored to reveal that the egg has hatched, and sound effects indicate that a creature is moving around the ride chamber. Each gondola then abruptly freefalls around 20 feet (6 metres) to the bottom of the chamber. The ride is programmed so that each gondola drops at a slightly different time to the others - to increase the tension for the rider. After the freefall, lighting effects reveal the other eggs that were unsafe to view. The riders are then put back into pitch-blackness, and slowly lifted up to where the main egg lay. Rapid light flashes occur and water is sprayed at riders whilst more sound effects are played. 'Back pokers' and 'leg ticklers' surprise riders, giving the impression that the monster is in close proximity. Air bursts are activated which blow onto the back of the neck of the rider, imitating the monster's close proximity.

Sirens then begin to sound, as a 30-second countdown timer displays on the screens, indicating that the facility will self-destruct when the time limit expires. Phalanx security personnel quickly usher riders into the escape lifts. The lift begins to ascend, but shortly after the lights flicker before then once more plunging the riders into pitch darkness. The lift then begins to shake and bang violently. A roof panel becomes dislodged and the wall panels move, simulating the alien creature attacking the lift and attempting to gain access.

Once the lift doors open riders are greeted by a Phalanx operative wearing a gas mask and covered in blood, holding a small torch. Those in the left lift are abruptly led out whilst those in the right lift are kept in by another masked actor who lets them out a few seconds later. Riders then enter a strobe maze, whereby powerful strobe flashes to disorientate them. Metal chain link fences surround riders, whilst "contaminated" Phalanx operatives jump out at them. Air cannons, strobe lighting and loud sound effects simulate the supposed 'decontamination' of the visitors. Riders are then chased out of the ride by a 'rabid' Phalanx worker.[2]


Plans for the ride were submitted in August 2011, although they only showed the exterior of the buildings; revealing nothing of the interior. Construction commenced in October 2011, with the site being closed off to the public during the Scarefest event.

Pictures were leaked in early January 2012 of the ride mechanism before installation. They revealed the ride to be an ABC manufactured drop tower; similar to ones previously installed in both the London and Blackpool Dungeon attractions. In a publicity stunt Jack Osborne was appointed as Director of Fear for the attraction.[3]

Images of the ride's interior were released on 24 January, via an official Twitter page by the name of Phalanx Control.[4]

In February 2012 Alton towers starting marketing by making a video of a bottomless lift, hinting at what may be coming with the ride.[5] The ride was at this time also confirmed by the Alton Towers website as having a height restriction of 1.4m.

The ride was tweaked after significant negative feedback from the general public. The changes to the ride were believed to have been implemented during the park's closure due to high winds on 4 April.[6][7] However this was not the case as the entire site, plus other nearby attractions, was deemed unsafe because of the high winds and proximity to large trees, and the attraction was improved during planned maintenance sessions before and after the theme-parks normal public opening hours. Various trees were felled and cut back during the following weeks to improve safety in future bad weather.

From 20 May 2012 the attraction closed for a period of six days (Sunday 20th to Friday 25th inclusive) in order for improvements to be made. Alton Towers Operations and Developments Director Mark Kerrigan revealed that the ride has yet to be officially completed by the park.[8]In November 2015, Alton Towers announced that six of its attractions would not reopen the following season, including Nemesis Sub-Terra. While two of the attractions have since reopened and three of them either removed or confirmed not to reopen, it has not been confirmed if Nemesis Sub-Terra will return.[9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ice Age The 4-D Experience and Nemesis Sub-Terra launch at the Alton Towers Resort on 24th March". Alton Towers Press. 9 January 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  2. ^ May 2012 "Nemesis Sub-Terra Review" Check |url= value (help). Towertimes. 27 May 2012. 
  3. ^ "Jack Osbourne appointed as 'Director of Fear". Alton Towers Press. 9 January 2012. Archived from the original on 10 December 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Nemesis: Sub-Terra Marketing Picks Up Pace". UK Park News. 24 January 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  5. ^ Alton Towers Nemesis Sub-Terra Lift. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2012. 
  6. ^ "Nemesis Sub-Terra tweaked following negative feedback". RideRater. 6 April 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  7. ^ "Alton Towers forced to close due to weather". RideRater. 4 April 2012. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "Nemesis Sub-Terra set for 6 days of closure". TowersTimes. 15 May 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2012. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Alton Towers Resort on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2017-01-20. 

External links[edit]