Roller Coasters & Greek Mythology
I saw the new Clash of the Titans remake over the weekend. Even a special effects laden action adventure movie couldn’t take me out of my roller coaster geekdom. Throughout the movie I was constantly reminded of the roller coasters that were named after these classical Greek gods and mythical creatures.
A struggle between brothers Zeus and Hades was a central part of the plot. These are also the names of two roller coasters at Mt. Olympus Theme Park. Hades was not only god of the Underworld, but more importantly, it’s a Gravity Group woodie that’s in my top ten thanks to a world-class unique layout and pitch black tunnel. Read my Hades review. It’s the perfect theme for an excellent roller coaster. Zeus is a non-descript CCI woodie at the same park. Apollo, the same god referenced in Busch Gardens’ Apollo’s Chariot, had a line in the movie and Poseidon (a Europa Park water coaster) was mentioned. And on the creature front, there was a mention of a Hydra (a floorless looper at Dorney Park), giant scorpions attack the heroes(reminded me of the Schwarzkopf looper at Busch Gardens Tampa) and the Pegasus (an ultra rough family woodie at Mt. Olympus) helps Perseus make up some time towards the end.
Clash of the Titans: Kraken vs. Medusa
In case you haven’t seen the remake or you were too young to have seen the original, there’s a spoiler ahead. The climactic battle involves the Kraken versus Medusa. Medusa wins, sort of. But, which of the roller coasters that bear these same names would win in a roller coaster showdown? Yes. I know Medusa is now Bizarro, but since I haven’t ridden Bizarro so I will review it in it’s previous form.
Kraken at SeaWorld Orlando and Medusa at Six Flags Great Adventure are both floorless B&M loopers with similar layouts. Medusa was the world’s first floorless sitting coaster when it opened in 1999. Last year, it recieved a theming and special effects upgrade and is now known as Bizarro.
Kraken is next to a pond towards the far end of SeaWorld while Medusa is in a nondescript field in Six Flags Great Adventure. At least it’s not in a parking lot like fellow coaster Great American Scream Machine and it’s West coaster twin Scream!. Regardless, Kraken definitely has the more interesting atmosphere although it is next to a service road for the first half.
Medusa largely borrows from Kumba at Busch Gardens Tampa’s loop sequence. Its inversions include: a vertical loop, a dive loop, a zero-g roll, a cobra roll (2), and interlocking corkscrews (2). Kraken has the same inversions except that it finishes with another vertical loop and a single corkscrew instead of the interlocking corkscrews. Kraken’s smaller, tighter second loop is partially located in a trench and the final corkscrew surprises you as you exit a tunnel. Medusa’s interlocking corkscrews are visually interesting, but not as fun as they look.
Slight Edge: Kraken
Edge: Medusa kicks off with the textbook B&M swooping drop while Kraken has a more traditional straight drop. I felt more airtime and intensity on the straight drop, so I prefer Kraken’s. Kraken’s finale which includes a vertical loop, small hill, drop into a cave, and a corkscrew is an awesome way to finish.
Medusa’s theme was largely non-existent. This made the Bizarro makeover that much more intriguing last year. Meanwhile, Kraken was the main attraction at SeaWorld for nearly a decade. SeaWorld, in typical Busch Park fashion, spent some money theming it with a large Kraken head near the entrance and some Kraken eggs in a small cave that non-riders can check out.
It’s probably no surprise that Kraken wins hands down. The theme, better final third, and better setting give it the edge in every way. I just thought it’d be an interesting roller coaster showdown after seeing the movie. Still, Medusa (now Bizarro) and its clone Scream! are solid coasters especially considering that Medusa was a prototype.
Check out my other Roller Coaster Showdowns like Griffon vs. SheiKra, Top Thrill vs. Kingda Ka, & Tatsu vs. Manta. Also, vote in this poll:
What’s Your Take?
Did you see Clash of the Titans? What’d you think? Do you think Kraken is better than Medusa (or Scream!)? Leave a comment below. Images 3 & 4 courtesy of CoasterImage.