I made the bold statement in the about section of this website about how this ride changed my life, so I thought I had better back that up with some reasons.
Situated in Universal Studios Singapore, Revenge of the Mummy is an indoor coaster built by Premier Rides and themed to the hilt by Universal themselves. To this day it remains, for me, the finest demonstration in the world as to how to combine the thrilling hardware of a rollercoaster with the awesome spectacle of a dark ride. These are the two types of attractions that really get me going in parks and I really wish that more places would attempt something of this magnitude again.
The area of the park that houses the ride isn’t big (the park isn’t either), but it has a wonderful aesthetic to it. The cheery Egyptian style environmental music quickly works its way into the ears and draws you in as you approach from any angle, the scenery looks great and the whole vibe suits the burning Singapore heat perfectly.
As soon as you enter the queue, everything changes. The temperature drops a good 20°C, shadows dance across the walls through the sudden gloom, the music is replaced by eerie noises and whisperings and the bustle and excitement of the park outside is instantly shielded. Only a foreboding dread remains. For that single moment of transformation, this is easily my favourite queue in the world.
I’ve been lucky enough to visit on several occasions when the ride has been extremely quiet and so taking the opportunity to wander alone through the actual labyrinth of pathways (the main queue, single rider and fasttrack all dip in and out of each other at various points) is totally mesmerising. I could get lost in here and not even board the ride, but still be happy about it.
An unfathomably vast statue lies within the centre of the various staircases that lead up to the station and you can never quite see all of it. It’s not in your face like some of the perhaps better queueline scenery out there, but it looms impressively nonetheless.
As we enter the batch point of the dual station I have to mention how much I love the staff uniforms throughout the ride. They’re all dressed up and looking gorgeous in their desert rags and I’m a huge fan of little immersive details like this.
The trains leave a little to be desired in their restraint design with a slightly obstructive ‘shin bar’ on longer legs but the lap bar itself is just what we needed. If both sides of the station are operating simultaneously you can often get a fun moment of two cars dispatching at the same time, heading towards each other, the point at which the tracks merge and playing a game of chicken, with one stopping suddenly at the last second to every rider’s delight. I love it when ride hardware has a bit of a character building moment for itself, I get the feeling that it’s toying with me and that’s exactly what I want it to do.
‘The boooook… find the boooook’, the creepy whispers bounce off the walls as you progress around the first couple of turns and truly leave civilisation behind. Just thinking about this moment and these sounds chills me to the bone. Perfectly complimenting the earlier feeling of entering the queueline, this time strapped in with no escape, it’s the most beautifully atmospheric moment I’ve ever experienced on a ride.
With desperation in his voice, the explorer demands that we find this book and kill Imhotep just as the nightmarish Mummy animatronic reveals himself and shuts him up with a pop of magic. Our souls will be his for all eternity… eternity… eternity… the whispering echoes return, each one getting deeper and more devilish in tone.
The following is the most breathtaking scene, a twisted face appears on a huge screen up front and threateningly requests that we serve him and enjoy the riches that fill the room around us, lighting up in tempting response. If we refuse? BAM! Mummies popping up on all sides, water effects, fire effects, the whole bloody marvellous package. Through the chaos, the ride speeds up and races towards a door that’s closing down on it from above, with a narrow escape.
If there are other riders on board at this point, then it’s guaranteed that they’re properly losing it around you. The pace of scares becomes relentless as you hit a dead end, the wall breaks and a plague of bugs comes pouring out at you. It’s now hard to distinguish the audio from the genuine terror of guests as the car propels you backwards to supposed safety.
But oh, no, we’ll never find the book now. The room rotates as the train tries to point itself in the right direction again. It lines up, nothing but mist and darkness lie ahead. What’s that terrifying face doing up so high above us? ‘Your souls are MINE!’ The LIM launch kicks in and wrenches you up the hill into the mouth and now the thrills can truly begin. Pure narrative perfection.
The crest of this hill provides the best moment of airtime in the layout and I’ve found it to be the most potent in the back left seat due to the direction of the transition. A dizzying sequence of turns and transitions follow through the dark with the occasional flash of a scary banner lighting the way. As quickly as it all started, the train comes screeching to a halt in a block section. On good days this comes with a brutal braking force that takes the wind from your stomach, and rightly so.
It ain’t just any old block section though. We’ve found the book.
And then the room catches fire. Sweet, beautiful, burning fire and the exhilarating feeling of the intense heat lapping at your face. Just before further injury is caused, the train plummets away from this and finds a way to the end brakes. It usually parks directly under a fog machine that keeps on pumping directly into my eyes while waiting for the block section ahead to clear. A wooden casket hangs above the track containing the defeated mummy, who each time makes one of several cool statements like ‘death is only the beginning’ accompanied by the sounds of the box splintering. Why should it be over? We can just do it again and again and again.
And I have. It’s the first theme park attraction I got truly addicted to. Of course I greatly enjoyed a wide variety of rides back in the UK before this moment (this was my first proper theme park visit outside of the country), but they never had me marching straight back around like a man possessed, a singular thought in my mind – ‘more!’
The sudden knowledge that something at a theme park can be THIS good is what really knocked me sideways and from that moment on I knew I had to kick this hobby up several gears in order to get out in the world and find ‘more!’ This ride is responsible for reshaping my whole future into a literally life-consuming endeavour.
I imagine I’ve failed to convey the sheer brilliance of this attraction as I’m just waffling away with a bunch of superlatives at this point but that really is how Revenge of the Mummy makes me feel. I’m sitting here in front of a computer screen, buzzing – my heart rate has been elevated by virtue of recounting these memories in my head and I don’t quite know what to do with myself.
While I go and calm down, you go and ride it. Deal?