My favourite RMC of the moment seems to be a rather divisive one. Due to the original wooden coaster that it ended up replacing (regular Colossus), it’s so far the only one that exists to use the duelling concept and contain two lift hills within the layout. The second lift is sometimes regarded as a pacing issue and of course if you don’t actually experience the duelling aspect in action then you’re likely going to feel a bit short changed. I know that feeling all too well. But how did I get on with it?
Well it was a very strong start. Due to the ridiculous size of Six Flags Magic Mountain, the fact that they currently own more rollercoasters than anywhere else in the world and reasonably high crowd levels (on new year’s eve no less), I didn’t actually get around to riding Twisted Colossus at all until the evening, in the dark.
Personally I think there’s a lot to be said for avoiding spoilers before you experience anything (across many other mediums as well) and this became particularly apparent for me in this instance. I had no idea what this ride did, what it’s layout contained and the resultant first lap was one of the greatest I’ve had on any coaster in recent memory. Lack of being able to see, lack of knowing what comes next and lack of anticipating each element as it comes often enhances how the sensations hit you and this was a dizzying blur of powerful airtime and delightful inversions. I still didn’t know what this ride did, but I left the park that night absolutely buzzing from it. What a way to end 2018.
As was always the plan for a park of this magnitude, I returned several days later in the trip to get further acquainted with the better attractions and dust off a couple of the more elusive ones. The bulk of the day was spent specifically back on this ride because I simply couldn’t get enough of it. Of course now seeing it in the light I can tell you what it’s really about.
The ride begins with one of RMC’s signature features, a quirky little pre-lift section of tiny lumps and bumps in the track which happen to provide far more force than you would believe possible from the size. This section alone would make many other coasters blush. (Apologies for lack/quality of photos here, I was far too overwhelmed by this park at the time)
Following the lift hill, the first drop is unnervingly sharp, steep and contains the subtlest of twists to the right. This combination provides what I’d describe as standing airtime, with most of the body being pinned up out of the seat and all the weight being supported by your feet against the floor of the train. In other words, amazing.
Without time to recover, you run into the tinest of speed hills and this is where I begin to notice that the ride is trying to cut my thighs in half. Again, almost immediately, the train is thrust up into a much larger hill, the crest of which creates such an insane and sustained lurch out of the seat that it felt like my head couldn’t keep up with the rest of my body. This actually hurt my neck as the two were seemingly pulled away from one another. In other words, amazing.
To enhance it further, that moment also has to begin turning into one of the ride’s signature elements, the high five – two opposingly banked hills, one on each side of the track that would seemingly allow the riders of two duelling trains to touch hands with each other. Things continue to move at a very fast pace and there’s another huge drop through the structure, complete with head chopping supports, another tiny speed hill, a mega airtime hill, a glorious zero G roll, a crazy double up and one final twisted pop of airtime before you hit some brakes.
If I read through that list of elements I’d think that sounds like a fantastic ride and on most other attractions it would probably now be finished. Not in this case though, we’ve hit the second lift hill and it’s only going to start all over again.
Déjà vu. The green side of the track begins in exactly the same manner, except perhaps with an even steeper first drop. The larger hill at the end of the first straight begins to turn even quicker and hits even harder before you bank the opposite way – to complete the high five and then sharply twist back to the other direction again. This is even more intense than the first half and the directional changes here are one of the standout moments across all RMCs for me, with that really out of control feeling that I just love to find on coasters.
As if that wasn’t enough, the sensation continues into a twisted double down, you just can’t keep up with the rate at which the forces are thrown at you in this portion of the ride and I couldn’t ask for more than that. As if to break this with a moment of serenity, the train negotiates the world’s only ‘top gun stall’, a wonderful RMC inversion that keeps riders upside down for much longer than feels natural, a moment that often gives a little pause for thought – wow.
Twisted ejection, crazy double up and one final burst of airtime before you hit some brakes. Now it’s over and more often than not I’d have my head in my hands by this point. I could barely process how amazing this coaster was and moments like that are almost always a powerful indication of a top ten ride.
You may have noticed that I haven’t even mentioned any duelling whilst describing the layout and that’s with good reason. It’s because I believe even without that aspect this is the greatest RMC I have ridden to date. The raw power of each element, the perfect blend of variation between each one and that particularly out of control section of the ride that I did mention all make this their best hardware package in my eyes.
So now we’ve established that, let’s talk about how you go about making a coaster of that magnitude even better!
The holy grail moment. It begins in the station. During my visit, the ride operators and attendants here were leagues ahead of any others in the park, always fighting to get the most out of the passenger throughput and with good reason. The design of the layout requires 3 trains to run optimally and with this you’ll always have one in the station and one on each of the two lift hills. They can see this coming and would often playfully announce “today you’re going to be racing… orange!” during station despatch.
As you surge through the wacky prelift section you see, up ahead on the green lift hill, an orange train working its way to the top, every rider turned round in their seat to look back at you and shout “COME ON!” The green chain lift slows to a crawl and your own blue chain lift pushes on to bring the two trains level with each other. Everyone cheers and cries “YES!!!” and subsequently begin to physically try and thrust their own train forwards using their bodies. The race is on. And it’s all planned that way, it’s simply glorious.
The roles are reversed once your own train hits the green lift hill. There’s nothing there? What’s going on? You turn round and see another collection of riders being delightfully bounced across the prelift section. They’ll have to hurry up. Your chain lift slows. “HURRY UP!”
I probably sound like a 6 year old at this point but it’s that level of basal joy that makes it so special for me.
Déjà vu again. To me there are very few things better than moments of interaction with other attractions riding rollercoasters. Focusing on other moving objects is a distraction from your own experience, in this case from one of the most intense coasters on the planet, and just like with riding it in the dark or not knowing what’s coming next on that extra special first lap, it enhances what you feel during the ride.
The side by side racing at the start is only the beginning as of course there’s the high five still to come. The greatest moment for me however is the ‘mega airtime hill’ I described on the blue side interacting with the top gun stall on the green side. On one hand you’re being violently ejected out of your seat up towards another train of riders gleefully dangling above your head. On the other you’re bizarrely floating upside down over another train of riders getting violently ejected, screaming and shouting as they go. It simply doesn’t get much better than that.
I’ve officially run out of photos now but I haven’t run out of things about this ride that make me happy.
One final point I feel needs mentioning again relates to an earlier comment about the restraints trying to cut my legs in half. This was again far more noticeable on Twisted Colossus over any other RMC and a true indicator of its overall intensity to me. There’s a very exclusive selection of coasters that are physically exhausting (even damaging) to ride but also earn it – the reward of having a marathon and not worrying about the consequences of bruised thighs until later is fully justified. This ride falls firmly into that category and that has since become a staple feature of any good US coaster road trip for us. I rode it ’til it hurt and then I just kept on going. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.