Theme Park Insider

Monday Top 10: The World's Best Shooter Rides

November 17, 2014, 5:29 AM · With Knott's Berry Farm introducing a new shooter ride for 2015, let's take a look at its competition as we honor the Top 10 shooter rides at major theme parks around the world. Again, these are the collective rankings of Theme Park Insider readers, so if you have a different take, get into our park listings and submit your own ratings! The more readers who rate, the better consensus we can present.

10. Wonder Mountain's Guardian
Canada's Wonderland

Wonder Mountain's Guardian

Cedar Fair's combo shooter and roller coaster might be "version 1.0" of what we can expect next year on Knott's "Voyage to the Iron Reef," with a Triotech-animated screen shooter.

9. Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge
Hersheypark

Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge

Hersheypark's "Chocolate vs. Peanut Butter" competition is the first of many Sally Corp. shooters on the list.

8. Justice League: Alien Invasion 3D
Warner Bros. Movie World

Justice League: Alien Invasion 3D

Not only will Knott's be getting a new shooter next year, Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis will be getting "Justice League: Battle for Metropolis," a DC Comics-themed Sally Corp. ride. For a preview of what visitors will find next season in Texas and Missouri, take a trip to Australia's Warner Bros. Movie World, where this DC-themed shooter debuted in 2012.

7. Boo Blasters on Boo Hill
Canada's Wonderland, Carowinds, Kings Dominion, Kings Island

Boo Blasters on Boo Hill

This Sally shooter is a refurbishment of the Scooby-Doo shooters that entertained fans at the old Paramount theme parks.

6. Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters
Disneyland, Disneyland Paris (as Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast), Hong Kong Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom (as Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin)

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

Disney popularized the shooter ride with the original Buzz Lightyear ride at Disney World in 1998. Today, though the original version lags its successors in popularity, this interactive battle against the Evil Emperor Zurg has become one of Disney's most popular global theme park franchises, one of the few that appears in all five resorts.

5. Gobbler Getaway
Holiday World

Gobbler Getaway

With Thanksgiving coming up next week in the United States, you might think it time to go turkey hunting. So get out your turkey callers and try to round up all the runaway turkeys in this Holiday World attraction. Funny, though, no matter how many turkeys we manage to call, we always end up with pizza for Thanksgiving dinner here.

4. Lost Kingdom Adventure
Legoland California, Legoland Florida, Legoland Malaysia, Legoland Windsor

Lost Kingdom Adventure

Legoland's shooter franchise sends you into the temple of the Lost Kingdom to stop evil Sir Sam Sinister from plundering the treasurers within. (This is the top-rated Sally production on our list.)

3. Monsters Inc. Ride and Go Seek
Tokyo Disneyland

Monsters Inc. Ride and Go Seek

Join Mike and Sully as they play a game of flashlight tag with Boo in the Monsters Inc. Laugh Factory.

2. Men In Black Alien Attack
Universal Studios Florida

Men In Black Alien Attack

Enter the Men in Black headquarters for training in identifying and neutralizing space aliens that have invaded New York City. A high top score earns you "the suit" as an MIB agent. A low score? Just look here for a moment, okay?

1. Toy Story Midway Mania
Disney California Adventure, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Tokyo DisneySea

Toy Story Midway Mania

Disney takes the top spot with its wildly popular collection of 3D video midway games, hosted by and starring the characters from the beloved Pixar Toy Story movies.

Which game is your favorite?

Replies (30)

November 17, 2014 at 5:53 AM · MIB is already a great dark ride but the shooting aspect takes it to another level. Even shooting the other vehicle makes the ride different. I'm kind of shocked how high the 3D screens of Toy Story got when the pulling system for shooting is a pain and the screens nothing more present then a Wii game.
November 17, 2014 at 6:28 AM · I agree totally with TielO above.
And where Toy Story Midway Mania scores this high, it's weird that Phantasialand's Maus au Chocolat isn't even in the list, since it's the same type of ride, but with more decor than Disney's iteration.
November 17, 2014 at 6:48 AM · You definitely got one and two wrong. MIB is by far the best shooter. Midway Mania is barely worthy of the second spot. It's got terrible capacity, short gameplay, and it's very tiring yanking on the string. It doesn't have anything on MIB.
November 17, 2014 at 7:25 AM · Men In Black > Midway Mania
November 17, 2014 at 8:05 AM · I figured that Toy Story Mania would be at the top of this list, but my favorite is still Men in Black by far. The spinning can be a bit much for some riders (which probably explains the rating), but it's on a different level. I also have more fun on Buzz Lightyear (especially the Disneyland version) than Toy Story Mania. I like going through actual environments as opposed to a screen. It also has a much shorter wait!
November 17, 2014 at 8:29 AM · Anyone who has been on a majority of these want to comment on which ride is the most accurate in terms of scoring. I have only been on MIB and Buzz lightyear. I dont really remeber MIB, but I have been on Buzz lightyear more recently and I felt like the scoring was almost randomized to a point.
November 17, 2014 at 9:34 AM · I kind of wish some of these attractions were focused more on letting me enjoy the ride and less on the game (basically, they are just a dark ride to me). When I ride a "shooter" attraction, I usually hardly participate in the gaming aspect anyway. I guess the good news is, that it's kind of a win win when they are well themed, because people like me who don't care to play a video game while riding can still enjoy it.
November 17, 2014 at 9:35 AM · I agree with all of you above. I'm not even a fan of the "Men in Black" movies, but the ride is amazing. The sets and animated creatures are incredible and the game is fun. I also totally agree that Toy Story Midway Mania is just a moving Wii game. I have to assume the love for the Toy Story franchise and its characters trumps any critical opinion in this case.
November 17, 2014 at 10:30 AM · I am missing Huntik 4d (Rainbow Magicland, near Rome - Italy) in this top 10.. Such a great ride in an akward park.
November 17, 2014 at 10:39 AM · Definitely MIB > Midway Mania. Side geek note, Midway Mania runs on Windows XP. Seriously? I would agree that Buzz Lightyear is better than Midway Mania both in interactivity and less of an overall wait time (which goes a long way). There is no way I would wait more than 30 minutes to ride MM.

I'm happy to see Gobbler Getaway rated at #5. I would push it up to #4 even. It had a great overall story, unique theme-ing, and humor which went way beyond my expectations when I rode it.

BTW, I once scored 999,999 on MIB. Sure, the car I was in stopped for about 30 seconds, but hey, I'll take it.

November 17, 2014 at 10:43 AM · I'll take animatronics over screens anyday. Men in Black is the best. Midway Mania is just a fancy Wii game with a long wait time.
November 17, 2014 at 11:16 AM · I have to agree with everybody else. MIB should be number one on this list. There really is NO REASON for Toy Story Midway Mania to even be a ride. Players could just as easily sit on a stationary bench and play the games. The ride adds nothing to the game play at all. If the vehicles moved during play, it would be different, but they don't.
Additionally the entire MIB universe is supported by the ride. It's a world where secret agents fight aliens with guns. The ride only builds upon that. TSMM could feature any set of characters. It could just as easily feature Winnie The Pooh as Buzz and Woody.
Above all that is the fact that MIB features actual 3-D figures, not just a bunch of video screens.
No question MIB>Midway Mania.
November 17, 2014 at 12:58 PM · I would agree that MIB is the best, but TSMM IS a lot of fun. It was also sure to be in the top spot because of it's endless, otherworldly popularity. It's also unique; the first 3D shooting ride/game.
November 17, 2014 at 1:00 PM · By the way, Buzz does not have random scoring at all. A buddy of mine, who is a Disneyland regular and California local, consistently outscores everyone he rides with because he is skilled at that game. That's not random.
November 17, 2014 at 1:06 PM · Yeah, MIB should be #1

'Men In Black: Alien Attack' has the an extraordinary array of dimensional characters (including the Big Bug, the Ambush Alien, Smoke Blast and so many others). There are multiple variations (tracks, guns, etc.) making each ride a new experience. The themeing blows Toy Story away. The story line is air tight -- and consistent with the film. The sets are AMAZING (crashed spaceship, Times Square, etc.). There is the portion of the ride where guests can shoot at each other's ride vehicles. And even the building's exterior is interesting (especially at night with the lighting effects on the giant Wonder Wall.

November 17, 2014 at 2:11 PM · Wow. This is one of the few times I've seen the commentators on this site so close in agreement..... MIB, and it's not even close.
November 17, 2014 at 2:45 PM · MIB is easily the best and should be deserving of the first spot. I rode it shortly after it opened and now this summer again and the ride has lost none of its fun.

Best thing this summer was riding it over and over again together with a regular guy, who got insane scores. Such a great time and surely something that sticks after the vacation.

November 17, 2014 at 2:56 PM · I haven't been on all of these (most notably I haven't ridden Men In Black), and I would have ranked them slightly differently (namely Buzz Lightyear, Lost Kingdom Adventure, Boo Blasters on Boo Hill, then Gobbler Getaway in the middle portion) but my main issue with the list is calling it "The World's Best Shooter Rides" yet including some very mediocre attractions on here (especially the Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge). Personally, I'd consider something like the generic Sally Ghostblasters attraction better than everything on here below Gobbler Getaway, and I've seen a few at smaller parks that are really good (the Challenge of Mondor at Enchanted Forest in Oregon comes to mind, as do rides I've heard about in Europe). Perhaps this type of list should be retitled "TPI Top 10: [insert category here]" as TPI covers relatively few major international parks.
November 17, 2014 at 4:24 PM · I feel like shooters are less than interesting as dark rides. The scoring means nothing. The targets you're hitting does nothing to engage the rider and it doesn't improve the dark ride experience. It is mainly loud in colors and sound.

I would like them to introduce the trackless vehicles, incorporate a formula that takes into account the targets hit and the sequences, then provide tailored targets and environments, and finally a finale that is based on user preference or targeting level.

I can imagine something like Ghostbusters where you select where you want to go... the house or the sewer, the target... ghosts or demons, your talent... sharpshooter or flamethrower. The success at each level can be tallied as points or level. Since many companies use barcoded cards or NFC bands, the rides can remember your last ride and give you a new experience, or it can make subsequent rides more difficult.

November 17, 2014 at 5:16 PM · Well I haven't been on MIB but I thought TSMM was a kick in the pants. In terms of simple fun, the best time I had in the park. It isn't about how good the actually ride is it's just dumb fun. I thought the capacity was pretty good since it is a constant loader. Hopefully I will get to Universal to try MIB.
November 18, 2014 at 3:26 AM · Have to go with MIB at number one as well... The sets are amazing, and it puts you right in the movie. Toy Story Midway Mania has nothing to do with the stories of all three.
November 18, 2014 at 7:53 AM · First off I agree with everyone MIB should definitely be number one. And TSMM is a very disappointing ride to me. I will complain about that shortly. But first I want to say I am disappointed that James Rao has not commented about The Flooded Mine at Silver Dollar City yet. I guess I will bring it up even though he would probably do it more justice. It is a very solid boat ride shooter. It feels as if you are taking a boat ride into an immersive interactive shooting gallery environment. It even has a story line which a lot of shooters fall short on. While it is not elaborate, or the most accurate guns(that might just be my shooting skills). I believe it is a homegrown ride (not sally or another company though it may be, I am being lazy with the research) as most of their rides are. Which as always they tend to do amazing things that you wouldn’t expect on their much smaller budget. But it is well maintained they even occasionally change a few things up in the ride. Now back to TSMM my problem is this. I feel like it was a lazy “C” ticket approach that Disney took when they should have aimed for an “E” ticket ride. Never worth the wait. This ride is on my list with Snoarin’ as two rides with potential that Disney definitely dropped the ball on, and came nowhere close to the potential that each ride has. But for some reason both rides are loved and praised for their creativity and ingenuity. What is annoying is that just like snoarin’ which was supposed to be great because of the easy ability to change out the film. However apparently that was obviously not the case. You know someday they will close it down for a year long refurbishment and when it finally re-opens we will find out it is the exact same programming just updated from windows XP to windows 7. Also as Robert said this list was based on our ratings of the rides on the site. Not his opinion, so we should all take the time and rate the rides n the site. Which should make this list a little more accurate.
November 18, 2014 at 9:35 AM · I've not ridden them all, but I think some European rides are missing and should be on the list: RESET at Mirabilandia (Italy), HUNTIK 5D at Rainbow Magicland (Italy), EL LABERINTO DEL MINOTAURO at Terra Mitica (Spain).
November 18, 2014 at 12:04 PM · I haven't ridden Men In Black yet (January!!) so I can't comment on it being the best or not, but I don't understand all the negative energy for TSMM. From a game perspective, it's miles beyond Buzz Lightyear.

In TSMM, when you miss, you clearly see the arc of each attempt and get immediate and obvious feedback on why you missed -- high, low, left, and/or right. This makes it easy to understand how to adjust to better hit the target the next time. For a game that's on a ride this part has to be obvious, and it is. Similarly, when you hit a target, you often get great positive visual feedback on screen. They also have little hidden bonus targets that you start to notice more on repeat rides. All ages in my family think it's super-fun, and all really want to win!!!

Buzz Lightyear on the other hand, while it has awesome theming within the ride, has a horrible game feedback mechanism. It's almost impossible to see where your shot ended up, and to know whether you hit the target or not. If you miss, you don't really understand why or how you missed most of the time. Maybe if you go on the ride 5 straight times or something you can start to see and understand better, but it's definitely not obvious. When my family rides it, there's little gloating over who wins because it feels like 100% luck to us.

TSMM is very well designed from a game perspective, and it shows in the fun factor.

November 18, 2014 at 4:10 PM · Duel @ Alton Towers should be on there. Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast @ DLP is also far better than it's cousins stateside. Haven't tried an Asian one though!
November 19, 2014 at 3:01 AM · I have to go against the grain and say i prefer TSMM over MIB

TSMM is an excellent shooter with quality theming and a real sense of skill when aiming and shooting. MIB is also very good but not as enjoyable imo (though being able to shoot the other car is a fantastic idea)

TSMM suffers due to being far too popular in a park with too few AAA experiences which i think has led to some of the negative comments on here

If i had a choice of going on one only i would choose Toy Story every time

Duel at Alton Towers is awful though

November 19, 2014 at 6:59 AM · I would have put MIB and Monster's Inc. over TSMM. Both have a better storyline and are just that much better due to Animatronics. I can sit at home with a fan blowing and a friend spraying water at me while playing the Wii version of TSMM to get a close simulation. Can't do that with MIB or Monster's Inc. And this is coming from someone who's definitely more of a Disney fan than a Universal fan.

While I understand the ranking is from their ratings, it makes me wonder how often people rate a ride/ attraction higher than they deserve due to how much of a fan they are of one company. Not saying that's what causes it, but it would be interesting to know if you could get an honest response.

November 19, 2014 at 1:13 PM · So sorry to anybody whose only experience of Buzz Lightyear is the one at Magic Kingdom! If that's you, I'm sure you can hardly imagine why that ride makes the list at all. Compared to the other versions around the world (which are generally similar to each other) the one in Florida is very poor. Having experienced the versions in Anaheim, Tokyo & Hong Kong before Florida we were very disappointed - but was also a great reminder that Florida is not the be all and end all of theme park experiences :)
November 19, 2014 at 1:33 PM · How can you lump all of the Buzz Lightyear rides together?

I've only been on two of them, but they are as different as apples and pears. Don't know about the the other version. I would add Disneyland's version to this list, but not Walt Disney World's.

Disneyland's version is fun and has an interactive kiosk at the end and worth the wait!

Walt Disneyworld's version feels old, the guns are stationary and just is not worth the wait in line IMHO.

November 19, 2014 at 3:07 PM · "finally a finale that is based on user preference or targeting level."

MIB actually already has this. Guests in vehicles that average over 100,000 points are shown the "suit", while lower scores result in a different final scene.

MIB is far and away the best shooter dark ride. TSMM can be annoying to play, and the shooting mechanism, while cute, makes my arm hurt following the final rapid-fire game. There's really not much of a dark ride to TSMM as the vehicles simply exist to allow guests to move in front of screens displaying each game. The overall design of TSMM is nice, but when you think about it, it's really not as great as the lines would suggest. The wait times have far more to do with the capacity rather than the popularity. I would predict that once the second ride track is complete in the adjacent sound stage, lines will rarely be longer than 30 minutes, much like MIB typically is.

MIB not only uses real animatronics and moving targets, but the ability to hit adjacent ride vehicles (and make them spin) adds a lot to the competitiveness of the game. The only aspect that TSMM has over MIB is that each of the targets has point values on them, so you know where to aim. MIB, and many other shooter games, it's a complete mystery as to how much each target is worth unless you're an experienced rider. TSMM has a bit of the same issue in that higher value targets can be revealed, but only if certain lower value targets are hit first.

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