A tour of Universal Studios Singapore: Sci Fi City

December 19, 2011, 12:27 PM · Welcome to Day Two of Universal Studios Singapore Week here on Theme Park Insider. Today, we're continuing our way around the park into Sci Fi City.

This is where you'll find Universal's next-generation 3D motion-base thrill ride, Transformers: The Ride.

Transformers the Ride in Singapore

You gotta love a ride whose warning sign starts with the phrase, "This ride takes place on a high-speed robotic vehicle trying to escape destruction by giant alien robots." Yeah, that happens to me all the time. Thanks for that heads-up. ;^)

Transformers warning sign

Transformers is just like Universal Orlando's Spider-Man… but with clearer visuals, better motion coordination and much faster, wilder effects. That's helping make Transformers by far the most popular attraction in Universal Studios Singapore, and driving this nearly-two-year-old park to its highest monthly attendance totals.

Optimus Prime battling Megatron
On-ride image of Optimus Prime battling Megatron.

I reviewed Transformers earlier this month, and if you'd like to hear a detailed description of the ride from its designer, I also spent some time talking with Universal Creative's Thierry Coup while I was in Singapore.

Optimus Prime

U.S. theme park fans will be getting their own (identical) version of Transformers in April, when the ride opens at Universal Studios Hollywood. And Orlando theme park fans won't miss out entirely. Coup said that Universal Creative is applying what it developed on Transformers to creating a new, all-digital version of Spider-Man for installation later this year.

Just up the street from Transformers, you'll find an attraction that should be familiar to Islands of Adventure fans:


Except that Universal's spinner ride is simply called Accelerator here, dropping the "Storm Force" theme, since Universal no longer owns the theme park rights to the Marvel characters outside Orlando.

Standing over Accelerator, though, is the world's tallest dueling coaster: Battlestar Galactica.

Battlestar Galactica

Dueling coasters on Battlestar Galactica

Problems with the seat mounts on the coaster trains delayed Battlestar Galactica's opening for nearly a year, but the ride seemed to me to be operating flawlessly while I visited. Battlestar Galactica offers two unique experiences: A "Human" side that's a sit-down coaster with no inversions, and the "Cylon" side, which is an inverted coaster with multiple loops and flips.

Frequent Theme Park Insider readers might know that I'm no fan of inverted coasters, so I chose to ride on the Human side. Hey, I like to ride with the good guys, too. On that note, I absolutely loved this T-shirt in the gift shop at the ride's exit:

Battlestar Galactica T-shirt
"Remember, anyone could be a Cylon." Though, mostly, it seems that they're really hot blonde women in cut-out dresses.

Universal's done a nice job of decorating the Human trains with the nose piece and engine bells from a colonial Viper. The ride itself is just a delight, with great visuals of both the park and the dueling Cylon train, which makes multiple passes on this tight track layout. But the ride never hits you hard with lateral G forces. Instead, you feel a whippy speed, with a welcomed breeze providing relief from the Singapore heat. And with Transformers drawing so many of the park's thrill-seekers, the wait time's reasonable, too - peaking at 20 minutes mid-day during my trip. (Transformers maxed out at 150 minutes.)

Up until Transformers' opening, Sci-Fi City was the only land in the park without a restaurant. That's changed now, as Starbot Cafe opened the same day as Transformers.

Starbot Cafe

Starbot Cafe serves assorted sushi, as appetizers and entrees including poached salmon, teriyaki chicken and vegetarian fried rice in a counter-service setting with plenty of indoor seating.

Tomorrow, we'll continue our tour into Egypt, and take a ride on Universal Studios Singapore's Revenge of the Mummy.

Also on the tour: Hollywood & New York, The Lost World, Far, Far Away, Madagascar

Replies (7)

December 19, 2011 at 8:49 PM · Robert good post!. Just one thing before I go to invert coasters, I have been posting threads and They dont go to the discussion board please help want to post, inverts I can understand really scary at first but do it once and your fear is gone nothing else if you don't want your feet dangling just feel like there is a floor on the bottom or make your feet stay still.
December 19, 2011 at 9:10 PM · The reason I don't like inverted coasters is because of the lack of visuals, unless you wait an extra-long time for the front row. I've called it like riding in a blender, because all you see is the seatback in front of you. Without visual cues, and with the extra Gs that these seem to generate due to their design keeping you away from the track, inverteds leave me with worse headaches than any other type of coaster I've ridden.

After a bad ride on Batman at Six Flags Great America two summers ago, I vowed: never again. Then I broke my promise by riding front row on Dragon Challenge last summer. While the front experience was better, I still didn't enjoy that ride enough to make me want to give inverteds another chance.

I understand that some people like them, which is why I'm getting my position on them out in the open. I'm not riding them anymore - and will leave it to others to review them.

December 20, 2011 at 5:47 AM · I was on the Battlestar Galactica ride in September. I decided to check where the best seat was and after 13 rides decided that it was at the back left of the cylon. It's a good ride, but I prefer the dragon challenge in Orlando.
December 20, 2011 at 9:00 AM · Humans are the "good guys"? Did you not watch Battlestar Galactica? It was a lot more complicated than that :)
December 20, 2011 at 9:01 AM · I was curious...is Battlestar Galactica the first ever two- track coaster to feature two completely different TYPES of rides..i.e., a sit-down and an invert? Although tracks and layouts may be different on other "double" rides, it's always the same TYPE of coaster on each track.
December 20, 2011 at 5:24 PM · To anonymous: all right, I'm grossly oversimplifying. But I'm loyal to my lifeform, what can I say? And that Cylon chick gives me the creeps - though she is a delightful archetype of the ultimate dream psycho girlfriend from Hell. (FWIW, I also watched every episode of the original series but only here and there of the much better new one, since I don't buy cable.)

And Mike, I was trying to think of another example, but couldn't. So unless someone else jumps in with one, I'm gonna say that you are correct.

December 22, 2011 at 1:29 PM · It looks really cool and hoping that it would go to IOA

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