Six Flags looks to raise its game for dark rides with 'Justice League'

September 9, 2014, 1:37 PM · Theme park fans have come to expect hear about new roller coasters when Six Flags makes it annual announcement of its new attractions for the coming year. But this year's announcement brought a welcomed twist: a new dark ride.

But Six Flags' new Justice League: Battle For Metropolis won't be a the same kind of Sally shooter that fans have experienced in other regional parks around the country. For this effort, lead developer Sally Corporation has enlisted Oceaneering, the firm that creates the motion-base ride vehicles for Universal's Transformers and SeaWorld's Antarctica rides, to craft the six-passenger ride vehicles for Battle For Metropolis.

Chase scene
Concept sketch courtesy Sally Corporation

In addition, Sally is bringing 3D screens into the mix, along with a mix practical effects typically found on Sally dark rides.

"By incorporating the dynamic ride system created by Oceaneering, who also built the ride system for Transformers at Universal Studios, we can achieve the next generation of interactive thrills. In addition, the massive 3D screens and highly detailed scenery immerse you in the world of the DC Comics superheroes. Now, a completely new experience awaits with Justice League: Battle for Metropolis as it is the very first motion-based, interactive dark ride in North America," Sally Corporation CEO John Wood said in a statement.

Van attack
Concept sketch courtesy Sally Corporation

Van attack van
Photo courtesy Sally Corporation

The four-minute ride will include five 3D screens, a 3D fog screen, and an original musical score. Here's the set-up:

As they enter the Hall of Justice, visitors are immediately alerted to the dangers on the streets of Metropolis. The Joker and Lex Luthor have teamed up to use the weaknesses of the Justice League against them to kidnap and hold them in LexCorp, Lex Luthor’s corporate headquarters in downtown Metropolis. Guests are given their mission directives; find the Justice League and free them from The Joker, Lex and their evil minions. With live fire, cannon blasts, holograms, explosions and surprises waiting around every corner, riders will truly feel as though danger is imminent and the peril is real as they battle to save the city from complete havoc.

In addition to Oceaneering, other contractors on the project include Alterface, RealD 3D, Lexington Scenic, Pure Imagination, and Wyatt Design Group. "Justice League: Battle For Metropolis" will open next year at Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis.

Replies (13)

September 9, 2014 at 2:22 PM · I guess Disney decided against using this technology. Good for Six Flags. A reason to visit? Not absolutely sure.
September 9, 2014 at 3:04 PM · The line-up of companies working on this gives me hope that this could be best dark ride outside of a Disney or Universal park. We'll have to see if everyone can execute, of course, but I wish that we were getting one of these at Magic Mountain so I could have one nearer me.
September 9, 2014 at 3:13 PM · I am cautiously optimistic. Next year may be the first time I have visited the pit known as Six Flags Saint Louis since 2010-ish. Better make sure I am up to date on my tetanus shot first....
September 9, 2014 at 3:30 PM · I can only hope it is a good ride. I was excited to se it was being added the the Texas park. The think I miss most being in the center of the country is that the good rides tend to go to the coasts. I only hope we get a great dark ride in Texas.
September 9, 2014 at 4:08 PM · Regardless of the content, any major investment in a dark ride is usually a good thing. I hope these attractions are a success for Six Flags and that this encourages other parks to follow suit.
September 9, 2014 at 5:03 PM · I believe that some of these companies already teamed to develop a Justice League attraction in Australia.
September 9, 2014 at 8:21 PM · Sally did Justice League: Alien Invasion 3D for Warner Bros. Movie World in 2012, but said in its press release that this will be an entirely different attraction with a different ride system.
September 10, 2014 at 6:35 AM · This is certainly a promising development, but I worry that Six Flags will find some way to drop the ball. My biggest concern, however, is the ride capacity. While 6-person vehicles probably will do the trick in St. Louis, that level of throughput may not be enough for a park like Six Flags Over Texas. With 7 "scenes" reported here and buffers, the ride, with a reported 4-minute run time, will have a maximum hourly capacity somewhere around 800-1000 people per hour, which assumes everything is running perfectly. My other worry is that while I expect the ride to look and run great when it opens, that Six Flags will slowly allow the attraction to rot by neglecting broken effects and props over time, degrading the experience. It takes a lot of patience and attention to maintain dark rides, and details matter. Six Flags does not have a very detail oriented mindset, and while they do a decent job theming brand new attractions, they do a horrible job maintaining those elements as attractions age. Also, Six Flags has a terrible track record for general mechanical maintenance with its attractions, and if a company with an excellent track record like Busch Gardens/Sea World has a hard time maintaining Curse of DarKastle (first Oceaneering vehicles outside of Orlando) and Antarctica, how in the world is Six Flags going to keep these two dark rides up and running consistently?

My suggestion would be to wait for the initial surge of interest to wear off on these rides and for them to run consistently for a few weeks before planning a visit, but try to ride these in the first year before the experience starts to decay. Perhaps Six Flags will surprise us all, and deliver and maintain a solid dark ride experience, but frequent Six Flags visitors have good reason to be skeptical.

September 10, 2014 at 10:32 AM · WOW---Six Flag's is doing more then Walt Disney surprise there!
September 10, 2014 at 1:33 PM · I would have liked this attraction at Magic Mountain as well.
Either way it looks like it could be a cool attraction!
September 10, 2014 at 2:44 PM · It seems like Uni has set the bar for 3D screen based dark rides. Glad to see it coming to a non-Disney / Universal park.
September 10, 2014 at 5:49 PM · I'd be skeptical about the quality of what Six Flags is claiming just based on their past history. What we will probably get is a decently themed interior dark ride surrounded by a giant eyesore studio building that isn't disguised in any way. I mean this is the same company that's bringing us 4 giant loops next season.
September 12, 2014 at 11:56 AM · I HATE that the amazing idea of a Justice League ride is going to Six Flags. WHAT A BUMMER! Bring it to Universal or Disney so we can get a real experience!

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