All aboard Derren Brown's Ghost Train - Rise of the Demon
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In 2016, Thorpe Park opened Derren Brown’s Ghost Train. A revolutionary new attraction that fused Virtual Reality, Live Action and a smart ride system – a worlds first.

However – new technology comes with new problems. The ride was often closed, or when it was available was running with a large percentage of the VR headsets broken. On top of this, the content of the VR was a bit too tame for riders. I enjoyed the ride as it was, and ‘got’ why the technology was a little unstable. We live in times where a bad experience will get the public moaning endlessly on social media. Thorpe Park Resort went back to the drawing board with Derren Brown to improve the experience.

What’s New on Derren Brown’s Ghost Train – Rise of the Demon?

Externally, the ride building has had an extension, and the luggage store is now gone. Riders now take their belongings on board with them (perhaps for a more authentic ‘experience’?). There’s a slight change to the way you get into the building with an internal ‘batching’ area.




Once inside, the pre-show is exactly the same as before, and the experience of getting to the train is similar too. Because the ride is now running at capacity – there’s a marked difference in the amount of people per ride. This will no doubt help the lengthy queues.

All aboard Derren Brown's Ghost Train - Rise of the Demon
All aboard Derren Brown’s Ghost Train – Rise of the Demon

As you board, you notice brand new HTC Vive VR Headsets. These now have better over the ear headphones to immerse you into the VR. The headphones on the old headsets weren’t nearly as loud, or noise cancelling as you’d like. I hope the new headsets are an improvement over the old with regards to reliability. Time will tell..

Now – that, unfortunately is all I am willing to divulge over the changes to the ride. They have made MASSIVE improvements to Derren Brown’s Ghost Train – Rise of the Demon in the second half. I honestly didn’t see the finale coming – at all. That’s probably the best way to be. You can probably find videos on YouTube showing every single second. Don’t watch them. Just enjoy the surprises that Rise of the Demon throws at you.

Overall

Derren Brown’s Ghost Train – Rise of the Demon is a lot of fun – and I can’t wait to experience it again, and again. Each ride feels a little different depending on your fellow travellers. Plus, you notice little nuances you miss in the VR sections too.

It’s positive that Thorpe Park Resort and Derren Brown have clearly worked hard to improve the experience. It would be very easy to patch up the headsets, and run it as-is year on year. They haven’t – they’ve taken the criticism on-board and fixed the issues. Rise of the Demon isn’t perfect, it’s not flawless but – it’s very, very good. The changes to the second half are very positive and enhance the ride no-end. The whole thing feels more ‘Derren Brown’ now – it messes with your mind!

VR will become more commonplace in theme park rides of the future – there’s no doubt. The technology will become more reliable and resilient too. As Rise of the Demon has shown – the VR element can be altered to produce a different ride experience. It keeps the ride fresh, and interesting year on year.

The question of reliability and up-time for Rise of the Demon will become clear as the season continues. Thorpe Park Resort has shown in the preview last night – when the ride is running well – it’s a unique and captivating experience.

Thorpe Park Resort have uploaded this video to give you a sneaky look inside Derren Brown’s Ghost Train – Rise of the Demon. If you look carefully, you might spot some of the changes..

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Kip Hakes

Derren Brown's Ghost Train - Rise of the Demon

Editor's Rating:
4



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