Duel: The Haunted House Strikes Back

Alton Towers

The old Haunted House at Alton Towers has been invaded by Zombies ... and you've been charged with bringing it under control!

Theme ParkAlton Towers
Park AreaGloomy Wood
Ride TypeInteractive Dark Ride
AudienceAll Ages
ManufacturerMack Rides
DesignerSparks Group (Keith Sparks), John Wardley (Haunted House)
Tussauds Studios (Duel retheme)
Opened31 March 1992 (Haunted House)
5 April 2003 (Duel retheme)
Duration6 minutes
ExtrasOn-Ride Photos
The Haunted House

The Haunted House

Duel: The Haunted House Strikes Back takes riders on an adventure deep inside Alton Towers' Haunted House. The house's owner, a genetic surgeon, has vanished after conducting experiments attempting to bring the dead back to life. His work appears to have succeeded, as the undead are coming rising from their graves and inhabiting his former home. Guests are being sent inside as part of a crack team to find out exactly what is going on. There'll be up close encounters with zombies, and they're not happy about being disturbed. Prepare to duel!

Alton Towers' original Haunted House was opened in 1992 as one of the first major investments in the park made by Tussauds, and was created by renowned ride designers John Wardley and Keith Sparks. It was an instant hit, and remained one of the park's most popular rides for years. However, by 2002 various effects were in need of refurbishment, and Tussauds made the decision to retheme the ride as Duel: The Haunted House Strikes Back.

The retheme added the new storyline revolving around zombies taking over the house, with ride cars having laser guns fitted to allow riders to shoot the living dead as they toured around the various haunted rooms.

Inside Duel's station

Inside Duel's station

Ride scenes are covered in small green LED lights. When these are shot at, they turn red and the rider's score displayed on their individual scoreboard inside the ride vehicle is increased. Hidden in some less obvious places throughout the ride are yellow lights which are worth extra bonus points. If you're after a high score, look out for those!

While retrofitting laser targets to existing dark rides often makes for a cheap and tacky disaster, Duel is one of the more successful attempts. It is hugely fun and provides a greatly re-rideable experience (and a welcome sit down after a march uphill through the gardens!). Thanks to its huge capacity, there is rarely too long a queue. While riders are now too busy shooting targets to appreciate much of the theming, it still gives a somewhat immersive experience.

A few years ago, Duel was converted into Duel: Live! for Scarefest, with the laser targets turned off and actors placed at various locations within the ride. This brought back the atmosphere of the old Haunted House. After shooting zombies for a few rides, it is well worth taking another trip through Duel with the laser gun holstered so you can sit back and appreciate what remains of the wonderfully creative original Sparks and Wardley era theming.