Nemesis Sub-Terra

Alton Towers

The Nemesis creature's eggs have been discovered, and the Phalanx are inviting visitors into their high security compound to safely view the underground nest...

Theme ParkAlton Towers
Park AreaForbidden Valley
TypeDrop Tower
Opened24 March 2012
ClosedAugust 2015 (SBNO)
ManufacturerABC Rides
Drop 20 ft
Capacity 40 guests per ride
Nemesis Sub-Terra ride entrance

Nemesis Sub-Terra ride entrance

Hidden within the catacombs beneath Forbidden Valley, a nest filled with eggs has been discovered. Believed to belong to the Nemesis creature which was unearthed and restrained at Alton Towers back in 1994, The Phalanx organisation have been charged with dealing with the nest. After building a compound over the nest site, they are now offering visitors the chance to view the secured eggs in complete safety...

And so goes the back story to Nemesis Sub-Terra. The ride opened in 2012, eighteen years after the original Nemesis rollercoaster. Alton Towers' aim was to use the successful Nemesis legend to create a second ride experience. It was badly needed: the park hadn't managed to open any new attraction the previous year. Rumours had it that they were to introduce a Shrek attraction in the old Ice Show tent, but this never materialised meaning the only thing new in 2011 had been some Japanese Spider Crabs in Sharkbait Reef. To make up for this, the park had promised fans something very special in 2012, with Sub-Terra opening in addition to Ice Age 4D.

A tank, known as The Stag, was parked outside the Nemesis Sub-Terra compound

A tank, known as The Stag, was parked outside the Nemesis Sub-Terra compound

The area around the ride was themed to look like a military style compound, with Phalanx operatives patrolling around and barking orders at guests. Upon entering the building, guests were instructed to watch a preshow video which explained some of the backstory, emphasising that the eggs had been made safe for public display. They then moved into one of two (fake) lifts that would carry them deep underground into the catacombs beneath Forbidden Valley.

Exiting the lifts, guests entered the main ride chamber which featured one of the eggs displayed in the centre of the room. They were instructed to take a seat on one of the ten-seater benches surrounding the egg on four sides and pull down a lap bar. Video screens would give more details on the alien egg, but then suddenly they would cut out after a power failure and the room would be plunged into darkness.

The egg on display

The egg on display

With sirens going off, the lights would come on again and guests would see the egg had hatched. Not that they got much time to view it, as their seats would suddenly drop twenty feet to another level of the catacombs, revealing a chamber full of eggs that had not been made safe. Again in darkness, the ride cars were raised slowly back to the main exhibition chamber. Various effects including strobe lights, water sprays, air squirts, leg ticklers and back pokers were triggered and a 30 second countdown was displayed - with lap bars released, guests had thirty seconds to exit before the facility would self-destruct.

Bellowing Phalanx Operatives ushered the hapless visitors back into the lifts to return them to the surface. However, as the lifts began to "rise", banging noises were heard and the lift began to shake. The roof and walls started to cave in as the newly hatched alien creature attempted to attack. As the lift doors opened, guests would be accosted by a gas-mask wearing Phalanx operative and directed into a strobe maze which at times would be filled with bloodied Phalanx personnel who would chase them out back into the daylight.

The Phalanx were a moody bunch

The Phalanx were a moody bunch

Unfortunately, Alton Towers' hopes of cashing in on the success of Nemesis were misplaced and Nemesis Sub-Terra opened to largely negative reaction, with most guests being distinctly underwhelmed. Various improvements to the ride were made in the weeks following opening, and it was closed for almost a week in late May for major changes to be made including the addition of the strobe maze finale.

Even with the improvements, Nemesis Sub Terra wasn't a great success or a crowd pleaser. Perhaps there was just too much "fluff" around what was essentially a small kiddie drop tower, even though Merlin have had much more success with these at their Dungeons attractions.

Sub Terra was closed in August 2015 in the weeks following The Smiler accident, possibly due to the decreaed visitor numbers and the high staff costs needed to run the attraction. It has not re-opened since, and although officially only Standing But Not Operating rather than permanently closed, the main entrance sign has been removed and it seems increasingly unlikely it will ever reopen.

The site is being reused, however, as the location for the Project 42 scare maze premiering at Scarefest 2018 which follows the continuing story of The Phalanx.

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