Tomb Raider the Ride A Look Back

Tomb Raider: The Ride, A Look Back

JANUARY 30, 2013 AT 8:43 PM

ImTomb_Raider_The_Ride_teaseragine walking around Paramount’s Kings Island in 2001 and seeing the area in Rivertown where Kenton’s Cove Keelboat Canal was just the previous season, surrounded by wooden fences. Imagine seeing the phrases “An Exciting New Adventure Is Coming In 2002” and “Visit P.K.I next year for the Adventure of a Lifetime” written all over the fences. Imagine being a park guest trying to figure out what was going to be happening in that area. If you were a guest to the park around that time, your curiosity would have ended on July 2, 2001 when Paramount’s Kings Island announced a totally immersive dark ride adventure named Tomb Raider: The Ride. While guests walked through the park on July 2nd, they saw a 17-foot-tall Hindu goddess Brahma prop that was used in the first Tomb Raider movie that was placed in front of the Eiffel Tower and Royal Fountains. The Brahma prop was moved later to the ride’s preshow area.

The 2001 summer Paramount Pictures’ box office adventure, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was to be transformed into a unique, multi-sensory adventure ride in 2002 under the name of Tomb Raider: The Ride. The film was based of the popular Eidos Interactive, Inc. action games including Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II and more. The Paramount Pictures feature film was highly popular with a $48.2 million mid-June opening-weekend profit; it was a perfect idea for a new themed ride at Paramount Kings Island.

Paramount’s Kings Island didn’t want to let the mystery and intrigue of tomb8Tomb Raider: The Ride so all of the surprises were not disclosed until the ride’s opening. Paramount’s Kings Island’s then executive vice president and general manager Tim Fisher said, “This attraction will change the face of thrill ride history and become one of the greatest rides in the world.” There were not many other disclosures about the ride given. After the park made the announcement they unveiled a dramatic 42 foot by 28 foot in-park display featuring actual props used in the filming of the motion picture. Members of the project team visited soundstages were the film was made to hand select props to be used throughout the ride experience. Some of the props were displayed under the Eiffel Tower. There were a couple of props displayed throughout the summer including the six-armed Brahma statue, known as the Warrior Goddess Durga and evil stone monkeys that were mobilized in the Cambodian tomb raiding scene.

Guests for Tomb Raider: The Ride, was announced to give the riders a unique experience to follow Lara Croft’s passions of raiding 1212tombraidertombs, besting bad guys and having an extreme adventure after another. Guests would experience excitement from the very beginning when they enter into a foreboding ancient temple. A stone wall would then give way to others and guests would proceed through mysterious chambers that are engraved with strange, runic symbols and the debris of failed expeditions all while sensing that doom is inevitable. Guests would only have seconds to spare before they jump aboard the only possible vehicle for escape. While on that vehicle, riders would rocket upward and run into an ice cave with intimidating, razor-sharp stalactites. The riders would plunge face down into a pit of boiling, red-hot lava. Fisher said this about the ride experience, “it is our intention to bring the excitement, adventure and technology of Tomb Raider to life in a stunning multi-dimensional experience. Ensuring the authenticity of this experience is of the utmost importance to us, we want guests to feel like real tomb raiders from the moment they enter the attraction.”

0809trWhen the ride opened in 2002, the atmosphere brought the movie to Paramount’s Kings Island. A special edition Jeep was parked by the entrance to the ride to make it look like Lara Croft was on site, music from the movie score was played throughout the plaza and inside the queue. Guests would walk through the very dark queue toward the inner part of the ruined tombs. The guests would reach a door that would allow a cycle’s worth of guests into the antechamber where a pre-show video would be shown, where guests learned the story of Lara Croft and where the storyline of the Triangle of Light, an ancient powerful artifact that Croft looked for in the film. A rising wall would open to the secret entrance of the sixty foot tall altar chamber of the goddess Durga. Riders would board a 77-seat gondola that was divided into three stadium-seating rows. The ride was synchronized to an original soundtrack that featured sound effects as well as voice-overs from Angelina Jolie and other members of the film’s cast. The riders were then lifted up to the eyes of the sixty foot tall carving of Durga on the forward wall. Durga’s eyes would illuminate to scan the car while fire and ice emblems in two of her six hands illuminated as well. With a crash of thunder and a flash or two of lightning, the riders were flipped through the darkness before stopping as they look straight up at razor-sharp stalactites, to which the ride vehicle released it’s position and flipped again to come to a stop as the riders would look straight down on the lava pits where lava would begin to jump up, narrowly avoiding splashing riders, all in time with the music.


Riders would then flip through darkness, yet again, to circle around the bottom of the ride’s arc, looking up to Durga on the wall. Fog and lights would then fill the room, with the fire and ice effects going off next. The goddess would scream with her fire, ice and eyes going dark. She would “wake up” one more time as a final blast of fog at the base of the ride to continue engaging the riders while the ride found it’s home position. Once the ride was in its home position, bridges would lower to allow guests to head out toward the exit.

While the ride operated as Tomb Raider: The Ride, it included four inversions, hang time over the lava pits and fog effects. It lasted about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. The ride was built by Huss Park Rides.

250px-The_Crypt_LogoAfter the Paramount Parks were sold to Cedar Fair in 2006, Kings Island continued to operate the rides with the Paramount movie names during the 2007 season. In 2008, Tomb Raider: The Ride was renamed to The Crypt. Along with the name change, the theme of the ride was changed to remove the resemblance of the former ride and the Tomb Raider movies. The Durga goddess was painted over with the special effects removed. The gondola had a row removed to decrease the 77 passenger capacity, however it was said that it would allow for the ride to perform a more thrilling experience. The Crypt in 2008 performed a nine-inversion cycle as well as a month of operation in the 2009 season. After a month of the 2009 season, the ride was reprogrammed to give a more tame cycle, with two inversions.

The Crypt was changed constantly with and updated experiences. In 2011 music from the film Inception was added to the queue and the ride. New lighting, props were added and the rising door was removed. Throughout the 2011 season, it was rumored that The Crypt would be leaving the park. On February 14, 2012 Kings Island confirmed that the Crypt would be removed while an all new Halloween Haunt attraction would take its place. The Crypt was the world’s only Giant Top Spin. It performed two inversions on a cycle that lasted about 1 minute and 10 seconds.

trtr_7I only have a few memories of Tomb Raider: The Ride. I didn’t take my first ride on it until 2004. I loved the ride in its original form. The one thing I was not a fan of, was the queue line being so poorly lit after coming from the midway. I hardly remember watching the pre-show video. I enjoyed everything about the pre-show portion of the ride including the details of the props, the building and the music. When it came time to the actual ride, I was always filled with nerves as soon as the door separating the antechamber and the ride chamber rose. Filing on one of the three rows, was always fun especially when people did not understand the ride operators spieling about going all the way to the end of the rows. Although I never had issues with loose articles, I got frustrated with the zip bags in front of the seats because they never would close right, thankfully I never had something too big for them to pick them up later at the rendezvous point. When it came to the actual ride portion of Tomb Raider: The Ride, I found it extremely thrilling and fun. The theme in the ride chamber was great including the “lava.” The only thing that I wasn’t real fond of was the hang time, as it seemed to always give me a headache.

When the ride transformed into The Crypt, it was great in 2008 minus the lack of theme. I was frustrated in 2009 when the ride constantly changed programs especially after the great one the year prior. In 2010 I had the opportunity to operate the ride a few times. While it was fun to operate, the ride became extremely boring to ride with the lack of thrills. In 2011, I rode it toward the beginning of the season and then once toward the end (only due to the rumors that the ride would be leaving). Although I always find it sad to see rides leave a park, I was okay with this one leaving because it did not give the experience it was intended to give.

Check below for some pictures of Tomb Raider: The Ride and a few pictures of the Crypt.

Chat with us at KIfansite and Coaster Crew about Tomb Raider:The Ride here.