It’s not every day you come across a flat ride that has the same level of love, attention to detail and themeing showered on it as a roller coaster or dark ride. Outside of the Disney and Universal parks, there are very few flat rides that I would consider true experiences, as most lack elements such as a storyline, immersive themeing or soundtrack. Phantasialand are leading the charge to change all that, and Talocan is a perfect example of just how good a flat ride can be.
Let’s start with the specs. Talocan is a HUSS suspended top spin – the first of its kind in Europe – where two rows of guests sit back to back in a floorless gondola which is raised and lowered by two arms, and is free to spin around its own central axis. The gondola can be locked into various positions during the ride as opposed to always spinning freely, and while some top spins are manually controlled, the majority (including Talocan) have a pre-determined computer sequence which is the same or very similar in every ride. In Talocan’s case this is definitely a good thing, because it allows the ride to interact with everything going on around it at perfectly-timed intervals.
So, just what is going on around Talocan during your ride, I hear you ask?
Well, for starters, Talocan has a great soundtrack with an ominous voice narrating the start and middle of your journey. I’m not totally sure what the storyline is as I don’t speak German, but it sounds threatening enough for you to know that this isn’t going to be a peaceful and pleasant experience. Talocan also features the water fountains common to a lot of HUSS top spins, though for whatever reason European designs don’t actually like getting you wet with these, and this is true of Talocan, too – I think I got the bottom of my jeans splashed once during my two rides and that was about it. The third major feature is the fire element, which adds to the experience both as a rider and a spectator and makes a great finale as you watch all the fire go off at once while your gondola is resetting, to let you know what you just survived.
Compounding these effects, Talocan also navigates through pretty much the entire spectrum of intensity, featuring calmer moments, head rush moments and moments of pure terror as you’re flipped upside-down repeatedly at ridiculous speeds and with a far greater force than I’ve ever experienced on a top spin – or any other flat ride – before. I think this is to do with the seating arrangement; on a traditional top spin everyone faces the same way and the gondola only flips one way, whereas here the gondola flips both forwards and backwards, and depending on which side you’re on one of these will be fiercely intense because you’re rotating through a smaller circle, as it were. The downside to this back-to-back seating is that, for one half of the ride, the experience is greatly compromised as you’d be facing a wall for pretty much the whole thing, meaning you’ll miss out on a lot of the special effects, fire and water. I never rode the wall-facing side so I can’t comment on this experience, but I don’t think it would feel anywhere near as special as the audience-facing side.
That said, Talocan is still a hugely impressive ride both to experience and to watch. I think there were more people watching it than riding it when we were there, and it makes a great spectator attraction due to the themeing and effects. It’s definitely not shy on intensity or aggression, but if that’s how you like your thrills then Talocan is definitely the ride for you. Just make sure you get chance to do it facing the audience for best results.
See you around =] x x