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 Review of Incredible Hulk Coaster @ Islands of Adventure
3 Rating Posted by: Canobie Coaster on 9/3/2008 11:18:00 PM
Ah, the Hulk. This aptly named B and M green, scream machine epitomizes what the Hulk is- a gigantic mass of power and fury. In some ways, this bodes well for the park’s iconic attraction, but in other aspects, the Hulk’s fury is unleashed on riders in the case of a nasty case of B and M headbanging. Well the ride itself is very picturesque and worthy of the distinction as the park’s iconic attraction. At the surface all of the monstrous elements such as the gamma tube and it’s location over the lagoon look incredible, but the ride does look in need of a fresh coat of paint, especially in the mist-filled tunnels since the once green track is now a dark shade of black.

As I made my way through Bruce Banner’s lab (queue), I was treated to classic clips of the Hulk animated series. During my visit, I only encountered lines around 15-20 minutes long, which is certainly worth waiting. Unfortunately other than the option of waiting for the very front seat, Universal assigned me seats. I tried the front once since it had no wait since the ride had just reopened following a viscous downpour, but I can say unless the view is absolutely important, just wait in the normal line since all seats gave me an identical ride.

Well the ride’s premise is Bruce finally devising an invention to rid himself of “the beast within.” In fact, Bruce permits us to take part in his experiment. Well, as expected something goes horribly wrong (horribly wrong for him but good for riders). Much to the chagrin of Bruce, he transforms into the green monstrosity known as the Hulk and instantaneously, riders are launched out of the gamma tube and experience the best zero-G roll on the planet. I was absolutely blown away by the ride’s beginning, which combined an incredibly abrupt and the most powerful launch I’ve ever experienced with a glorious zero-G roll that gave an incredible moment of hang-time some hundred feet off the ground. Well such an act would certainly be difficult to follow, which unfortunately was the case for the Hulk. At the bottom of the zero-G roll, immediately before the cobra roll, there was some slight headbanging, something that arose far too often on this coaster for my taste. Well the following cobra roll was enormous, it just wasn’t very good. Just like the one on Dueling Dragons, it just seemed forceless and at the very bottom of it there was a little headbanging just like the moment that preceded the very same element. The following vertical loop was pretty good though, but at the bottom was the worst moment of headbanging on the entire ride and it was bad, really bad. It was just about as bad as the typical headbanging found in an Arrow corkscrew element, not a good sign.

Next came a gigantic but smooth turnaround followed by a great corkscrew that really provided some powerful Gs. Immediately after came the second vertical loop, much smaller than the first, but personally better thanks to the added intensity due to the smaller size. It’s a perfect case where bigger isn’t always better. Then came a turn and a very sudden a good swooping drop that was deceptively steep and forceful, as it combined moderate laterals with some good air time. After a quick turn and a brief brake run, the Hulk dives into the finale giving back-seat riders a rapid moment of floater air- a very nice surprise for me. But without giving me a moment to catch my breath, the Hulk thunders into a pretty forceful corkscrew. Last but not least is the final helix which has some powerful Gs for sure, but it’s unfortunately got some headbanging that hampered my enjoyment of the element.

So what’s my final opinion on this ride? It’s definitely one of the most forceful coasters I’ve been on, especially for a B and M, but the headbanging definitely hampers this coaster from being a truly great ride. While uncomfortable, the headbanging didn’t result in a headache after riding. It just ruined my riding experience a bit. I like both Dueling Dragons better than the Hulk since they provided an almost identical level of intensity all while being smooth, but the Hulk’s brute intensity (especially the incredible beginning) definitely makes the Hulk one of the park’s best attractions and best coasters around.
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