Aliens – Ride at the Speed of Fright was an interactive theme park based ride produced by the company Iwerks. It was shown in 1994 in San Francisco at the Pier 39’s TurboRide Simulation Theatre and was also shown in the United Kingdom at the American Adventure theme park. It was still being shown in October of 1995 at American Adventure.
And that was my first experience with the Aliens franchise.
It was an interactive movie ride. The viewer would sit in a chair that would move, vibrate and jolt, all in an effort to simulate the viewer experiencing what was being shown on the screen. The ride consisted of a pre-movie in which the situation and plot (I use the term plot loosely) was conveyed to the audience. A Colonial Marine called Hyer has just returned back to his ship, the New Jersey having narrowly escaped an Alien encounter on the mining colony Takaia 3.
He recounts the experience to a Marine Captain and B Squad. The mission was supposed to be a routine reconnaissance for A Squad but they encountered the Aliens – hundreds of them. The marines activated a bomb and tried to escape. During their retreat, the APC crashed and was badly damaged. Many of the marines were injured, Hyer included but he escaped to find their dropship destroyed. He found a shuttle on the colony and left the planet.
The Captain is determined not to leave the other injured marines behind and orders B squad and Hyer back to the colony. Their orders are to rescue A Squad before the bomb goes off. The Sergeant tells his marines and the viewer/rider to buckle in (complete with a shot of the chairs belt buckles) and then the ride begins.
The ride starts with the dropship plummeting towards the colony. If I recall correctly the chair shakes to simulate the turbulence until you land and the APC drives out. From this point on you’re in the APC, as if you’re the driver. We drive through the interior of the colony complex, avoiding various obstacles and mounting debris (the chair moving to simulate) until the APC arrives at the wreckage of A Squad’s APC.
B Squad gets out and carries the wounded marines into their APC while fending off an Alien attack. The marines then pull out of the complex in the APC. After crashing down a hole, the APC arrives in the Queen’s lair and using the turret manages to kill her. The APC then uses the turrets again to blast a hole to the outside and escapes, making it back onto the dropship in time. As the dropship heads back into orbit, the bomb detonates. It would seem all is well…then a face-hugger drops into frame.
And that’s Aliens – Ride at the Speed of Fright. It’s roughly 20 minutes long with the pre-movie being 10 minutes and the ride itself being 10 minutes. It’s comprised of stock footage used from Aliens (the ships, some close-ups of the aliens) and original footage shot with the Marines, and obviously the ride segments. It’s a fun little ride and not to be taken seriously.
The acting is extremely cheesy but it does include one actor, Jeffrey Combs, who would later go on to have some important recurring roles in the Star Trek franchise. B Squad also has 2 characters that are very reminiscent of Apone and Vasquez.
The Colonial Marine costumes are based loosely on the outfits used in the film but the camouflage appears to be British DPM as opposed to safarilague used in Aliens. They do seem to use replica or similar armour. The weapons used aren’t the Pulse Rifles. I can’t tell exactly what they are but they could possibly be some modified version of the Chinese Type-56B.
Both the pre-ride and the ride itself are available on YouTube. It is also one of the features in the Aliens Anthology Blu-ray. It can be found on the 6th disc, in the Aliens subsection.