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Justice League: Battle For Metropolis Review June 5, 2018

Posted by Maniac in Reviews.
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I know what you guys are thinking, this is a website about gaming and video games, what am I doing reviewing a theme park ride…again. Well, relax because while this is a theme park ride, its origins date back to classic arcade games. That’s right, today we are going to review the new 3D dark ride Justice League: Battle for Metropolis!

Justice League: Battle for Metropolis is an interactive 3D dark ride found in Six Flags parks. We rode on the one currently at Six Flags: Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. It is in the DC-themed area of the park near Batman: The Ride, The Dark Knight Coaster, and the upcoming ride Cyborg: Cyber Spin. Honestly, it’s in a perfect place. The area is made up to look exactly like it had in the Superfriends cartoon series, with the same fountain right out front.

I have heard of others opening at seven other Six Flags parks across the US, but we will specifically be reviewing the one in Six Flags Great Adventure. Great Adventure’s version of the ride does not include an appearance by Harley Quinn, who I heard appears in Six Flags Magic Mountain’s version. If the ride ever gets changed, or Great Adventure decides to add Harley Quinn, we will post an update to this review. With that all out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the ride itself!

The Ride Building

The ride’s theming was incredible for a Six Flags ride. The ride building looked exactly like the Hall of Justice first featured in the SuperFriends cartoon, a replica of Cincinatti’s Union Terminal. Inside the building held a queue line where banners hung from the walls, and the words written on each of the banners held an ideal by one of the Justice League’s members. At the end of the main entrance hall was a marble statue of three of the League’s founding members, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.

Inside the building, the ride’s preshow video begins to play and riders get a taste of what is at stake for the Justice League. Lex Luthor has teamed up with the Joker to bring down the Justice League once and for all. To do this, the Joker was planning to blanket the city with his trademark laughing gas. As the show shifts to the Justice League, we find out the Justice League has an antidote to their gas, and they were planning to administer it to a volunteer group of recruited citizens they need to watch their backs.

The preshow videos are animated using 3D character models, and the models are dubbed over with voice actors. I had a bit of a problem with the decision for the park to use 3D character models for the pre-show videos. It sure sounded like Six Flags was able to get the voices of actors like Mark Hamill and Kevin Conroy for the ride, because if they didn’t whoever they did get to do the voices sounded exactly like them. On the other hand, I felt a little conflicted about the 3D animation used for the preshows. It looked like they were going more for a Batman: Dark Tomorrow look than The Dark Knight or Batman: The Animated Series artistic style. For those of you unfamiliar with Batman: Dark Tomorrow, it was a terrible Batman game made for the Xbox and GameCube. Given the age of those consoles, I felt the 3D designs used in the ride were just too simple for me. This may have been done to better integrate the preshow’s art style into the style of the ride itself (since it is real-time 3D), but I would have loved to see a more complex and detailed 3D art style for the ride, like something out of Injustice 2.

Once you reach the end of the line and prepare to board your ride car, you receive a briefing by an animatronic Cyborg, who gives riders their final boarding instructions. He’s portrayed by an impressive animatronic with an appearance I absolutely adored. He doesn’t walk, but he can move his arms and his mouth is capable of fully lip syncing his dialog. Cyborg’s voice sounds like his voice in the early 2000s Teen Titans cartoon, but he isn’t bald. His on-ride appearance reminded me of his design from the Titans comics of the 1980s, which are still considered by many to be some of the best comics of the era. Feel free to give him a boo-yeah! before you leave.

The Ride

Justice League: Battle for Metropolis is an interactive 3D dark ride that feels a bit like a cross between Universal’s Spider-Man and Disney’s Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters rides. Each guest needs to grab a pair of 3D glasses before boarding. Each cart can carry a maximum of six riders. As the ride pulls out, the player is greeted by an announcement by Cyborg. He has a cure for the Joker gas, and a puff of smoke is released he says will make us immune to its effects. The ride car moves through the blue fog, and the fun begins.

We’re presented with an interactive 3D screen where Lex Luthor and his robotic drones begin attacking the Justice League. The riders are told to pull out the interactive blasters in front of them and defend the league. To make it easier to play, each player has a unique color beam, and the color you’re assigned is dependent on where you’re sitting in the ride car. Don’t worry, you’ll figure out very quickly which beam is yours. Any Lexbots successfully targeted will disintegrate, and the player who hit it will get a boost to their score.

I don’t want to say too much more about the ride’s story due to our site policy of avoiding spoilers during reviews. While the ride features a combination of 3D screens and live-action sets, we are fairly certain only the 3D screens are interactive. That means shooting at a certain very impressive animatronic villain will not improve your score. During the ride, you’ll be transported from setpieces like the exterior of the Hall of Justice, a Jokerized Star Labs, and the Metropolis underground. You’ll even battle alongside Justice League members like Batman, The Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Supergirl.

The ride ends with the riders receiving a combined final score, and a ranking of the top players, demoted by their picture. Impressive top scores will be rewarded with congratulations to denote how the scores matched up with their database of all-time players. When the ride concludes, the guests return their 3D glasses and exit through a small DC themed gift shop.

Issues

Whatever the ride uses to calculate your blaster’s fire angle expects its user to be firing from close to the hip. When I first attempted to fire my blaster, it took me a while to figure out which laser beam was mine. I then realized my beam was slightly off center because I had fully extended my arm to fire, when I pulled my arm back to fire closer from my chest, the beam effect lined up perfectly with the 3D screen.

We did have only one technical issue with the ride. On our first time riding it, the final sequence would not respond to our blasters for some reason. Our inability to defend ourselves from the onslaught of Lexbots didn’t effect the ride’s story but it did hurt our chances to get a decent high score. This might have been a minor technical issue early in the day, as I rode the ride two more times later in the day and all of the screens functioned properly.

Currently, this Six Flags puts HD televisions in the queue areas outside of major rides. Normally, screens like this are used to show preshow content for the ride and get the guest pumped up for what they were about to go on, but these televisions were being used to show commercials and cartoons on what was listed as a dedicated Six Flags Entertainment Network. It sure was odd to see videos unrelated to the ride shown in otherwise decently-themed ride queues like Green Lantern or Bizarro. Justice League: Battle for Metropolis thankfully didn’t do this when I rode on it, but we did see Six Flags Entertainment Network marked televisions on the outside of the ride that were turned off.

Final Thoughts

I left the ride feeling like I had visited the real-life Hall of Justice. Six Flags made it clear they had a lot of pride in Battle for Metropolis, and the ride was a lot of fun. A lot of money must have went into developing the ride at the highest quality possible, and it shows. The animatronics, software and effects hold up great. It’s a fun ride that leaves guests eager for a second or even third visit.

I’m not too worried about the ride’s current 3D keeping up with the times as the live-action sets look fantastic and the CGI on the 3D screens will probably be updated as time goes on. There are some damn good live-action set-pieces, real fire/smoke effects and realistically styled animatronics to blend in perfectly with the 3D screens. The 3D/live-action blend isn’t as seamless as Spider-Man, but the fact that it is interactive and has live action elements gives it a big leg up over rides like Toy Story: Midway Mania! In fact, having ridden both I would pick Justice League Battle for Metropolis over Toy Story Midway Mania as the better interactive 3D experience. We drove three and a half hours to visit Six Flags Great Adventure and ride this ride, and we were not disappointed in the slightest.

If you’ve never been to Six Flags Great Adventure, we made this little video about our day at the park and on the ride, enjoy.

In the future, it might be cool to see Great Adventure add Magic Mountain’s Harley Quinn cameo to the ride as an update, and if that happens we will be there. Until then, I recommend you check it out yourselves. If you are a comic fan, a gamer or just a fan of well-themed dark rides, give it a chance.

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