(Copyright 1997. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

July 14, 1997

Coasters offer whiplash, fun

By COURTNEY PENDLETON
Tattoo Staff Writer

Teenage thrillseekers will  be pleased with Lake
Compounce's new rides.

The widely publicized new roller coaster, the
Zoomerang, along with the other additions to the
park, aims to draw back people who have become
bored with the older rides.

The Zoomerang is aimed at coaster fanatics who
no longer come to ride the Wildcat, Lake
Compounce's antique, wooden coaster.

The question is -- will the Zoomerang be
successful?

The Wildcat, built in 1927, is one of the older
rides at the park.

It has a few drops and twists, but nothing
spectacular.

People who like to feel their stomachs drop will
be disappointed by this ride. While riders'
stomachs stay put, their heads and necks won't.

The Wildcat's wooden track makes the ride bumpy
to say the least. Necks whip back and forth,
often accompanied by cracking and clicking
sounds.

The threat of permanent neck injury adds an
element of terror to the ride.

People who want even more of a thrill  can try
to keep their hands in the air for the entire
ride.

This might be fun going down the first hill, but
after that it becomes dangerous.

Riders are jolted up and down even when gripping
the safety bar. People who have their hands in
the air risk serious bruises from being thrown
around the seat.

No matter where you sit, the Wildcat is not a
gentle ride.

People who like to remain right-side-up, or who
like a bumpy coaster will probably like the
Wildcat.

But people who would rather be flipped
upside-down than have neck injuries are better
off heading for the Zoomerang.

The Zoomerang is a smoother ride than the
Wildcat that gives riders a different kind of
thrill.

The ride flips and twists upside-down while
running forwards and backwards.

People in the front and back experience the ride
differently. People seated in the front get the
best ride.

But the Zoomerang does have its faults.

To start with, the ride is not nearly as long as
it should be.

Riders are seated for about 2 minutes but the
ride itself lasts a little over a minute. The
rest of the time is spent dragging the cart to
the top of the track before the ride begins, and
once more before riders are sent backwards
through the loops.

The attraction would be much better if it was
longer, about twice the length it is now.

Another problem with the ride is that it
consists of nothing but loops. Riders are almost
never right-side-up during the ride.

People who want something more in a roller
coaster than just numerous flips and twists will
be disappointed.

The Wildcat and the Zoomerang both appeal to
different crowds, but in an era of bigger and
better roller coasters it doesn't look like
either one will be able to meet the demands of
coaster fans.


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