I will preface this review by telling a tale that was frustrating at the time, but is now incredibly epic in hindsight. A few friends of mine had visited Six Flags America at the beginning of the 2007 season for the first time to rack up the credits and --- mainly --- to ride their version of Superman Ride of Steel. To our disappointment, it was closed all day long. About a month later, we went to SFA again, only to find that Superlame was closed yet again. The angry Intamin gods obviously had a plan in store for us, and I knew in the pit of my stomach what that plan was: We were fated to ride the one, true Superman Ride of Steel at SFNE first.
Later that summer, I remarkably had a chance to go to SFNE, and to our utter horror, upon entering the park, Superman was closed. What had we done to deserve this? Why the HELL didnt Intamin want us riding any of its Superman Ride of Steels? And so, defeated yet quietly optimistic, we trudged around the rest of the park, snagging the other lackluster credits the park had to offer. Then, about midday, something truly magnificent happened: Supermans lift hill gears began to churn at the top of that mighty tower. Our prayers had been answered, or rather fate had intervened. Like lightning, we bolted towards this beacon of roller coaster enthusiasm --- this massive extension of Intamin’s penis in the amusement park arena. After about a half hour of waiting for the ride to run through tests, we finally were allowed to wind our way through the queue to the station. For our first ride, we decided to take front row. Superman Ride of Steel miraculously happened to be my 100th coaster credit, as well.
The ride turned out to be well deserving of that honor.
It’s been a while since we rode this twice back in June of 2007, but I would describe Superman Ride of Steel as elegantly forceful. I won’t go into too much detail, but the airtime is simply outstanding and deserves all of the hype it receives. The subterranean dives into thick mist were top-notch as well. Basically, Superman Ride of Steel incorporates all of the necessary elements that embody a solid hyper coaster: high caliber airtime, intense positive g’s during the swooping helices, and sustained speed. I will venture to say that it is one of the most “complete” steel coasters I have ridden, ranking just behind Maverick and Apollo’s Chariot in that category.
In fact, I spent a long while debating which coaster I enjoyed more: Apollo or Superman. Both provide a startling amount of ejector/floater airtime. Both have stunning settings. Both have fantastic forces overall. What it came down to, for me at least, was character. Superman is in dire need of character. Perhaps it was a result of my measly two rides on it, but Superman was surprisingly empty of character. At the start of this review, I said it was “elegantly forceful” and I meant this in a somewhat derogatory way, actually. Instead of having an edgy attitude like Maverick or some intangible air of soul like Apollo’s Chariot, Superman came across as mathematical and rigid. The elements almost flowed together…too well. I know it sounds absurd, and I am taking my absurdity into account and still giving the ride a 10, but that’s how I felt. It was almost too fluid. It felt more like a highly specialized culmination of all of Intamin’s research on how to build the “quintessential hyper coaster” rather than an out-of-control, uniquely inspired experience.
Perhaps I am insane. In fact, I know that I am. But yeah, it’s still a fantastic roller coaster, and I am glad that the Intamin gods prevented me from riding SFA’s Superman so that I could claim the true Superman Ride of Steel as my 100th coaster.
Epilogue: We eventually got to ride Superlame Ride of Fail on our third and final visit to SFA. It sucked in comparison to SFNE’s version, but you probably already knew that