Following on my tour through the Madagascar, Far Far Away and the Lost World regions of Universal Singapore, this part of our explorations covers the last two sectors of the park. Moreover, this two said sectors are home to my personal favorite rides in the theme park. Lets take a look at the Universal Studios Singapore Ancient Egypt and Sci-Fi City park sectors.
Ancient Egypt Region- Revenge of the Mummy
The Ancient Egypt section despite being one of the smallest sectors is one of the prettiest-looking themed areas of the park. Moreover, the ride is set in the region of Egypt in the midst of the 1930 excavation treasure hunt. Here, you can see several precast Anubis and towering pillars dotted all around this sector. Also, it adds to the historical feel in the midst of a major archaeological excavation.
Moreover, the section looks even more spectacular at night. You can find rows of Anubis statues are accentuated by surrounding spotlights, giving the area a nice surreal look. Also, park entertainers here include heroes from the Mummy return movie, the scorpion king, as well as the army of Anubis.
The ride selection here in Ancient Egypt however is very limited. This is given the small sector space with only under 100m of walkway length and only food kiosks to boot. The sector was presumably just only to cater for the Revenge of the Mummy ride. Revenge of the mummy is the major ride highlight here. An Egyptian tomb building flaunts the face of this park sector. Here, the main entrance to the indoor coaster ride leads you into the hidden ride studio area where the thrill ride resides.
The Revenge of the Mummy ride here in Singapore is a steel launcher roller coaster made by Premier Rides. Furthermore, it based on the American design with a modern take of the tried and tested custom dark ride first conceived in Universal Florida. Depsite this, it was built at half the price (~$20M) given production improvements.
Go for a ride on the Mummy revenge on an on-ride video here!
Notably, the version here in Singapore still uses the same pre-ride animatronic intro area with movie elements before launching you into both forward and reverse movements. This also comprises of two high speed elements (up to 72km/hr) and helixes through the main studio building. Track lighting and piped audio music on the train seats itself complete the audio-visual experience of the coaster ride.
Furthermore, improvements include better end-ride pyrotechnics in the “fire chamber“. Also, the 2:30 minute long ride still retains the American “archeological dig” queue line design, which is thankfully air-conditioned. Moreover, this is similar to the dual loading and unloading areas in the US version. Ii is designed to handle a large number of riders.
Surprisingly on a weekend, the queue lines are largely empty (5 minutes wait). You end up spending more time actually spent zipping through the snaking waiting areas. Also, after the ride, the exit similarly leads into a gift shop, selling several Egyptian trinkets and wares of the trade.
Go on a treasure hunt?
Furthermore, Treasure Hunters mini car ride is a vintage car ride themed to run around a sandy archeological site. Moreover, this entire sector is themed to a dessert region which sticks to the Egyptian theme. Here, cars bring you on a children and family-friendly Indiana Jones-style exploration with several “danger elements”. This includes venomous snakes, collapsing bridges, with crocodiles and killer scarab beetles just to name afew.
Moreover, come to think about it, the ride does bare some uncanny resemblance to the Genting highlands old vintage car ride. Also, it looks like the idea from the Malaysian park had been completely lifted and adapted for Singapore.
Sci-Fi City sector
Sci-fi city comprises of an indoor area connecting back to the New york sector and an outdoor portion facing the park lagoon. Two world-class rides reside in the Sci-fi city sector of the park. Undoubtedly, this sector of the park is predominantly taken up by the intertwining blue and red tracks of the Battlestar Galactica roller coaster. These are two Vekoma dueling steel roller coasters in both inverted and sit-down format.
Here, each coaster side represents the main opposing fractions of the Battlestar Galatica universe (Cylon and Human). The roller coasters are linear induction motor (LIM) launched straight from the coaster station. Hence, going with the “space launch” theme and eliminates the need of a traditional chain-based hill ascend. I had always longed for a world-class roller coaster which Singapore can proudly call their own. This might be it.
History of the Universal Studios Singapore Battlestar Galactica: Human vs Cylon
The Battlestar Galactica roller coaster, despite being a key attraction of the park didn’t fare well in the early years of its launch. The initial coaster trains were problematic. This is despite the Dutch coaster maker Vekoma being arguably one of the best sit-down coaster makers in the industry. For the record, Vekoma also invented the classic corkscrew coaster.
Moreover, words had gone around that the HUMAN coaster were reported to have cracks on the seat posts. Also the faster and more intense CYLON coaster plagued by several technical issues such as excessive vibration. Additionally, there were even rumors that the trains even had parts shaking off from the trains on-ride (though not publicly verified).
Furthermore, I remembered riding on the front and rear of the old trains before 2012 and noticed excessive vibrations. This was especially true on the rear seats. It felt like an unsolved damping issue with the train generating resonance on some corners of the track. Henceforth, both coasters were closed for almost a year following an extensive technical review. Eventually, the old original 4-row trains were replaced with newer lighter 2-row coaster trains on early 2015. Both coaster begun operation shortly thereafter.
Also, whether Genting can claim damages from Vekoma for downtime and revenue loss for the downed ride is still largely under the wraps. But it was puzzling why Swiss roller coaster maker Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) was not chosen instead. They would be an obvious choice given their experience and good track-record of their inverted, floorless and dueling roller coasters.
We can possibly guess that Vekoma could had chosen given Genting’s leverage and past working relationships with the Dutch coaster maker on their Malaysian parks. Moreover, it is worthy to note too that B&M coasters may not as space-efficient and compact as Vekoma’s to fit into the tight confines of the Sci-fi park sector.
Going on the new coasters
Having said that, Battlestar Galactica: Human vs Cylon is a very well designed roller coaster with efficient use of space. Additionally, this comprises of utilizing above-ground space, lagoon space and dug-in elements to house the compact ride. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to ride on both the old and new trains for comparison and the improvements are good. The “Human” side of the coaster is a more “family-friendly” sit down coaster which follows a traditional closed circuit. You can identify it between the two by the red colour coaster tracks.
Battlestar Galactica: Human coaster
The Human side of the Battlestar Galactica coaster is much faster now. This is thanks to lighter trains with the reduced train capacity. Moreover, of the two dueling roller coasters, the Human coaster still maintains the highest first drop after the hill launch with the best airtime. This airtime is best experienced at the train’s last row.
Check out the on-ride video for the day!
Battlestar Galactica HUMAN on-ride POV video! (day time)
When launched, the coasters criss-cross and passes by each other at about at least 3 times throughout the course of the ride. This gives riders a sense of both the HUMAN and CYLON starfighters battling each other. Also, the coaster is also rideable at night. As a bonus, here is a night on-ride video of the Human-side roller coaster too. Visibility however, suffers abit on camera as given the low light conditions on the unlit tracks at night.
Battlestar Galactica HUMAN night on-ride video for both front and rear seating positions.
Moreover, it is worthy to note too that the HUMAN coaster zips through bends and helixes noticeable faster now. This adds more to the ride excitement factor as opposed to the older slower HUMAN trains before the upgrade. Previously, the old trains were known to struggle and lumber about slowly to complete the circuit.
Battlestar Galactica: Cylon coaster
The CYLON is the more intense of the two coasters. The trains themselves are themed after the movie Cylon raiders, which are fast alien attack starfighters. The coaster travels on the blue tracks and starts with an inverted boomerang after the first drop, two barrel rolls and 2 complete vertical loops. Notably, half of the main vertical loop goes into a half-dug-in tunnel with smoke mist effects.
The inverted coaster itself has a reasonable amount of airtime on the inversions and a healthy ride length with good excitement rating. The ride beckons riders to go through more inversions without the high intensity that makes riders nauseous.
Have a ride on board the Cylon coaster in the video below!
Battlestar Galactica Cylon on-ride POV video
Similarly, like the Human coaster, here is a night time on-ride video of the Cylon roller coaster rushing through the chills of the night.
Battlestar Galactica Cylon night on-ride video.
Moreover, the new CYLON trains are faster and a lot smoother now thanks to improved wheels on the new trains. Also, it is not until you had been on the coaster where you appreciate how nicely planned the dense and inter-winding the coasters are. Yet, this was achieved yet without sacrificing ride length. This is definitely a world-class roller coaster Singapore can proud of.
Additionally, flat rides in Sci-fi city sector includes the Accelerator. It is essentially a modern take of the traditional spinning tea cup ride. It is located beside the sector’s food court (Starbot food court) which serves pretty good desserts.
Transformers the Ride
Furthermore, the other ride highlight here in Sci-fi city will be the Transformers ride. The ride is an indoor 3D dark ride made by Oceaneering International. At times, it is not uncommon to find your friendly autobots on parade at this sector of the park.
Transformers the ride is built on a theme from the Hasbro toy franchise. Additionally, it features flavors of explosive Michael Bay movie elements. Moreover, the ride employs hydraulically controlled 6-axis gondola cars traversing a fixed track layout. Also, this gondola moves and stops at several fixed scenes of the dark ride studio as points of interests. This can range from 3D video dome visual elements, complete with real water and fire elements. A true sensory experience indeed.
Moreover, the technology used here is based off the similar Amazing Spiderman ride in Orlando Islands of Adventure. Notably, the ride employs a combination of 3D and 2D cinematic scenes as well as water and pyrotechnic effects were used to tell the ride storyline throughout the dark ride.
Subsequently, coming out of Sci-fi city brings you back through the New York and Hollywood stretches of the theme park again in a loop.
That’s all folks
All in all, that concludes my journey through Universal studios Singapore. having covered the different sectors, Far Far away land, Jurassic park and Hollywood sectors. All in all, you will be good for an entire day at Universal Studios Singapore. The rides suitable for both the young and old. With the park closing in the evening, you will be left with plenty of time in the evening to catch the outdoor performances, attractions and dinner in Resort world region after your visit.
Check out more photos of Universal Studios Singapore here.