What these two have in common is that they’re B&M (Bolliger & Mabillard) inverted coasters. Batman has been cloned numerous times, with installations at half a dozen Six Flags parks. I’ve ridden the original at Six Flags Great America and a clone at Six Flags Great Adventure so am basing my observations on those experiences and more specifically, the installation at Great Adventure because there’s a slight variation in height and length from the one at Great America – although the ride experience is the same. Raptor, at Cedar Point, has not been duplicated as far as I am aware.
Layout, Theming and Setting
Batman, obviously themed after the DC comics character, features a compact layout with 2,693 feet of track. It’s located back in the Movie Town section of the park, across from The Dark Knight indoor coaster. Raptor, themed after a bird of prey, is situated near the front of the park and features a sprawling layout with 3,790 feet of track. The queue for Batman winds partially through the Bat Cave, replete with special effects such as the sound of trickling water. And then there’s the Batmobile. For theming Batman comes out ahead but for layout Raptor has the edge so in this category the two are about even.
Batman boasts five inversions (two vertical loops, zero-g roll and two corkscrews) whereas Raptor boasts six (loop, zero-g roll, cobra roll and two corkscrews). Raptor was the first inverted coaster to include a cobra roll. In this category Raptor scores points for the extra inversion plus greater variety whereas Batman scores a point for operating without a mid course brake run.
A ride on Batman begins with an ascent up a chain lift hill, with the train rotating 190 degrees and dropping 105 feet to the left before traversing a 360-degree vertical loop. The train proceeds immediately into a zero-g roll and goes over the second loop. After an ascent to the left and sweeping turn to the right it enters the first of two decidedly wicked corkscrews. (They also happen to be very photogenic.) The corkscrews are disorienting as well as somewhat dizzying. The second one comes up shortly after the first, followed by a turnaround that leads back to the loading station.
This is a very intense ride! A late, great friend who’d ridden more coasters than I could ever hope to ride described it as the most intense coaster in the park. I’m not sure I agree but the ride does pack a punch, especially for a coaster with such a small footprint. The first time I rode it, I struck up a conversation with a young couple from New York in the loading station and because only one train was running, I was able to intercept them when their ride was over and ask whether they enjoyed the ride. The man said “She’s going to be sick!” Well, I myself felt lightheaded after my ride but not nauseated and managed to recover pretty quickly. The more I rode it, the more acclimated and less dizzy I felt. I’ve ridden it both forward and backwards (most if not all of the Six Flags parks have run Batman backwards at one time or another) and I must say that riding it backwards is a blast!
A ride on Raptor likewise begins with an ascent up a chain lift hill, with the train rotating 90 degrees and dropping 119 feet to the left, then soaring over a 100-foot vertical loop. Like Batman, it proceeds into a zero-g roll, so that both rides initially follow the same pattern. The pattern is broken, however, as Raptor then ascends into a cobra roll. Upon exiting the cobra roll the train goes into a short upward helix leading to the mid course brake run. From there it drops to the right and navigates a straightaway before entering the first corkscrew. As on Batman, the second corkscrew comes up shortly after the first. Following the second corkscrew is a helix which leads into the final brake run.
This is likewise an intense ride. I don’t recall the corkscrews – or flat spins as B&M calls them – being quite as vertiginous as those on Batman although they are forceful, but when you add a helix to all that preceded it, you end up with a pretty powerful ride experience, powerful enough to cause greyouts. While I didn’t grey out on the ride I can easily see why this could happen. It would be totally awesome to ride Raptor backwards!
And the winner is…Raptor. This was an awfully close call. I’ve ridden Batman probably hundreds of times because it’s in my home park and a day in the park wouldn’t be complete without it but when all is said and done Raptor comes out slightly ahead. This is a coaster I bypassed during my first two visits to Cedar Point, being more interested in giants such as Millennium Force, and I’m glad that I finally caught up with it because it’s really very good. The reason I think it’s slightly superior to Batman is that it offers a longer, more varied ride which is somewhat more user-friendly. Additionally, because the layout is more open it feels less constricted than Batman and affords more of a sensation of free flying.
What’s your take? Have you ridden Batman and Raptor and if so, how do you think they match up?