Nemesis is located at Alton Towers Resort in the beautiful Staffordshire Countryside. The £10m ride has been very well received, consistently ranking highly in industry polls. Nemesis is an angry alien creature trying to rip its way out of the ground.
Nemesis at Alton Towers
Back in the 1990s, most designers were building big, plain roller coasters. John Wardley wanted to create something cleverer, better, more dramatic. He decided to make Nemesis, at Alton Towers, Europe’s first inverted roller coaster, with a truly thrilling storyline to go with it. For most people, the scariest bit of Nemesis is when you do the first drop and see the jagged rocks right under your feet. Then, immediately after, you’re spun upside-down with the soles of your feet facing the sky.
Creating my own Nemesis – John Wardley
The local authorities do not allow the rides at Alton Towers to go above treetop height, so if they couldn’t go high, they had to go low and dig a huge hole. When designing the ride, John Wardley realised that it would be fun to conceive the site as an excavated area where this hideous monster had been lurking for millennia with the twisting serpentine track representing its tentacles. Not only was it Europe’s first inverted roller coaster, but it was also the first time anyone had designed a roller coaster as a creature.
What Alton Towers did with this twisted steel is what a scriptwriter does with words. Its pure entertainment, creating mystery and thrills. Like a good writer, a good designer doesn’t let people know what’s coming, it is a succession of steadily building surprises. The layout of Nemesis broke the rules, with a conventional roller coaster, you are winched up high and dropped, with the ride getting tamer as it reaches the end. Showbiz is all about a big finale and John Wardley wanted Nemesis to get better as it went on, even if it meant defying the laws of gravity. In order to achieve this, he put the ride’s station above ground level, not at the lowest point as is the case with the large majority of roller coasters. By building the ride station above ground level, he allowed the roller coaster ride to swing way below the station in a big finishing dip, before coming back up to the end.
The creative team developed how the creature should look, what colour to paint the track, what signage and music to have, the entire experience. They liked the idea of an alien creature being disturbed, getting angry and trying to rip its way out of the ground. The ride is themed around the concept of keeping the creature under control. The ride’s storyline states that, after being disturbed during maintenance, the monster that lay dormant was unleashed, wreaking havoc on the surrounding area. The Phalanx immediately launched their extreme security division to pin down and disable it. It took 250 tonnes of steel to be bent and twisted around the creature to hold it down.
The near-misses riders experience skimming past rocks on the ride represent thrashing, and red dye in the waterfalls simulate the blood of the monster. The central loading and unloading station represents the creature’s body, with structures coming out of it like legs that disappear into the rock. This gives the sense that there’s more creature down there somewhere, hidden away.
For anyone who would like to learn more about John Wardley, the man who designed Nemesis, we recommend this book. The autobiography of the man who brought the theme park concept to Britain, and created some of the world’s most thrilling rides and attractions.
Alton Towers Secret Weapons
The roller coasters at Alton Towers Resort often claim title to World’s First elements. Alton Towers Resort often give as little away as they can when building these new rides, giving them Secret Weapon codenames. As the construction of the ride progresses marketing campaigns are launched giving thrill seekers little insights into what is to come, this always leads to lots of speculation on Social Media. During construction, Nemesis was referred to as Secret Weapon 3.
Alton Towers Secret Weapons Timeline
Secret Weapon 1: 1991 – Arrow Pipeline Rollercoaster (Never Built)
Secret Weapon 2: 1992 – Arrow Pipeline Rollercoaster (Never Built)
Secret Weapon 3: 1994 – Nemesis in Forbidden Valley
Secret Weapon 4: 1998 – Oblivion in X-Sector
Secret Weapon 5: 2002 – Air in Forbidden Valley (rebranded as Galactica)
Secret Weapon 6: 2009 – THIRTEEN in Dark Forest
Secret Weapon 7: 2013 – The Smiler in X-Sector
Secret Weapon 8: 2016 – The Wicker Man
Top 10 Listings
Nemesis is featured in a number of our Top 10 listings.
UK Roller Coaster Rides
If you enjoyed reading about Nemesis at Alton Towers, you may also be interested in these other Roller Coasters located at Theme Parks across the UK.
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