Regular readers of this site will be aware that I'm particularly fond of roller coasters built by Bolliger & Mabillard, and two years ago I managed to complete the entire set. Since then they've built eleven more, the latest of which, OzIris (#1743), opened to the public three weeks ago. The ride is a custom designed inverted coaster that is easily the most exciting new attraction in Europe in several years. It begins with a ridiculously steep first drop that looks like it cannot possibly work, and continues into a layout with five inversions, several underground tunnels, and some thrilling interactions with scenery and the park midway. The visual make the experience marginally better in the front when compared against my usual back row, but the difference isn't substantial; anywhere in the train gives an absolutely top notch coaster ride.
Many enthusiasts have complained that more recent B&M rides have been over-engineered, in that they achieve high speeds without any perceptible g-forces for riders. OzIris feels almost like a return to first principles for the Swiss masters, being gloriously intense and very much in the mould of some of their finer machines such as Montu, Nemesis, and Pyrenees. Parc Asterix has had a top ten wood coaster for fifteen years, and now it has a top ten steel coaster to go with it.
At the end of our ERS session, a few of us began a slow tour of the park, taking in the other six coasters; Goudurix, Ronde des Rondins, SOS Numerobis, Trace du Hourra, Tonnerre de Zeus, and Vol d'Icare. The only two of those worth riding were the bobsled and the wood coaster, and the less said about the the Vekoma monstrosity the better. Beyond coasters, we hit two other rides; Transdemonium, which I've written about before, and Le Défi de César. The latter is a haunted swing or mad house, depending on which terminology you prefer, with several pre-shows. One of these puts guest faces on cartoon bodies (see video) which works surprisingly well. The overall ride was well up there with the better haunted swings I've been on.