In 1994, Phalanx Operatives secured the Nemesis creature deep within its pit. However, during the 2011 closed season they returned to the area following reports of strange activity. To their surprise, they uncovered a nest of Nemesis eggs. Following a period of closure, guests are now once again permitted to enter the Phalanx Research Facility, but what terrifying secrets lay in wait, deep underground?
- Min. Rider Height: 1.4m
- Max. Rider Height: None
- Ride Photography: No
- Fastrack: Yes
- Manufacturer: ABC Rides
- Ride Type: Drop Tower
- Opened: 24th March 2012
- SBNO: Late 2015 – 2023
- Reopened: 27th May 2023
- Cost: £5 million
- Max. Drop: 7m
- Guests per Viewing: 40
- Capacity: 1200 riders per hour
- Duration: 3 mins 0 secs
In the queue line, guests are informed about the Phalanx and their other operations around the world, including most recently an investigation being undertaken into Nemesis over the course of 2023. Before entering the attraction, guests arrive at the bag drop where possessions can be left for the duration of the ride experience.
Guests first enter a room which holds 40 people in groups of 10, and are ordered to stand on a spot to watch an introductory video. During this, guests learn that the Phalanx have uncovered a nest of eggs, belonging to the Nemesis creature. With a single egg extracted and made safe for civilian viewing, guests are advised that they will be given access to a chamber where this is being displayed – the Central Core. Once the video finishes, guests are directed into one of two ‘lifts’ that take them deep down into the facility (an effect achieved using audio, chasing lights in the doors and a vibrating floor). Upon reaching the level of the Central Core, guests enter the viewing chamber to be seated around the edge of the room, in one of the four seating areas. Phalanx operatives then secure guests in their seats and a video presentation begins.
It is revealed that the egg is “alive and dormant”, while a heart rate monitor is shown on the presentation screen. However, the video feed becomes intermittent, before the lights go out whilst a generator noise can be heard alongside an announcement of a system malfunction. Suddenly the egg can be heard hatching, followed by the sound of something moving around the chamber. As well as sound effects, the ride also utilises water effects, back prodders and leg whippers, to create an immersive experience. A further announcement is made, followed by the lights going out once again. Shortly after, the ride unexpectedly drops, revealing that there is a large nest of eggs laying beneath the chamber above. The back up generator would then kick in, lifting guests back to the secure level, where another announcement states that the security of the unit has been compromised and an emergency evacuation is in progress.
The Phalanx operatives release guests’ restraints and evacuate guests into another set of ‘lifts’ to take them back to the surface. Unfortunately, these lifts are attacked and shaken by the recently hatched Nemesis creature, causing it to fill with smoke, as the lights strobe. Upon the doors opening, guests are met by Phalanx personnel to direct them through a decontamination area and out of the facility’s exit. The decontamination and acclimatisation area takes the form of a white corridor, with screens showing guests as they exit the facility. Opposite from where they exit can then be found the baggage hold from which any deposited items can be collected.
The advertising tagline was “your worst nightmare, underground” and followed an advertising campaign much like The Smiler’s. Most press releases regarding the new attraction came from Phalanx Control, who, in February 2012, stepped in to take responsibility for the Nemesis Sub-Terra egg, which had been included as part of the Faberge Big Egg Hunt in London. It was believed a similar egg would be integral to the findings Phalanx were preparing to reveal to civilians.
The campaign also included a lift experiment at Southside Shopping centre in Wandsworth, where an artist designed the floor of the lift to look as if there was a gaping hole in it. Alton Towers also called for people who previewed Nemesis in early 1994. Marketing also involved the newly appointed ‘Director of Fear’ – Jack Osbourne, who was said to be involved throughout the attraction’s development stages and was supposedly the first to test out the new attraction; “guaranteeing that every element is as scary as possible”.
Unfortunately for Alton Towers, in March 2012 the ride opened to a largely underwhelming response. Therefore, based on feedback that the resort received from guests, it was decided to close the ride for a few days (20th to 25th of May) and overhaul it. When it reopened in June, it was met by far better reviews and most guests agreed that it had been improved. However many still think that the experience was overstated in the advertising, and that the attraction failed to live up to expectations.
Since the end of the 2015 season, Nemesis Sub-Terra remained standing but not operating with no indication as to when, or even if, it would reopen.
With activity seen around the site during the 2018 season, there was much speculation about what this could mean for the attraction’s future. However, this was confirmed to be for the new Scarefest maze, Project 42, when the Resort announced the Halloween line-up in July. Although the scare maze’s theme paid homage to that of Nemesis Sub-Terra, with the Phalanx inviting guests to become ‘valiant volunteers’ and assist in the search for the technician who held the cure to a deadly virus, the attraction had been transformed with a range of detailed sets.
It was to be in February 2019 that the attraction was seemingly finally confirmed to have permanently closed, with the removal of its page from the Resort’s website. Project 42 then returned for a second and final time for Scarefest 2019.
Plans emerged at the start of 2022 indicating that the Resort were planning to replace Nemesis track, with it officially announced in the latter part of the season that this work would be undertaken upon the ride closing at the end of the season. This would see Nemesis closed throughout 2023 before reopening in 2024. During the course of the 2022 season, rumours began circulating that Nemesis Sub-Terra could reopen during the 2023 season to support the story-telling around the work taking place to Nemesis. Speculation was fuelled by activity being observed around the attraction, including the removal and replacement of the flooring for its exterior queue line.
The first official hints of the attraction’s reopening came in the form of email communications sent out in early May 2023. The first was from a Phalanx insider who encouraged people to #SeekTheTruth, revealing that Nemesis had been put into a sedated state and that the Phalanx had discovered an egg that they would be looking to regenerate. An official message from the Phalanx followed, confirming the discovery of the egg and that action was being taken against the mysterious whistle-blower.
On 17th May 2023, the Resort officially announced that Nemesis Sub-Terra was set to reopen on Saturday 27th May 2023. As part of the announcement, the Resort revealed a new look logo for the attraction which was similar in appearance to the new Nemesis track – black with red veins snaking along its length. An updated visual for the attraction was also released, utilising the same black and red colour scheme and seeing the addition of Phalanx logos.
On the Thursday prior to the reopening date, a statement was issued by the Phalanx advising that the newly recommissioned Phalanx Research Facility would begin to be officially reopened from 9:30am on Saturday 27th May. The opening ceremony featured an in-person appearance from John Dalton, the Head of The Phalanx that had previously only appeared in videos, flanked by Phalanx operatives and scientists. Dalton started by assuring the gathered crowds that Nemesis posed no danger to the public, despite the ‘false information’ that had been shared, and explained that the facility was being reopened to allow guests to view The Phalanx’s latest discovery for themselves. Unfortunately the opening ceremony was momentarily interrupted by operatives emerging from the facility in a cloud of smoke, looking somewhat worse for wear and needing to be carried back inside. Nonetheless, Dalton returned to cut the ribbon and declare the facility open, insisting that everything was “completely under control”. Guests were then invited into the queue line to see for themselves…