In the depths of Gloomy Wood, a collection of research looking at the reanimation of the dead has been left behind by a missing scientist inside an old haunted house. Now, the haunted house is striking back! Take up your blasters and prepare to Duel!
Min. Rider Height: None
Unaccompanied Height: 1.1m
Max. Rider Height: None
Ride Photography: Yes
Manufacturer: Mack Rides
Type: Interactive Dark Ride
Opened: 31st March 1992
Rethemed: 5th April 2003
Cost: £3 million
Track Length: 300m
Max. Speed: Approx 5km/h
Passengers per Car: 5
Capacity: 1296 riders per hour
Duration: 6 min 15 secs
Your journey begins as you enter the old haunted house through the large front doors. The walls are lined with various dusty cobwebs and many paintings. Do you suddenly feel like you’re being watched?
As you enter the next room, the contorted floor is raised and lowered in various areas giving the impression that the entire room is on a slope. The old dolls house is occupied by the ghost of a little girl called Emily Alton, the preserved hand on the mantelpiece occasional twitches, the pages of the various books will turn themselves and even the old rocking horse appears to be rocking itself! Some guests even claim to have seen the portraits which line the walls come to life…
Guests then proceed into a dimly lit loading area, where five people are batched into a car. Once seated and the lapbars have lowered, the cars vanish under a curtain into the depths of the house. It’s time to Duel!
Each seat comes equipped with a blaster and a scoreboard. Throughout the house, there are a plethora of green lights to shoot at which will rack up your score. There are also several yellow lights throughout the course of the ride which will give riders a nice dosage of bonus points! Upon shooting a target it will momentarily turn red, becoming immune to being shot again.
Riders will be taken through various scenes including a dining hall, a swamp and graveyard and even a dizzying trommel tunnel! There will be a ghost, ghoul or even a giant spider lurking in the shadows around every corner, so keep your eyes peeled. There’s also a well hideen on ride photo camera towards the end of the ride, so be ready!
After braving your journey and duelling against the undead, riders will disembark from the ride car back and make their way down the exit ramp, past yet more peculiar paintings and past the on ride photo shop, before emerging into the Spooks R Us shop and back out into the clearing of Gloomy Woods.
Alongside the Runaway Mine Train, the Haunted House was a brand new attraction to open its doors in 1992. This year saw a huge development for the park, introducing the two brand new rides as well as two brand new areas in the form of Katanga Canyon and Gloomy Woods, where Duel resides.
Throughout development, Duel consistently proved to be a huge technological innovation. Unlike other dark ride transit systems, Duel works on a conveyor type system to which the cars didn’t stop to load and unload people. This system was created to remove the element of lost surprise that was given away by clearly being able to see the ride car ahead of you. In that respect, Duel still remains a unique ride to this very day.
When the press event for Duel came around, it was discovered that the ride wouldn’t be able to run due to needing new parts from German based manufacturer, MACK Rides. With twenty minutes until the broadcast went live, John Wardley came up with the idea of dressing staff members as undertakers and having them sat in the ride car along with passengers in order to continuously reset each ride car’s computer for the system to work. This worked much better than Wardley had hoped, with the news crews commenting it was a nice touch without even realising the truth purpose of the undertakers!
The Haunted House remained an iconic attraction ten years on after it’s opening into 2002, however it soon became apparent that change was coming for 2003. Brand new props were brought in, a brand new storyline was introduced and ride vehicles were installed with blasters and scoreboards. Duel – The Haunted House Strikes Back, was born!
Duel also underwent seasonal changes during the Scarefest season of 2008. The blasters and targets were turned off, and live actors were placed at regular intervals around the ride, creating Duel: Live. In 2010, Duel: Live was changed and became Skelvin’s Haunted Adventure, based around the friendly Scarefest mascot, Skelvin. Unfortunately, at present Duel is no longer included as a live attraction at Scarefest, and remains open as Duel – The Haunted House Strikes Back!
Over the 2017/18 closed season, Duel was subject to some refurbishment works as part of the Resort’s Towers Loving Care programme. On the attraction’s exterior, the ivy was cleared from the facade, whilst the crypt also saw a new resident added. The queue-line saw the addition of some moving portraits which replace the TV screens which used to play the backstory to the ride. Much of the ride was also repainted with neon and UV paint, which was complemented with UV lighting. Duel also received a new soundtrack, composed in-house by the Resort.