My review of the mazes this year...
Terror Of The Towers - Now I’ll admit, I’m a massive ToT fanboy. I love the feel, atmosphere and theme to this maze and always have. I was super excited to get back into the maze this year. However, I was slightly underwhelmed. First off, the audio in the queue line wasn’t up to usual standards, in the bridge area of the queue line it was slightly better. The maze itself was okay, there was some good smells, usual superb theming and lively actors. However I feel this maze is becoming very stale now and needs a complete overhaul. The theming consisted of mainly white sheets, streamlined walls with actors predictably jumping out, so scared were limited. Overall it gets a 7/10.
Sub Species - This maze is by far the best Alton have ever done, the queue was improved with better audio. The maze was as chaotic as usual, with the actors bouncing about and splitting me up 24/7, to the point where I spent most of it with a random person. The theming was excellent, lighting levels good and scared on point. I had the simple chainsaw finale, but was impressed with the alien nest scene, although the alien wasn’t particularly scary. I’d like to see this maze enter a new story next year to keep it buzzing, but this is without a doubt one of the best mazes in the country. 8/10
Altonville Mine Tours - I was lucky enough to be situated at the back of my group, armed with a headlight. I like the way this maze really focuses on the tour aspect at the start, and digs deep into the story. In terms of theming, it is the best I’ve seen in a scare attraction by a long way, with no scene in the maze using black walls or simple white hanging sheets. Scares were okay, when I don’t get scared myself in a maze, I like to look around and see how scared others get, and a lot where indeed getting good scares. The actors weren’t as hands on and physical as usual, with the most physical it got on me was when I revived a massage from behind by an actor for a good 2 minutes! The finale was odd, with nothing happening and just involved me walking out, however I felt having the helmet on added bumped the scares up substantially. 8/10
The Welcoming - Wow, what can I possibly say about this maze? It had everything, a superb soundtrack, quick batching, good start, incredible theming and breathtaking actors. The hooded section was a great addition, with some great scares coming from this, including an actor pushing maggots down my back. This was the most physical it got out of all the mazes, especially in the final scene with the half naked men. To say this maze has been placed in a small amount of space, any sense of what it previously was has gone, I was totally immersed and impressed and came out exuberant. The best maze of the night for me, and I’d like to see it return next year to possibly enhance the whole SW8 experience, where though? That’s a question for another day!
Overall, I most certainly do have the scarefest blues, and will miss what has been a fantastic event. The lighting and smoke around the park added to an incredible atmosphere at night, unseen anywhere else in the UK. Alton have delivered yet again with another fantastic year. Here’s to the next one!