I think one idea would be to remove all of the daft theming and leave only the more scary and weird elements in, change the sound track so it actually sounds like it's for a haunted house ride (the current Duel theme just doesn't suit the ride although on it's own it's quite catchy :headphones: ), and remove the more humorous elements. I enjoy the funny side of Duel and many others do but I think the ride needs to be much more scary as times have changed since the conception and revamp of this dark ride and Alton Towers could get away with making the ride much more scary. I go with many friends and only the odd one is freaked out (they don't actually open their eyes but if they did it'd probably be a different story) and the rest all just laugh a bit or sit there and not do anything because the elements have no impact on them. Don't get me wrong, the ride has some superb features but I think it could quite easily be better if they brought it up to date in terms of theming, music and effects, etc...
An example: keep the giant spider that seems to unnerve anyone that goes on Duel but get rid of the zombies at the end of the ride because it' just not scary and it doesn't feel right. Why are there toxic waste barrels?
Some, as previously mentioned, prefer to sit and enjoy the experience (like myself) whereas some go in to get the highest score among their party so would it not be possible to have some way of having some cars with guns and some cars without and the lights for the guns turn off for the cars without guns so that the ride can give two different experiences? Or maybe having a button for guns to be on/off built onto each car so that the riders select whether or not they want to use the blasters before they leave the station? If not then remove the blasters.
These are just suggestions anyway.
I know the past few years that the queue for Duel has been mostly walk wait in the inside part of the queue for no longer than five minutes and it's sad to see that it isn't as popular as it used to be or some of the other rides in the park. You can see that some of the effects don't work or have had to be fixed like the Undertaker and his over-sized hand. Recently I've found that some of the effects start up before the car actually arrives at them and they finish too soon. In other places there could be a lot more theming to immerse you in the ride as the metal warehouse walls aren't exactly adding to the theme #-o
Some of you may disagree with ideas of changing Duel because you're fond of Duel and some of its classic and quirky features but we've seen that Alton Towers don't want to end up like PBBP which is why rides like the Corkscrew, Beastie, Blackhole and Toyland Tours are no longer with us. Rides can't stay the same for ever if Merlin are to continue making the resort up-to-date, bit-by-bit so a change could really help this ride, no matter how big or small it is.
Sorry if I seem to be a bit controversial I don't want to annoy anyone here :P
Perhaps it's time for Duel to change, perhaps it isn't but one thing is for sure that in the mean time I'll carry on riding it :)