- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Queen of video games, Lara Croft has returned to her throne this year with a great game from Eidos Interactive, which I happened to gush about a week ago.

This female version of Indiana Jones has also made quite a name for herself over the years in pop culture circles via her appearance in films and comic books. She also has her own ride at Paramount’s Kings Dominion in Doswell, Va.

I recently talked to Dave Cobb, senior creative director for Paramount Parks about the new Italian Job Turbo Coaster, but also spent a few minutes on the Tomb Raider: Firefall attraction.

I had no idea that as park visitors stand in line next to the ruins by the ride they are privy to a hieroglyphic tale about ancient believers that used to strap themselves onto the thing and get flung to the gods to prove their worth. As Miss Croft and park guests discover the ancient machinery in a jungle setting, the geothermal powered artifact comes to life.

“To create the detailed rock work, the symbols, the designs and the special effects that go on below the ride such as the water and fire, we needed to come up with a good reason to stay motivated so the story we developed helped the creative process,” Cobb says.

The attraction also acts as a mini stunt show for the onlookers so those folks, who are not into aggressive spinning rides, can still watch the fun.

Mr. Cobb considers one of the most effective parts of the ride to be the soundtrack, not lifted from the movie but scored to the dynamics of the attraction. “We sent a video tape of the ride to a composer and he scored it like a movie,” he says. So when watching the ride, the music acts just like it would in a theater to amp up the emotion factor for the audience.

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