Le Defi De Cesar



When I heard Parc Asterix was adding a new haunted swing style ride I greeted the news with indifference. To be fair there aren't any I can think of at Parc Asterix's local rivals, but as someone who's travelled around Europe I've done 10 of them, plus I can think of at least 2 others I've walked past and skipped for time. To stick in my memory it would have to rival both Hex at Alton Towers and Villa Volta at Efteling for the title of best haunted swing I've done. Well that's just what it managed to do.

The story is a little hard to follow for a non French speaker, but is based around you being recruited as a Roman legionary. The whole queue sees you outside a grand Roman building, with various comic military paraphernalia to view. Towards the end of the queue there's a section where you have your photo taken, so during the pre show your head is placed on the body of an animated humorous Roman legionary as it marches past. It's mildly amusing, a bit like a more high tech fun house mirror, although the joke will have worn thin by the time the ride starts proper. This is when your escorted into the first effects room where there is a model of Julius Caesar himself that welcomes you to his legions. Before you leave though there are a few appearances by a few other familiar characters. This part of the ride is where the language barrier is the biggest problem, but it doesn't last too long and there's enough going on to ensure it still keeps your interest.

Much to my surprise the next part didn't lead strait into the haunted swing room. Instead it's another special effects room, themed as an elegant Roman bath. In here you watch a spectacular water show take place around the room, with spectacular water jets and fountains, plus the use of projections to see some of the characters from the books make an appearance. Notably it's mostly the Gaulish females who make an appearance here, which would be a great stride for feminism, if it wasn't for the fact the main reason they appear is to wash some cloths. Apart from that though it's a very impressive show, up there with some of the best show rooms I've been in.

After that it's is on to the haunted swing room itself. Strait away two things struck me about it. One was the impressive theming and large scale of it, that put it right up there with the more impressive examples of these I've done. The second is the unique theme, of making the room look like the interior of a Roman galleon, with projection screens on the side to show you the voyage your making. This is such a good idea it's hard to believe why no ones thought of it before. When the ride starts the swinging of the room to simulate the boat rocking in the waves is a perfect fit. As the ride goes on there will be a few unusual encounters causing the room to spin around you.

Overall this is a great ride. Even as someone who is happy to skip this type of ride normally this is not a ride I'd want to miss when visiting the park. A real contender to the crown previously fought over by Hex and Villa Volta. Which is better? That is a tough one as they all have different strengths and weaknesses. Villa Volta has the most visually spectacular ride, but is weaker on story and atmosphere. Hex isn't as visually spectacular as the other two contenders, but it's story at atmosphere is ahead of the competition. As for this one, of the 10 haunted swings I've done this is second after Villa Volta for visual spectacle, and second for story and atmosphere after Hex, making it a very strong all rounder. So which is the best of the 3. In all honesty I can't decide. I've thought I've decided a couple of times, or at least narrowed it down to 2, only to change my mind a couple of hours later. Ultimately though it doesn't matter, there all great rides not to be missed out on.