An indoor wild mouse coaster, The Dark Knight is an experience that extends beyond the ride itself. Before the ride begins, riders are ushered into a dark room and shown a video of a press conference featuring Gotham City’s D.A. (portrayed by actor Aaron Eckhart). There are questions about Joker cards found at crime scenes and whether Batman should be incarcerated for taking the law into his own hands (answer to the latter is that the city should be returned to a state of affairs in which it didn’t need Batman) before everything goes haywire and the video cuts out, presumably disrupted by The Joker. Sirens sound, those in attendance are told to evacuate the city and the door to the loading area opens. The cars in which the evacuees will ride seat four, with a lap bar as a restraint, and what I found especially interesting is that they never stop moving. Those just finishing the ride hop out of a car and the next group of riders jumps in; the restraints are then locked and checked by the ride ops with the car still in motion.
The journey itself consists of multiple jarring sharp turns with a few unforeseen and unforeseeable drops. Anyone who’s ever ridden a wild mouse is familiar with the perception of being about to go off the track. The fact that this ride takes place indoors and in the dark serves to enhance that perception. While there is some illumination and at certain points riders experience startling visual effects, during much of the ride it’s pitch black. After the first series of turns the coaster drops in total darkness; after the next series it drops twice, again in total darkness. Never a fan of wild mouse rides, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. It’s really a hoot. (Apparently, it’s not for everyone, as I shared a car with a young couple on one occasion and at the end of the ride the woman threw up.) My only reservation is that for repeat riders, the video presentation before the ride gets old awfully fast. Nevertheless, it’s a significant component of the overall experience and The Dark Knight is a vastly entertaining coaster. 3 ½ out of 5 stars. For more information about rides at Six Flags Great Adventure, visit www.sixflags.com/greatadventure/