Vertical Velocity Review – Intamin Impulse Coaster at Six Flags Great America

Today we’re reviewing Vertical Velocity, the inverted impulse coaster at Six Flags Great America.

Vertical Velocity was manufactured by Intamin, and was introduced in 2001. The coaster has a height of 185 feet, length of 630 feet, and a top speed of 70 mph.

The ride experience involves launching out of the station, up a twisted spike, flying backwards through the station and up a second spike (straight instead of twisted, and then falling forwards back into the station. This process is repeated a few times, until the train gradually slows to a stop.
In order to review this coaster, I have created 13 different categories that it will be judged on. Some categories are worth 5 points, while others are worth 10. Each coaster begins with a score of 10 points, and has the opportunity to earn up to 100 points total. Yes, that’s a lot, but don’t worry, I’ll do all the math for you.

Moving on, the first category we have is the height category. Now I’d consider V2 to be an exceptionally tall coaster. Sure, it’s short of the 200 mark by 15 feet, but it still feels pretty tall when you head up the two spikes. It’s especially terrifying to look facedown at the ground on the second spike, and that’s all part of the fun. Therefor, V2 gets a 4 out of 5 for height.

Next up is the drop, which is out of 10 points. I’m going to give it a 7. This ride doesn’t have a traditional drop (because it’s not a full circuit), but you do fall down the second spike completely faced forward, which provides for an amazing experience.

Then we have speed, which is also out of 10, and I mean come on. This coaster has an excellent launch. You shoot out of the station at 70 mph, provided an awesome amount of speed and forcefulness. It easily deserves a perfect 10 in this category.

Next up is the smoothness category, out of 5 points. I’m going to give V2 a 4/5. I don’t think it’s the smoothest coaster out there, but I don’t recall any overabundant rattling or shakiness. It’s certainly no RMC, but it’s definitely not a Vekoma.

For our next category; airtime, V2 will be receiving a 5. Now V2 isn’t the type of coaster that has traditional airtime. It doesn’t go over any hills, or eject you out of your seat. That said, the weightlessness that you get when you arrive at the top of each spike is outstanding. It’s definitely a unique type of airtime that you can only get on these types of coasters. Although it’s not traditional, I’d still give it a 5 out of 5.

Then we have the intensity category, which is out of 10. I’d consider V2 a pretty intense coaster. The launch is pretty forceful, especially when you head up twisted spike for the first time. Overall, I’d say it scores an 8.

Now for the duration category. I’m going to give this a 2 out of 5. This coaster could definitely be longer. It kind of just meanders up and down the spikes a few times, and then it’s done. Sure, it’s still a great experience, but it’s also a short one. Duration is definitely one place V2 falls flat.

Another place V2 fails to provide in is theming. This category is out of 10, and I’d only give it a 2. The ride basically has a cool sign, a fun, “future-y(?)” look, and nothing else. Sure, it’s over water, but natural athstetics can only go so far. Six Flags tends to lack in theming for most of their rides, and that’s sadly the case for V2.

Then we have to talk about the restraints. V2’s restraints aren’t awful, but they’re by no means perfect. I remember them being mildly uncomfortable, and having some sort of hard plastic around them. They are over-the-shoulder restraints, which are obviously not everyone’s first choice when it comes to restraint type. Like I said though, it’s not the worst thing ever, so I’ll give them a 3 out of 5.

Now we have our last major category: the layout. As previously stated, V2 is a simple, incomplete circuit coaster. This, along with the rides small footprint, allow little room for originality. V2 serves a purpose as the parks only launch coaster, but the layout doesn’t necessarily even have the option to be original. It just goes up and down, backwards and forwards. That’s why I feel it can’t really score more than a 3 out of 10 here.

After that, we have 3 more quick categories to round things out. First up, the queue. We already kind of touched on this in theming, but the queue gets a bit of a different score for me. Sure, it’s not themed, but there’s something else that really makes me enjoy it. It’s the fact that when you arrive to wait in the station, you can watch the coaster fly back and forth in front of you. It provides this intimidating build-up that makes you both excited and nervous to ride. So even though it’s not themed, the queue still gets a 4 out of 5 for provided a…form of entertainment, if you will.

Then we have the name category. I don’t know why, but for some reason I love the name Vertical Velocity. Perhaps it’s just a fitting name, or the fact that I found the velocity unit in my physics class interesting. Whatever the case, I really like it, so I’m going to give it a perfect 5 out of 5.

Last but not least, we have the operations category. This is sort of a toss-up. If you ride this coaster right away, there’s little to no wait. However, because they only run one train, it’s hard for the staff to filter people through quickly. On top of that, Great America is a super busy park, so wait times can easily increase to 90+ minutes on a busy summer day. Still, I’ve seen much worse on other rides, so I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.

Well, we’ve finally reached the end of our review. I’ve added up the points, and Vertical Velocity’s final score is…a 70! That’s not too shabby at all. If you’ve read my Top 10 Roller Coasters at Six Flags Great America post, you know that I rank V2 as the fifth best coaster at the park. If you had to choose between this and another low capacity ride like Superman: Ultimate Flight, I’d definitely choose this one. It might not be a long, themed ride, but it makes up for it in it’s intense, beautiful launch that will have you sprinting back to the front of the line as quickly as possible.

Update – New Coaster Grade: 6/10


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