Clash of the Titans Coaster Edition: Medusa vs. Kraken

Editorials and Rants Roller Coaster Showdowns

Roller Coasters & Greek Mythology
I saw the new Clash of the Titans remake over the weekend. Even a special effects laden action adventure movie couldn’t take me out of my roller coaster geekdom. Throughout the movie I was constantly reminded of the roller coasters that were named after these classical Greek gods and mythical creatures.

A struggle between brothers Zeus and Hades was a central part of the plot. These are also the names of two roller coasters at Mt. Olympus Theme Park. Hades was not only god of the Underworld, but more importantly, it’s a Gravity Group woodie that’s in my top ten thanks to a world-class unique layout and pitch black tunnel. Read my Hades review. It’s the perfect theme for an excellent roller coaster. Zeus is a non-descript CCI woodie at the same park. Apollo, the same god referenced in Busch Gardens’ Apollo’s Chariot, had a line in the movie and Poseidon (a Europa Park water coaster) was mentioned. And on the creature front, there was a mention of a Hydra (a floorless looper at Dorney Park), giant scorpions attack the heroes(reminded me of the Schwarzkopf looper at Busch Gardens Tampa) and the Pegasus (an ultra rough family woodie at Mt. Olympus) helps Perseus make up some time towards the end.

Clash of the Titans: Kraken vs. Medusa
In case you haven’t seen the remake or you were too young to have seen the original, there’s a A Mythical Floorless Coaster Showdownspoiler ahead. The climactic battle involves the Kraken versus Medusa. Medusa wins, sort of. But, which of the roller coasters that bear these same names would win in a roller coaster showdown? Yes. I know Medusa is now Bizarro, but since I haven’t ridden Bizarro so I will review it in it’s previous form.

Kraken at SeaWorld Orlando and Medusa at Six Flags Great Adventure are both floorless B&M loopers with similar layouts. Medusa was the world’s first floorless sitting coaster when it opened in 1999. Last year, it recieved a theming and special effects upgrade and is now known as Bizarro.

Setting
Kraken is next to a pond towards the far end of SeaWorld while Medusa is in a nondescript field in Six Flags Great Adventure. At least it’s not in a parking lot like fellow coaster Great American Scream Machine and it’s West coaster twin Scream!. Regardless, Kraken definitely has the more interesting atmosphere although it is next to a service road for the first half.
Edge: Kraken

The Action
Medusa largely borrows from Kumba at Busch Gardens Tampa’s loop sequence. Its inversions include: a vertical loop, a dive loop, a zero-g roll, a cobra roll (2), and interlocking corkscrews (2). Kraken has the same inversions except that it finishes with another vertical loop and a single corkscrew instead of the interlocking corkscrews. Kraken’s smaller, tighter second loop is partially located in a trench and the final corkscrew surprises you as you exit a tunnel. Medusa’s interlocking corkscrews are visually interesting, but not as fun as they look.
Slight Edge: Kraken

Layout
Edge: Medusa kicks off with the textbook B&M swooping drop while Kraken has a more traditional straight drop. I felt more airtime and intensity on the straight drop, so I prefer Kraken’s. Kraken’s finale which includes a vertical loop, small hill, drop into a cave, and a corkscrew is an awesome way to finish.
Edge: Kraken

Theming
Medusa’s theme was largely non-existent. This made the Bizarro makeover that much more intriguing last year. Meanwhile, Kraken was the main attraction at SeaWorld for nearly a decade. SeaWorld, in typical Busch Park fashion, spent some money theming it with a large Kraken head near the entrance and some Kraken eggs in a small cave that non-riders can check out.
Edge: Kraken

Winner
It’s probably no surprise that Kraken wins hands down. The theme, better final third, and better setting give it the edge in every way. I just thought it’d be an interesting roller coaster showdown after seeing the movie. Still, Medusa (now Bizarro) and its clone Scream! are solid coasters especially considering that Medusa was a prototype.

Check out my other Roller Coaster Showdowns like Griffon vs. SheiKra, Top Thrill vs. Kingda Ka, & Tatsu vs. Manta. Also, vote in this poll:

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What’s Your Take?
Did you see Clash of the Titans? What’d you think? Do you think Kraken is better than Medusa (or Scream!)? Leave a comment below. Images 3 & 4 courtesy of CoasterImage.

15 Comments

  1. I love Bizarro so much… it's ice smooth. I think you might want to update that theming edge thing – I realize you were comparing Medusa, but the new elements, soundtrack, and queue elements make its theming better in my opinion than Kraken. I won't argue with your judgement about the actual track.

    I think it would have been appropriate to compare Medusa at Discovery Kingdom, since it's still Medusa. (and they're both floorless).

    • I haven't ridden Kraken, but I don't like Medusa that much. I like Medusa at SF Discovery Kingdom way better. It's more smooth, more layed-out, and has some nice airtime.

  2. MarvelMaker made the same exact observation I was thinking about as I read the article – Medusa West probably would've been a more fitting candidate in this article for the reasons Marvel pointed out. Also, like Kraken, Medusa West has the more traditional straight drop, in addition to the unique double rollover instead of the cobra roll found on Bizarro and Kraken. I'd rate Medusa West above Bizarro. It's up there with my favorite B&M floorless rides, Superman Krypton Coaster and Dominator, thanks in large part to that drop and the totally disorienting rollover. I haven't ridden Kraken yet but am hoping to very soon! All that said, this is still a great article, and I'm with you on always seeing coaster connections in random places like movies, songs, etc.

  3. Good points from both of you about Discovery Kingdom's Medusa. I knew about "Medusa West", but since I haven't ridden it yet, I figured I'd stick with SFGADV's Medusa. Your comments about it make me want to take another trip out West to hit both Discovery Kingdom and California's Great America.

    Thanks for the comments.

  4. 1. Kraken is way smother then medusa.

    2. Kraken was my first steel coaster to go over 100ft

    • just wondering, have you ridden medusa in the last 3 years?

  5. Medusa was built on a non-strategic location while Kraken was built on a lake. Kraken has awesome theming while Medusa had none. Even for the first of a kind coaster Medusa should have had a little more themeing. Batman: The ride at Six Flags Great America was the first inverted coaster, and the 5 times I rode it, I always noticed a little bit of new themeing.

  6. i was sort of depresed in finding out that kraken won, but as CC said, not realy suprised. I`m probably the only person on this site that dosen`t hold B&M very highly, so i wouldn`t be supprised if my opinion ends up different than yours. i can`t realy explain it, but theres something about the way Medusa rides that makes me like it so much. i have yet to ride the great adventure bizzaro, but since the new england bizzaro was so good, i won`t be suprised if it`s better. Medusa could of ran better with some ocasional trees a couple fake greek ruins, but simply being on a feild is better than solid cement, even if there is some water. although little of greece was feilds, medusa did have a little themed area, and the interloking corkscrews give a great head-chopper affect. Medusa also has better colors, and the krakens themeing looks a little corny from the outside. I`m not saying thes could realy make a large differnce in the showdown, but the post and the coments are starting to make medusa sound a bit meiocre, which is completely not true.

  7. KRAAAAAAKEN!! course, i haven't ridden the other one, but i went on it on my first and last day at sea world. i moved the day after we moved, so my dad took us there as a surprise. kraken was my first floorless, but whenever we went to disney (i lived literally next to the back entrance to disney; my parents worked there. hooray free passes!) we saw it over the trees.

  8. oops the day after we went

  9. I love both coasters, but I have to agree by saying Kraken is better.

  10. I would rate Medusa west slightly above Scream (mirror clone of Medusa/Bizarro). Haven't been on Kraken and probably never will. I've also been on Dominator at Kings Dominion.

    All three have elements I like the best on each ride, but overall Medusa (west) is my favorite.

    The most intense floorless I've been on is Griffon, technically not considered a floorless coaster (at least not a floorless only coaster?). Griffon's first drop is spectacular, probably the most intense element on any of the dozen B&M's I've had the pleasure of riding.

  11. I think you shouldve done Hydra vs Kraken. I know in the movie it was Medusa vs Kraken (sort of), but Hydra wouldve been better to compare. It is newer than Medusa and has more unique elements. It wouldve been more of a challenge than Medusa to Kraken.

  12. To be fair, I haven’t ridden Medusa/Bizarro, but I’ve seen the POV on youtube. And I rode Kraken 3 times when I was at SeaWorld.

    But…I totally agree that Kraken should’ve won, too.:)

  13. I can’t believe it how did kraken win it should have been medusa now known as bizarro.

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