The new Transformers ride has been generating positive early reviews from theme park enthusiasts and hard-core fans of the shape-shifting robots during a soft-opening preview at Universal Studios Singapore.
> Photos: Transformers ride at Universal Studios
Set to officially debut on Saturday, the five-minute Transformers motion-simulator dark ride, with high-definition 3-D images and special effects, will feature an original story line starring the heroic Autobots and villainous Decepticons -- anthropomorphic robots capable of changing into cars, trucks and planes.
A similar version of the Transformers ride is set to open in a 60,000-square-foot soundstage at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park in May 2012. The California ride will feature wind, water, heat and smoke effects along a 2,000-foot-long track dotted with 14 movie screens, including one that is 60 feet tall.
Spoiler alert: What follows is a scene-by-scene preview of the new Transformers ride based on online rider reports from Singapore.
During the queue pre-show, riders are recruited to join the Autobots in an alien robot showdown with the Decepticons.
The queue winds through the top secret NEST military bunker, with video screens explaining the ride's back story, and past an AllSpark containment chamber that houses a glowing module containing the source of life for all Transformers.
At the loading station, riders climb into a blue Autobot vehicle known as Evac, which explains the mission: Protect the AllSpark from the Decepticons. The motion-simulator ride vehicle is capable of pivoting, pitching, undulating, vibrating and rotating 360 degrees.
Scene 1: A mechanical Decepticon tiger named Ravage grabs the AllSpark, leaps onto Evac's hood and claws at the passengers. Evac escapes by driving erratically.
Scene 2: Bumblebee, an Autobot that can transform into a Volkswagen Beetle, rescues Evac from the motorcycle-bot Sideways and entrusts the riders to protect the AllSpark. Evac flees the scene by crashing through a wall and plowing through city traffic.
Scene 3: Megatron, leader of the Decepticons, attacks Evac before the Autobots' leader, Optimus Prime, comes to the rescue. During the battle, Evac's riders narrowly escape Grindor's spinning helicopter blades.
Scene 4: Evac drives evasively as Megatron gives chase. The evil robot eventually captures Evac, who struggles and manages to break free.
Scene 5: Riders feel the heat of a tremendous explosion after Megatron fires a missile at Evac, who maneuvers to avoid the oncoming shell. Evac escapes through a hole blown in the side of a building by the missile.
Scene 6: Evac gets sucked into a whirling vortex generated by Devastator, a Decepticon created by combining several robots.
Scene 7: Sideswipe, a Lamborghini Autobot, saves Evac and the pair race through city streets battling Decepticons along the way. During the high-speed chase, Evac fires a weapon at Bonecrusher, a bulldozer Decepticon.
Scene 8: Evac manages to escape a second encounter with Devastator only to be grabbed by Starscream's grappling hook. The F-15 fighter jet Decepticon flings Evac through the air, sending the hero robot crashing into a building.
Scene 9: Optimus Prime and Megatron battle in a showdown between the alien robot leaders.
Scene 10: Autobot helicopters fire on Starscream, giving Evac a brief respite.
Scene 11: In the finale, Optimus Prime and Megatron continue their fight on top of a skyscraper. Falling from the building, Megatron pulls Evac over the edge with him and they hurtle headfirst toward street below. At the last possible moment, Bumblebee leaps up and catches Evac.
Scene 12: With Megatron defeated, Optimus Prime congratulates Evac and the rider recruits on a mission accomplished. With the ride over, Evac heads to the unloading station where the passengers disembark.
The new ride will feature 15 Transformers characters voiced by the original film actors.
The Autobots: Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ironhide, Sideswipe, Ratchet, Wheelie and Evac
The Decepticons: Megatron, Grindor, Starscream, Ravage, Skorponok, Devastator, Sideways and Bonecrusher