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Knott’s Berry Farm has officially launched its new Voyage to the Iron Reef interactive dark ride this week, and we were some of the early media allowed to ride. Voyage to the Iron Reef is located in the same 2nd level structure which originally housed Knott’s Bear-y Tales and, later, Kingdom of the Dinosaurs. The outside of the attraction now features a wavy blue awning and steampunk style decor. After being escorted to the area outside of the attraction, we were fed a very nice al fresco style breakfast and then the opening ceremony began. The park management introduced us to some costumes characters who commemorated the opening of the ride. One thing of note for you Knott’s Scary Farm fans out there was that the park’s General Manager, Raffi Kaprelyan, hinted at plans to renovate the iconic Calico Ghost Town area – more info on the upcoming changes and what it could mean for the annual Halloween event will be unveiled at a later date

The actual Voyage to the Iron Reef ride itself is basically a big, interactive video game experience similar to the Toy Story Midway Mania attraction found in Disneyland’s California Adventure park. Riders sit four to a car – each with a cool, quasi-futuristic looking gun in front of them. The ride car rolls about a track, stopping periodically at projector screens which show the ride video feed where guests shoot at enemies which pop up. The ride takes guests into the deep ocean to fight off a plethora of bad guys – from evil jellyfish to evil eels and even an evil kraken.

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In addition, all of the on-screen action is  presented to the viewer in 3D thanks to very comfortable and, most importantly, passive 3D glasses. The 3D effect is great and, even with the motion of the ride vehicle in play, I never felt sick or queasy. The whole thing syncs up well and my eyes didn’t complain once! The company behind the technology of the ride, Triotech, should be commended for their great work.

The actual story of the ride and why we were shooting these evil sea creatures was a bit lost on me but, that didn’t matter at all, as I was too busy shooting things and watching the on-board digital score board accumulate points. Aside from points for killing enemy creatures, you can also shoot these floating compass symbols which will pop up on the screens from time to time. I am still unsure of just what collecting these things do aside from show the number of them shot on the LED scoreboard displays at the end of the ride. My personal best for the day was around 186K points and 10 symbols.

We rode Voyage to the Iron Reef a few go-rounds and, each time, had an absolute blast. The ride structure is air conditioned (which will be an absolute blessing in the upcoming Southern California Summer) and the ride is easy on those who don’t like jarring experiences. The second time we rode the attraction, our ride car encountered an issue where it was not aligning with the interactive screens, causing us to shoot over our shoulders. We were told it was a quick fix and that the ride was back to normal within minutes of our exiting the experience. Opening day jitters – totally worth it, however, as this is a truly fun attraction which is bringing some new life into an area of the park which has not seen an update in quite some time. We at GamingShogun.com eagerly encourage you to get out to Knott’s Berry Farm and try Voyage to the Iron Reef – you’ll be glad you did.

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Jerry Paxton

A long-time fan and reveler of all things Geek, I am also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of GamingShogun.com