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10 terrifying thrill rides

By Rob Clymo
Formula Rossa, Abu Dhabi
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Most men love a good adrenalin buzz and one of the best ways to get a fix is to take a trip on one of the world's greatest thrill rides.

These amazing feats of technology and engineering are dotted all around the globe and will scare the pants off even the most hardened of rollercoaster riders. Some are even known to make grown men cry as they pull crazy amounts of G's through the bends.

Rollercoasters actually date back as far as the late 1800s, but those rickety old wooden structures pale in comparison to the thrill rides of today. There are still some terrifying old school tracked 'coasters you should put on your thrill list, but be sure to line them up alongside our selection of other experiences that no adrenalin junkie should miss.

Formula Rossa, Abu Dhabi
Opened only recently, the Formula Rossa is a newly launched rollercoaster that currently holds the official crown as world's fastest and propels riders to a staggering top speed of 150 mph. It does this in just 4.9 seconds, pulling 4.8Gs and uses similar technology to aircraft carriers when they need to launch jets into the air. It's also the fifth longest thrill ride too.

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Giant Drop, Australia
This is the world's tallest and fastest freefall drop ride according to the Guinness Book of Records, towering some 390ft above Australia's Gold Coast. You're placed in a gondola and climb to the top in 90 seconds. Five seconds of freefall descent follows, with speeds approaching nearly 90mph. Apparently it's the closest thing you'll get to skydiving without actually jumping out of a plane.

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Originally dubbed X and costing $46 million, this was the world's first 'fourth-dimensional' ride when it opened in 2002 because the seats extend off the track and over the sides. The ride had a facelift in 2007, was renamed X2 and as a result, it now features 360-degree rotating seats that move both forwards and backwards producing an experience that will simply blow you away.

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Kingda Ka, USA
This beauty is the world's tallest rollercoaster and it's pretty fast too. Your train is launched and reaches 128mph in just 3.5 seconds, using the power from a 20,800 horsepower motor. If you can handle that, the ride then ascends up the main tower reaching the pinnacle of 456ft shortly after. It was also the world's fastest rollercoaster until Formula Rossa usurped it this year.

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Eejanaika, Japan
The world's second fourth-dimensional rollercoaster, alongside X2 in the USA, this one is even taller, faster and longer. The Guinness Book of Records states that the ride has the most inversions of any rollercoaster in the world too, and those strapped in can expect a total of 14 stomach-churning rollovers in all, although the effect is compounded by wildly spinning seats. Awesome.

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Top Thrill Dragster, USA
When this ride opened in 2003, it was recognised as the tallest and fastest rollercoaster in the world. It's attributes remain impressive today. The ride stands 420ft above the ground, a height that means it's officially considered a strato coaster. Riders are launch from zero to 120mph in less than four seconds in an experience that emulates the experience of driving a top fuel dragster. The ride is over in a mere 17 seconds.

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Expedition GeForce, Germany
A German entry and one of the biggest you'll find in mainland Europe. There's an 82-degree first drop and it reaches speeds of up to 75mph. The ride hurtles through landscaped woods and also over a lake, not that you get any time to admire the view. Meanwhile, staggering performance delivers a wealth of air-time; the negative gravity force so enjoyed by rollercoaster afficianados.

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Intimidator, USA
Opened in 2010, the Intimidator is a hyper coaster, which will mean plenty of airtime for thrill seekers who fancy taking on its negative G-force packed charms. Costing $23 million to build, this is a ride that takes you to 80mph, lasts some three minutes 33 seconds and includes a crest that reaches 232ft in length along with a drop that plummets riders some 211ft.

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Silver Star, Germany
Currently the tallest rollercoaster in Europe, it's hard to resist the terrifying charms of the Silver Star, which towers 239ft eet above terra firma. Riders can expect 4G vertical forces as it ducks and dives through a marvellous selection of hills and helixes. All this means that the Silver Star falls into the hyper coaster category, meaning that it's built both for speed and maximum airtime.

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Stratosphere Big Shot and Skyjump, USA
Taking terror to a new level, you can blow your adrenalin levels off the chart with a ride on Big Shot, which is the world's highest amusement ride, located some 1,081ft above the ground. The free fall generates 4Gs. If that's not enough to satisfy your need for speed, you can follow that with a ride on Skyjump, the highest commercial decelerator descent. The experience is similar to a bungee jump, except you're 829ft above the Las Vegas Strip.

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