The Stratosphere’s Big Shot may be a rite of passage, and the red squiggle enveloping New York-New York is good for a drunk dare, but let’s be honest: Las Vegas has never had a great thrill ride—until Tuesday afternoon. That’s when Circus Circus officially opened the El Loco roller coaster, which has been Tetris’d into the Adventuredome where the Rim Runner splashdown used to occur.
One might sniff at the stats—90 feet tall, a top speed of 45 mph and 72 seconds long—but size queens can bugger off to Primm. There’s some hefty wallop in this compact Loco-motive, from the 90-degree drop that attempts to punt you out of the ’Dome, to the 45-degree outward-banked turn that’s about 44 degrees greater than you’d prefer, to the two sustained inverted rolls that leave you hanging more than an episode of Prison Break. And El Loco doesn’t subvert Newton’s laws with your standard train—it boasts a curve-hugging four-person car with headrest speakers pumping cheesy music and a lap bar you’ll clutch no matter how hard you try to raise your hands.
The taller, blackout-friendly Canyon Blaster nearby used to be Adventuredome’s main lure—its fixed 72-degree temperature notwithstanding—but El Loco is far too fun and unique to play second fiddle to any thrill ride within a 20-mile radius.