RIGA - Gigantic. Awesome. Cosmic. The words will just fall out of your mouth upon first sight. After a year of anticipation and buzz over what was set to be the biggest entertainment center in the Baltics, Go Planet is finally here. And the 15,000-square-meter complex, located in the Riga suburb of Purvciems, is hard to miss.
The building glows with neon, its flashing lights and sprawling glass facade just a hint of what's within. One thing's for sure, Go Planet gives a new definition to Latvian entertainment, boasting the latest in 21st century fun: laser tag, carting, video games, billiards, a 4d movie theater, restaurant, sports bar and more. It may take a week to get this all in.
With 15 million lats (23 mln euros) invested in the project, this is little surprise. The place plans to entertain 500,000 visitors over the next year. Let's just hope they don't all come on a Saturday.
So far, Go Planet's most popular attraction is carting. If you've ever seen Latvians on the road, you'll know why. The entertainment center's state-of-the-art track is the most modern in the Baltics. At 400 meters long, the track winds and twists like a condensed Alpine road. And if this isn't enough to get your head spinning, the engineers threw in a bridge and tunnel as well.
For those who feel the "need for speed," these mini racecars can roar up to 85 kilometers per hour. But don't worry, they say, the carting is completely safe 's ensured by Europe's most advanced security system. And of course, there's a competitive aspect. Group races can be organized for up to 20 people.
The F1 simulator is a good alternative for carting-phobics. If you can't handle buckling yourself behind the wheel of a speeding car, why not pretend? The virtual-reality ride is equal the thrill. As the P.R. release explains, "the simulator allows everybody to experience being in an F1 pilot's skin." With three virtual experiences 's "Cat Car," "Taurenus Vedera" ("Butterflies in your stomach") and "Renault F1" 's you can chose your own level. The last option even has a pit-stop feature, with a tire-change, gas fill-up, brake check and all.
It may be tough, after all this, to jump back into the real world. But fear not, Go Planet offers a 4d (3d is sooo last century) movie theater to ease you back in. But what is 4d, you might ask. Isn't 3d the ultimate? Not anymore. Today the theater works with all five cognitive senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch, andâ€¦taste? I suppose you have to experience it to believe it.
Laser tag is any 13-year-old's dream. Espe-cially when it takes place in a labyrinth of shooting lights, wild sound effects and three different sci-fi scenarios. Throw a group of boys, equipped with weaponry that makes Star Wars light savers about as fun as building blocks, into a laser labyrinth and they may never come out.
As for the rest of Go Planet, what is there to say? You'd best just try it out for yourself.
Gunara Astra St.
More info: (371) 724 2393.