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I finally got a chance to play a little bit of the new Lord of the Rings slot machine so I thought I would share what I thought of it with you all. I played at Crazy Vegas, but most of the good quality Microgaming casinos have launched it already so you can pick your favourite and play there.
First impressions ... Usne was right, there is no Gollum in the game (not in symbols or video clips as far as I could see). No Gandalf or ring-wraiths either from what I recall. They are making another two slots based on the other movies in the series, so maybe they will pop up there somewhere. Thankfully the game doesn't pull a Ferris Bueller and the major characters all feature as symbols - Frodo, The Hobbits, Bilbo, Aragorn, Arwen, Legolas, Elrond, Gimli, and Galadriel. The artwork and symbol design is very good - particularly the non-character symbols (10, J, Q, K, A etc).
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The Eye of Sauron also makes an appearance as a centre reel expanding wild symbol. There are also stacked Lord of the Rings logo symbols which are wild. It uses the 243 ways system which means the winning symbols just have to be in adjacent reels from left to right - it doesn't matter about lining up on paylines.
Now the big thing Microgaming has been hyping is "Cinematic spins". So what is it exactly? Well what happens is that you spin the reels, and they fade away while spinning, revealing a LOTR video clip playing behind, then the reels reappear as they stop. It looks very impressive at first! I am a "get-it-over-with-spin-in-turbo-mode-and-let-me-see-if-i-won" kind of player, so this was the first slot in a long time that made me want to watch the reels spin. Action shot here which doesn't really do it justice:
I didn't run into any slowdowns or problems - everything was butter smooth - but as you would imagine the number of video clips isn't endless. I counted 14 or maybe 15 in normal non-free spin mode, so you start to see the same ones over and over if you play for any length of time. You can turn it off if you prefer.
Free spins mode is special though - it is triggered by 3 or more "one rings" and you get a whole different bunch of film clips and single reels play their own mini film clips from time to time, usually showing a character (like Saruman, the Uruk-hai, the Balrog and others) doing something. I played for around half an hour and triggered the 3-ring free spins mode 3 times for 15 free spins each time. The wins from free spins were around 450, 700, and 950 coins from memory.
The feel I get for it is that you get a lot of playtime out of the game. There are a lot of non-winning spins and small wins (less than your bet) on the spins, compensated by frequent free spins triggers. I didn't win any major prize, but I didn't run out of money either (I think I finished down about $3 over half an hour spinning with bet sizes ranging from 30c to $1.50), so you should be able to stretch your bankroll for a while by playing this.
I tell you one thing though - it has made me eager to pull the DVDs off the shelf and watch the movies again as the game just reminded me how fantastic they were (and before anyone shoots me down, yes I have read the books a couple of times!).
If anyone has a go at Lord of the Rings come back and let us all know how you went and what you think.
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Funny related story .. my avatar is a sketch of me. Anyway I was checking out the artist's website one day and he had my picture as one of his examples ... and underneath he had written "this guy looks like a character from Lord of the Rings".
Thanks buddy! Thanks a million!!
Thanks for this extensive review Ed, everything you said sounds great! I'm already preparing to compare the slot to other LOTR-related material by watching the movie, and I'm half way through the book (again). Really, I'm not usually this geeky, but I'm covering LOTR in my MA thesis, so all additional material is more than welcome... Anyway, before I'm off to finish the book and start playing, just wanted to check if it's true that there aren't any bonus rounds?
Btw, Ed, did the artist say which character you looked like?
No, there is no bonus round - just free spins.
LOTR thesis? Wow, tell us more. Are you studying literature or something?
And no he didn't say who I looked like ... lets hope he wasn't thinking of Gollum. The worst thing was every other sketch he had done had a description like "man wearing suit", "woman with red dress", "man holding a beer" and I got "he looks like a LOTR character"!?!
Well, a couple of years ago I graduated from a faculty of English language and literature, and now I'm doing my MA in literature. So I picked my favorite book and movies to cover in the thesis - LOTR. This topic is a bit unusual for literature studies, meaning that most people pick some classical pieces, but I was lucky enough to manage to find a mentor who appreciates LOTR as much as I do.
Anyway, regarding your recent description, you should tell the artist off, or at least request him to specify the character he identifies you with, like some of the more prominent/dignified (or at least taller) characters - Aragorn, Legolas, Elrond or someone similar.
Oh Ed, pardon me for laughing but that is hysterical!!! He could of meant it with the best intentions and you resemble one of the most handsome characters in the cast.
As long as he doesn't put a caption of Gullom under your pic i would say your safe!!! Great review of Lord of the Rings slot!
I played it yesterday, finally! It's very, very nice, with that cinematic feature, all the movie excerpts and good-looking characters. Yes, you do miss a couple of them, like Gollum and Gandalf, but if they're saved for another part of the slot, it's okay. The one feature I liked most is the expanding Sauron's eye, as a wild symbol, it looks very powerful!
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