Review of Creature from the Black Lagoon Slots
Horror movies were much different in the 1950s than they are today. They used to rely more on suspense and tension, and less on gory special effects. One of the all-time classic horror films will always be “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” because it strikes the perfect balance between suspense, campiness, and setting an erie mood.
The crew over at NetEnt reached pretty far back into the movie vault for this one considering that the original film was released in 1954, which is more than 40 years before their company was even founded. However, they will certainly get praise from old crusty traditionalists like me who love the revival movement that we’re seeing these days with online slot games. It seems like no movie is too old to be dusted off and made into a gambling game, and crustaceans like me couldn’t be happier.
Those who know me know that I’m a pretty nostalgic person, so you can expect that this review is going to be a little biased, but I think it’s to be expected – we’re talking about one of the classics, after all! There are no guarantees that we’ll continue to see an influx of classic movie-themed slot machines in the future, so let’s enjoy this trend while we can.
Here’s how NetEnt turned a clunky classic into a fun and modern game…
The screenshots below show the game’s weird combination of “vintage” and “contemporary” imagery, which somehow ended up working together quite well. All of the illustrations on the game symbols are top-notch, and I really like the overall design. It kind of feels like this slot could have been released the same year as the movie.
After discovering an interesting fossil of a human skeleton hand with webbed features, Dr. Carl Maia convinces his old buddy Dr. David Reed to have his boss Dr. Mark Williams bankroll another Amazonian expedition to keep searching for an answer to the mystery. The three of them commission Captain Lucas and his steamship “Rita” to take them back to the Amazon, with Reed’s girlfriend Kay and Dr. Edwin Thompson rounding out their crew.
Once back at the dig site they find that the entire research team that Dr. Maia left behind has been killed, but they shrug it off as the work of a savage jaguar, and not The Creature that was the true source of the carnage. After not finding any more of the strange, webbed skeletal remains, the group decides to check one last place: The Black Lagoon. This is where the crew comes into direct contact with the annoyed Creature, and where they will ultimately have to fight for their lives.
This slot from NetEnt stays true to the original plot of the movie and they did a good job of keeping things creepy. The storyline of the film is fairly clear, but they definitely would have had a few more chunks of action if they would have chose to include more bonus features.
The Lucas symbol does not look anything like the Lucas in the movie, so I’m wondering if the estate of Nestor Paiva didn’t grant the game’s creators authorization to use his likeness in this slot. If that’s the case, it’s both confusing and disappointing. Maybe NetEnt just didn’t spend too much time on designing it, but that doesn’t seem very likely. Also, is it asking too much for a Richard Denning symbol portraying Dr. Mark Williams? I guess that it is.
That said, I won’t slam the game’s creators too hard since they successfully avoided using any playing card symbols and created everything from scratch. In lieu of a Jack, Queen, or King, here’s what they came up with:
- Oxygen Tank
- Lucas (Nestor Paiva)
- Carl Maia (Antonio Moreno)
- David Reed (Richard Carlson)
- Kay Lawrence ( Julie Adams)
- Underwater Free Spin
- Target Symbol
- Green Creature from the Black Lagoon Logo (Wild)
- Yellow Creature from the Black Lagoon Logo (Spreading Wild 1)
- Orange Creature from the Black Lagoon Logo (Spreading Wild 2)
Since there are a ton of free spins and re-spins in this slot, the payouts in the regular game aren’t going to be as high as many of you were probably hoping for. Kay Lawrence is the best paying in the game with 750 coins for five across the reels, and this isn’t exactly “huge” for a top-paying symbol. She is followed by David Reed, Carl Maia, and Lucas who pay 600, 500, and 400 coins respectively for 5 of a Kind.
Also, the Wild symbols in this game are insane and there are actually three different types. The normal Wild which is green, then the Spreading Wild 1 which is yellow, and then the Spreading Wild 2 which is orange. All of the Wilds are sticky and will stay on the board for one re-spin.
One of the greatest frustrations of an archeologist is to spend large amounts of time digging and then not finding anything for their troubles. Therefore, I will save you the time now if you’re digging for a Black Lagoon jackpot – there isn’t one.
Now we get to the biggest disappointment of The Creature from the Black Lagoon Slots: there isn’t a proper bonus round or major bonus feature. This harms not only the storyline of the game, but also the level of excitement and engagement that you’ll have when playing it. Even a simple Pick Em’ Bonus would have broken up the constant spinning of reels, so I do find it very strange the NetEnt decided not to include something. Especially when we all know that it would have been quite easy to do.
One tiny reel feature is that the Sticky Wilds will hang around during both re-spins and free spins to help you build your bankroll. During re-spins they will stick on the reels for consecutive spins until no new Wilds have fallen on the board. Of course this is small potatoes compared to how great a proper bonus round would have been.
Movie-themed slot games that don’t have a unique bonus feature never have a good storyline, which usually ends up ruining the game and turning players off. Thankfully for The Creature, NetEnt put a lot of effort into their free games mode and it somewhat makes up for the omission.
The free games are flowing in this Black Lagoon and there’s definitely a healthy supply. Three or more Underwater Free Spin symbols across the reels will trigger a freeroll, with more spins coming as additional symbols fall.
- 3 Symbols = 10 Free Spins
- 4 Symbols = 15 Free Spins
- 5 Symbols = 20 Free Spins
As you’re free-rolling you’ll want to keep your eyes open for Target symbols on reel #5 because those are how you get to shoot The Creature when he pops onto the right side of the reels and tries to attack you. Each time you blast him it will knock a bar from his power meter, which will unlock 4 different levels as you go.
- Level 1: Sticky Wild symbols added to the reels.
- Level 2: 1st Spreading Wild is triggered and stretches over the left reel.
- Level 3: 2nd Spreading Wild is triggered and stretches over the right & left reels.
- Level 4: 10 more free games are triggered by collecting 9 Target symbols.
The Spreading Wilds will only ever stay on the reels for 1 re-spin and can spread out even further than 1 reel in certain situations. There is a long list of rules for this bonus mode so just consult the game rules if you feel like learning more. The only thing you really need to remember is that you want to shoot The Creature with your harpoon gun as many times as possible.
The graphics are great in this game with the animations having a vintage vibe to them, and all of the moving pieces looking quite modern. It’s hard to strike a perfect balance between the two, but I think that the game’s designers nailed it.
The intro movie that plays at the beginning of the game is pretty scary, and it’s of an HD cartoon quality. Also, there is a mini movie that rolls when you trigger the free spins mode that’s very cool, and it’s definitely creepy when The Creature comes aboard the boat in search of a girlfriend.
Also, when The Creature scrambles out from the bottom of the screen for a big win it gives me a start each time – I think that they made him look too realistic! You’ll see what I mean when you play the game and you’re jumping out of your chair.
Finally, the unique underwater background during the free games is actually quite beautiful, and it’s extremely intricate in detail. You can even make out the ridges along the seafloor. After the round is over you will see your win amount displayed on an old piece of parchment with the hero carrying Kay back to safety. The intentional aging of the graphics in this game is just another example of how they achieved its classic look.
Audio & Soundtrack
There are beautiful sounds of nature throughout the regular game of birds chirping and squawking, wind rustling through the trees, and a gentle waterfall in the distance. When this is added to the nice little tune that plays in the background it all adds up to quite the peaceful setting. The background soundtrack is of the classic movie variety that you would expect, with no surprises or disappointments.
That is until you hit any payline win and the music blasts as the coins crash and clang onto your balance, making you annoyed and confused. So I highly recommend clicking on the wrench icon and going into the audio settings and unchecking the box that says “Sound Effects”. It really is a totally different game with these noises turned off – try it out and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.
There are funny little sound bites that play from the movie throughout the game that always make me smile. It’s not that the lines of dialogue are actually funny, it’s just that it takes me back to the original film and they kind of sound out of place in an online slot game.
The soundtrack that plays during the free games mode is intense and frantic, and it definitely pumps you up to shoot The Creature in the belly when he swoops in to attack you. Overall, this game gets high marks for its sound effects.
You’ll never know what you’ll find on a geology expedition, especially in the depths of the Amazon. Sometimes you’ll find fossils, but sometimes you’ll find hellish sea-dwelling creatures. Now you can play a game that will give you both of these things and cash prizes.
I’m always leery of new slot games that are based on classic films, but The Creature from the Black Lagoon is one that’s actually a lot of fun to play. I think that the creative free spins mode is enough of a reason for even non-fans of The Creature to give it a whirl, but as I pointed out, since there’s no bonus round some of you might lose interest quicker than others.
This game will definitely appeal more to those of us who are over 50, and I think that was probably the idea in the first place. Although if you’re younger and love watching old movies, you should enjoy this game as well.
Bonus Video of Creature from the Black Lagoon
Here is a special feature from “The Colgate Comedy Hour” that has Abbott & Costello meeting The Creature from the Black Lagoon…and Frankenstein! This is a true blast from the past that fans of all ages will want to check out. Enjoy!