Review of Halloween Slots
Anyone who was born before 1975 can tell you how terrifying the original Halloween movie by John Carpenter was back in the day – there really hadn’t been anything like it before. I remember not being allowed to rent it on VHS at the video store for years until I finally went with a friend and his step dad and he let us get it. We were so scared by the end I don’t think that either of us slept a wink that night.
Halloween has it’s place in history as the scariest movie of the 1970s and is widely considered as one of the first true “slasher” films ever made. It’s successful sequels and legions of rabid fans from around the world are a testament to the impact that it had on viewing audiences. It’s legacy is even crazier when you consider the fact that the film took only 10 days to write and 20 days to make. Talk about a “break-neck” pace.
This slot from Microgaming will bring you right back to the fright you experienced the first time you watched Halloween because it’s loaded with visuals and audio clips from the film. It was a great effort but I think that they came up just a little short on the bonus features and the game doesn’t pack in nearly as much action as it should have: unfortunately, there might be more yawns than screams this time around.
This game is beautifully designed with every image, symbol and color jumping off of the screen and looking sharp. Even the details on the golden autumn leaves are wonderful and adds to the feeling of “Halloween”. Click the images below to enlarge them and see for yourself just how scary that image of Michael (and Loomis) is.
It’s Halloween night in the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois and psychopath Michael Myers has broken out of Warren County Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, looking for some fresh victims to receive his rage. He’s been incarcerated since he killed his older sister 15 years ago, and now he’s following Laurie Strode and her high school friends to pick them off one by one.
Michael’s old psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis comes to town to help join the hunt and teams up with Laurie’s father, Sheriff Leigh Brackett. The two scour the town but Michael’s already found what he’s looking for – young, carefree teenagers. The derranged slasher then hunts down his prey one by one, with each murder being more grotesque than the last. Laurie and her friends slowly realize that they are in a fight for their lives and they’ll be lucky to survive through the night.
I think that many of you are going to be a little miffed with the lack of storyline in this game, and the frustrating thing is that Microgaming could have easily beefed it up. After all, they did have nine movies worth of content to draw from. Oh well, let’s just be happy they made this game, grit our teeth and move on.
We get some great unique symbols in this game, some of which are pretty darn creepy, like Michael Myers’ childhood clown mask that he wore while he murdered his sister. Or the scary old rotary style telephone – it used to take forever to call people using that big dial. Seriously though, including a symbol of the yarn and needles that Laurie was using when Michael shows up was a nice touch.
I understand not wanting to make the reels too crowded with characters, but how in the heck didn’t Microgaming find room in a bonus feature for a few more members of the cast? Most diehards will be wanting to see Charles Cyphers as Sheriff Leigh Brackett, Brian Andrews as Tommy Doyle, and John Michael Graham as Bob Simms. And how the game’s creators didn’t find a small spot to include Arthur Malet as the Graveyard Keeper is beyond me.
- Balls of Yarn and Needles
- Match Book
- Beige Rotary Phone
- Clown Mask
- Lynda Van Der Klok (P.J. Soles)
- Annie Brackett (Nancy Kyes)
- Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence)
- Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis)
- Halloween Logo (Wild)
Laurie is in charge of this house party with 5 of her symbols in a spin paying 500x on your total line wager. Next is Loomis, Annie, and Lynda who pay 200x, 150x, and 120x for 5 of a Kind.
Aside from the original character symbols, Halloween Slots is very unique thanks to its Wandering Reels with Jumbo Blocks that slide around the game board as you spin in the regular mode. They can cover 3 different groupings of reels: 3 in the left, center, or right, and the 3 reels spin together to determine which lines are in play. The Wandering Reels contain the Jumbo Block symbols which are simply large character symbols that are 3 reels wide and 4 rows tall. You’ll want to see these fatties falling since they give you a much better chance to hit a 5 of a Kind. In the regular game they randomly move around but in free spins mode they follow a strict pattern of left to right.
Players should note that only the highest win per line will be paid and all wins go from left to right. Also, you must play all 50 paylines each spin, so on the smallest wager of $0.01 and only betting 1 of the possible 8 coins per line, your minimum cost each spin is $0.50.
You can run through the woods tripping on as many things as you want and you still won’t be able to stumble your way into a Halloween Slots jackpot of any kind. Microgaming aren’t known for releasing branded slot games with jackpots so this really doesn’t come as a big surprise. Not to worry, there is tons of money to be won in the bonus features, there’s just not that one big life-changing prize to be had.
Now get up and keep running before Michael catches up to you.
Triggering the Trick or Treat Wheel Bonus with 3 Bonus symbols in a spin can lead to you going on a multiplier binge and getting a bunch of coins added to your balance. This is thanks to the many multiplier amounts ranging from 1x to 10x that are liberally covering the Wheel. These areas are separated by panels for the character symbols which will trigger their respective features if you land on them, so every spot on the wheel has a prize of some kind on it. The image of Laurie grasping the couch in fright as Michael’s shadow is cast in the background gives this bonus area an extra creepy feel.
If the Wheel Bonus stops on the image of Michael Myers you’ll enter the Boogeyman Bonus, which is a Pick Em’ style game that pays out a maximum of 290x your wager if you pick perfectly. Just think about how much Halloween candy that would buy. Select from the 15 beautiful golden leaves to reveal what’s underneath, with each one hiding either a cash prize, a knife, or an image of Michael that will slash you and end your bonus round.
The multiplier amount goes up by 1 every time you successfully reveal a cash prize, (which will confusingly be displayed as a number that has been multiplied by your triggering bet amount, so sometimes it’s hard to keep things straight). If luck is on your side and you end up turning over all 10 cash prizes you will also be rewarded with an extra 20x multiplier on your original wager, which in addition kills Michael and ends the bonus feature. Strangely there is an “Auto Pick” option that you can select to have the game randomly pick leaves for you – ummm, no thanks!
If Laurie taught us anything over the years it’s that you have to defend yourself by any means possible. Therefore, if you turn over a leaf and reveal a knife it will protect you from one of Michael’s attacks and prevent his symbol from ending the Boogeyman Bonus if you select it. Without a knife to protect you, revealing a Michael symbol will give you half your triggering wager amount and immediately end the bonus round. Scary!
Just like the Pick Em’ bonus, the Halloween Slots free spins are triggered by hitting a character symbol on the Trick or Treat Wheel, with Laurie, Loomis, Annie, or Lynda starring in the feature, which is sadly just an extension of the regular game. There aren’t any special backgrounds or symbols for the free spins, and the only difference is that the other character symbols are removed for the duration. The Wandering Reel of course continues to slide around the board throughout the freeroll, determining which positions are in play.
Regardless of what you hit on the bonus wheel you will always get a straight 9 free spins, which is a fine number, but games that give you more or less depending on certain criteria are always more exciting. Also, you cannot re-trigger extra free games while free-rolling, which is always disappointing to find out.
The major strength of Halloween is its graphics and it’s definitely one of the best-looking online slots released this year. The attention to detail on the symbols and the background is amazing, as well as the animations of the leaves falling across the reels as they float down beautifully.
The overall appearance of the game is enhanced by the awesome transparent reels which actually give the symbols a “hovering” effect, which of course adds to the creepy vibe. And speaking of the symbols, each one has their own little animation when they’re used in a payline win, with my favorite being the stabbing Halloween Logo Wild that plunges a knife downwards when activated.
Other effects include the gun symbol turning and firing bullets, the ball of yarn and needles twisting around, and the rotary phone shaking and spinning. There’s also nice visuals of knives slashing through winning paylines and matches burning through the reels. There are even some mild animations on the character symbols in winning paylines, which are just the flashing of a few still images of their various scenes from the movie, so it’s not too distracting when triggered.
The main image in the background is the front of the Myers family home that Strode Realty is trying to sell, which is where Michael murdered his older sister many years ago. The backgrounds in the distance change from dusk to night, with both scenes having ominous skies, and you’ll never guess who quietly drops in from time to time to watch you play. It’s quite unsettling because often times you don’t notice Michael come out and you only see him as he’s leaving – it’s just the right touch for a horror movie themed slot game that’s trying to keep you uncomfortable and on your toes.
In a shocking twist, the user controls in this game are pretty disappointing due to Microgaming’s bizarre choices with the Auto Spin button. First of all, when you’re selecting the number of spins that you’d like to autoplay for it makes you toggle up and down to see all 4 of the different options. They definitely should have just designed it to display all 4 of the options in one section with no arrows, (and who the hell autoplays for only 10 spins anyway?) Then once you’ve messed around with the button and figured out what’s going on, many of you will be horrified to learn that you can’t “autoplay until feature”, which is really the only setting that I ever select. This is another strange decision in a user control panel that should have been amazing, especially considering the obvious effort that was put into other elements of the game.
Players who like to gamble on the run will be happy to learn that this title is totally mobile friendly, which is actually what one would expect for any online slot game released in 2017. Still, it does look pretty sweet on an iPhone.
Audio & Soundtrack
The audios in Halloween Slots are a bit of a mixed bag, with some being excellent decisions and others being a little confusing. Thankfully, Microgaming secured the rights to the full original soundtrack, specifically the main creepy piano and light synth with strings that takes you right back to late 1970’s Haddonfield. A little known fact about the classic ditty is that it was actually composed by director John Carpenter – quite impressive.
No matter what frame of mind you’re in when you’re playing, as soon as that classic piano refrain kicks in for a big win it will get your pulse racing and have you looking over your shoulder. It truly is one of the best melodies ever put into a horror film.
The game’s creators chose to include a decent amount of memorable lines of dialogue from the movie like, “Halloween night is when people play tricks on each other,” and “Michael’s around someplace,” as well as some other more-forgettable lines such as, “See anything ya like?”. Unfortunately, after 30 minutes of playing, these audio clips do get a little tiring, but I understand that Microgaming couldn’t put every single word of dialogue in there. That said, they could have mixed things up by adding more variety.
The sound effects on the individual symbols were very well done, and the stabbing audio of the Jack O’lantern Wild sounds like it’s really plunging into the back of a frightened teenager on the run. The other effects are simple and include telephones ringing, guns shooting, knives slashing, and matches being struck.
The audio highlight of the game is definitely the intensity of the music in the Boogey Man Bonus and it’s guaranteed to get your blood pumping. There’s a deliberate piano chord and piercing synth pulse that screams out of the speakers, and diehard fans will immediately know that it’s the bit of music that plays when Michael is chasing Laurie towards the end of the film. Classic!
Fans are going to be running in droves to try out Halloween Slots and relive the terror of the original films. Michael Myers has never looked better and Microgaming got many of the original main cast members to come back to Haddonfield for one more grizzly chapter. Sadly, it’s a chapter that feels a little too short.
How long you end up playing this game for is going to be directly correlated to how big a fan you were of the original films, but even then, your love might be tested. After spinning for a few hours it just felt like this slot needed one more bonus feature to push it over the top and make it a “classic” that properly honored the source material. The free spins modes are basically all the same with the only difference being the featured character that you trigger on the bonus reel. I think we can all agree that Microgaming could have easily packed a bit more excitement into these freerolls.
The Wandering Reels are fantastic at first but they do get tiring after a while as you’re constantly following them on the game board with your eyes. Instead of serving to keep the gameplay fresh they actually make things a little awkward because you’re always straining to pay attention to which reels are in play for that spin.
Halloween Slots also needed a few more clips from the movie to jog our memories as to why it terrified us so much when we first watched it. They easily could have slid a few in the beginning of the various bonus features – why didn’t they?
Sadly, this game is like visiting Las Vegas – the first couple of hours are magical, then the fun tapers off, then it gets boring, then you want to get the hell out of there as fast as possible.
Death has come to your little slot, Microgaming – and you easily could have prevented it. At least we have a great foundation to build on for Halloween Slots II…
Bonus Video of Halloween
Here’s one of the most awkward interviews of the 1980s: David Letterman and Jamie Lee Curtis on Late Night. Dave can’t get over the amount of nudity in Jamie Lee’s new film and it really starts to piss her off after a while. There’s also an intro segment with Letterman and her father discussing the encounter. Yikes.